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De-Occupy Edinburgh

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I want to support Occupy Edinburgh, but I can’t.

I want to support an explicitly anti-capitalist, feminist movement that shows alternative ways of organising society. Despite having heard some positives, I don’t think that is happening at Occupy Edinburgh – not now, anyway.

I know that there was a constructive meeting about feminist voices last weekend. Big props to the organisers, and this isn’t their fault, but it was felt that some people who really needed to hear what was being said didn’t go and that camp should’ve prioritised finishing the session over watching a film. It’s great that the session even happened and the feedback that was taken was really important. But some of the worst offenders weren’t at the meeting, and I don’t think that feminists are being taken seriously enough.

Occupy Edinburgh is sexist. Thankfully, unlike Occupy Glasgow, I haven’t heard about any rapes or sexual assaults, but it’s still sexist.

People have said that they feel physically intimidated; that they can’t express their views freely; that certain members of camp, specifically the ‘security team’ have a lot of power (which makes them feel uncomfortable); and even that women have been told that they are not allowed to talk about the rape at Occupy Glasgow.

The kitchen team is, according to people on the Facebook group, ALL-WOMEN, or the vast majority women, and thus can’t contribute to the most important meetings because they’re at 6pm, when they’re ‘washing up’. The solution offered for this was not ‘men should do the washing up’ but ‘more people pitch in?’ I can’t express how angry this makes me. What century are we living in that women can’t attend meetings because they’re washing up?! And men who say feminist things are being told to ‘grow a pair’.

At one of the general assemblies in the last couple of days there was a 20:1 male to female ratio. There’s obviously reason for this. I know some women don’t feel like this, but I would venture that a lot of women, myself included, are getting shut down, isolated, told they’re ‘feminazis’ and/or don’t feel safe on camp.

I visited on Tuesday. It sucked.

I was already in a bad mood: the night before I was up doing an essay and ended up in a massive Facebook argument with a bunch of anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists on the Occupy Edinburgh Facebook group. I don’t really give a shit about conspiracy theorists, but when it becomes anti-Semites, that’s a big problem. I won’t work with racists. And I don’t think I should have to.

But, I thought, maybe that’s just some nutballs on the Facebook group, maybe the people at the camp are actually cool, I should go at least once instead of being cynical and dismissive.

Unfortunately I was right to be cynical and dismissive.

I did meet some nice people, especially someone I won’t name here who had been camping for several days. However I also found that there were some very powerful voices that were shutting down debate.

Within five minutes of starting our meeting, a man from the ‘security team’ asked us what we were doing, criticised us for coming in and trying to change things without having camped there (the irony being that we don’t feel comfortable or safe enough to camp), and was basically very intimidating. He said if someone had concerns they could raise them at a General Assembly. (Incidentally, we couldn’t raise our concerns at the General Assembly that evening since long debates about de-humidifiers were prioritised over talking about making camp less patriarchal.)

It turns out that this man thinks feminism is an evil created by ‘Jewish bankers’. He is also one of the most prominent people at the camp, and people listen to him.

There is a clear hierarchy happening in which members of the ‘security team’, people who have been there for the longest, the loudest people and the most physically powerful people are being afforded more influence than anyone else. It is disturbing. And it is not the model of an alternative society.

A member of camp who was sympathetic to us and raised our concerns has been intimidated, told he wasn’t allowed to talk about it because there was a reporter on site who might overhear. He has since left the camp. I’m completely appalled at the way he’s been treated by some members. Now people are minimising what happened to him, saying it couldn’t have happened, that there are two sides to every story, that it’s just a misunderstanding. I’m sorry but no, the first rule is that when someone has a legitimate complaint like that you listen to them and believe them.

Those with dissenting views are shut down. Feminists might be welcomed by some but until the most disruptive and de-railing people leave we’ll not have the necessary influence to create change on camp.

Furthermore, there seem to be no clear aims to what’s going on – if there were, perhaps feminists could have a space to talk; instead, people are there because of ‘Jewish bankers’, because they don’t believe in climate change, because the 1% are lizard people/Rothschilds/Illuminati. Obviously a good number are decent people who want to effect real change, including anti-capitalists, but there are too many divergent views for it to be effective.

But primarily the problems are that people who criticise anything that the camp is doing are completely shut down; that power is being held by the few; the way physical dominance is being used; and the fact that camp is unsafe. Unfortunately, Occupy Edinburgh has become a study in Foucauldian power dynamics and de-railing. Also, I won’t work with anti-Semites. Simple as. Also – 5% women at a General Asssembly? Women in the kitchen while important meetings are taking place? People feeling so intimidated that they leave? Seriously, fuck this noise.

Occupy Edinburgh is no longer a useful organising space.

De-Occupy St Andrews Square.

