Tent City

By now many of you may have heard of the tent city outside of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.  A couple of weeks ago, I was nearby and I popped over to take a look.  For the most part, I admire their determination and resilience.   With the colder weather, uncomfortable living conditions (although not all of them stay the night), and tension between the tent dwellers and the city and church it is not the ideal situation.  Growing up in America the right to demonstrate is ingrained in me.  However I am torn about the tent city outside of St. Paul’s.  It saddens me that St. Paul’s Cathedral had to close its doors for the first time since World War II since the protesters refused to remove their tents.  Several days ago, the cathedral’s dean said that the demonstrators had overstayed their welcome.   When the demonstration was agreed to, was there a timeline of how long it would last?  Or did the church realize after the fact that it would be a disruption to them and the surrounding area?  On a positive note, the Cathedral is open once again.  Unfortunately, three members of the church, including the cathedral’s dean, have resigned.  From what I understand, they feared that the situation would end in violence and they could not take part in that.

Also, I am not sure what the protest is really about.  They label it as an anti-capitalist protest.  What does that mean really?  There doesn’t seem to be a cohesive message.  According to an article I read in The Sunday Times, the Occupy London Group claims that they now have a finance team and an IT department.  In addition, they want to spread out and occupy three new areas in London.  Is it a hostile take-over?  It could take months, if not years, for the city to have legal rights to remove the protestors.

If you just listen to the complaints from the city and church you might get the impression that the protest is rowdy and a disruption to everyday life.  But there are two sides to every story.  From what I’ve heard, the occupants of the tents have done all that the city has asked them, aside from leaving, to ensure the safety and health of the tent city and the surrounding area.  When I visited the area on a Saturday afternoon, everything seemed peaceful.  The tents were neatly organized.  The demonstrators seemed polite.  There was a speech going on, but everything seemed orderly.

But I still have questions.  What is the actual goal of the protest?  How long will it last?  Do they know what they want to accomplish?  And finally, how will it end?  For all involved, I hope the end is peaceful.

Please note that I still don’t have internet access at home.  I will respond to all of your comments as soon as I can.  Thank you for your patience.

About TBM

TB Markinson is an American who's recently returned to the US after a seven-year stint in the UK and Ireland. When she isn't writing, she's traveling the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs in New England, or reading. Not necessarily in that order. Her novels have hit Amazon bestseller lists for lesbian fiction and lesbian romance. She cohosts the Lesbians Who Write Podcast (lesbianswhowrite.com) with Clare Lydon. TB also runs I Heart Lesfic (iheartlesfic.com), a place for authors and fans of lesfic to come together to celebrate lesbian fiction.
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27 Responses to Tent City

  1. Thank you. I appreciate seeing what is happening overseas and not just in NYC, Oakland, Boston, etc.
    As to what they “want”, I imagine it is rather the same as Occupy Wall Street. They want people to pay attention to the situation of the 99% and to stop bailing out the 1% and the banks. They want people to matter more than corporations. They are smart enough to know that the first and most important goal is getting that conversation on the politician’s front burner and since we/they don’t have millions and millions of dollars/pounds/Euros to spend, we/they have to use what we have – our bodies.

    • TBM says:

      Hello! Glad I could help out. I get that they want to raise awareness, and I agree, awareness is great. But what is their definition of awareness. Over here, they have started the conversation and people are noticing them. And that is fantastic. But I’m wondering how long it will last? Are they prepared to stay until they see real changes on the political and economic scene? I mean, that could take some time. How is the protest going across the pond? I’ll do my best to keep you posted on what is going on ever here. And I miss your lovely photos!

  2. Kristina says:

    I heard they gonna be staying there for a while, until New Year. I just think it’s a bit unfair of them to stay near St Paul’s Cathedral for so long, espceially because they are aming at the Stock Exchange. Other than that, great post! 🙂

    • TBM says:

      Hello! Two more months is a long time. I feel for the church, but it is right next to the Stock Exchange. I wonder how the talks went before the protest even started. I haven’t heard if the church thought it would be a weekend sort of thing or more long term.

