Mercer's Poems
Occupiers Occupy my Heart

I have just returned after three days at the OccupyLSX protest, initially scheduled to be in Paternoster Square outside the London Stock Exchange, however moved due to heavy police presence to outside St. Paul’s Cathedral, which is only steps away from the intended location. 
I have to say I have been taken aback. It is truly amazing. On the first day there must have been around 1000-2000 people or more on the steps and in front of the cathedral, and all of them there for the same reason. Forget the anti-capitalist stuff, forget the anti-austerity, forget the anti-establishment. These are being implemented as political tools. They are necessary steps to getting to a government we want to live under. The reason those people were there, and the sole reason alone, is because they love and respect their fellow human being. The message was there across the board, from children to the elderly, across ethnicity and religion, across race, across job, across everything the underlying message is so pure, so simple, and so true. We are all one. And this is the start of a global movement that intends to act with that mantra.
It was a bit nervy at times, the police cordoned off the area in a manner that was all too familiar as the ‘kettling’ tactic so widely used in protest situations. However what the police failed to recognise was that far from this, as is usually the case, being an intimidating and trouble-starting tactic, the crowds there couldn’t have cared less if they were kettled in; because they weren’t going anywhere anyway. Late on in the first day, the police forcibly removed people from the top steps of St. Paul’s Cathedral in a measure that was described by one officer as being “for the safety of the protesters.” However these officers were told to stand down by The Reverend in the morning, apparently all too happy with the message, and level of peace of the protest.
After that point, the police presence lowered and the atmosphere only continued to rise. It is truly a testament to the people there, and to the spirit in which they have come together, that trouble is virtually absent. It is a protest that is winning hearts, minds and sympathies; and this is vital if it is to continue, and to be fruitful.
The level of organisation too exceeded my expectations. Standard British levels of organisation have difficult putting together the proverbial piss up in a brewery. While initially it seemed occupation may be difficult, due to police shutting off the intended destination, consensus was reached within a matter of hours quite what was going to occur, and by late afternoon on Saturday tents were already being pitched. Not only did the organisation lead to an occupation being made possible, but it has also made it quite comfortable too. The field kitchen is well stocked and staffed, with a wide array of snacks, meals and assorted nibbles; as well as copious amounts of water, juice, milk, soya milk and other things to keep hydrated. There was a stall of surplus bedding and tent equipment which certainly helped make my second night a lot less chilly, and a lot more comfortable (thanks to whoever donated the tartan woolen blankets!) And there was also a good first aid area, and the media centre while not at full speed, was doing a great job of trying to get a place where people could charge devices; as well as keeping live-streams going.  
But, again, what is most striking is the atmosphere. More of a carnival, or a festival than a protest. The mood is one that, though reflective of the ills of society, also wants to live in the spirit not of how things are, but how they should be. There is a freedom in the air, and one befitting of a protest such as this. There is entertainment in all forms as guitars, trumpets and drums have all featured and, even I, with my two left feet and my unwillingness to move in any way remotely rhythmic, succumbed to the drummers beats.
It is truly beautiful. After only a few days, it has already become a community, as people intermingle with one another, make new friends, hear new opinions and go about it all with a free-spirited and open minded attitude that is almost unheard of in any social structure these days. Instead of different opinions leading to division and factionalism, it leads instead to discussion and the formation of new respects and friendships. It shows a movement of individuals who have realised that beneath all political beliefs, ideologies, ideas on how things can change, and the natural variation we have in our minds as human beings; beneath all this is one core belief, one idea, one value. That we are all human beings, and thus, at the very core of our existence, we must believe in each other. It is this, I believe, that the governments of this world are truly afraid of.
And it is easy to see why. When you can set up a leaderless social structure, and a community living within it in only two days, why do you need a government? When you can have an economic structure of ‘give what you can and take what you need’ that provides for all and excludes no one, in only two days, why do you need global financial institutions?
The fact is, neither is essential. Neither governments, nor banks are truly necessary and these occupy communities are the proof. All we humans truly need, are each other.

So, my first stint done, I have returned for a couple of reasons. Firstly, and most importantly I was hideously underprepared. This led to my catching a serious chill through the night on Saturday and spending most of Sunday shivering. The other reason is that I have appointments throughout the week, but I will also be taking my time to prepare for a return to Occupy in London. But, and I say this with utmost sincerity and from a part of my heart that I never knew existed, I miss it. There is something in the air there that just feels different. Having walked through the rest of London to catch my train all I could feel was the heavy, dank, oppressive and cold October air, as people rushed about from one place to the other slaves to a system I, only moments previous, had been occupying to denounce. The air at the camp is free. You can hear it in the claps and cheers, you can feel it in the wind, you can sense it with a sixth sense that we human beings have probably forgotten we had. And so it was with a heavy heart that I left; but also in faith. I have every faith that the individuals there will still be there for my return, along with many other new faces. I have every faith that the camp will only continue to improve in number, in strength, in solidarity and in atmosphere. And even as the winds turn bitter, and rain sets in, I have every faith the occupiers will remain.

If you are not there, and can make it, please do. There is food and water for you, there is a great atmosphere, bring your own tent or befriend someone else and see if you can rest in theirs. Because what is occurring is history, and whether you agree with everything that is said or not, you are welcome. But it would be a shame if you looked back through the history books with your children or grandchildren and weren’t able to say “I was there.” Get there, be there, make a difference.

My love goes out to all those occupiers in London and all the organisers and people who just chipped in and helped. You made a truly magnificent experience and I look forward to resting up, sorting out my business, and getting back. I love you all. (p.s. Look out for my little poem on the “WE ARE THE 99%” Banner…It’s on the central stalk of the E :D)