Occupy Democracy – the Festival of Democracy – Programme May 1-10
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Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir – direct from New York – will kick off the ten-day occupation of Parliament Square on Friday 1st May at 5pm.
The festivities will continue through the election period with engaging workshops, lively discussions, entertainment, direct democracy and creative direct actions. Below is just a taster of what’s planned. More details will follow. Follow us on Facebook to keep up-to-date with what’s happening, or return to this page!
The programme so far is:
Friday May 1st: May Day!
In solidarity with workers of the world, Occupy Democracy launches its ten-day occupation by assembling in Parliament Square from 5pm with Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Choir (5pm), John Hillary from War on Want (6pm), David Graeber (7pm), Aboriginal Solidarity speaker (8pm).
Saturday May 2nd: A more democratic system!
A day devoted to our demands for proportional representation and a citizen-led constitutional convention. We’ll look at the body politic – from Magna Carta to a new constitution, via a game of anti monopoly and guerrilla gardening. Join us at 10am to make Monopoloy and Anti-Monopoloy games followed by a creative direct action at 12pm – Reclaim the Commons Guerrilla Gardens Flash Mob. At 1pm 3 Acres and A Cow tell the story of land rights and protest through folk song and story. At 2pm there’s an informal talk on the history of the Magna Carta and the Charter of the Forest followed by a workshop on “commoning” led by Commons Rising (3pm), Monopoly and Anti-Monopoly (4pm) and then a talk and discussion on “How do we get proportional representation after the election” with Jean Lambert MEP (7pm), a general assembly (8pm) followed by word artistry from award winning political poet David Lee Morgan and conscious music from Peter Deane (9pm).
Sunday May 3rd: Free our democracy from corporate influence!
A day focusing on our demands to end corporate lobbying and reform funding of political parties starts with Tom Lines on the corporate lobbyists pushing for the secretive TTIP trade deal and it’s frightening implications for democracy (12pm) , a panel discussion on “Party Funding and Cash for Peerages” with investigative journalist Tom Warren, Andrew Mell who was co-author on Oxford University’s cash-for-peerages report and Donnachadh McCarthy – former Lib Dem vice chair and author of The Prostitute State who has seen the corruption of parliamentarians from the inside (2pm), Hustings for parties who the establishment don’t give a voice to including the Democratic Reform Party & Republic Socialst Party (4pm), Jacky Davis radiologist and author of NHS for Sale – myths lies and deception on “How They Are Privatising the NHS Without our Consent” (5pm), a keynote speech from Tamasin Cave director of Spinwatch and author of A Quiet Word: Lobbying, Crony Capitalism & Broken Politics in Britain (6pm), and entertainment from Irish poet Grassy Noel and friends (7pm).
Monday May 4th: Make politicians accountable!
Ridding politicians of vested interests and second jobs so they represent their constituents will be the focus of the day, while a direct action and series of workshops will focus on why we need system change to tackle climate change.
Occupy Gandhi (12pm) will be a peaceful direct action underneath the statue of Gandhi on Parliament Square calling for criminalisation of fossil fuel exploration and investment. Watch this video explaining the rationale of the action.
While Climate Change: The Elephant in the Polling Booth (2pm-6pm) is series of speakers and workshops on why we need system change if we are to effectively tackle climate change. Asad Rehman from Friends of the Earth will set out the big picture (2pm), Mel Strckland will run a workshop on Reclaim The Power (2:20pm), Suzanne Jeffery speaks about the Trades Union’s One Million Climate Jobs, Jo Ram of Community Reinvest will run a workshop about moving investments out of fossil fuel companies and into community-run renewable energy initiatives (3:40pm), Pete Deane speaks about the Green Investment Bank (4:30pm) and the session ends with an improvised participative theatre performance of Postman Frack (5pm).
This will be followed at by the PFI Walking Tour featuring citizen journalist Scriptonite (6pm-8pm). Learn why PFI was set up, what the impact has been on our public services and local citizens, and who has profited at the taxpayers expense. The walking tour will be a break at 7pm to launch Robin Grey’s election single Fuck Off Back To Eton.
Tuesday May 5th: Real media now!
