Occupy London today opened up its new third space and first building the Bank of Ideas calling it ‘a public repossession’ and transformed the huge abandoned offices of investment bank UBS into a space for political discussion and debate.
At the opening on Sun Street, Hackney – one of London’s most deprived boroughs, occupiers aged 2 to 62 cut a red ribbon and launched confetti – made out of copies of the Financial Times – to cheers and applause.
Tina Rothery, a grandmother from Blackpool who has been staying at the Occupy London Stock Exchange camp at St Paul’s commented: “This is a space where everyone is welcome, a place where you can be part of making a real democracy. This is where it starts.”
Zigi, mother of two said: “I came with my children – we’re going to set up a kid’s space so they can play and be engaged and I can go to a workshop. This whole movement is about the future generation.”
As part of the new Bank of Ideas, offices and meeting rooms will be available for those that have lost their nurseries, community centres and youth clubs due to Government spending cuts. Details of upcoming Bank of Ideas’events at http://www.bankofideas.org.uk/events/.
Guests and speakers were also welcomed including Alberto Durando, Secretary of the Cleaners Branch of the IWW union who spoke about issues facing cleaners working in the City of London, such as minimum wage and unfair working conditions and called for the Occupy movement and workers to stand together.
Trader Allessio Rastani, who earlier this year sent shockwaves through the media and public by stating that “Goldman Sachs rules the world” during his provocative BBC interview on the Eurozone crisis; addressed occupiers and took questions in one of many time-tabled talks.
“Cameron and Obama are in the pockets of Goldman Sachs – otherwise why aren’t they stopping Goldman Sachs’ domination. The worse this crisis gets – the more power that Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan have,” commented Allessio. When asked by an occupier about the direction of the movement, he advised that it should focus its attention on the financial industry, rather than governments.
“The situation in the financial world is a lot worse than people think and a lot worse than is being portrayed through the media. By January the entire system is looking at collapse. American hedge funds are over exposed to European debts. I agree with the Occupy movement. It shouldn’t be branded as anti-capitalist, it is about democracy.
“Wall Street will always win. They make money by using the ignorance of normal people and relying on our irrationality. People need to take control of their money, and not rely on the advice of experts. Bonuses should be stopped period – these organisations are unethical in using tax-payers money to survive.
“Instead of watching X Factor, get involved to help change the world. You have to invest in your mind, not just invest in the markets. If you want to hurt them, read and educate yourself about how the financial markets work. When you wise up, they cannot manipulate you.”
When asked about the government guarantee on savings, Allessio said: “Technically the government say they will guarantee and honour up to £85,000. However, Moody’s have downgraded about 12 UK banks – they said that there is little hope that government can guarantee. Why would you trust the government? I don’t think any money is safe in the markets.”