We introduced ourselves, we were four and then five, and we spoke about our experiences with Occupy and our thoughts on the movement, and the role that Cambridge can play in this, the great transformative event of our times.
We come from different backgrounds and perspectives, but there was a surprisingly clear consensus on some points:
1. Cambridge could have a powerful response to Occupy, being as it is a fundamentally tolerant and excellent centre of learning. Cambridge is a unique place, and we should consider a powerful response to Occupy.
2. Indeed, what we long for is a magnet to draw people out of their usual communities and begin speaking to one another and asking the important questions of our time.
3. These important questions concern democracy in its present form, capitalism in its present form, the health of the planet, our health, the monetization of identity (creeping consumerist, corporatist agenda), the truthfulness of the media, the inequalities in our society. We do not feel like we are getting good information about these things, because the media is controlled by a corporate agenda. (editor's note: don't kid yourself, the government is also controlled by a corporate agenda)
4. These questions are being addresses at the highest level here at the University, at least in environmental and sociological terms, and it would be a marvelous thing to organize an Occupy discussion that drew people out of whatever ghetto they dwell in (ex-pat, religious, activist). The 55 Cambridge professors who signed the letter of support should be contacted and asked to provide this information.
5. People of faith must stand with us in this. There is a broad consensus in the UK that the government and the market are immoral and in need of reform. There are many people of faith who believe this. Striving for justice is a vital component of most faiths, indeed all in the Church of England have sworn to do so. Interfaith events can be ghettos, as people at the meeting knew from experience. But applying something like the Winter Carnival model to the idea of articulating scriptures: holy words. Drawing on our holy words. One Baptist in Cambridge named Michael Schluter is speaking. This is what he wrote to me:
I will be speaking at Rock Baptist Church on Sunday 25th March on the subject ‘What is Wrong with Capitalism?’. Any friends from Occupy would of course be most welcome to come along.The church is a small Baptist church which meets at Morley Memorial School on Blinco Grove, off Hills Road and Cherry Hinton Road in the south of the city. [There is car parking space on Baldock Way just around the corner - but please park considerately to be fair to local residents.]
Please let me know if you or anybody from Occupy is likely to come.
So that was the consensus, and what was presented, at the meeting. Of course, I have made the conclusions very pithy and perhaps slightly biased toward my own sentiments.
I note my own struggle between meeting my responsibilities as a mother and employee and taking care of myself and being in Occupy. When I start thinking about Occupy, I want to do nothing else but think more about it. I am watching the John Adams biopic right now and I am amazed at regular upstanding citizens, pushed into powerful revolution, actually met and talked and did things like draft the Declaration of Independence. I wonder if we need another one, all the peoples on earth. Maybe we can start with one for Cambridge? Somehow we all need to find the time to keep this happening. As we said in the meeting, we need to wake up the world, we need people to see how they are slaves. I did tell my Matrix story to these poor Cantabridgians. About taking the red pill on 15 October. Those crazy brothers were not even kidding.