Talking to Occupy Belfast camp in Writer’s Square

Following on from my earlier Occupy Belfast – rebels without a cause? post, I spoke to Gerry Carroll at lunchtime today, sheltering under a pagoda set up beside the impromptu Occupy Belfast camp in Writer’s Square opposite St Anne’s Cathedral.

Gerry from the @OpOccupyBelfast camp in Writer”s Square /cc @OccupyBelfast (mp3)

About ten tents are pitched in the square. The protesters have a nightly meeting at 6pm to decide on the next course of action, and have no plans to pack up their camp. More info on Facebook and Twitter.

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  • Neil

    Fair play I spose, though with Belfast being home to around half a dozen large financial institutions from near and far, one would have thought they could have occupied somewhere a shade more prominent. Let’s face it they could camp in Writer’s Square for a year and it would only be a problem come gay pride. Even then our tolerant gay neighbours would probably not object to a few tents lying about the place.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Can I just say it looks rather scruffy, be ok for a week or two I guess, but dont fancy it for months on end in what is a pretty enough wee square. If it was commercial groups doing the same thing there would be uproar, but this is a trendy cause so we have to be nice, even if I don’t know what they want apart from in the vaugest terms.

  • HeinzGuderian

    A few of them could do with occupying a bath from time to time !!!

  • iluvni

    If they do any of the repeaty chanty stuff and twinkly fingers lark, can they at least give us a few hours notice so I can go down and laugh at them?

  • Fair play to them.
    But who actually knows theres a place called “Writers Square” (I didnt know) or a place called the Cathedral Quarter (actually I did know that).
    All looks rather splendid but a touch unreal.
    What happens?
    Disrupting Poetry Readings hardly brings Capitalism to its knees. But anything that stops our self styled artists doing their stuff is almost as welcome as stopping Bankers doing their stuff.

  • > A few of them could do with occupying a bath from time to time !!!

    HeinzGuderian – given that no one’s pictured, that’s an unfair comment to make about the Occupy Belfast folk. Given the weather and direction the rain is falling, they’re living in a permanent shower!

  • Ceist

    ho ho, scruffy hippies, thats a good ‘un

    god forbid a group of young people should be concerned about unemployment, the economy, public services, inequality, the practices of the financial sector etc etc

    Better they go back to arguing about various anniversaries or demanding hero status for your armed wing of choice and generally the rest of the tribal one-upmanship that marks our ‘mature’ political discourse.

    Silly young people, won’t they ever learn?

  • boswellbean

    Spotted this ‘camp’ earlier. Massively depressing, but only because of the monsoon.

    They’re not likely to bring down capitalism and, face it, their alternative (whatever it is) might lack thought. Not least because it’s unlikely to raise all or any of the taxes they’re trying to get off the rich.

    Capitalism is far from perfect but it’s the best we have. As is this protest, and this democracy. Do what ya gots to do guys. Good luck – and don’t forget the wellies

  • Rory Carr

    “Capitalism is far from perfect but it’s the best we have.”

    Sounds like a fatalistically resigned terminally ill man describing his cancer or something from a Monty Python sketch (“We ‘ad that capital punishment back in my day – didn’t do me no harm.”)

    Glad to see that those life members of the Alan Partridge Society, Heinz and Illuvni, are on hand to share with us the raucous humour of disparagement that is such an endearing feature of the type.

  • boswellbean

    Cheers Rory. Capitalism and capital punishment, sure they’re always comparable.

    In all seriousness, with no trace of a silly accent, walk or comparison, let me put it like this: capitalism is far from perfect but it’s the best we have.

  • Our budding occupiers should infiltrate the cleaning classes, you know the army of poorly paid overworked women who descend on our offices come nightfall and who have access to the waste paper bins, the plugs, the passwords on the undersides of keyboards etc.

  • carl marks

    Heinz and iluvni, I’m surprised that you have a problem with this type of protest, after all isn’t it just like Dumcree people occupying a green area living in tents protesting against government, of course minus the stones, petrol bombs, fireworks and gunmen.
    One or two there could have done with a wash, and the chanting well it was worth a laugh.
    By the way fair play to the young people involved,its good to know that some of them care enough about the shit that we are in to protest about it.

