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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Latest 17/5/12


On the weekend of May 19, NATO officials will gather in Chicago. Military action against Iran will be high on NATO's agenda.

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu calls Iran 'an existential threat' and both the Republican and Democratic leadership in the US is in favour of 'tough action'.

Pressure for NATO intervention in Syria is also growing.

NATO is masquerading as a champion of democracy, while its members back dictators in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Military intervention will inflame the fighting. Its only aim will be to increase the Western powers' grip on the region.

NATO will also discuss the occupation in Afghanistan.

Though the war is clearly lost, occupying forces are set to stay for at least two more years. Keeping NATO troops in place will lead to more atrocities and make a negotiated peace much more difficult.

The US and the UK are the lynchpins of the NATO coalition and responsible for more wars of aggression around the world than any other power.

UNAC and the Stop the War Coalition will therefore be holding major protests in the US and the UK to say no to a new war on Iran; to oppose the threat of intervention in Syria; and to call for the immediate withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.

Latest 8/5/12

The Bourne’s Green camp has now come to an end. It succeeded in bringing awareness to a very important issue - development of our green fields and green belt for profit. Occupy Southend will continue to work with other groups such as SKIPP and the Green Party to keep the pressure on and awareness going in the future.

Occupy Southend is catching its breath after a whirlwind three camps in three months. The tents are being cleaned, the sleeping bags are in for delousing, and the camp sheep has gone off to graze for a while. Occupy Southend will now evolve, with its focus turning towards direct actions, highlighting social inequality and social injustice wherever it lurks. We’ll be keeping the spotlight on the dismantling of the NHS, examining the actions of our local MPs, the banking sector, corporations, tax avoidance, and a host of other areas.

Assemblies, working groups and meetings are planned for the future and will be announced soon.

Latest 4/5/12

Last night’s local elections saw the Conservative party lose overall control of Southend Council. This is the beginning of the end for the ‘cabinet system’ that has corrupted local democracy for many years now. There is still work to do but the people are stirring. Democracy is coming home.

Occupy Southend congratulates Brian Ayling in becoming Independent Councillor for the St. Lukes ward. Brian is an open-hearted free thinker and will prove to be a tremendous representative of the people. As Brian recently wrote “individual people power is far more effective than organised, Party Political organisations”. A statement that resonates so harmoniously with Occupy.

Latest 2/5/12

Please note that Occupy Southend fully vacated the old Lookers site at 160 Priory Crescent, Southend-on-Sea, SS2 6QN on 1st May, 2012.

Latest 1/5/12

Occupy Southend are back on the ground again! Tents were deployed yesterday afternoon in Bournes Green, joining forces with other campaign groups to highlight the threat to green fields in the Southend area. A few months ago murmurings were heard at local level that a major developer was proposing to build 2000 houses on farm land north of Bournes Green Chase. We say ‘nip this in the bud now’.

Occupy Southend is committed to preserving the precious few green spaces we have in our town, and stands against developers who see our land as an opportunity to plunder for their own greed and avarice. It should be recognised that Southend is the seventh most densely populated area in England outside of London. The concrete and brick expansion has to stop.

Development in this country is like a voracious cancer - that cancer must be treated or removed by the people immediately. Following recent changes to planning law the people have little or no influence on decisions to build on green land in their villages, towns and cities. But we should have the right to veto proposed developments in our neighbourhoods if we so wish.

We send a message loud and clear to developers - ‘Your days of inconsiderate shaping of our towns and cities for the burgeoning of your own bank accounts are coming to an end. The people will decide how their towns will be developed. Not you!’

Please sign the on-line petition here

Latest 29/4/12

At a meeting two weeks ago at the Occupy Southend camp in Priory Crescent, the decision was taken to vacate the site in a fortnight’s time. Bolling Investments Limited had filed for possession of the site and the case was scheduled to be heard on Thursday 3rd May. It was felt at the meeting that Occupy Southend had to keep changing and evolving to stay effective in its quest for true social justice and true social equality, and as a result it was decided not to fight the court order. Consequently Occupy Southend is considering a number of future options, but certainly direct action will figure large in the year ahead.

Occupy Southend would not be in such a strong position without the hard work and dedication shown by all its supporters over the last two to three months. Bravo to you all!

As a young grass roots movement Occupy Southend has firmly established itself in the town, and as a result many more people are aware of the real issues that exist in our society.

