Earlier this year, Lucy Raven and I were commissioned by the Oakland Museum of California to make a series of short video portraits of people involved in, opposed to, or otherwise affected by Occupy Oakland. After Occupy Wall Street, OO has been the most visible American Occupy. It has also been the most militant, and following Oakland's efforts to clear the physical encampments at City Hall Plaza – which involved mass arrests, and the wounding of ex-Marine peacenik Scott Olsen – OO became a constant presence in the news cycle, and a pilot light for the whole Occupy movement.
Though there have been few large demonstrations in Germany against the austerity measures introduced by the European Union, it was inevitable that Frankfurt, the home of the European Central Bank, would become a target. Blockupy Frankfurt called for a series of protests and actions ‘against the austerity dictatorship’ from 16 to 19 May, culminating on Saturday in a march to the ECB. I spoke to Thomas Seibert, a philosopher and member of Blockupy Frankfurt, at the Subversive Forum in Zagreb. ‘We wanted to say there is a choice,’ he said. ‘We don’t have to stick to the German government. We wanted to say, in the Occupy sense, we are the 99 per cent.’
All sides seem to agree that the Occupy London Stock Exchange protesters are leaving undefeated. The cathedral authorities stress that although 'tents and camping equipment' have been removed from the vicinity of St Paul's, 'ideas and protests' are still welcome. One protester described the eviction as 'an opportunity for us to move sideways and be innovative and creative'. But in London, as elsewhere, as the campers have had to move sideways, Occupy will have to find another way forward. It isn't the kind of protest in which an achievable goal is linked to a symbolic nuisance, so that when the authorities see reason everyone can go home. Its demands have been much bigger, and they've been backed by the continuing physical presence of people obstinately taking up space.
Supporters of Occupy Edinburgh were thin on the ground at the city’s sheriff court on Wednesday, 25 January, Robert Burns Day. Only 15 or so activists went to protest against their eviction from St Andrews Square, outside the headquarters of the Royal Bank of Scotland (whose chief executive has just received a £963,000 bonus). ‘Oh, you’re with that lot,’ the security guard manning the metal detector said when I asked where the Occupy case was being heard. ‘Should have got rid of them months ago.’ After rummaging through my rucksack and confiscating my Dictaphone, he pointed in the direction of Court 13.