  • Rory Carr

    Try organising your family household along capitalist lines, Boswell, and see how long the harmony lasts.

  • sonofstrongbow

    Walked past the encampment at St Pauls and was struck by a group of the protestors sitting around a makeshift table furiously working their iPhones and iPads whilst sipping skinny lattes from Starbucks. A sea of tents washed up to the cathedral steps- all those petrochemical byproducts as far as the eye can see.

    Seems that Capitalism may indeed be in Crisis but the toys it provides are still Crucial.

  • iluvni

    carl marks,
    Your ‘surprise’ is based on an incorrect assumption.

  • boswellbean

    Righto Rory. Families and societies – the comparisons get yet more bizarre.

    I’m for the demo because I’m not opposed to demos. And I’m for taxing the rich good and hard.

    But, as an ordinary Joe with little money and a settled opinion on how things work, I’m unconvinced that humankind societies can function with any longevity without some kind of capitalism. I think, by and large, that’s been proven repeatedly around the world.

    Anyway, we’re talking about a dozen souls in wet tents in Belfast here. I salute their passion and courage and the fact they’ll have something in common to laugh about in years to come.

  • carl marks

    iluvni says,
    “carl marks,
    Your ‘surprise’ is based on an incorrect assumption.”
    Care to enlighten me

  • Rory Carr

    Boswell, I see that you are “unconvinced that humankind societies can function with any longevity without some kind of capitalism.”

    Have you considered that “humankind societies” did in fact function with considerably greater longevity than the scant two centuries of capitalist hegemony. It is only an economic system dying under its own internal contradictions, not air, water, food or shelter or any other human need, although it has done its very best to despoil all of these essentials

  • boswellbean

    Rory, yes I have. When I say “some kind of capitalism,” what I mean is some kind of capitalism…

    People at the top, people at the bottom. People at the top have the spoils. People at the bottom do pretty much what the people at the top say in order to get some of them. People at the bottom try to get to the top, people at the top try to avoid ending up at the bottom.

    That’s human nature. Capitalism, as a large scale working system, runs on the same principle but allows for democracy and that in turn makes room for vagaries. The societies you are on about were randomly tyrannical, brutal, cruel and much worse than what we have today.

    What we have ain’t perfect, but it makes the best of the way we are as animals, and animals we are. Capitalism, for all its faults, has allowed the human race to flourish. As a philosophy, it has prevailed. It has grown out of hell. It’s not perfect, but, as you know I will say, it’s the best we have.

    Best way forward is to work on the working model, work on the good, address the bad. Throwing it out is simply not gonna happen, and if it did I dread what’s next because it will be invariably based on a principle that is good in itself, but unworkable when taking human (ie: animalistic) nature into account.

  • andnowwhat

    As a general comment and sightly borrowing from Max Keiser’s comments on Ireland as a whole, isn’t it odd that we can take the whole place down over a march but when the government screws us over we just lay down?

  • Zig70

    Down with that sort of thing. Families and society- mines a dictatorship, sadly – don’t have the charisma to inflict my brand on the rest of yousuns.

  • Neil

    Walked past the encampment at St Pauls and was struck by a group of the protestors sitting around a makeshift table furiously working their iPhones and iPads whilst sipping skinny lattes from Starbucks. A sea of tents washed up to the cathedral steps- all those petrochemical byproducts as far as the eye can see.

    Seems that Capitalism may indeed be in Crisis but the toys it provides are still Crucial.

    That’s a salient point. Or it would be. If it were relevant at all.

    So what exactly are you saying? That in order to protest about greed, or the fact that a tiny number of people at the top hold a non comensurate amount of the cash?

    Tax the rich doesn’t necessarily equate to not drinking coffee or using a phone. It equates to taxing Starbacks and Apple.

    You’re confusing anti-capitalist with anti-greed.

  • Neil

    Sorry should read:

    That in order to protest about greed, or the fact that a tiny number of people at the top hold a non comensurate amount of the cash one must stop drinking coffee?

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Boswell

    ‘…capitalism is far from perfect but it’s the best we have.’

    This fellow answers your argument better than I could. (Or, I daresay, most people could.)

  • HeinzGuderian

    This fellow seems unsure……….