Exploring our demand for democratic reform of the media with Tim Gospill of the Media Reform Coalition (12 noon), Chris Hurd of The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (1pm), Strike! Magazine’s workshop on Subvertising and Brandalism (2pm-4pm), Donnachadh McCarthy author of The Prostitute State and founder of Occupy Rupert Murdoch on the “The Prostituted Media: how the 1% manipulate our democracy” (4pm-6pm), a panel discussion on “How do we build an alternative media?” chaired by Jamie Kelsey-Fry New Internationalist magazine, with Kam Sandhu of Real Media, independent journalist Steve Rushton and others (6-8pm), a general assembly (or break out groups) possibly around the theme “how to build numbers” (8-9pm), before the first of three evenings of comedy with Bridget Christie, Gein’s Family Gift Shop, Heydon Prowse, Kiri Pritchard-McLean, Liam Williams, Goose, Beard and Ahir Shah – if you aren’t laughing you’ll be crying (9pm).
Wednesday May 6th: Celebrating the resistance!
A day dedicated to learning about campaigns that have beat the system. The day starts with a skill-share run by UK Uncut who’ll be sharing some effective tools for facilitating participatory meetings to build your movement (1pm), this is followed by a session for students, teachers, academics and education support staff run by students from the recent UAL, LSE and Goldsmiths occupations who will lead a skill-share session on applying pressure on your educational institution to stop cuts and fight for a free education (2-4pm), David Beetham author of “Unelected Oligarchy – Corporate & Financial Dominance in Britain’s Democracy” will lay out in surgical detail the corporatetake-over of our parliamentary system (5pm), there’s a panel session called “How to win” with including speakers from New Era For All, UK Uncut, Disabled People Against Cuts, Save Lewisham Hospital, London Black Revs and BP or Not BP? in a panel titled “How to Win” (6pm) the General Assembly includes A Galilee Child talking about the human right for shelter and a proposal for a regular “End of the Month” march (8pm), rounded off with music from Kate & Friends and Jez Sings Things (9pm). Bring a brolly / wet weather gear.
Thursday May 7th: Election Day!
To mark the election, our theme is democracy past, present & future. The schedule starts currently starts at 5pm with a workshop with talks and games by Bite the Ballot who have been encouraging the youth to get out and vote (5pm), Paul Mobbs on “How I attempted a citizen’s arrest of the Cabinet, the state of our democracy through the lens of fracking, and the history of democracy & protest” (6pm), Adam Ramsay of Open Democracy on the coming Tory coup (7:30pm), General Assembly to discuss supporting the demonstrations that have been called in the event of a Tory coup (8pm), followed by Stand Up for Democracy! – the second of three nights of comedy with Bridget Christie, James Acaster, Iain Stirling, Joe Wells, Chris Coltrane and Liam Williams (9pm-10:30pm).
Friday May 8th: There are alternatives!
A day to explore alternative systems happening in the UK and around the world. The day kicks off at noon with a workshop and action from the ethical banking campaign Move Your Money (12pm), a workshop on the global movement to take back control of our food system known as food sovereignty by Haidee-Lauren from War on Want (2pm) a workshop on Democracy and Revolution (4pm) and a general assembly (7pm).
Saturday May 9th: Anti-Tory Demo
Our schedule for today including tonight’s comedy programme been cancelled as Occupy Democracy have decided to support the F*ck the Tories – No to all cuts – yes to Real Democracy – take to the streets! called by London Black Revs and Brick Lane Debates outside Conservative Party HQ (from 3pm).
The next five years promise to be a disaster for the NHS and other public services, democracy (Conservatives want to trash the Human Rights Act, hand corporations even more power over our democracy by signing the secretive TTIP trade deal and it is likely we will see more restrictions on the right to protest and access to justice), poverty and well-being for a large chunk of the population held in check only by our resistance.
Sunday May 10th: Where Next?
Venue update: We are now back on Parliament Square!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Looking at some next steps for the democratic movement. The day starts at noon with David Whyte discussing
his recent book How Corrupt is Britain? (12pm), after which there will be a participatory session on reimagining democracy and moving towards a citizens’ assembly on the constitution opened by Open Democracy founder Anthony Barnett (1:30pm-4:30pm), at the same time there will a Children’s Assembly which will include banner-making and skill-sharing (1:30pm), then a participatory session on Tax Justice with Jon Christensen of the Tax Justice Network (4:30pm-6pm), a general assembly will consider next steps for for the democratic movement; and proportional representation (6-7pm) and songs of love and revolution from Grace Petrie (7pm).
See you all there!