And remember, we hosted the Occupy UK and Ireland National Conference too!!!

Latest 24/4/12

National NHS Supporters Conference

National NHS Supporters Conference on the 23 June, 2012 at the Friends House, Euston Rd, NW1, organised by Keep Our NHS Public and the NHS Support Federation - a chance for all organisations to discuss the way forward.

A sample letter to your GP in defence of the NHS:

Dear Dr …………,

Prior to the approval of the Health and Social Care Bill, Government
ministers on numerous occasion stated that one of the main aims of the
legislation was to give patients “choice”. I now wish to exercise that
“choice” and request that I not be offered or referred for any tests,
treatment or care available through providers in the private sector.
Furthermore I would ask that this request of “NPP” or “No Private
Providers” be made explicitly clear on all my records.”

Yours sincerely, ……………..

This Clinical Commissioning Group will uphold the principle of "first
do no harm" - A pledge to get agreed by all commissioning groups.

This Clinical Commissioning Group will uphold the principle of "first
do no harm". We will take no action and adopt no policy that might
undermine our patients' continued access to existing local health
services that they need, trust and rely upon.
In the spirit of clinically-led commissioning, we reserve entirely the
right to decide who we contract with to provide services for our
patients. We will take those decisions on the basis of the best
interests of our patients and wider local communities, and we will
refuse to allow Any Qualified Provider to be imposed on us from above.
In the interests of transparency we will not engage in any contracts
or negotiations which impose conditions of commercial confidentiality.
We will consult local communities before implementing any changes that affect them, and our Board will make all major decisions relating to
services in public session.

Latest 24/4/12

At the assembly on Sunday plans for the future of Occupy Southend were discussed, and various occupations and strategies were agreed upon. Three of the main talking points were the NHS, green belt, and large companies/corporations, along with some discussion on internal housekeeping issues too. The meeting was well attended and everyone there was very positive and upbeat.

Sunday also marked Day 60 of Occupy Southend’s cumulative occupation on the ground. It was felt that in order to stay fresh the group needed to be ever evolving and Occupy Southend will certainly be doing this in the weeks and months to come. Thanks to all our supporters everywhere who’ve contributed magnificently to the establishment and running of the camps. Today is Day 62 of occupancy . . .  and counting!

In nine days time Southend goes to the polls to elect new councillors. An undemocratic power elite has long operated in this town thanks to the Council’s cabinet system - eight councillors sitting on the cabinet, responsible for 90% of all the decisions. Therefore democracy in Southend is subjected to a fierce stranglehold, and unless we break this iron grip we will continue to choke. Bringing any meaningful change to our town requires the immediate scrapping of this system. If you are pro democracy, pro freedom and pro true representation of the people at local level, then vote for the candidate in your ward who will scrap the cabinet system on election. Southend democracy is a precious jewel, once sparkling but now dull. Restore the shine - please vote for an end to the cabinet system on May 3.

Latest 20/4/12

From the Conference:

Occupy Southend salutes Occupy Menwith Hill.

Chris Nineham from the Stop the War Coalition talks about the likely attack on Iran.   

Latest 19/4/12

What occupies you?

A letter by John Haran to the Echo.

Dear Sir,

Trevor Murdin doesn’t buy into the Occupy movement – a worldwide movement with camps and support in the millions from the U.S.A to Australia and the UK … from New Zealand to the South American continent and Canada … from Israel to Iceland and Ireland … from South Africa to South Korea … Norway to Nigeria … Hong Kong to Mongolia … and Spain, Germany, Holland, Italy et al all over Europe that is seeking a new settlement from the world’s political leaders. (March 28th)

Moreover, he continues to wrongly misrepresent this worldwide protest movement seeking to reform the system we all labour under as anti-capitalist which it is not … as illustrated by Andrew Dobbington who took him to task over his preconceived misconceptions. (April 6th)

No, Trev prefers to shoot the messenger on arrival in Southend on the grounds that they are a bunch of vindictive serial protesters who benefit only too well from the very system they would hold in need of urgent reform.

This without recognising that those committed enough to camp out in protest are keeping the spotlight on a system that is promoting a hugely destructive burgeoning wealth gap - with all the concomitant political influence that only wealth can buy in capitalist democracies - causing growing inequality, massive youth unemployment and other social ills by the shed load while bankers get bonuses and bail-outs by the bucketful and lesser mortals only government cutbacks.

