National Conference

Report on the 4th Occupy UK and Ireland Conference held at Occupy Southend between April 13th and April 15th, 2012.

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 Southend-on-Sea’s Debt    ..…is £330m. You owe:


Latest 14/2/13

One year on - The system must go!

Next Tuesday marks the first anniversary of the setting up of the Occupy Southend camp at that celebrated centre for spiritual truth and enlightenment, St. Mary’s Church in Prittlewell - zealots to the defence of the weak and the vulnerable in our town. For Jesus would have sided with Occupy. St Mary’s did not.

And so to some observations of the year gone by:

Tax avoidance remains high in the headlines, the nation now familiar with the tax avoiders - from Vodafone to Jimmy Carr.  Ah, Jimmy Carr, "fleeced the country royally, but he tells a lovely joke".

Regulations have tightened some procedures of Banks and Corporations, but has their soulless essence in any way evolved from the dark spectres they once were. Sadly not. They still are.

Cuts in benefit have led some to take their own lives. Be very sure, this Government has the blood of its own people on its hands.

The NHS has been primed for privatisation. A service purposely run down - to make us think privatisation is worth trying. It isn't and the process costs lives.

The Armed forces budget has been cut back, but only to further the EU agenda - a European Army, a European Air Force and a European Navy.

The majority cries "exit the EU", but they wont let us vote for years to come. And so immigration goes unchecked - sheer madness.

Local Government is still little brother to Westminster - Southend Council, no backbone except Woodley.

Party politics still blinkers - creates illusions of democracy.

Paedophiles in low places are outed all the time - a distraction from those at the top. Ignorance endures - paedophilia is the glue keeping the Establishment together.

Our woodlands are to be sold through back doors.

Green belt land now has no defence from developers.

In Leigh, The Salvation Army appears desperate to sell their lands. The new hospice plan seems part of their strategy.

And on and on and we have no say.

Since the end of the camps Occupy itself has gone in various directions. Some elements lay in plain sight, others moved underground. It was always Occupy's intention to change and adapt to circumstance, and this we have done. The media reports little, but our actions are ongoing and our resolve is strong.

And at the end of an Occupy year, where are the answers? We can see where the future is going. For our children and grandchildren we can no longer take a chance with this system. One fundamental has been learnt. Ultimately its not politicians, or the Governments; its not the banks or the corporations; its not the immigrants or those people on benefits . . . . . .   ITS THE SYSTEM.

Trade unions will never be the answer.

Political parties will never be the answer.

Religions will never be the answer.

We fail to realise the power we have. We have been made to feel powerless, but we most certainly are not. Join together in groups. Plan together to take the current system down. Use peaceful, lawful, non compliance and always protect the weak and the vulnerable in times of change. The cause of our ills is the system we live under, and our failure to replace it with something better. Sweep aside the keepers of the system. Two live in our town now and serve the mechanism of Westminster. Form groups. Design new systems for living. Put plans into action. Rise like lions and DISMANTLE THE SYSTEM. Replace it with a system closer to the heart. This system is no longer fit for purpose.

Latest 1/12/12


On Saturday 8th December, North London residents and campaigners in Brent and Barnet, supporters of the Occupy movement and UK Uncut, will transform a tax-dodging Starbucks’ store into a library and a creche.

Please get there early because we’ll be starting at MIDDAY ON THE DOT. Bring your own coffee. Plus anything else to complete the transformation. Books, magazines, newspapers, games, face paints, felt tips and cake!

More details

Latest 31/10/12


“Andrew Haldane, the bank’s financial stability boss, said the Occupy Movement was right to blame economic inequality as one of the causes of the crisis.

He said ordinary families had been dealt a double blow by the banking boom and bust.

Some bankers and right-wing commentators attacked the movement as a group of hippies and layabouts with nothing to say.

But Haldane said: “Occupy has been successful in its efforts to popularise the problems of the global banking system for one very simple reason: they are right.

“The costs of crises are felt disproportionately by the worst-off in society, whose living standards tend to fall.” The Bank of England will get new powers to clamp down on banks next year”, reports the Daily Mirror.

Read more

Latest 16/10/12

Occupy protesters chain thelmselves to St. Pauls Cathedral’s pulpit. Protesters condemn Cathedral hierarchy for using violence against preying Christians - accuse them of colluding with banks and failing to help the poor.

Latest 8/10/12

. . . . . on October 13th something special is going to happen . . . . .

     . . . . . .  leading into the TUC march on October 20th . . . . . .

    . . . . . ending with operation vendetta on November 5th . . . . .

