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Occupy Campers In It For The Lang Haul

Creating 'Utopia' in the city centre, by Rakhi Sinha and Paul Berentzen

Written by . Published on October 14th 2011.

Occupy Campers In It For The Lang Haul

MANCHESTER is under occupation – and according to campers who have made their home in the Peace Gardens near St Peter’s Square, it’s likely to stay that way for some time yet.

Members of the Occupy group have struck an agreement with Manchester City Council and Greater Manchester Police, allowing them to stay there as long as they want.

“The people in power don’t care about us. We need to come together and show them that we want change.”

Around 30 tents are now pitched in the gardens, and each person seems to have their own reason for being there.

Trky - pronounced ‘Tricky’ - from Hyde, joined them a week ago and is calling for people to fight for their rights and ‘remove the shackles’ placed on them by government.

Asked about his reason for the occupation, he said: “We want to bring back humanity, bring back democracy.”

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He rejects the label ‘protester’, defining himself as lifelong ‘pro-activist’, and said he has given up money and stopped being a member of society when he returned his birth certificate.

“We’re manipulated by the ruling elite and told that we’re all in the same boat,” he said. “The modern form of slavery is money and it’s used to shackle us. We have to show them that we can think for ourselves.”

Wes, a clothing designer by day, has been on a number of marches around England but believes there is much more to be done.

“The people in power don’t care about us,” he said. “We need to come together and show them that we want change.”

The group is a mix of people with similar aims, but Trky said there had been some tension within the camp.

“There’s no leader or organiser,” he said. “We’re not all like-minded, but generally we are getting on well.”

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One particularly vocal camper, Keith, insisted they are in this for the long haul.

“I have no intention of leaving,” he said. “If we can create a utopia, why would I want to leave?

“I’ve been coming and going because I have a son and other commitments. Some people are even turning up from London.”

A number of large businesses, who Confidential was asked not to name to avoid getting helpful employees in trouble, have supplied campers with food and hot drinks and allowed them to use their power supply.

One fast food chain and a branded coffee shop has been helping out, which Trky claims is ok because the help is being offered by ‘the humans at the bottom of the chain.”

The group is even planning to get a generator installed but in the meantime, they have had to rely on the kindness of nearby businesses.

The camp cannot use a bin collection service so often leave bags of rubbish outside the Town Hall.

Occupy is planning a meeting at Piccadilly Gardens this weekend, which they hope will start an open conversation about ‘important issues.’

“It will be the first democratic assembly in Manchester since Peterloo in 1819,” said Trky.

Keith is keen to make sure the campers come across well and has banned alcohol from the camp until after the meeting.

“We all need to be bright eyed and bushy tailed,” he said. “It’s all about perceptions.”


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20 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

EugeneOctober 14th 2011.

good for them

AnonymousOctober 15th 2011.

Yawn. Get a grip.

AnonymousOctober 16th 2011.

When will the tax payers of manchester get their gardens back?

5 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousOctober 16th 2011.

They're already using it. The campers are the tax payers on Manchester.

Ryan O'hanlonOctober 17th 2011.

the campers are tax payers? Even 'Trky' (?) who no longer has a birth certificate?

Ryan O'hanlonOctober 17th 2011.

even the one who no longer has a birth certificate?

AnonymousOctober 17th 2011.

Okay, Mr Trky aside. The presumption that these people don't pay taxes, don't live locally and aren't typical citizens of Manchester says more about you than it does about them.
Oh and for your illumination, it's just about impossible to avoid paying tax if you live in a city - VAT?

WoksmugglerOctober 17th 2011.

Anon (10:35) Fair point!
Anon (4:21 & 6:53) Are you sure - really sure - that the campers are paying council tax on their chosen abodes? And whilst they may well be paying VAT on their purchases, that money does not go to Manchester. Oh, and, by the way, what is the current VAT rate on food?

Christine KilbyOctober 16th 2011.

I am old enough to remember when young people, often led by students, were much more politically passionate and protested as a matter of course about any 'injustice' they came across. Then it all went very quiet and the motivating factor was to get to the top of the tree and as rich as possible as quickly as possible. Now protesting is back on the menu. Fine. It has to be said though that sometimes we all feel like opting out, sitting on our backsides and letting others look after us. Seriously though, what would happen if everyone gave up and asked for a free ride?

DrakeOctober 17th 2011.

Lovely. New age anarchist camp, changing all the rules. Already has someone dictating new rules--'no alcohol'. I can already sense Piggy getting his glasses smashed and the Pig's head being paraded around the camp.

AnonymousOctober 17th 2011.

Where does it say any of these people are new agers, or anarchists? Who said they were against having rules? Or is that just your entirely unjustified presumption? You are a capital twit, sir.

DrakeOctober 17th 2011.

Apologies if this duplicates, the dodgy comment system continues (three 'undefineds' so far)

Well, the anarchist bit was implied by the number of anarchist symbols on the banners in those photos, so that wasn't a terrifically large jump to make. Especially with one of them saying 'there's no leader or organiser', which sort of defines an anarchistic situation. Added to 'Trcky' 'giving up money and his birth certificate.' None of this is taking exactly forensic levels of exegesis to apply the term 'anarchist'.

Of course, if they're anything like the occupylsx lot, they're actually ampaigning for a bigger state and more dependency, so far from being anarchists so you might be right.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousOctober 17th 2011.

Ahem, yes. You may have a point there. <shuffles off...>

AnonymousOctober 18th 2011.

More to the point, with all the rain we've been having, its beginning to get a bit whiffy walking past the Peace Gardens. I might have to start taking a detour on the way to work...

mahooOctober 19th 2011.

do any of these people work full time? just asking

1 Response: Reply To This...
the Whalley RangerOctober 19th 2011.

do you, given the time of your post?

AnonymousOctober 20th 2011.

They seem to have all but abandoned ship now. When I walked past this morning, there were only a couple of tents there (and a lot of rubbish...)

Dawne Sheldrick-Keating shared this on Facebook on October 20th 2011.
Dawne Sheldrick-Keating shared this on Facebook on October 21st 2011.
IzzyOctober 21st 2011.

Yep. All gone, disappeared into the big society. So much for being in it 'for the long haul' then. As you seemed to get to know these 'activists' just a little, could you possibly track down Trky et al and hand them the bill for cleaning up the Peace Gardens? If you're quick, you may just find them at Dale Farm. Fecking losers.

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