Yet our man doesn’t buy into any of it because of personal prejudices that would actually conspire against his own best interests … it’s just the system to Trev - it seems - protested by his usual sandal-shod, tree-hugging, muesli-munching suspects and what can an ordinary steel-toe-capped, tele-slumped, beer-swilling fish and chip-gorging mortal do but accept it … a counsel of despair if ever I’ve heard it.

Interestingly, next to TM on the very same Letters page appeared Independent Councillor Martin Terry questioning a large private sector landlord/developer’s £8,000 donation to the local Conservative Party and a connection to Tory attacks on resident associations that are trying to defend themselves from the very same landlord. (Same issue Echo March 28th).

Indeed, should we be concerned that money in politics – both at the national and local level – can have a corrupting influence or just accept the situation as it is merely because it is the current system?

I suppose its all about whatever ‘Occupies’ you when all’s said and done.

And never mind Occupy Southend camping out in the dark for illuminating reasons that may one day tempt even Trevor Murdin to remove his old bounce to a place where the sun can actually shine on it, what about him ditching his prejudicial stereotyping and truly finding out what is going on in a very diverse movement?

Because for all his epistolary bluster, Trev comes across as a guy with similar concerns.

Latest 19/4/12

Over the last two days we’ve tidied up the camp and returned it to a state of normality (if that’s the right word).

The focus now turns to direct action and awareness events. Occupy Southend would like to hear from all its supporters with regard to ideas for future actions and events. We’d also like to hear your thoughts on securing the long term future of Occupy Southend. Some exciting suggestions have been voiced in this area already and we’ll be putting these to the next General Assembly.

Latest 17/4/12

My Occupy Conference experience: By Mark

After the intense experience of the St Mary’s Church Occupation and the media hysteria which accompanied it, when the opportunity to host the forth Occupy UK & Ireland Conference came up, we grabbed it. We saw it as a massive morale boost for the whole of the group after the pressure of the Church. However, I have to confess, we really didn’t appreciate just how much hard work and organisation it would entail.

Despite the three weeks of panic, yes panic is the appropriate word, followed by three days of what seemed endless work actually hosting the event, the conference was an amazing experience, and I for one would not have missed it for the world.  

It wasn’t the workshops, skill shares or discussion groups, it wasn’t even the party on Saturday evening, no, what made the conference an amazing experience were the inspiring people.

I would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone from Southend who helped out and who came. And to all those from around the country, you brought the gift of light to our town, you gave us inspiration, you came as delegates but left as friends, and I love you all.

Latest 15/4/12

The 4th Occupy UK and Ireland National Conference was held at Occupy Southend this weekend. From Friday afternoon onwards Occupy group’s representatives arrived from all around the country. Throughout the weekend a succession of workshops, skill shares, experience recounts, and training sessions were well attended by around 50 occupiers. Many other Occupy supporters came along, purely to sample the Conference atmosphere and get a feel for Occupy at National level. A stream of newcomers were greeted, and Occupy was pleased to be able to let them know who we are and why we are here.

On Saturday night renowned musician Phil Burdett opened the evening’s entertainment, followed by a double DJ session until midnight.

Chris Nineham from ‘Stop the War’ gave a highly enlightening talk on Sunday afternoon regarding the probable attack on Iran, and went on to highlight upcoming actions, including the ‘No to Nato’ protest at the US Embassy on May 19. The Conference officially closed with a Tai Chi ‘chill out’ class.

The representatives created a beautiful atmosphere throughout the whole weekend, and it was great touching base with so many people from the movement in the same space. We’d like to say thank you to everyone for making the Conference such a success and Occupy Southend looks forward to the next Conference - wherever it may be - to once again meet up with such amazing people!

Occupy Southend is currently working on transcripts and summaries from the some of the sessions and will publish them here as soon as possible.

Latest 11/4/12

Occupy Southend had a table at Occupy London’s Open Day yesterday at the Friend’s House on Euston Road. The venue was packed with Occupy supporters and the appetite for the future was immense, as Occupy UK and Ireland enters a new phase. As a result the weekend’s conference is well on track.

Latest 7/4/12

To the people who helped with the camp clean up yesterday - you were fantastic! The amount of rocks, vegetation, debris, litter and broken glass that got moved was staggering. Its amazing what community can do when it all pulls together!

