After being evicted by the police from their nine day occupation of Parliament Square in October, a new movement called “Occupy Democracy” attempted to reclaim the Square on Friday 21 of November.
Police repressed the direct action. The former deputy chairman of the Liberal Democrats, Donnachadh McCarthy, was arrested.
The demonstration continued nearby, with speakers including NHS campaigner Lucy Reynolds and the Green Party’s Natalie Bennett and a total around 200 people participating. One protester chained himself to the railings of parliament.
The movement is attempting to challenge “corporate influence” and the “democratic deficit”. Their core messages and provisional demands are vague and diffuse, essentially a slate of social-democratic reforms with no mention of capitalism.
The movement has some new participants as well as original Occupy people. A couple of Socialist Worker placards were visible. It seems like there’s a visible simmering of activity, with activists employing a persevering strategy that entails inevitable confrontation with the police. Occupy say they will return to Parliament Square on 20/21 December to “take back the square”.
Since its inception 3 years ago, Occupy has dispersed into a network of autonomous groups, which includes an economics working-group, an environmental working group, and a free, well-produced quarterly publication The Occupied Times of London. The latest issue includes headlines such as “Boycott Israel” and “From the River to the Sea”, and articles on climate disaster, plus general reportage on global capitalism. With its populist slant, it is noticeably lacking in critical discussion or debate about the direction of these struggles.
There is space for interventions to be made concerning the centrality of class-struggle politics to achieving their desired aims.