Occupy St Peters

The 900 year old Cathedral of St Peter in Exeter was subject to a clean up after it became a ‘hang out’ for street homeless, drug and alcohol users. They had begun to turn the grounds of this place of worship, tourist attraction and place where locals relaxed, into a mess. It now has strict rules of behaviour in its beautiful green environs. That is, until last month when ‘Occupy’ arrived.

Now there are up to thirty people camping out on the once pristine lawns, complete with dogs, small children and banners. There are around fifteen tents which include a kitchen,

library and even one they call the university. They plan to continue their protest indefinitely and have even had a sculpture created by a sympathetic, anonymous artist.

The last few days has seen the first drop in temperature in what has been a very mild autumn, so we will see.

I wandered around the green with my camera snapping away until a man approached me saying ‘We don’t mind photos as long as you ask before taking pictures of people.’ I said that I hadn’t taken any of people perhaps a bit defensively because I really wanted to; he allowed me to snap him and liked the result. There were lots to see besides people though.

At the far edge towards the cobbled path I stood to watch an ex military type tent being put up, I’ve never seen a tent of its size go up so quickly. No sooner had they rammed in the last peg than the very irritated Dean arrived to remonstrate with them, it was a canvas too far for him, but he has been very tolerant of their presence to date.

I asked a couple of guys what they would be doing if they weren’t there – I really wanted to know what they lived on – and they said they would be somewhere else protesting about something else. Protesting is a profession then? Perhaps to be studied at their ‘University’.

One young man, a lot smarter, told me that he wasn’t camping because he had to go to college and work. He arrived every morning at 6.30 to ‘help’ for a couple of hours, went to lectures and work and then returned every evening. ‘Help’ was clearing up rubbish, very noble but why couldn’t they all clear up their own? There wasn’t any rubbish around but the tents that were open looked pretty untidy as tents do. This tender sixteen year old also cooks and does whatever is asked of him, apparently he is very dedicated. I confess to being a political ignoramus so his awareness of the cause and willingness to put his normal life on hold is impressive, he will go far when he finds his path.

If it seems that I am negative about Occupy it’s not intended, it really is that I am uninformed, she says shamefaced. In the days when Swampy tree-housed on the A30, see      https://lucidgypsy.wordpress.com/2011/10/27/hitching-a-ride/  I could keep up with him, but this bigger stuff has left me behind. I’m actually touched by these people, most of all by their wish list pinned to a post.

10 thoughts on “Occupy St Peters

  1. maybe if they went to WORK (sorry for swearing!) they could afford to buy some tinsel and a ‘recording camera’ … def two of life’s essentials??

  2. For some people it’s not possible to get a job because of a wide range of different circumstances. It can be because of the market (their craft/skills aren’t needed), or it can be personal (i.e. they’re drug addicts, alcoholics, or have mental problems).
    Even for many people in low paid jobs it’s impossible to make a decent living (decent enough to own your own apartment) and they struggle with everyday life, while other people are investing in apartments/buildings and own many apartments.
    It’s stuff like this that pisses people off.

    Well, even the ones that are unemployed can still pick up their own garbage and help contributing to a better society, but obviously these wankers believe that everyone else should care & nurture for them. And as long as they have the village idiot cleaning up their mess, why would they bother to make an effort?

  3. I must say my sympathies are with them. I know how hard it is in New Zealand for people with hard earned qualifications to get even minimum wage positions. They are told to buckle down – pull in their belts, many lose homes, partners, and the big guys/banks/politicians (here at least) still fly first class, rack up huge salaries and bonuses. When things go wrong these same high flyers scream for the taxpayer to step in and prop them up saying that the rest of us need them to survive. So, yeah, I can understand their feeling the injustice of it. If you want to know more, their site will at least explain much of their position: http://occupywallst.org/
    Then you can make up your own mind.
    I love protest. It is the democratic way. Even if we disagree with the object of the protest, we need to defend the right to continue to be allowed to protest. What I see happening to these protesters from government officials is what I find scary. Very Hilteresque.

  4. In my uninformed way I sympathise with them too. The trouble is to have the most impact they need to choose somewhere like cathedral green but then that turns people against them. Personally it wasn’t helped by the fact that one of the guys I spoke to stank of the night befores booze at lunch time and alcohol is banned there. The local newspaper reports that they still aren’t budging so credit to them.

I would love to hear from you . . .

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.