Southend town centre, hardly the world’s most salubrious place, did, very briefly, almost find itself on Sunday playing host to the latest outbreak of the ‘Occupy’ disease which is afflicting some of the more affluent* countries of the world.
Started (where else?) via facebook** on 12th November with this fabulous posting:
Occupy Southend starts Sunday 20th November, 2011. For too long now the ordinary people of this country have suffered at the hands of the very few. We are the many, and as such we will occupy Southend. The banks and the corporations have created a world not fit for purpose, and we won’t tolerate their way of greed, and their way of control any more. Each Occupy gathering around the country and around the world has developed its own personality, and we in Southend will naturally create our own. Our aim is to be all inclusive of the people of Southend, to be a receiver of information as well as a giver – to be a beacon of light, and a vehicle for change. As human beings we are amazing. We can create a thousand different systems to live under – and we’ve ended up with this rotten one. No more will we extend power over us to the few. Our power must return to us, and from use of our own power we’ll develop a world centred on the heart and not the corporate bank balance. Come join us at Occupy Southend. Post your views now. Offer your thoughts. We’ll be updating regularly each day from Tuesday. Until then spread the news far and wide. The tents are coming to town!
Now some of that actually makes sense, assuming that it means the crony capitalist system we have and isn’t simply a swipe attack on the whole idea of free-market capitalism in general.
It does rather descend into fantasy though when it starts wittering on about being a beacon of light and a vehicle for change. In Southend? Talk about delusions of grandeur.
That though was probably the high point. From then on it was standard stuff about when and where with cross posts of items from the St. Paul’s camp before the penultimate posting soon after midday on the following Saturday:
Late last night Occupy Southend was made aware of a threat, from a known extremist organisation, to hijack tomorrow’s occupation. Since then we have been trying to establish the legitimacy of this threat and we now believe it may well manifest.
The Occupy Movement is peaceful and non-confrontational, and as such refuses to facilitate those who would seek to use violence and confrontation. Occupy Southend would never bring violence and confrontation to this town, and so we give notice that tomorrow’s assembly at 2pm, outside Southend Victoria station, and the ensuing occupation, is regrettably cancelled.
To those who we are not aware of, but who were set to join us tomorrow, we trust you will understand our reasoning. The opportunity will arise again to Occupy Southend. Please contact us through firstname.lastname@example.org
Our message remains one of peace, and one of continual respectful debate. We are resolute and strong. We are many. They are few. There’s is a house of cards. It will inevitably fall.
A threat from a well known extremist organisation? Really? What are we talking about here? IRA? ETA? Al-Qaeda? The local Rotary Club? Or just the Southend yoof? Aside from people taking the preverbal I really can’t see what sort of credible threat might possibly exist. Heck, you conveniently planned the thing to start after any alcohol fuelled silliness of a Friday or Saturday night. Or was that because you wanted to get drunk then yourself?
I would suggest that a far more plausible explanation would be that almost no-one was going to turn up, thus resulting in the whole thing being a bit of a damp squib. I await to see if the idea will be raised again but I won’t hold my breath.
* According to Wikipedia a few people in Columbia and Mongolia also appear to have got in on the act/jumped on a passing bandwagon.
** And there was me thinking that twitter was where all the cool people hung out these days.