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"occupy London" Starts Church Row

By       Message Linn Washington       (Page 1 of 3 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   1 comment

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London - Sam Berkson stood on the steps of London's historic St. Paul's Cathedral recently reciting one his latest socially conscious poems to persons gathered at the Occupy London Stock Exchange site -- a parallel protest to the Occupy Wall Street in New York City.

"Moral messages with twisted policies"Liberty costs money, forget equality"No fraternity, it's been like this for an eternity," said Berkson riffing through that poem in rhythmic voice. Around England, Berkson's known as "Angry Sam" a competition-winning performance poet.

Occupy London Stock Exchange (OLSX) participants set up their encampment in the square outside the famous landmark on October 15th after a court injunction barred protesters from occupying the square in front of London's Stock Exchange less than two blocks away.

St. Paul's is one of London's top ten tourist attractions. The current building opened in 1710 although cathedrals have occupied that site since 604.

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Like similar anti-corporate-dominance demonstrations around the world, organizers for OLSX say they are highlighting social and economic injustice, deprivations severe in Britain.

Britain is a nation where its conservative government in coalition with liberals is instituting harsh austerity measures to ease budget deficits.

Those budget cuts severely impact the most vulnerable members of British society like now forcing totally disabled persons to find jobs or risk losing their already meager government supplied benefits.

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"A lot of deaths have happened from the rule changes. The company contracted by the government to do assessments have certified persons with terminal illnesses as fit for work," noted Claire Glasman during a presentation recently to a group of college students from America.

The wheel chair-bound Glasman is with the disability rights group Winvisible -- Women with Visible and Invisible Disabilities.

Criticizing government budget priorities Glasman wrote that the "bankers and politicians have come off relatively unscathed. Why should the most vulnerable pay to clear up their mess?" -- in comment posted on the website of the Crossroads Womens' Centre located in North London where Winvisible is housed.

While the deficit plagued British government professes lacking funds for the most vulnerable it participated in the months' long, revenue consuming, military campaign this year to oust Muammar Gaddafi, the dictator in Libya.

Single Mothers' Self-Defence, one of the programs operating out of the Crossroads Centre, opposes the government's efforts to enact regressive U.S.-style welfare reform.

"Welfare reform threatens to throw single mothers and our children into destitution by abolishing Income Support, the main benefit which recognizes unwaged caring work, the life blood of society," said Kim Sparrow of Self-Defence.

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"They want mothers to compete for non-existent jobs and to work for our benefits. That is for $2 an hour! They want to use us to bypass the minimum wage so they can bring down all wages and subsidize industry while impoverishing the rest of us. These cuts will throw another 660,000 more children into absolute poverty."

Self-Defence and other groups support OLSX Sparrow said.

"We are the 99%. We are part of the occupations and we are refusing to submit to this robbery with intent. They should pay mothers not banks."

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Linn Washington is a weekly columnist for the Philadelphia Tribune and This Can't Be Happening. Washington writes frequently on inequities in the criminal justice system, ills in society and failings of the news media. He teaches multi-media urban (more...)

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