Occupy Bristol prepares for phase 2: Sat 4th Feb

As eviction from College Green and the end of Phase 1 approaches, Occupy Bristol would like to invite anyone who supports our aims (http://www.occupybristoluk.org/about/statement-of-purpose) to come and share their ideas on where we go from here. We’d especially like to hear from anyone who spent time on college green but is no longer involved.

For a while on the camp we had a saying “if you see a job its yours”, which means that occupy is about getting involved and doing things you’d like to see happen. Occupy is about everyone, there is no “you” and “us”, we are you, you are us.

Whatever your idea is we’d like to hear it, from direct action to facepainting, if you think it furthers the occupy cause, tell us about it.

We already have a few ideas, some of which are already in motion, but we’d love to hear your suggestions.

Some of the ideas/suggestions we have already are:
The People’s Bristol 2050
Local People’s Assemblies
Alternative newspaper (The Occupier)
Pop up occupy. 5 people with pop up tents, fliers and conversation.
Occupying repossessed homes.

The location for the Phase 2 public meeting is

Sat 4th Feb 2pm – 4pm

Friends Meeting House, 126 Hampton Road, Redland, Bristol BS6 6JE 

Thanks to Bristol Quakers for providing a space to hold this.

Image courtesy of spartacusxx

 

 

 

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BCC: Put your money where your mouth is (part 2)

Although our protest camp on college green was never really directed at Bristol City Council (since the issues that brought us there aren’t within their power to change) we did ask them to do something to show that they took our concerns seriously.

Back in November when we were running the Move Your Money campaign we asked Bristol City Council to “put their money where their mouth is” by moving the finances they hold on behalf of the people of Bristol to more ethical providers.

In response to this the council agreed to introduce an ethical investment policy. Strictly speaking they have done this, but it turns out that they’ve written it in a way that doesn’t actually require them to do anything.

In a recent Evening Post article Barbara Janke was quoted as saying: “Bristol City Council adopted an ethical policy for treasury management activities at a recent cabinet meeting, with all banking, including £171 million of investments, meeting this policy.”

That got us wondering how they’d managed to introduce a policy that meant their finances already met its requirements, so we had a look at it.

The relevant section is below. Note their cunning use of the words “direct” and “core” without which this paragraph would actually commit them to something meaningful.

“The Council will not undertake direct investment or borrowing activities with organisations/ Sovereigns whose core activities include:
• Nuclear fuel
• Tobacco
• Pornography or violent material
• Government’s that support or are part of a repressive regime
• Animal testing for cosmetic purposes / unnecessary exploitation of
animals
• Gambling
• Third world debt exploitation
• De-forestation
• Poor human rights records
• Poor social/environmental practices
• Arms trade
• Bribery/ fraud/ corruption
• Violation of international intellectual property rights”

The full policy is in the last part of this PDF:

https://www.bristol.gov.uk/committee/2011/sc/sc9/1118_11.pdf

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First People’s Bristol 2050 meeting a success

The first Peoples 2050 meeting happened yesterday.

It’s probably worth mentioning again that this is only one of the projects emerging from Occupy Bristol. Other projects addressing different issues, utilising different ways of working will be announced shortly.

We had about 60 people come and a good range of interesting conversations.

The Open spaces meeting format was warmly received. A couple of people had questions about the facilitation, and how the format had been decided.

In open space meetings the agenda and discussion topics are set by those that come to the gathering. So there was no preconceived agenda going into yesterdays meeting, beyond the question: “How can we make Bristol 2050 a success.”

Some of the conversations focused on the 2050 process and some of the conversations addressed the actual issues people wished to tackle.

The conversations that happened were:

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Lessons from occupy:

A chance for some of those involved to discuss the lessons learned. These included:

* If inner city camping is used as a tactic again, to put more effort into pre-planning some of the infrastructure and logistical issues.

* Some people put in a lot of energy early on, then had to step back and take breaks, a lot of these breaks coincided in early-mid November and let to a certain loss of momentum

* Take breaks, keep the rest of your life happening.

Outcome:

None specific

——————————————————————————-

 How can Bristol’s Green Groups in the city work together more effectively?

