Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Letter to Occupy London Stock Exchange

    I will write later about Occupy Half Term, it was just marvelous, not marvelous as a media event, although it was that too, but rather it was marvelous as an example of the genuinely admirable people at Occupy London Stock Exchange.  The Anons could not have been more honest, more courteous, could not have tried harder or charmed the kids any more.  Great honest answers to hard questions.  Then the Food Tent with its unending unheralded generosity.  How I loved my children wandering around with bread in hand from a communal and free table.  It warmed me and made me joyous.  And then Tent City University, where the kids learned the ways of the general assembly and tried them out for themselves, where songs were sung and the story of Stone Soup was told so charmingly I feel it would leave English regional theatre in the dust.  It was chaotic, it was raining, but every time I go down to that camp I am filled with hope and joy at the prospect of people making a better world and I think my children felt that joy, and now I am so happy. A million thank yous to the people at the camps, who are expected to be in contact with external supporters, sustain attacks from the Church of England, take care of survival needs, and formulate an exhaustive and definitive manifesto of the movement.  That seems like a lot to me.  I cannot tell you how grateful I am for your heroic sacrifice. 


   More importantly, I am troubled about this thing with St. Paul's.  It appears from the Standard that you face a lawsuit.  It happens that I have a bit of experience in lawsuits and I would like to offer this perspective:

a.  Going immediately to Settlement Negotiations rather than litigating these issues is in the interests of every party.  You are being asked to do so much, and engaging in high profile litigation strategy is going to sap your time and their money.  You want a resolution in good faith.  Offer to go straight to settlement negotiations.  This could protect the Canon's job as well. 

b.  Before the lawsuit is even filed, the three potential parties to the lawsuit, the Corporation of London, the Cathedral at St. Pauls and the Occupation sit down and work this out.  On the Occupation's side is the right to protest and every civil liberty I so dearly love (sorry but may I remind you I named my daughter Liberty).  On the Corporation of the City of London's side is incredible power, the power to tear us down slowly over time with distracting time and effort in every camping site we would ever want.  We need to ask the Corporation in all humility - where can you put us?  What do you want?  Tell us where to go within your jurisdiction.  Make us an offer.  Let us make peace. 

And to the Cathedral at St. Pauls I say you tell them this:   St. Paul's decided to close St. Paul's.  My parents in their 70's retired in Florida and lifelong Christians. My father looked up at the looming edifice of St. Pauls, like the looming edifice of the nearby Bank of England and told me the words that Paul had actually spoken, about the living Church, the power of Christ, and truth and justice and he said it was obvious to him that the real Church was on the steps and in the tents.  Christians will recognize this.  The Christians should recognize the Occupation in every place as the living church.  That is already starting, and that will give the Occupation leverage.  But why not offer to move to where the Corporation of the City of London directs you to move within its jurisdiction - give St. Paul's no reason to keep its doors closed.  Do not fight this battle.  This battle will drain you and there is so much else to be done.  Litigation in the UK is the product of an ancient system of enmity and it will drain you all.  Find your common ground.  I suggest that you offer St. Paul's two things in a settlement:  (1) that you take the tents out provided that the Corporation of the City of London gives you somewhere else to go and (2) that you require as a condition of (1) that you have a permanent presence during the Occupation inside the Cathedral where people can inquire about the Occupation and perhaps the Cathedral does its best to connect the words of St. Paul with the actual Occupation:  in that scenario, everyone is a winner.  And if they do not accept that settlement offer, we know that they have forsaken Christ and the true church.  Yeah, I said it.  This is the true church.  My Dad would not have brought that up if he thought otherwise. 

Engage in radical consensus even with your enemies, treat them only with love and humour and non-violence. 

That is my suggestion. 

As incoherent as always but with a heart full of hope and love I remain your friendly Cambridge mum and

Rachel Mariner

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