They’re out on the streets again, and this time the public plan to stay!
They’re everywhere!! There are already 452 occupations around the world.
What is the message?
In The UK, The First Outdoor Occupation Started In Manchester
Under gloomy, swirling, dark clouds, it was with precision that the Police Officers lined up to protect the visiting Conservative Party members and keep them safe from the occupying forces that October morning. Decked out in their thick black boots, smart trousers and figure hugging t-shirts, the men and women of the Greater Manchester Police lined the city streets.
With just under a year since the first internationally viewed protest, the racing of coaches, trains, trucks, cars, bikes and feet produced a flood of 35,000 people into Manchester to join a rally. The objective being to try to get the governments attention to tell them that there is an alternative to the cuts to public services and proposed tax cuts.
A determined subgroup then stayed on and occupied one of the city’s public squares, echoing the movement which overthrew an Egyptian government during January 2011 and the recent occupations which started in several cities across America from September 2011 and the UK from October 2011.
The rally passed in a totally peaceful manner and over the rest of the day, people slowly filed into Albert Square and the Peace Gardens on each side of the town hall. These were the nearest open spaces to the Conservative party conference centre and further conference events would continue at the town hall that evening.
There was a very relaxed atmosphere in the square and a well weathered tarpaulin that looked like it had seen many events was soon erected. A small number of Police stood around watching, only to obstruct the final rope of the tarpaulin being tied to a lamppost by about 30 seconds. This appears to have been in marked contrast to other Occupy movements around the world where the authorities have worked hard to prevent the occupiers from becoming settled by means of apparent Police brutality.
As the dark clouds had decided to break open, everyone in the square whether an occupier, protester, reporter or even random pedestrian all huddled together under the shelter. There were a few hundred people and it was a tight fit – but it worked. Everyone suddenly became very good friends. Food was distributed and there was a 3 minute open mic platform for anyone that wanted to voice their opinion.
Occasionally, a small group would run off in the direction of the town hall to shout abuse at the people arriving for the evening function. The Police would close in around the visitors and escort them across the square while the remaining majority of occupiers called at the small group to come back to the tarpaulin. A good relationship existed between the occupiers and the Police while the occupation was established.
The occupation eventually settled in the Peace Gardens at the back of the town hall and as at the time of writing, it is still in operation. For further information about the Manchester occupation, please contact @occupymcr on Twitter or visit the website here. The group is in constant need of food, camping equipment and tents.
Another Protest? Again? Why Do These Things Keep Happening?
The next generation were the first to be attacked. During November and December 2010, upwards of 100,000 young students walked the streets asking for mercy in the increases in the cost of their education from the government.
Then charities, social housing, healthcare, emergency services, museums and galleries were attacked. In March 2011, the cry for help sprang from 400,000 public workers and frustration began to emerge wherever the political leaders travelled.
In May 2011, there was a single gathering of 200 independent individuals to support the current UK government’s proposals for cuts in public spending and complementary tax cuts. There haven’t been any further campaigns from the pro-cut camp.
During August 2011, the lid appeared to blow off the kettle with widespread riots resulting in the arrest of just under 3000 disenfranchised people across the country.
The Conservative Party were holding their annual conference during October 2011 which prompted this Manchester For The Alternative rally and subsequent occupation of Albert Square and the Peace Gardens, ahead of the planned strikes in November 2011.
Clicking on any of the above links will lead to short films, photos and articles about the events along with discussions about whether government cuts to services should be implemented.
But Everything Is Expensive Enough Without Having To Pay For Other Peoples Things!
Aside from the points already covered in the above articles, what else can be done about protecting public services?
Does the individual exist to serve the state, or does the state exist to serve the individual? Or should the question actually be – ‘Do 1% of taxpayers have a responsibility to relieve the burden on the other 99% making the first version of the question not so annoying?’
It has been muttered time and time again that money can’t buy you happiness – so why would anyone want to hoard cash to such an amount that it becomes an abstract figure?
1% of the total taxpayers in the UK earn more than £150,000 per year. Since April 2010, anything that they have earned over this level has been taxed at 50%.
When national insurance is taken into account, someone earning £15,000 loses 16% of their pay packet and someone who earns £150,000 loses 40% of their pay packet. Even after sacrificing more of their pay packet, the higher rate tax payer still gets to take home over £90,000 (previously £94,810).
So these highly driven, successful and intelligent people are still rewarded for their brilliance because they can still have 6 times more than anyone else – 6 times bigger houses and 6 times more cars.
This wealth tax is estimated to earn £3billion alone in ready cash every year for the government’s coffers. This would be enough to pay for 30,000 places for adults in residential care homes or 600,000 children to attend a Surestart Scheme over 4 years. It would also be enough to cover the majority of cuts made to the teaching budget – meaning that the whole tuition fee row could have been avoided!
What Do Higher Rate Tax Payers Do With All This Money?
Most people’s eyes glaze over at the thought of earning £90,000 – yet as evidenced a recent letter signed by 20 academics, it appears that they would like to earn even more.
Higher rate tax payers suggest that the call for lower taxes doesn’t arise from greed, but in fact they would like to decide upon how to spend the money to help other people themselves. The names Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are a recurring feature in this area as entrepreneurs who have made and subsequently donated billions upon billions to charitable causes. Supporters of lower taxes explain that money not paid as taxes are spent more efficiently from potential higher rate tax payers as it is ‘personal cash’ which won’t be wasted. It flows to charities and it can also flow back into their own companies as investments – creating jobs.
Yes, this will just end up making them more money and let’s not question why they are making this statement from their personal investments of 8 bedroomed houses with the Rolls Royces and Jaguars on the drive…… People are free to buy whatever they want. And there’s nothing like a good old investment bubble and messed up house prices are there?
It’s difficult to believe why people who earn at £90,000 a year would want a debate about saving themselves £5000 in the same period. Especially when the measly £5000 is at the cost of other peoples entire futures and the ability to keeps one’s own self-respect in old age. But maybe the reasons for this behaviour are somewhere in this book?
Why would anyone want to take money from the government when they’re obviously already up the creek without a paddle?
How Do I Get Involved?
Click Here for information if you live in the UK.
Click Here for information if you live near Wall Street in New York, USA.
Click Here for information if you live on planet Earth.
Occupy. An electrified, global revolution.