Latest 19/8/12

Evening Echo honour and integrity nears rock bottom - wrongly infers Occupy Southend are in part responsible for damage to the old Toomey building in Priory Crescent, requiring its demolition.

It's not until you have to deal with the Evening Echo on a regular basis that you begin to understand what a poor excuse for a newspaper it often is. There are many reasons why and we'll highlight them later.

The Echo’s article of the 16th August, "Demolition Plan for Toomey Showroom" is carefully crafted by political reporter Mr. Stephen Hackwell to suggest the required demolition is in part due to the residency of Occupy Southend. Occupy Southend strongly denies this inference and questions the honour and integrity of Mr. Stephen Hackwell as a truth reporting journalist. At no point during our occupation did Occupy Southend damage any part of the structure of the building.

During our first week of occupation the security patrol guard for the Toomey site warned us that the inside of the building was unsafe and not to venture in there - however we’d already decided not to venture inside anyway. The security guard was pleased we’d set up camp at Toomey because we were actually acting as a deterrent to those who wished to return to continue the attack on the internal fabric and structure of the building.

At one point during our stand for social equality and social justice we were physically threatened by an individual who wished to 'disturb’ the building, but we stood our ground, protected the building, and won the day. Indeed, every hour of every night, one of our own was on security duty, watching over all the vulnerabilities of the site. Lookers would do well to consider thanking us for round the clock security at the site for two months - obviously theirs was lacking prior and post our occupation. And yes we lit a fire at night when the temperatures dropped to below freezing - to warm those of us on security watch. The fire was contained in a purpose built log burner, well away from the building.

Occupy Southend would also draw attention to the glaring omission from the Echo article of any reference to LoknStore, who were/are planning to build on the Toomey site.

And the outraged public who were opposed to our camp in the Church grounds of St. Mary’s? We say to them we would probably do the same again. The Church hierarchy is not fully committed to working for true spiritual nourishment of its people, in the real world. The Church hierarchy works only to perpetuate the ‘don’t rock the boat’ status quo, and this is questioned by some in the Anglican faith. Many many Southenders were joyous and sang to the heavens when we occupied the Church grounds, because they thought the Church would have to talk with us and honestly debate the ills of society, learn the truth and find the answers. Of course that never happened. And what of the issue of the flower bed where loved ones’ remains were scattered - a flower bed we had fenced off. It now lies unprotected, adorned with chip papers, empty drink cans and discarded carrier bags. A mark of respect to the relatives of the deceased? No way. This is your high church in action.   

The Echo’s letters page is a farce. How many thousands of people throughout the years have had their letters edited, or should I say butchered before printing, finally bearing little resemblance to the script they’d sent in. If you like Evening Echo please get in touch with Occupy Southend and we’ll advise you on how to run a responsible letters page. Though of course you would then not be able to spin certain letters according to your wishes.  

The Echo states “it is not clear if they left of the own volition or were evicted by Lookers”. Well I think they would have known if we had been evicted - if they were even half decent journalists. For and on the record Occupy Southend we’re not evicted.

And for one last time. You can try to communicate a particular point to the Echo until you are blue in the face, but if it won’t fit their agenda then you may as well go whistle. Evening Echo, we are not anti-capitalists, we support small capitalism/local business that works from the heart. What we stand against is out of control Big Capitalism and Corporatism, where greed feeds more greed and the 1% are unaccountable to the 99%. Where tax avoidance equals savage cuts to services.

So we would say to Southend now is the time for the establishment of new local newspapers and new local media who have the desire to be that rarity in delivering today's news - proper journalists. Now is the time for truly investigative local journalism to follow the trail to whatever cosy little arrangement it is taken to - Council/Freemason/Church/Organised crime/etc. Now is the time for the Echo to stand up as well and become a beacon for the real truth in our local existence. No competition has meant the Echo has had it too good for too long. It is tired and it has become lazy.

Latest 13/6/12

Occupy Southend’s GlobalMay Manifesto

1. The economy must be put to the service of people’s welfare, and to support and serve the environment, not private profit. We want a system where labour is appreciated by its social utility, not its financial or commercial profit. Therefore, we demand:

2. To achieve these objectives, we believe that the economy should be run democratically at all levels, from local to global. People must get democratic control over financial institutions, transnational corporations and their lobbies. To this end, we demand:

3. We believe that political systems must be fully democratic. We therefore demand full democratisation of international institutions, and the elimination of the veto power of a few governments. We want a political system which really represents the variety and diversity of our societies:

Thanks to everyone who has contributed so far to the revision of the Occupy Southend GlobalMay manifesto. Its looking good. And thanks to the Global Spring, and Take the Square movements, who did all the work alongside Occupy London and Occupy New York!!