Latest 5/4/12

Symbolically, on this the last day of the tax year 2011/12, Occupy Southend is highlighting not only the lost revenue to this country through tax avoidance, but also the way HMRC do ‘cut price’ deals on taxes owed by large corporations. By occupying the local HMRC tax office Occupy Southend makes the statement and sends out the message that tax avoidance is corporate theft.

Last year the likes of Amazon, Vodafone, Topshop, Boots, BHS and Dorothy Perkins were responsible for removing £95billion from the public purse, enough money to stave off the savage cuts to our public services. Only today the Guardian newspaper reported that amassed a turnover of £3.3billion last year, but paid no corporation tax on the resulting profit. This insults the honest, hardworking, ordinary people of this country, who diligently pay their taxes.

Some people express opinions to Occupy Southend that protest is futile, that the system cannot be changed. To believe that is to wave the white flag of surrender. If the majority of us join together and make a permanent stand against soulless corporate greed, then change will happen.

Latest 5/4/12

Occupy Southend response to Trevor Murdin letter to the Echo.

Echo contributor Trevor Murdin is spouting his legendary, ill-informed brand of garbage on the letters page. Commenting on Occupy Southend in his usual slapdash manor (Echo 28th March), Trev, true to form, has not checked any of his facts.

He accuses Occupy Southend of capitalist hypocrisy; its a shame that he hasn’t learnt that newspapers are in the business of selling papers, and not always reporting the truth. The fact is, Occupy Southend is not an anti-capitalist group, far from it; we want to promote responsible business, it is business that gives us our jobs and feeds our families.

What Occupy opposes is irresponsible, under-regulated, tax dodging, globalised greed. Of course Trev you may support the idea of mega corporations which pay little or no tax and believe that our politicians, elected to represent us, are there to do whatever the corporations pay them to do.   

In less than a year the sense of helplessness and injustice that the 99% of the World’s population feels, when faced with the dictatorial oppression of the 1%, has lead to the creation of a fast growing worldwide movement determined to change the world for the better. That international grassroots movement, born in 2011 on New York’s Wall Street, is Occupy and it is here to stay.

In his rant he accuses the supporters of Occupy Southend of being serial protesters, a bit rich coming from a serial letter writing moaner. For his information, a significant proportion of the occupiers have never taken part in any protest or action before.

They are ordinary people from every generation and various walks of life, who are sickened by the unfair world in which we live. They don’t want to see our NHS broken up and privatised. They are fed up with paying their taxes when government colludes with mega corporations to allow them to avoid paying taxes. They understand that our supposed democratic system only works for the rich and powerful. They know that we must change things....

So Trev, its decision time. Are you going to be part of the solution or are you going to continue being a meek sheep eating the crumbs that the rich and powerful throw on the floor for the peasants to eat?

Latest 2/4/12

At yesterday’s General Assembly it was agreed that the date and time for the site clear up will be Friday 6th April, starting at 1pm. We really need everyone’s help to tidy the whole area so we can accommodate the expected influx of tents in a couple of weeks time. An hour or two should see the job done.

Future events at the camp were talked about and developed, with special emphasis on the agenda. The Assembly also discussed further direct actions and we’ll be in contact soon with all our supporters to give details of where and when.

Latest 29/3/12

General Assembly for Occupy supporters this Sunday, 1st April, at 3pm. Details below (26/3/12).

Church Update

1) It has come to our attention that some people are still under the mistaken impression that recent burials have taken place at St Mary’s churchyard. This is not true. The last burial at St. Mary’s churchyard was in 1881. This was 5 generations ago.

2) The majority of the camp was situated on land that up until the 1920s had buildings on it.

3) The flowerbed adjacent to the camp where ashes have been scattered showed no indication to that fact when we arrived. Normally flowerbeds used for interment of ashes are marked accordingly. It is said the church broke its own faculty law by not gaining permission for this change of use.

4) The first thing we did on the site was to fence off the flowerbed to protect it. During our stay it was never walked on.

5) Once again this flowerbed has returned to its normal state of use - accommodating errant feet; dogs fouling its territory; gardeners digging it over.

6) On fete days the wheels of children’s bikes cut into the flowerbed’s soil, gravestones are adorned with coat and bag, and litter is strewn all around.