Occupy Patriarchy.


Because I’ve been asked, and because I don’t want to be entirely negative, I want to say this:

I would be prepared to occupy some space and camp or sleep on the floor – preferably commercial space. For example maybe we could occupy the Forest – they’ve been kicked out of their premises. I would love to build an anticapitalist movement and take direct action on things, perhaps taking our concerns to Scottish Parliament or the West End financial district. I don’t have that much time since I’m writing a dissertation but I would genuinely be happy to devote most of my free time to something I thought was worthwhile. I spent 3 weeks occupying a lecture theatre last November. It’s not that I can’t be bothered. It’s that at the moment the occupation privileges certain voices, it doesn’t seem to have clear aims, it doesn’t know where it’s going and dissenting opinions are treated in the way they have been.

I can’t speak for anyone else as to why they would or wouldn’t get involved but if something like this happens I would get involved.

EDIT (12/11/11):

Last night the link I posted to this blog was deleted and I couldn’t re-post. I could still comment though so I was doing that. I’ve now discovered that the threads have been deleted and I’ve been blocked, I can’t even view the group from within my Facebook.

I am being treated like I have been abusive or racist – in fact there was more tolerance of an anti-Semite than there was of me.

EDIT (04/01/12)

My attention was drawn to this story (link below).  I don’t want to comment further other than to say that it’s sad and worrying.

EDIT (14/01/12)

Occupy Edinburgh has been served with an eviction notice. The article at the address below reveals further horrible and disgusting things that I did not even know were going on.


Written by CakeCakeCakeCakeCake

November 11, 2011 at 1:27 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

175 Responses

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  1. Awesome post, once again.

    Just one thing: you forgot to mention that, in the middle of the safer spaces workshop, a guy came in and asked for several women’s numbers. I felt like being angry, but seriously, it was so scathingly ironic that all I could do was laugh.

    But, yeah, after only being there for about twenty minutes I was wondering how anyone, let alone a woman, could feel safe staying there overnight. There were some genuinely cool, nice people there but their presence was totally overshadowed by, to put it bluntly, scary middle-aged men. I like to consider myself a hardened New Yorker who’s unfazed by a lot of things, but I wouldn’t sleep there if you payed me (and that’s saying something since I’m a Jew who runs the world and all).

    Jacob Bloomfield

    November 11, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    • I’m kind of confused as to where the anti-Semitic sentiments are coming from there o_O I’ve only been away from Edinburgh a couple years, but I don’t ever recall “Jewish bankers” being an issue outside the Daily Mail.

      Beth Wyand

      November 15, 2011 at 7:06 am

    • Dear Kate Harris, it is to be expected from foaming at their mouths but almost always ignorant ‘feminists’ not to understand most of issues. This one is no exception.
      What do they teach at those “women’s studies”? A lot of man hating but obviously not anthropology or sciences. If they did those ‘feminist’ bimbos would have known that “anti-Semites” is not about racism because to be Semitic is not referring to person’s race but to their … linguistics.

      This ‘feminist’ bimbo is also wrong repeating after someone that “feminism is an evil created by ‘Jewish bankers’.”
      ‘Feminism’ is an evil alright (see: ) but was first created by the Judeo-Bolshevik “revolution” of 1917 with their decree of ‘nationalizing’ all Soviet females.

      This was at first more to do with getting even with previous Russian society for considering the Khazarian/Ashkenazim “Jews” as repulsive and unacceptable for any romantic purposes. The “Jews” being in majority of the Bolshevik apparatus they would have awarded themselves all Russian women they ever wanted.
      However, the Soviet politburo had dropped this idea and embarked on many other methods to control the Soviet society. One was the introduction of ‘feminism.’
      To eradicate vestiges of national pride the Bolshevik “Jews” unleashed unprecedented in brutality mass killing of the hundreds of thousands of Christian priests, thousands of Russian nobility, millions of independent peasantry, and colossal intentional destruction of the Christian churches (but not of synagogues, of course).

      Massive social engineering included new model of the family. For this they had introduced crude ‘feminism’ designed to ridicule male attributes, and to make two genders adversarial. Even children were not left alone and were encouraged to spy on their parents and denounce them for “anti-Soviet” activities.

      It was their great social engineering scheme to control every aspect of the “new Soviet society” and such pillars of stability and independence such as: national heritage and pride, landed gentry, patriarchal family, private land ownership, Christian clergy, and a family unit had to be destroyed. And destroyed they were by the millions of dead and millions in internal gulag concentration camps.

      The Zionist BUTCHERS Behind Communism

      The so called Bolshevik “revolution” was designed by the international Zionist groups, and were 100% financed by the rich “Jewish” capitalists, such as Rothschild and Wartburgs.