* Focus on the things they agree on, put difference aside

* Link up the 2050 process with the ‘Future City’ conversations

* Continue the dialogue

 Outcomes:

* Working group formed to discuss 10 simple ideas that the groups could unite behind

* Invite all to www.bristolenergynetwork.org event 7pm Hamilton House 23 Feb

——————————————————————————–

Inclusion/ Diversity in Peoples Bristol 2050

* Discussed how to mobilise as many voices as possible

* Risks of a self-selecting group

* Participatory rather than telling people what is good for them

* Events in different areas of Bristol.

* Schools & Places of worship as a way of reaching out to people who may not otherwise get involved

* Diversity of activities: Only people who like meetings go to meetings

* Developing info pack that could be used by communities

* Developing talks that can be given to stimulate conversation in communities.

Outcome:

* Meeting in South Bristol next time

——————————————————————————-

What is Success for the peoples 2050 project?

* The ‘official’ Bristol 2050 is actually Utopian in it’s own way – It imagines that continuing growth is possible, even likely!

* Reality is going to be much harsher unless we make changes soon: Peak oil, Bankrupt system

* Success might be a post-growth 2050 document

* Success might be a document(s) that show a way for a growing Bristol population to remain fed, warm and happy.

Outcome:

None specific

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Transport

* Integrated transport authority

* Tram network

* Bike network that is not a afterthought on the side of roads

* Linking up with existing projects through http://www.livingheart.talktalk.net/

Outcomes:

To feed into Big green week/ forum for future discussion

——————————————————————————–

Technology in 2050:

* Not Luddites: Green tech

* Internet continued importance as a democratising platform

* Products kept for much longer time: Laptops for 15 years

* New models of ownership (lease rather than buy)

 Outcomes:

None specific

——————————————————————————-

Local food resources:

* Lot’s of interest in food

* Discussed http://www.reclaimthefields.org.uk/

* Discussed the Community supported agriculture model http://simshillsharedharvest.wordpress.com/

* Lot of support for expanding veg in Castle Park scheme

 Outcomes:

* Working group formed

* Fund raiser for Guerrilla gardening planned

——————————————————————————

 Positive Money

* Discussed whether a return to the Gold standard could be progressive

* The present situation of Bank controlled money supply worst of all possible worlds

* Alternative methods for controlling money supply rationally discussed

 Outcomes:

* None specific (Pub discussion later touched on Pro’s con’s of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Participatory_economics )

—————————————————————————-

Localism in a Global context:

* What are the limits to what we can achieve with localism?

* Creative projects to increase awareness of where products come from & impacts of production

* Articulate how we can interact for ‘good’ with the global economy

Outcomes

* Working group formed to map the existent links between Bristol/ Global economy

——————————————————————————-

We will be running a poll to decide the theme of the next meeting.

If you have a suggestion you would like to include in the poll please let us know in the next couple of days.

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One Movement: Two strategies, and fancy dress eviction

There have been mixed messages in the media and on our Facebook page about whether Occupy Bristol is leaving college green or not, so we just wanted to clear things up.

At the General Assembly meeting on Wed 11th Jan it was agreed that we would attempt to negotiate an end date with the Cathedral and Council as communication from the Cathedral had lead us to believe they were open to this. At the end of this meeting there was a general sense that Occupy Bristol would be leaving. Another meeting was held the night before the court hearing and those present decided they would peacefully resist eviction. There was a breakdown in communication and as a result a statement was issued on Fri saying that we were leaving by people who believed this still to be the case.

Although a number of those involved in Occupy Bristol still think the best thing would be to leave, they respect the decision of those who wish to peacefully resist eviction. A lot of the site will still be being taken down and rubbish removed before the eviction happens. There is majority support among all involved, that any resistance should be peaceful.

The word ‘peaceful’ must be reiterated here. We have said from the start that we are committed to non-violence. We are still committed to this and we call on anyone who comes to support us in resisting eviction to respect this.

We would also like to invite anyone who wants to support us in peacefully resisting the eviction to wear fancy dress, to bring a bit of humour to the proceedings.