7) When we left St. Mary’s we seeded the worn areas we had camped on, and diligently cleaned up. We looked around at the rest of the churchyard - beer cans, carrier bags, a pair of old shoes - still laying where we had spotted them when we arrived at the site.

Latest 27/3/12

General Assembly for Occupy supporters this Sunday, 1st April, at 3pm. Details below (26/3/12).

Church Update

Over the next week or so Occupy Southend will be publishing important but little known facts surrounding the occupation of a corner of St. Mary’s Churchyard last month.

1) It has come to our attention that some people are still under the mistaken impression that recent burials have taken place at St Mary’s Churchyard. This is not true. The last burial at St. Mary’s churchyard was in 1881. This was 5 generations ago. We’ll address the issue of the ashes in the flowerbed in our next ‘Church update’.

Latest 26/3/12

General Assembly for Occupy supporters  this Sunday, 1st April, at 3pm.

Following the success of Occupy Southend Hospital, we’re asking for more ‘direct action’ ideas for the assembly to debate and develop, so please bring them along. We’ll also be discussing the logistics of future events at the camp, as well as many other important issues.

See you all there!

Latest 24/3/12

Hi everybody. SOS time at the camp. We're in need of the following items - Loan of a tea urn, plastic knives and forks, recyclable paper plates and cups, loan of cooking pots, loan of garden chairs, kitchen chairs, fold up chairs, any old sand bags laying around in your gardens/sheds, pallets (home or do you know where we can get some), bleach, disinfectant, toilet rolls, loan of large and small bins, wheelie bins, plastic buckets, old bits of hardboard and ply, napkins/paper towels, hand soap, old lengths of baton, loan of water containers (20-25 litre), pads of paper, loan of pasting tables, trestle tables, old carpets and rugs. Thanking you in advance.

Latest 22/3/12

Yesterday afternoon Occupy Southend set up a symbolic tent in the grounds of Southend Hospital for two hours, to draw attention to the threat to the nation’s health, as a result of the passing into law of Andrew Lansley’s Health and Social Care bill. The action was carried out in conjunction with Southend Save the NHS and Southend Against the Cuts. There can be no doubt that an NHS run by profit-focused companies will serve only shareholders and not patients. If we do not join together soon as a town and as a country, then inconsiderate profit will trample all over us and destroy what’s left our communities.

Latest 21/3/12

Yesterday the Government forced through its plans to sell off the NHS to profiteers. This means they’ve backed competition instead of passion, profits instead of patients.

There has been a huge amount of opposition to what is effectively the largest shake-up of the NHS since 1948. For instance, 49% of all hospital beds are now set to become private. Think on this. 28% of Conservative peers in the House of Lords have ties to private health care companies. Impartiality? Occupy Southend thinks not.

We have lost our democracy. We have lost our power. The time is right to wrest back our power from those who continue to abuse and misuse it.

Today we Occupy Southend Hospital.

Latest 20/3/12

Occupy Southend will be attending a demonstration tomorrow lunchtime outside Southend Hospital, between 12.30pm and 2.30pm. Everyone is invited to join with us and other groups fighting to save the NHS.

Lansley’s Health and Social Care Bill looks set to privatise a large chunk of the NHS. Make no mistake, people will die as a result of this legislation coming into effect.

We want to see an NHS driven from the heart, and not one prayed on by the corporate profit margin. Our loved ones are under direct threat from a Government compromised by the stench of greed and avarice in the shape of privatisation. Our democracy has been compromised yet again. For example, an incredible 28% of Conservative peers in the House of Lords enjoy lofty positions in private health care companies. Our votes, our representatives in Parliament, do not reflect the wishes of us, the people of this land. Rise up! Lawfully and peacefully take back your power from those who have corrupted it. Make a stand with us tomorrow. People over predatory profit.

Latest 19/3/12

There was a very good turnout for yesterday evening’s General Assembly and many key decisions were made regarding the National Conference, future direct action, and Occupy Southend’s first leaflet. As a result we are now in a strong position to move forward with our messages on crucial issues. We are very aware that we still have a long way to go to reach all the people of Southend and beyond, but steadily we’ll accomplish this aim.

Latest 17/3/12

Sunday at 6pm - Occupy Southend General Assembly. Everything is up for discussion, in particular lawful direct action, the national conference, communicating Occupy views to the public and expanding the website. See you tomorrow.