      Yes, the same “den of vipers” who tried to assassinate American president Andrew Jackson for his opposition to them establishing private “reserve” bank in America.

      It is incorrect to refer to them as “Jews” for they were in most cases secular and often atheistic Khazars. If anything those non-Semitic Khazars could be described as Talmudians – due to their conversion to and usage of the Talmud as their religious source.
      Remember that Judaism is only a religion and not a race, ethnicity or nationality. One who hates the Jews can be a bigot but not a racist.
      The Khazar Empire and its Heritage

      In vast majority (approx. 95%) of “Jews” living today everywhere are non-Semitic Khazars of eastern Europe (see link above) or for those in USA easy viewing video clip:

      Consequently, there are no “Jews returning” to Palestine. To “return” one must come from there in the first place. The only place they can return to is the Caspian Sea and the Volga river delta region.

      Often the Zionist colonialists of Palestine refer to themselves as “Jews” and routinely call anyone who is opposing them as “anti-Semitic”, but this is just a smokescreen and cynical use of the religion.
      Judaism is a religion of peace and not racism, xenophobia or apartheid. But this is what Zionism has been from the day one.

      In its most recent session in Cape Town, South Africa, the eminent jury of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine concluded that, “Israel’s rule over the Palestinian people, wherever they reside, collectively amounts to a single integrated regime of apartheid.”

      Just to give you an idea of the criminality of Zionism and how closely they were related to the German Nazis. It is from the Zionist ideology that the Nazis learned their “racial purity” ideology.
      The opposite side of the Nazi swastika on the commemorative medal was Zionist star of David. One may say for the both ideologies to be literally two sides of the same coin.
      “The Zionists, for their part, were enjoying an upsurge of support among German Jews after Hitler took office in January 1933….
      only the Zionists were capable of approaching the Nazis in good faith as “honest partners”.

      The Zionist criminality continues to this very day.
      Criminal state of Israel
      Criminal State – Part 1 of 3: A Closer Look at Israel’s Role in Terrorism

      Many actually Jewish groups oppose Zionism for cynically highjacking Judaism for their political colonial purposes.

      The “Occupy” movement addressing those issues openly makes the Khazarian masters very nervous. They will stop at nothing to put an end to the eye opening movement because their power has been unmasked and their sinister ways openly discussed.
      Remember that they assassinate presidents for much less.

      The disease of Khazarian banksterism and feminazism will not go away until the people recognize who is standing behind it all and pulling the strings. Lets hope the Occupy movement will be a first step in that direction and freeing the world from the clutches of Kazarian bankers and manipulators.

      Urho Kerkonen

      November 21, 2011 at 5:16 am

    • This sounds horrible Kate. I can see from the comments below this has created quite a stir so well done! There is no gain for women if it is just another 1% with the same faces replacing the current 1%.


      November 21, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    • Nonsense. As Colin says he is clearly able to speak perfectly well for himself and has not changed his opinion of —– at all.

      All —-‘s posts should be seen in the context that he was stroking a women’s arm on camp against her wishes, she raises this below and he accuses her of trying to “twist his words” and that he was only trying to “comfort her”.


      November 23, 2011 at 5:47 pm

  2. I dunno, I wasn’t there when you had your experience, so I can’t comment on that. I don’t feel though that the onsite attitude to the workshop I ran is being entirely fairly represented here. I really didn’t feel that our meeting was somehow scuppered, except perhaps by my own lack of foresight and inexperience organising and I am going to keep trying. The bike powered film session had been arranged for a full week and publicised very effectively. It drew lots of people in and we were using the only semi-sheltered workshop space they have. I don’t feel that there was anything unfair about asking us, after we’d run over by half an hour, to move over for the other event (the two anti capitalist films) which had about 40 people waiting to attend and regroup later. I think it means I didn’t schedule it at the correct time.

    On the basis of the progress made there, and an awareness that there are issues, we’re doing another one. I’ve scheduled it earlier so that we’ll have more time.

    Moderating the FB site is probably something which will come up. I totally accept and respect your decision to disengage but I’m not sure its productive for you or onlookers to prioritise the expression of anger so much. Autonomous organising can be messy. So far I think *part* (but my no means all) of the issue is that they haven’t had resource to moderate it, and are inexperienced in doing so. I think Occupy is learning lots of stuff the long slow hard way, how for example do you deal with unacceptable behaviour perpetrated by vulnerable alchoholics who have joined the occupation? I have some emphathy with their situation becuse I myself really only came round to feminism aged 28. Before that I’d never heard that gender is socially constructed, I didn’t know what derailing was, said ‘gay’ instead of rubbish, and so on. This is beucase I had always lived in a fairly harsh masculinist envrionment and had never had the benifit of experiencing an egalitarian situation. Unpicking all of that in myself took a long time and some very generous thoughtful feminists and equality activists supporting me in challenging myself and my own privilage.

