I will be brief because Liberty's birthday party is tomorrow and so we are getting up all the Christmas decorations and making a cake all in one day. We bought the tree and got it home and I found a bird's nest in it. The most thrilling part of the day, definitely.
The camp had a really great success with the 30 Nov strikes but is now pre-occupied with the trial, which starts 19th December. This is why I didn't want to get sidetracked with high profile litigation. Believe me, I know it is really fun and absorbing. A diversion, however, in my estimation, from the more important task, the urgent task of bringing the 99% together.
Even if the Occupation is completely vindicated at trial, I don't see how it helps that much in regard to moving the movement forward. If a court of law rules that free speech extends to camping, then certainly this would be a wonderful and true ruling that beat back all the dismal rulings the courts have handed out recently, and beat back the assault on civil liberties New Labour committed under the horrible Blair and Brown regimes. That sounds pretty good. If a court of law rules that the land in front of St. Paul's is common land, as opposed to within the control of the Corporation of the City of London, which I understand is at issue in the trial, then that's really a big "meh" when it comes to moving the movement forward. If the court rules against the Occupation, it is a terrible blow, I think, something that knocks you straight into the activist ghetto; do not kid yourselves, this sets the movement back ten years.
I have no idea what the Occupy Barrister is advising the camp in private but the public statements are in my mind frighteningly optimistic. Ten years as a trial lawyer taught me that expectations must be managed, and success cannot be guaranteed. All I am saying is what I would tell my own clients, which is this: you might lose, and you need to really be thinking hard about what your plan B is going to be in case that happens. Whenever I won in court, I was so in the mindset of damage control when the verdict was read out, so ready to spring into action to limit damages, that I couldn't really comprehend the victory. They are very wonderful wins, those, and I hope the camp has one.
In the meantime, the idea of Winter Carnival is slowly spreading. There are several major things to clear up there: (1) it is not meant to be over Christmas, it is meant to be over weekends between January and April and thus needs to be renamed. (2) it remains my vision that this be an event with the express goal of people of faith and the occupation reaching out together to people who are not activists or people of faith, reaching out to all the people, to come together and fix the problems humans have on earth.
I had lunch with an incredible Quaker woman and we came up with the idea of zooming in on one lone event, and radically simplify the proposal. I love the idea we came up with, not least because it incorporates the sound ideas that really touch people of faith that were brought up in the Day of Repentance proposal that is going separately through the Multifaith and Outreach groups at the camp.
THe idea is that People of faith and the Occupation, the Church Universal and all activists meet in the streets of their towns one night in the winter for a walk. Physically walking together, shoulder to shoulder, with no masks or banners, no requests for money or even an ear, just a message that it is possible to stand together. That is the only message. A walk in the darkness, each person holding their little light. No talking necessary. Maybe even better if it is silent. Maybe the walk goes from the cities into the Cathedrals and maybe there people talk.
I had an idea that the United Kingdom, once they ended the walk, could write their own Book of Love. Every person who comes on the walk can if they want bring a single sheet of A4 where they write what they wish for the world, and for the world their children inherit. Imagine walking to the cathedral and each person writing their page in the Book of Love. Everyone could read the Book of Love, and thus we could begin our discussions.
We could even name a single date for this event for every place: 4 March.
One of the most special people in my life told me a story about a group of people who came into his restaurant.(Proof in Washington) They had just bought a pretty expensive bottle of wine, so he popped by the table. And they told them that this day was always a special day. For every year on that day, the group of friends awoke early in the morning. They get up early because there is much to be done with every day, and this is a day. They first on this day deal with something they have not dealt with that needs to be dealt with. Each person will know what this is. There was something else I don't remember, but the evening of that day was always a feast, a huge celebration of friendship and life, where they spared no expense and ate wonderful food and drank wonderful wine - hence the restaurant . And why did they spend that day doing those things? They explained because it was 4 March. On 4 March one must march forth.
What Occupy really wants to do is to bring love much more powerfully into the world. That is the fundamental coming together that must occur if the change they want can happen. The specifics of that change remain less important than the awakening of kindred spirits (The Walk of the Kindred Spirits), of commonality. I think it would be no bad thing if they held their candles and walked shoulder to shoulder with the rest of the 99. In that effort, people of faith are your natural allies. In the efforts of the people of faith - all people of faith - you are THEIR natural allies. They are a little slow on the uptake on this point, I grant you but the premise remains correct.
So a revised Winter Carnival. Not a Carnival, not even noisy, a walking without content, a coming together of feet and hears as a start, a walk. A March Fourth?