Latest 9/6/12

Thanks to everybody who has been in touch with regard to the GlobalMay manifesto (see 23/5/12 below). Some very good points have been raised and the revised manifesto for Southend will be published here shortly. The local manifesto is a snapshot in time, and will be forever changing, as Occupy Southend consensus naturally alters a little in the future.

A BBC Essex interview with Occupy Southend is due to be aired this weekend or next, during the Sunday morning faith show between 6am and 9am. The interview asks the question ‘Why did St. Mary’s Church Prittlewell refuse to acknowledge Occupy Southend’s message during the February occupation of the churchyard, when the Christian message and the Occupy message are so closely aligned’.

As Occupy Southend enters its second phase, a few changes will be made to this website. A new facebook page has also been opened to reflect this second phase. Assemblies will still be held on a regular basis as before, and the new facebook page will complement discussions. To keep the on-line discussions positive and in the best interests of Occupy Southend going forward, facebook participation will be by friends only.

Latest 23/5/12

The 'GlobalMay manifesto' of the International Occupy assembly

Below is the ‘GlobalMay manifesto’ as defined by the Global Spring, Occupy, and Take the Square movements. Although not reflecting everyone’s ideas and beliefs within Occupy it was arrived at through consensus and is the fairest assessment of the movement’s current position. Please read the manifesto and email Occupy Southend with any comments you may have - including what you’d like changed or modified - so we can produce our own version. Occupy Southend is putting together a GlobalMay manifesto working group and will report to the next assembly.

We are living in a world controlled by forces incapable of giving freedom and dignity to the world's population. A world where we are told "there is no alternative" to the loss of rights gained through the long, hard struggles of our ancestors, and where success is defined in opposition to the most fundamental values of humanity, such as solidarity and mutual support. Moreover, anything that does not promote competitiveness, selfishness and greed is seen as dysfunctional.

But we have not remained silent! From Tunisia to Tahrir Square, Madrid to Reykjavik, New York to Brussels, people are rising up to denounce the status quo. Our effort states "enough!", and has begun to push changes forward, worldwide.

We condemn the current distribution of economic resources whereby only a tiny minority escape poverty and insecurity, and future generations are condemned to a poisoned legacy thanks to the environmental crimes of the rich and powerful. "Democratic" political systems, where they exist, have been emptied of meaning, put to the service of those few interested in increasing the power of corporations and financial institutions.

The current crisis is not a natural accident; it was caused by the greed of those who would bring the world down, with the help of an economics that is no longer about management of the common good, but has become an ideology at the service of financial power.

We have awakened, and not just to complain! We aim to pinpoint the true causes of the crisis, and to propose alternatives.

The statement below does not speak on behalf of everyone in the global spring/Occupy/Take the Square movements. It is an attempt by some inside the movements to reconcile statements written and endorsed in the different assemblies around the world. The process of writing the statement was consensus-based, open to all, and regularly announced on our international communications platforms. It was a hard and long process, full of compromises; this statement is offered to people's assemblies around the world for discussions, revisions and endorsements. It is a work in progress.

We do not make demands from governments, corporations or parliament members, which some of us see as illegitimate, unaccountable or corrupt. We speak to the people of the world, both inside and outside our movements.

We want another world, and such a world is possible:

1. The economy must be put to the service of people's welfare, and to support and serve the environment, not private profit. We want a system where labour is appreciated by its social utility, not its financial or commercial profit. Therefore, we demand:

• Free and universal access to health, education from primary school through higher education and housing for all human beings. We reject outright the privatisation of public services management, and the use of these essential services for private profit.

• Full respect for children's rights, including free childcare for everyone.

• Retirement/pension so we may have dignity at all ages. Mandatory universal sick leave and holiday pay.

• Every human being should have access to an adequate income for their livelihood, so we ask for work or, alternatively, universal basic income guarantee.

• Corporations should be held accountable to their actions. For example, corporate subsidies and tax cuts should be done away with if said company outsources jobs to decrease salaries, violates the environment or the rights of workers.

• Apart from bread, we want roses. Everyone has the right to enjoy culture, participate in a creative and enriching leisure at the service of the progress of humankind. Therefore, we demand the progressive reduction of working hours, without reducing income.

• Food sovereignty through sustainable farming should be promoted as an instrument of food security for the benefit of all. This should include an indefinite moratorium on the production and marketing of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and immediate reduction of agrochemicals use.