  3. I agree with your comments wholeheartedly. I am very much for “free speech” and right to make your views know…but I just can´t work out exactly what it is they actually want!

    • TBM says:

      Hello! I am quite confused as to what they want and when they will think they have accomplished their goals. I think that it’s great that they are willing to make a point and to raise awareness. Like you said, free speech is important. I just don’t understand how long they will raise awareness.

  4. Grace says:

    I know that in the US they’re planning on staying until they see actual change being accomplished. I’m curious to see what will happen… at the same time, I hope things don’t turn violent.

    • TBM says:

      Actual change? That could take some time. I admire their determination, but changing the system (and I think it needs changed) will take some time. Have they said in the States what they think actual change is? Are they waiting for laws to be passed? Like you, I worry that things might get ugly and I would hate to see anyone get hurt.

  5. Jo Bryant says:

    From everything I have read I think they just feel that they have no voice – they lose jobs, homes, and their governments do little – but when corporations or banks are in trouble these same governments bail them out to the tune of billions. all the while they get a pat on the back and get asked for more tax dollars…so they want these same governments to take seriously the fact that they have had enough. Unfortunately governments don’t listen to well – and they all thought ‘oh well – this will blow over and we can go on as usual’ – and I think these people want the governments to realise that this time it won’t blow over, and they want to be heard, they want to see more money going to the people – the 99 %
    Just my impression…

    • TBM says:

      Hi Jo! You make some great points. I also don’t feel that politicians listen to the average folks. And I don’t think many corporations or banks care at all about the “little guy”. Unfortunately in London, the conflict has been centered around the church and the protest. Also, I hope the spirit of the demonstration does not blow over. The 99% need a voice.

  6. Hanna says:

    Whatever the issue is or whatever the outcome is, I pray for a safe journey for all of them.
    And all the best for you too!

  7. T.F.Walsh says:

    Great images… I didn’t know about this… haven’t seen it on news here in Australia, or I could have just missed it:)

    • TBM says:

      You can’t miss it on the news in London. Every news show I watch talks about it. They are getting noticed here, which is good. I just wonder how long they will be noticed, especially when they move out. I take it that there aren’t any demonstrations in Australia. At least I haven’t heard of any, but that may be due to my ignorance.

  8. Jo Bryant says:

    If you want to know more about what Occupy Wall Street is:
    It is theri official website – cuts past all the media bull*$#@

  9. IsobelandCat says:

    Just a small point of information. In this instance city should have a capital letter, as the City of London is a distinct area, not to be confused with the city of London. It has its own police force, separate from the Met, and its government is headed by the Lord Mayor of the City of London. You can enjoy the Lord Mayor’s show next Saturday. http://www.lordmayorsshow.org/

    • TBM says:

      I’ve seen advertisements for the Lord Mayor’s show. I don’t know if I will be able to catch it in person this year since I have plans this Saturday. Have you been in the past?

  10. BookRain says:

    Wow, I didn’t know it was happening over there as well. They even have a finance team and an IT department? Whoa. There are some tents at my school too and ours has a mini library. I too wonder how long it will last, it sort of makes me nervous for them. In any type of protest, some weirdos will pop in and they can give the core message a bad name. I hope that doesn’t happen there.

    • TBM says:

      I love that they have a library! Campers after my own heart.

      I agree with you. I would hate to see the protests take a nasty turn and turn ugly for both sides. I think the protest here will last the rest of the year and then we’ll see what happens.

      I hope school is going well!

  11. The Hook says:

    Your questions are shared by millions. No one seems to have a clear view of just what is happening with these protests. I admire their intentions, I just wish they had a clear battle plan. Great post, by the way!

  12. Pingback: Tent City Update | 50 Year Project

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