One of the things many of us have learned since Occupy Bristol started is to respect each other’s points of view. Although there is a difference of opinion on whether to stay, we are still united in what brought us together, which is a desire to fight inequality and injustice as part of the global Occupy movement.

We will be continuing to work together and support each other as we move into the various projects that will make up Occupy Bristol: Phase 2.

Stay tuned…

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We are leaving College Green

Late on Wednesday night the Occupy Bristol camp met and discussed our plans for 2012. We agreed that we need to move from College Green. A consensus was reached to agree a departure date with the Council and Cathedral. A team of people have since been liaising with the Council and Cathedral to see if we could agree a date to leave.

One of the key concerns for us at this stage is to minimise any expense to the taxpayer. We hoped that the above route would mean that the Council would not need to spend unnecessary money on a legal battle. Occupy Bristol therefore decided not to legally contest the proceedings today.

We understand that some individuals chose to attend court to act as lay representatives for Persons Unknown. Our understanding is that the lay representatives were not given the opportunity to make a case to the court.  More details: videohere & here & here

We continue to have positive discussions with both the Council and Cathedral. We understand both have been working on statements that speak to the political issues Occupy Bristol have raised. We await these statements with interest.

We now have a lot of work to do in order to make the College Green site good in whatever time we have left on the green. Help from supporters would be appreciated over the coming days to assist with this.

We hope to have time to dismantle the temporary structures and to fully clear the site before it is handed back.

We will then continue to return to the site over the coming weeks and months to work on the re-grassing process.

This is clearly not the end of Occupy Bristol. We are only just getting started with projects like Bristol 2050 & Move Your Money

Watch this space..

 

 

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Bristol 2050: Democracy 2.0

Bristol 2050 is an attempt to use a partipatory process, through a series of open public meetings, to plan a sustainable and fair future for our cities inhabitants.

Neither the electoral cycle or the product planning horizon are far enough away to allow us to be utopian, to hope for better futures. There is very little thinking about the medium and long term.

The people’s 2050 will try to inhabit this vacuum. It will not be a top-down document or plan that anyone tries to rigidly enforce, it will not be in that sense “The Plan”. It will simply be a conversation that develops, spawning hundreds of little plans, counter plans and, crucially, actions.

We envisage the project including things like:-

  • Open Space meetings – on a variety of subjects, bringing together communities of interest, and also of place.
  • Online discussions and information sharing.
  • Outreach events in community centres
  • Approaching many different groups to get their ideas and contributions
  • Making sure that all voices are represented – all genders, sexualities, classes, abilities, ages, nationalities, faiths.
  • An ‘iterative’ process.  EG: After a first discussion on the theme of food, which comes up with some ideas and proposals, we go away, find out more, contact more groups, etc, then come back and discuss food again, in the light of what we’ve learned, what new participants contribute, and perhaps what’s come out of discussions on other themes.

Our hope is that not only will this come up with sensible ideas and plans, but that bringing interested people together to talk about this stuff will actually kick start lots of initiatives – big and small.

Our first event will be an Open Space meeting, discussing what we do next, in particular, how we make sure all voices are represented and identifying groups we should be reaching out to.

The Trinity Centre, Trinity Rd, Bristol, BS2 0NW
Sat 21st Jan, 2pm onwards (prob til 4pm)

Full article with more information on our new Bristol 2050 website


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Occupy the New year!


As we have been expecting for some time, the council and cathedral have today started eviction proceedings against the camp.

We are pleased to note that during our time here we have got both the church and the council talking much more seriously about inequality. In particular we are pleased that the cathedral’s planned programme of events has been changed to pay more attention to inequality.

We have been in productive conversation with the Dean for some weeks, discussing how we can move on to the next phase of our movement. We have recently restructured the camp, reducing the size and allowing much of the ground to regenerate.

In spring we plan to assist both financially and practically with efforts to put the Green to rights. We recognise this is an issue for many people. Many of us are driven to protest by our care for the environment, and the way our earth is being laid waste by unfettered greed.

Barbara Janke says they have heard complaints from our fellow citizens. Well, we have been listening to our fellow citizens for 12 weeks. We’ve heard how they’ve been affected by the cuts, hurt by the economic system and let down by the political careerists who are supposed to represent them.

