29 November 2011

#OccupyDameStreet - An evening's Spectacle on Dame Street

After a short but sweet General Assembly last night, Occupied Dame Street was visited by A Spectacle of Defiance and Hope in advance of their event on December 3rd at 1:30pm at the City Hall. The Spectacle is part protest group, part theatre troupe, part Carnival, part band, and is an external apolitical group that seek to raise awareness of community and national issues through music, song, drama and dance.

Throughout its short existence #OccupyDameStreet has drawn inspiration from the folks at Spectacle, and the information stand at the Camp has hosted one of their Books of Grievances and Hopes for a good few weeks now, taking in submissions from members of the public. The Books are based on the Lists of Grievances drawn up at the beginning of the French Revolution:
"There were three Estates in France or three broad sections of society. The first two Estates were made up of the Clergy and the Nobility. The third Estate was made up of everyone else: the emerging middle class, the working class and the peasants. In 1789 King Louis XVI called a meeting of all three Estates collectively known as the Estates-General. Prior to the meeting all three Estates were asked to compile their Lists of Grievances or Cahiers de Doleances. This was intended as a cynical exercise, nothing more than a tokenistic consultation with no real substance. However, the lists of grievances grew and grew, coming in from all over the country and from a very broad spectrum of people. They became a powerful articulation of issues that people felt needed to be fixed or sorted out, such as the unfair tax system and the high prices that ordinary people had to pay for basic food items such as bread. The Lists of Grievances played a major role in the revolution of 1789 and the subsequent transformation of French society and the establishment of the National Assembly or People's Parliament. We are using the same basic idea to hear what your grievances are. However, we have added one slight twist to this idea. We also want to hear your hopes and aspirations for change in this country"

- from The Spectacle of Defiance and Hope website
Last week at a General Assembly #OccupyDameStreet agreed to work with the folks at Spectacle and support their upcoming event at City Hall, and as part of this joint activity The Spectacle came down to Dame Street last night and hosted a musical performance to give a flavour of what everyone can expect on Saturday.

The video above captures last night's music and a few interviews on site, and mixes this in with footage of previous Spectacle events. I love these sort of events, to my mind they are much more engaging, open and welcoming for a wider swathe of the public than traditional marches, a carnival atmosphere suitable for protesters of all ages and a note of positivity when many activist actions only highlight the negatives.

More information on The Spectacle of Defiance and Hope can be found on their website here.

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