Latest 16/3/12

Southend-on-Sea Borough Council is borrowing around £50 million this financial year for capital projects, taking its total borrowing to £330 million. This huge liability exposes the average household in Southend-on-Sea to £7,000 of debt. Alarmingly 16% of all council tax collected goes to servicing this debt.

Not only are Southenders having to deal with an average household national debt level of more than £70,000 for at least a generation to come, but they’ll also have to contend with the consequences of their own council's reckless levels of capital spending, when all around are forced to tighten their belts.

Curious then that our Council should win the Local Government Chronicle Award. But then the award is merely ‘industry’ back slapping, plain for all to see.

Latest 14/3/12

The next General Assembly will be on Sunday 18th March at 6pm. Further details nearer the time.

Latest 12/3/12

Yesterday's assembly was very successful. Thirty Occupy Southend supporters met to discuss the way forward and it was decided that for the next fortnight we'd focus on defining eight of the many important aspects of the Occupy message: That we’re for - Social Justice, Considerate Profit, Global Equality, Small Business and that we’re against - Tax Avoidance, Party Politics, Globalisation, War.

Expanding our knowledge of the broken and corrupt systems that control our lives will place us in a strong position to develop appropriate solutions. As they’re developed, we’ll be mindful of one of our first priorities when change comes - to protect the weak and the vulnerable.

Latest 11/3/12

Banners and placards continue to go up at a steady pace as we prepare for an important meeting at 3pm.

Latest 10/3/12

The camp continues to develop at a steady pace and the bender is now complete. More signs and placards have been put up, conveying the true Occupy Southend message to the passers-by.

Tomorrow afternoon we’ll be holding an important meeting at 2.30pm for all our supporters to discuss the development of Occupy Southend. There’s a lot to talk about and plan for. For those who support Occupy but haven’t yet visited the camp please come down - you’ll be warmly welcomed.

Latest 8/3/12

The first of many placards went up today as Occupy Southend began the process of explaining what we’re about.

The weather’s been kinder recently and we’ve made good headway with the camp’s structure. At present we’re constructing a bender out of organic living willow and this should be complete by tomorrow afternoon. The information tent is up and running now, and the last of the sleeping tents has been dried out and put back into use. On Sunday we’re having an important meeting for all our supporters. The meeting will begin at 2.30pm. Look forward to seeing you all then.

Latest 5/3/12

At 11am yesterday morning Occupy Southend moved onto the old Toomey site in Priory Crescent. Over recent months the site has been the subject of controversy, with LoknStore still looking to build a five storey facility on it.

Following a rather windy night, when the curtains blew out, the next couple of days will see the development of the camp structure.

In coming weeks we’ll be addressing all the issues raised by Southenders at the St Mary’s camp - the council’s undemocratic cabinet system, social justice, pointless wars, the debt trap, NHS, unnecessary cuts, big business tax avoidance, protecting the environment, usury, fractional reserve banking, heartless benefit reductions etc.

Occupy Southend is in this for the long haul. There is much that is wrong with our society, and its time to let those who misuse our power know that their days in control of us are numbered.

Latest 28/2/12

At 8pm today Occupy Southend vacated the site at St. Mary’s Church, Prittlewell. We wish to express our heartfelt thanks to the people of Southend who have turned out in their hundreds to support us over the last ten days. We’ll be setting up a new camp in the town very shortly. After leaving the site tonight we dropped in at the Vicarage and gave Father Shaun a letter notifying him of our earlier departure from the site at St. Mary’s Church. The letter read as follows: ‘Dear Father Shaun, following the decision of the Occupy Southend meeting on Saturday 25th February, 2012 at the Occupy Southend camp, we hereby give notice that we have vacated the churchyard grounds at St. Mary’s Church, Prittlewell at 8pm, on this the 28th February, 2012’. As a chapter ends so a new one begins.

Latest 27/2/12

Occupy Southend wishes to inform the press it will be unavailable for comment before, during and after tomorrow’s funeral.

Occupy Southend remains fully focused on its aims and intentions set out in the initial statement, and looks forward to engaging with the public at the new site.

Latest 26/2/12

Occupy Southend came to St. Mary's Church in Prittlewell seeking peace love and light, and found none extending to us from its hierarchy.

The vote was taken by Occupy Southend yesterday on whether or not we should relocate the camp, and the clear majority was in favour of moving - the issue of the ashes contributing to our decision. The assembly also agreed to the winding down and dismantling of the camp over the next few days.