• We demand policies that function under the understanding that our changing patterns of life should be organic/ecologic or should never be. These policies should be based on a simple rule: one should not spoil the balance of ecosystems for simple profit. Violations of this policy should be prosecuted around the world as an environmental crime, with severe sanctions for those convicted.

• Policies to promote the change from fossil fuels to renewable energy, through massive investment which should help to change the production model.

• We demand the creation of international environmental standards, mandatory for countries, companies, corporations, and individuals. Ecocide (wilful damage to the environment, ecosystems, biodiversity) should be internationally recognised as a crime of the greatest magnitude.  

2. To achieve these objectives, we believe that the economy should be run democratically at all levels, from local to global. People must get democratic control over financial institutions, transnational corporations and their lobbies. To this end, we demand:

• Control and regulation of financial speculation by abolishing tax havens, and establishing a Financial Transaction Tax (FTT). As long as they exist, the IMF, World Bank and the Basel Committee on Banking Regulation must be radically democratised. Their duty from now on should be fostering economic development based on democratic decision making. Rich governments cannot have more votes because they are rich. International institutions must be controlled by the principle that each human is equal to all other humans – African, Argentinian or American; Greek or German.

• As long as they exist, radical reform and democratisation of the global trading system and the World Trade Organization must take place. Commercialisation of life and resources, as well as wage and trade dumping between countries must stop.

• We want democratic control of the global commons, defined as the natural resources and economic institutions essential for a proper economic management. These commons are: water, energy, air, telecommunications and a fair and stable economic system. In all these cases, decisions must be accountable to citizens and ensure their interests, not the interests of a small minority of financial elite.

• As long as social inequalities exist, taxation at all levels should maintain the principle of solidarity. Those who have more should contribute to maintain services for the collective welfare. Maximum income should be limited, and minimum income set to reduce the outrageous social divisions in our societies and its social political and economic effects.

• No more money to rescue banks. As long as debt exists, following the examples of Ecuador and Iceland, we demand a social audit of the debts owed by countries. Illegitimate debt owed to financial institutions should not be paid.

• An absolute end to fiscal austerity policies that only benefit a minority, and cause great suffering to the majority.

• As long as banks exist, separation of commercial and financial banks, avoiding banks that are "too big to fail".

• An end to the legal personhood of corporations. Companies cannot be elevated to the same level of rights as people. The public's right to protect workers, citizens and the environment should prevail over the protections of private property or investment.

3. We believe that political systems must be fully democratic. We therefore demand full democratisation of international institutions, and the elimination of the veto power of a few governments. We want a political system which really represent the variety and diversity of our societies:

• All decisions affecting all mankind should be taken in democratic forums like a participatory and direct UN parliamentary assembly or a UN people's assembly, not rich clubs such as G20 or G8.

• At all levels we ask for the development of a democracy that is as participatory as possible, including non representative direct democracy .

• As long as they are practised, electoral systems should be as fair and representative as possible, avoiding biases that distort the principle of proportionality.

• We call for the democratisation of access and management of media. These should serve to educate the public, as opposed to the creation of an artificial consensus about unjust policies.

• We ask for democracy in companies and corporations. Workers, despite wage level or gender, should have real decision-making power in the companies and corporations they work in. We want to promote co-operative companies and corporations, as real democratic economic institutions.

• Zero tolerance of corruption in economic policy. We must stop the excessive influence of big business in politics, which is today a major threat to true democracy.

• We demand complete freedom of expression, assembly and demonstration, as well as the cessation of attempts to censor the internet.

• We demand respect for privacy rights on and off the internet. Companies and the government should not engage in data mining.

• We believe that military spending is politically counterproductive to a society's advance, so we demand its reduction to a minimum.

• Ethnic, cultural and sexual minorities should have their civil, cultural, political and economic rights fully recognised.

• Some of us believe a new Universal Declaration of Human Rights, fit for the 21st century, written in a participatory, direct and democratic way, needs to be written. As long as the current Declaration of Human Rights defines our rights, it must be enforced in relation to all – in both rich and poor countries. Implementing institutions that force compliance and penalise violators need to be established, such as a global court to prosecute social, economic and environmental crimes perpetrated by governments, corporations and individuals. At all levels, local, national, regional and global, new constitutions for political institutions need to be considered, as in Iceland or in some Latin American countries. Justice and law must work for all, otherwise justice is not justice, and law is not law.

This is a worldwide global spring. We will be there and we will fight until we win. We will not stop being people. We are not numbers. We are free women and men.

For a global spring!

For global democracy and social justice!

Take to the streets in May 2012!