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Occupation Nation

Occupy LSX took a third space in London last week as a group from the camp liberated an abandoned three storey complex of four interlinked office blocks in Hackney. As the Thursday decampment deadline passed, a group from the camp occupied the multi-million property. In the one short week since activists brought the building into community use after it had lain empty for years, it has played host to a wealth of educational and social activities, ranging from discussions on economics, anarchism, the Egyptian revolution, violence and inequality, to workshops on yoga, singing, photography and creative writing.

The building 'belongs' to Sun Street properties, a wholly-owned subsidiary of UBS Bank. UBS was in receipt of a $60bn bailout from the Swiss government in 2008 after piling up the biggest losses of any European lender from the global credit crisis. Since then the bank has cut thousands of jobs. The bank has also been embroiled in its fair share of financial scandals, from rogue trader convictions to the miss-selling of mortgages to pensioners in the late 90s.

UBS posted some hurriedly scrawled paperwork on the building last Friday (18th) claiming an injunction on the building, and on Saturday (19th) left a possession order which was unsigned, unstamped and had no claim number. The newly christened 'Bank of Ideas' plans to formally challenge any attempt by UBS to regain empty possession.

Wednesday (23rd) saw London's Occupy movement in the High Court, after failing to decamp last Thursday (16th). In a statement that is too farcical to even satirise, the unelected feudal barons at The City of London Corporation highlighted their main concern as the 'significant harm to public interest' if Occupy's population of concerned citizens were to stay.

John Cooper QC, acting for Occupy LSX, asked for a delay in legal proceedings until 9th January, allowing time for the movement to gather their defence with their limited resources. Cooper also added that his workload would prevent him being able to appear in court until that time. However, Mr Justice Wilkie said he could see "no good reason" for a delay, despite admitting the 7th December date proposed by the Corporation was "unduly rigorous". The trial date was set for 19th December, and is expected to last four days. It is unlikely that, if the trial should go in favour of the Corporation, any eviction attempt will be made until after Christmas. This is due to the difficulty of finding a bailiff over the festive season – presumably because they will be concentrating on fostering a sense of peace and goodwill until the new year, when they will be ready to go smash shit up again.

David Forsdick, (insert genital related pun of choice here) acting for the corporation, seemed to reassure protection from court costs if Occupy LSX provided one named defendant for the case, but Mr Justice Wilkie quickly warned the 25 or so activists in the public gallery that they would be liable for costs if they put their name forward. According to Cooper there is no shortage of people willing to put their name where their tent is, answering that there was a list four pages long of people interested in being defendants. There was one camper present in the courthouse though who was not so happy. In an act that will no doubt cause some consternation back at Occupy LSX, one activist stood up at the end of the hearing and openly accused John Cooper QC of working for the Corporation – stating "I think you'll find you've just been fired". After this outburst, we'll wait and see who turns up on the 19th...


Things have been heating up in Birmingham as well. Students currently in occupation of an empty building on Birmingham university campus had a disturbed night's rest on Wednesday (23rd) thanks to university security. At around 11.30pm, a security guard tried to drag a student from the window being used as entrance to the building, then starting punching the other occupiers as they helped their fellow activist back inside. After the scuffle, the hired goons turned to more psychological warfare, continually ringing the doorbell, banging on windows, pointing lights and cameras into the toilet and shouting insults and abuse. Sometime after midnight, security forced a front window in an attempt to gain entry, but failed, resulting in a stand off. It didn't last long as students from the neighbouring halls of residence and houses rushed to their comrades' aid, linking arms around the building, forcing the thugs to turn tail and run.


Elsewhere in the global Occupy movement, 'murricans have been dealing with the backlash of the now infamous actions of police lieutenant John Pike's casual pepper spraying of passive, seated student protesters at the University of California Davis. The university's chancellor has placed the campus police chief, Pike and one other pepper-spraying officer on administrative leave (paid, of course), and asked prosecutors to drop charges against nine students who were arrested and said the school would reimburse students for medical expenses. The protest camp at UC Davis had been evicted, but was re-occupied on Monday (21st) with as many as 80 tents up by Wednesday (23rd).

There are 3 comments on this story...
Added By: Otis - 3rd December 2011 @ 5:25 PM
The revolution starts within. Some of us know that we need to change .. not only our environment but everyday actions. Resist the State. That means STOP shopping at ShitMart, buying useless plastic from China,smoking government cancer sticks, wearing sweatshop t-shirts. Common sense and conscience. MOBILISE ORGANISE + RISE UP AGAINST THE MACHINE. The Occupation of the Forest Cafe in Edinburgh has begun. Bring you imagination this weekend!
Added By: remove - 6th December 2011 @ 1:12 PM
Just want to say that,their is a new law which has been passed by America, which gives them the right to arrest anyone in any country without trail, they can inprison you and well kill you ,in the same words a international full scale attact on everyones rights .NEW WORLD ORDER NOW PLAYING OUT,SEE todays news 6th dec 2011 (yahoo) UK,POLICE INCLUDE OCCUPY MOVEMENT ON TERROR LIST .Now this law will effect everyone, regardless of weather youre working ,or not working,THIS IS A FULL -SCALE CLAMP DOWN ON EVERY RIGHT YOU HAVE EVER HAD,UNLESS THEIRS A FULL SCALE OPPOSTISTION ON THIS WERE ALL FUCKED. This needs eveyone behind this to stop it before you find yourself,locked up.
Added By: remove - 7th December 2011 @ 5:10 PM
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Twitter: @SchNEWS