Occupy London: An Accountant By Day, An Anti-Capitalist By Night

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Jacob Richter
Occupy London: An Accountant By Day, An Anti-Capitalist By Night

 

Particular news articles like this bring to me a sense of personal vindication: [url]http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2011/11/25/occupy-london-view-inside-cam...

 

Occupy London: An Accountant By Day, An Anti-Capitalist By Night, Who Are The Protesters?

 

By Lucy Sheriff

 

Occupy London has had its fair share of publicity; from "empty tents" to clergy resignations, the camp has been dogged by journalists fighting to get the latest scandal on the protesters.

 

What everyone seems to have failed to report is exactly why the protestors are there in the first place. So the Huffington Post UK went down to St Paul's to see what lay behind the headlines and media furore.

 

Jonny Love (pictured below) has been at the camp since its set-up in October and is an active member in the day-to-day running of the site.

 

Love, who maintains his age is "inconsequential", says the camp has been completely "misrepresented" by the media.

 

"A lot of people get put off supporting us because of our portrayal in the media. Most people who do support us make anonymous donations. They are scared to be seen supporting us because they have been told we are 'wrong' by politicians.

 

"The media says we're too vague but we don't want to brand ourselves; we don't need to brand ourselves. We don't have to be pigeon-holed, and that is definitely an advantage to attracting more people."

 

Love reels off a list of individuals from all walks of life who are involved with the movement: bankers, "techies", lawyers, parents, students... the list goes on.

 

"It's a movement of independence and transparency. The media are so focused on how many people sleep here at night, how many unemployed are here, but why does it matter if we are all striving to achieve the same purpose?

 

So what was his reaction to the "empty tents" claim?

 

"My only response is: does Boris Johnson occupy all of his summer homes? No. Exactly."

 

And what would you say to those who claim the protest is not achieving anything, apart from being a nuisance and visually polluting the City?

 

"I would tell them that this protest is going to grow and change the world.

 

"It has already been a bloody revolution. We have had victories and also, a lot of defeats, but we are not going to stop. Every time they hit us the movement grows. Even through all the media bullshit it's clear that there are people who support us and who want to protect us. I know of some protesters who are leading double lives so they can help out."

 

Despite bold headlines screaming about "Defecation and drugs" at the camp, there are clear signs of it being a "drink and drug free" zone.

 

Aneurin Rainbird, a regular participant at the camp, said there was a strict no alcohol policy and drugs were also banned. "I was concerned it would regress into some stupid hippy camp at first but it's actually amazingly organised. There are various groups to establish a harmonious atmosphere at the camp: waste management, noise control and so on."

 

The 23-year-old described the media portrayal of the camp as "incredibly frustrating".

 

"It has been really interesting seeing how the protest has been portrayed in the media but the infra-red tent article was such a load of bollocks. There's obviously an agenda on the media's part.

 

"They try to make us out like we are a bunch of no-hopers. But we are not all dreamers or little kids with our heads in the clouds. We are trying to find a solution, a different way to how we live now because it does need to change."

 

Rainbird, who also works at city firm Price Waterhouse Coopers, said "no-one judges him on his job".

 

"Unfortunately I can't be involved as much as I would like to be because of my job. They all know I work in the City. They don't care or judge me for that.

 

"I am thankful to the people who are there all the time because it means I can keep my job and still show my support by going down there in the evenings. I don't feel like I need to quit my job to get involved.

 

"The guys running the camp full-time wouldn't expect me to either", he added.

 

And what do his colleagues at PWC think of his involvement at the camp - whose ideals seem to contradict everything his company stands for?

 

"I don't try to hide my views but at the same time I don't go around work saying I'm down at St Paul's every night. I don't know if they'd judge me if everyone knew - I guess they probably would."

 

So you don't feel your job impedes on your credibility of being at the camp?

 

"No, not at all.

 

"Although", Rainbird adds, "I spend my days in a suit working for one of the Big Four and my nights discussing corporate greed and how the current capitalism is damaging to society at a makeshift camp.

 

"I guess that's pretty ironic, isn't it?"