We haven't had direct contact with the diocese of Chelmsford since last Thursday. This morning we noted the statement on the diocese website, asking us to leave by 3pm. We do find it hard to believe the Church would waste money on unnecessary legal action, since we have gone on public record, stating our intention to leave.

The occupation of a corner of this churchyard is a lawful act, covered by law, and the Church is bound by its jurisdiction. Church faculty law only binds the Church, it has no jurisdiction over Occupy Southend. The unnamed spokesperson for the Chelmsford diocese is misleading the public by suggesting we are acting unlawfully.

Occupy Southend is all about social justice, economic fairness, the future of our children, and Mother Earth.

At grass roots level the Christian spirit shines through as a beacon of light in Southend, but that same Christian spirit is sadly lacking within the Church authority.

Occupy Southend remains dedicated to future fundraising events and will gladly honour its stated commitment to the Church and the homeless in this respect.

Latest 24/2/12

Our beliefs about justice and equality are in line with the teachings of the Christian faith, and a number of our group are Christians themselves and happy to be occupying a small part of St. Mary's Churchyard. A church is a place of refuge for mind, body and soul.

We appreciated the invitation to Evensong extended to us on Ash Wednesday evening, and 10 of our group attended the service, joining the 19 congregation already gathered there. Throughout the occupation church members have extended their best wishes to us, for which we are very grateful.

Occupy Southend will be holding an important meeting tomorrow at 1pm to discuss the future of the camp. Should the consensus majority decide to maintain the lawful residency, then we'll be greatly scaling down the camp on Tuesday in respect of the funeral taking place then.

In view of tomorrow's important meeting the planned General Assembly has now been cancelled. However, we invite all those who identify with Occupy Southend, to the important meeting regarding the camp’s future.

Rowan Williams, the much respected Archbishop of Canterbury, said of Occupy, "Christ would be there, sharing the risk".

Latest 23/2/12

Please note that at this time Occupy Southend is still waiting to meet with Father Shaun, Vicar of St. Mary’s Prittlewell. We will keep you posted.

Latest 23/2/12

On Saturday, Occupy Southend will be holding its first general assembly at the permanent camp. Contrary to some reports we will not be using a stage or loudspeakers. However we will be using a small low-powered PA system.

Latest 23/2/12

Yesterday Occupy Southend released the following press statement:


“Occupy Southend can confirm that it met with representatives of the diocese of Chelmsford on Monday evening. In a short discussion we were asked to consider leaving the site at St. Mary's Church in Prittlewell. We informed the representatives of the diocese that we wouldn't be able to address their request until meeting and consulting with the entire Occupy Southend group on Saturday, when we'd be bound by the consensus majority decision on that day. Last night the Vicar of St. Mary's Church, Father Shaun, introduced himself to us, and invited us to a meeting with him sometime tomorrow, to which we gladly agreed.

We have heard reports that Southend Council has been giving advice to the Church with regard to closing the camp. Occupy Southend wishes to point out that Southend Council has no mandate to meddle in Church business and we wonder for what gain they interfere? Southend Council is part of the problem we are trying to highlight. Southend Council is not the solution.

The following lists some of the key areas that Occupy Southend will be examining in the future, through its awareness campaign:

Housing and homelessness

NHS cuts

How the banking and financial system works against the 99%

Unpayable debt levels

Fuel poverty

Southend Council budgeting

Creating true democracy

Creating true freedom

The corruption in the political process

Green issues”

Latest 21/2/12

Occupy Southend would like to thank all the people of the town who have offered their support over the last two days. Since our arrival at St. Mary’s Church in Prittlewell, Occupy Southend has been carefully and considerately developing the camp. Once fully functional, we’ll begin looking at all the subjects raised in our initial statement.

From today, Occupy Southend would like to hear from local people who are unhappy with the ‘Southend Council Experience’, and we’ll be asking the question ‘what can Southend do to make local democracy better?

On Saturday afternoon we’ll be holding a general assembly, where all Occupy supporters can add their voices to the future direction we’ll be taking on local, national, and global issues.

Occupy Southend would like to amend the ‘Anti-Capitalist’ label applied to us. Whilst not supporting the world of corporation and cartel, we do support the small businesses in our local community.

At the time of writing we still haven’t met with Father Shaun, but we are hoping to enter into friendly dialogue with him as soon as he returns to the church.