Thursday, October 13, 2011

Still only day 5 of Occupy Dame Street

Another good, and different, day occupying Dame Street.  Another 12 hours or so in our second home. On arrival about noon most residents were up and active, and it was clear that people had gotten some serious sleep. One reminisced about the joy of having slept for 12 hours and many others had gotten a good night's sleep. A big contrast to yesterday at 12 noon when many people were still asleep or barely conscious, there were 3 camera crews on site and only about 5 people conscious to talk to them.

Shift coordinator system still in place though some were finding it a struggle to know what they were at least in theory meant to be doing. Security was a bit stretched, the limits of having about 30-50 people staying there beginning to show. As one person who has done many shifts looking out for the camp calculated, 4 hours shifts of at least 4 people each means in 24 hours you need 24 people just to run security, and that is too much of a burden on those staying.

Today I hoped to chill out a bit, not take any direct responsibilites on and actually get a chance to talk to people more about the issues. Essentially just be at the camp and help out in whatever way was possible. I found however that people kept asking me things like about media, organising security, what should be on the agenda for the general assembly, various organisational things which over the course of the day became a bit tiring. This was partially my own doing and partially just happened from other people. This kind of thing is pretty inevitable in a movement where we are all doing everything, and happily no one is directly responsible for anything or 'in charge', which is brilliant and a major strength of the whole endeavour, everyone wants reassurance from others about things that none of us really have a clue about, we all have to learn as we go.  So we do the best we can and as I tried to remember, this is only day 5, and we're all new to this, indeed this is a new thing for Dublin.

Some work had been done overnight to organise the internal camp space, to provide a somewhat private space for those camping there. This seemed to help with focus and having some space to chill out or talk more seriously. Obviously random people would still come in and I am filled with admiration for how those who are there 24/7 deal with being surrounded by people, especially strangers, almost all the time. Not to mention the traffic on the extremely busy street which someone said had become, after 4 nights, like the soothing sound of a river - though there were slightly gritted teeth when he said it.


1p.m. assembly went fairly well, much needed more thorough discussion about relationships with political parties and with trade unions. There was an interesting point in the process when a proposal about how to relate with political parties didn't reach consensus, and some in the group wanted to rush to counting those who agreed, as if we had a majority vote system. It was pointed out that we currently still have a consensus decision making system, and if consensus can't be reached in a reasonable timeframe and something still requires discussion, then it is moved as 'pending' to a later meeting or general assembly. This was then done, with the two motions concerning political parties and trade unions to be discussed further at the 6p.m. general assembly, but unfortunately this was forgotten at the later general assembly which focussed on different issues. But it's a learning process.

The meetings were moved outside the immediate camp area, off to one side, which seemed to work quite well. Though it can create a security hassle trying to monitor the camp with so many people outside. The series of workshops seemed to go very well. I caught some of Gavin Titley's workshop which was very interesting. And great to have the academic presence and a lot of learning being shared.


There had been many offers to do photocopying but during the day we still had no copies of the press release to give out, the agreed statement coming from the camp. I had some fruitless conversations with a printer across the road who said that as the Central Bank was one of their main customers they couldn't donate any copying for us. I later had a surreal, lengthy but lovely encounter with an elderly copy-shop owner around the corner who did the copying for half price and spent a long time getting the pages to print 4 to a page in such a way that they could be cut properly, eventually resorting to the tried and tested method of scissors and Tippex. You can facebook all you like but sometimes you have to cut it old school. Simultaneously the other photocopies made good on their promises so we eventually had somewhere around 1500 leaflets to give out.

We had a short organisational meeting which most people didn't want to have even though everyone wants the issues to be sorted out, it's alway a conundrum, you want things to run smoothly but it's hard to do the work to make that happen. Meanwhile TV3 were filming live from the camp, having been a little trepidatious about how they might spin the story it was actually a great piece, sympathetic, encouraging, intelligent and generally accurate (well kind of).  Then the music started which was brilliant. A really good trad band played first, followed by The Mighty Stef who was also great even if the first song of his I caught seemed to be called 'We want blood'. We'll let the non-violent vibe cope with that. Then there was a general jam and singalong which was really great, including a spontaneous blues riff with call and response from the whole crowd, led by a young bloke who'd never done anything like that before but just went for it. And there is a really strong and really amazing spirit at this place, we sat talking about how we didn't know each other 5 days ago, and how sound people are, in very different ways, and how you feel like you can spend a lot of time with these people, strangely enough. There is a quite amazingly special vibe. It is extremely positive and fun.   It's very tiring being there but simultaneously energising. But right now it's close to 2a.m. Again. And time for bed.  I go to bed thinking of the best quote of the day, from a facilitator at the assembly: "It's actually great craic having a revolution."

Two things:
Unkie Dave's amazing (and humourous) blog posts are really worth reading for a day by day account of the camp, if I haven't linked to them before go and check them out now.

I have included some videos in my Flickr stream, such as this one showing the human megaphone in action from the start of the demonstration on Saturday afternoon:

And this one showing the national debt clock projection onto the Central Bank on Sunday night:



Post a Comment

<< Home