We have faced problems here, in common with every other occupy site in the world. Many of these problems are caused by the broken society we live in. We have learned much from this phase. We’ve learned that although the system pits us all against each other, when we live together we are not alone & scared. We learn that we are not powerless, but capable of anything we put our minds to.

We look forward to the next stage of our movement. This will include our ambitious People’s Bristol 2050 project, and a series of discussion events. We hope that both the Cathedral and council will continue to react positively to this agenda.

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Breaking News: Thermal imaging shows protesters are sensible people

So it turns out the Evening post have hired a thermal imaging camera and have discovered that only a couple of tents are occupied.

They could have saved themselves the bother and just asked us, we would happily have explained that as the weather has got colder people have been moving into the structures which are heated, and therefore a reasonably comfortable place to be in the colder weather.

Some on camp have been planning to get all the tents taken down by January the 1st, not sure whether it will happen, but it is certainly planned. (This has already been reported on the BBC indidentally)

We have been talking about doing this since the 6th December when we said:

“We are also planning to re-structure and consolidate the camp to both improve the look of it and to help us prepare for the cold days ahead. There will be a few new small & low impact ‘bender’ structures made out of hazel and canvas appearing. We will also be taking down some of the other less practical and visually appealing structures, as well as some of the tents. We are looking forward to completing our communal bender which will be a warm dry place that we can conduct meetings and workshops.”

Getting the tents down will allow us to consolidate our camp and maintain a symolic presence on the green as we continue to plan our spring activities which will be happening around Bristol.

Things under discussion at the moment include:

http://bristol2050.org.uk/ how we might discuss and plan a better more sustainable future for Bristol, expect announcements on this early in the new year.

* A Nationwide month of activity in March next year around the http://moveyourmoney.org.uk/ campaign to get people to move their money out of the high St Banks (who still owe the taxpayer £456 billion)

* A mobile tent outreach team possibly incorporating tent monsters

* Usefulness of Bank of ideas type space

* How to build creativity and artistic practice into the next phase.

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The People’s Top Ten of 2011

A photo of Occupy Bristol camp with a sign saying 'Welcome to Camp Hope' in the foreground.

What do YOU think has been the most striking image of 2011? What news story is most significant for you?

This time of year we are usually over-run with lists (compiled for us by the 1%) of the ten best films (music videos, shampoos, advertising jingles…) of the year. Of course they reflect the interests and values of the 1%. What we care about might be different. So why don’t we pick our own top ten?

The categories are:-

News story of the year

This could be the one that most sums up how we’re being taken for a ride – like top CEOs getting a 49% payrise, while the rest of us get cuts. Or it could be the story that gave you hope that people can come together and make a better world – like the women of Egypt rising up to protest against military brutality. It could be the the hacking scandal at News International, that shows how corrupt a lot of the mainstream media is, or it could be the increasing problem of climate change, which our rulers are pretty much ignoring because they are worried about profits, but which will be affecting us and our children for decades -or centuries- to come.

Image of the year

The photo, design or cartoon which stands out for you this year.

Hero/heroine of the year

Who do you think has stood up for fairness and people, against greed and injustice? Who’s given you hope? Honour them here!

Let us know your suggestions, in the comments below, or on Facebook, or on twitter (using the hashtag #peoples2011). Once we’ve got all your suggestions, we’ll run a poll, and announce the people’s winners for the New Year.

Remember, this is the Top Ten where YOU decide.

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Discussions about the next phase underway

Following a conversation with one protester yesterday BBC Bristol ran a story titled “Occupy Bristol to leave by mid-January” This was based on a misunderstanding and is factually incorrect. We quickly contacted them to make them aware of the error, in the hope they could correct the information quickly. Yesterday afternoon they updated the story to make it slightly clearer that this was not a position the camp had agreed by consensus.

We have since made a formal complaint in the hope that they will update their website to reflect the reality of the situation:

There are a range of views within Occupy Bristol as to the best time to move on to the next phase of our campaign. We continue to have a dialogue with the Dean, to see if there is a way of moving forward that everyone is happy with.

Agreed by consensus by those on the camp this evening.

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