This message was posted to the internal mailing list of Occupy London. We republish it with the permission of the author.
The Press [Working Group of Occupy London], by its nature, has to be at the centre of all the things going on so that they can get it out there. I am blown away by how hard they work and how good they are at what they do. But I am also blown away when I look at the people wrestling with finance, with shelter, with manning the Info tent, the library, livestream, tech, running the Tent City University (TCU), the Economics WG, the Corporations WG crew, the Outreach posse, the legal team, the graphics, the website, the newspaper, writing up minutes, organizing mind blowing GAs, kitchens cooking for hundreds every day etc…
Everyone’s got their skills and is using them to help this fledgling movement fly. If everyone on these lists who is breeding fear, suspicion or just good old rancour, actually had a day out and was a fly on the wall watching the massive amount of work going on, then it’d be hard to get pissed off or feel undermined. It’s simply great people working their arses off constantly. People are losing their homes, their jobs, their partners because they have become so devoted to Occupy. One day, each of us will get the chance to realize the enormous amount of work that everyone has been doing, if we had had the time to be meeting socially, without stress or agenda, on a regular basis, then massive mutual respect would descend instantly anyway.
This is Occupy: All working groups are open to all. The inclusivity of this movement is intoxicating, it may bring problems but it is worth it 100 times. Press is like all other groups, they have open meetings and anyone can join. This is a glimpse of how precious that fact is: About ten days ago, I met up with a fellow who had got in touch with us, wanting to advise the Corporations working group, he was pretty straight and I met him earlier to give him some background and to prepare him in a sense, for a classic WG meeting in a tent and all the strangeness that goes with that. The man works for an organization that is a gold mine for info on unethical finance. I took him along to TCU, Charlie greeted him and helped clear the homeless out of the TCU for us to meet. About 15 people made that cracking meeting, men and women, young and old, highly educated and newbies to the affair…
This fellow was utterly hypnotized by what he was getting himself into. I watched him as he raised his jazz hands for the first time (observing how thrilled he was, how keen he was to go home and tell his wife and friends). But that’s not the moment I am drawing attention to… Next to this fellow, in our circle, was a new homeless fellow, only been there a while. The homeless fellow, who looked unusual and perhaps a little frightening, he told me a few days before that he can’t get over how kind everyone is to him at Occupy and how, for the first time in years, people really listen to him. He’s an ex-drunk and an ex-journalist.
Half way through the meeting, this homeless fellow makes a point about the intricacies of lobbying. The straight business fellow turns and compliments him on having given a brilliant description of something so complex “the best I’ve ever heard”… That homeless fellow floated out of that tent. I can not tell you how proud he was, how vindicated he felt for all those years of being ignored on the streets (he’s now acquiring more research for the WG). The business fellow wrote to me that night and said it was the best meeting he had ever attended, that he was deeply impressed by what we are doing and that he is now busy getting contacts and research for us. That’s Occupy. That’s why we should be so proud, that’s why today should be the end of paranoia blues and wobbles and should be a day we simply thank each other for the work we are all doing.
Look further than this one camp, look further than what is happening today and see what we are going to make happen tomorrow. Have trust, faith, respect for all who work so hard here. In fact, go further… get excited about what everyone is doing. In week three of this occupation, an anonymous commentator on the main website said that he had mental health issues and had been on the steps with us since the first day. He said that in the past 14 years the only person he had ever chatted with was the woman in his local supermarket which he visited once a week but, in the past 3 weeks he had been able to engage with more people in a friendly and compassionate way than he had in his whole life. He finished by saying that if Occupy represented the world they were fighting for, he would give his life for them to achieve it.
Less wobble, more dance.
Jamie Kelsey-Fry, Occupy London