    I agree their aims aren’t clear enough, maybe running an outdoor occupation sucks energy out of other issues. Unfortunatley we all learn by doing though. Safer spaces are an ideal which we need to work towards and we need to be respectful and padegogic with people who’ve had no experience participating in them. If I hadn’t been treated as such, I myself would never, ever have become involved in feminism, and Kate I know that some of the stuff I’ve done, becuase you yourself have told me, has been really excellent and really helpful for some folk.


    November 11, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    • Thanks for this, really heartened me.

      jonny blamey

      November 30, 2011 at 12:08 am

  3. Truly sorry and sad that you had that experience at Occupy Edinburgh, but I’m glad that you posted about it. The conspiracy theorists and powerful middle-aged men have also put me off recently, not to mention the fact that I felt extraordinarily threatened last time I went by one particular member, who has an illness, but one that is completely being ignored and left un-tackled by the organisers. If I had been a vulnerable individual it may have been much worse. I completely agree that the camp seems to be suffering from the worst sorts of embedded societal flaws and power dynamics, possibly as a result of the stagnation of its long-term existence.

    I have been there quite a number of times, and many people have made me feel very welcome, but if anyone has the experience of exclusion that you and other women have had, then no amount of inclusion directed at some people will make it acceptable. Some serious soul-searching should have been going on for the male-dominated (intentionally or no) activist movements after the gang rape in Glasgow, and at OE, I thought that that had happened, but obviously not.

    I’ve not been in the past couple of weeks, thanks to my anthropology dissertation, and I’ll be much more skeptical when I go again. You may get a lot of angry comments levelled at you following this, but I’d like to thank you for making the concerns of a good number of people (including me) vocal, and in such a way as to not sound disparaging of those there who have genuine and good intentions.

    And Jacob: You couldn’t get me a nice cushy job with RBS could you? A bit short of cash at the moment, and since you run it and all…

  4. Having spent 7 months in an occupation that was outwardly relatively successful, I have to agree from my own experience with everything written here.

    There we had secure access to the building, we were in a mostly residential area with good security. The occupation core was run by a very experienced set of activists who had been working with each other for around 6 months before hand, and who had experienced social centers and squatted spaces before.

    Even then we had to exclude people for sexist attitudes. We banned things like Cosmo and got stick for it, but it was worth it. We intervened early and probably put a lot of people off, we probable excluded a lot of people with a ‘more-activist-than-you’ attitude, but it was worth it. If it was done again we would be stronger, sooner, ESPECIALLY after seeing the situations at Glasgow/Ed/Boston/London. Simply put, these occupations quickly attract people who have been seriously let down by society, but creating an unstable area in the middle of cities does not automatically free people to be better, it also lets them express socially abhorrent sentiments more readily.

    When you free a space, it is up to you to turn it into something new. A lot of people want to drink and take drugs. Get rid of them.

    See this blog about Bristol: this stuff is getting familiar.


    November 11, 2011 at 4:08 pm

  5. Kate, You ROCK.


    November 11, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    • Cheers, that means loads.

      Kate Harris

      November 11, 2011 at 5:51 pm

  6. Oh Kate – I’m disappointed to hear that OE has gone bad. I wanted to hope that OG was a one-off case, but there is something in the nature of these things which is bringing out entrenched privilege and endorsing it.

    Before the experience of OG, I would have supported those saying it was radicals/anti-kyriarchials/feminists duties to get in there sort it out. By the time that I finally walked away from OG, I had learned that there was no point trying to stop people gunning for you by moving closer to the line of fire.

    My only worry is that with every progressive that moves away, the space becomes more patriarchal, racist and lizard-obsessed and that not only makes it more dangerous for those there or who visit, but reflects dreadfully on the movement as a whole, but I want nothing whatsoever to do with Occupy Glasgow and I quite understand where you are coming from.


    November 11, 2011 at 4:43 pm

  7. The Facebook thread and the disintegration within the Occupy Edinburgh camp itself is ample evidence that you are correct in your view – it is far, far cry from being a ‘safe space’ for many, and is nowhere near being ‘the change that I want to see’. I’ve discussed this many friends who were there on 15th October and most are agreed that the problem lies in the fact that although there were over 300 people there on the first day and a wonderful sense of empowerment and positivity this, sadly, very quickly descended into a battle of who can shout loudest at the GA’s. In the early weeks, and on Facebook, discourse is directed by a middle-aged, extremely egotistical male (mid life crisis?).
    There were no discussions on how to ensure equal voices, safe spaces and genuine consensus in the early GA’s as it was not seen as a priority. I saw one GA on an online stream where voices were raised (by men, just as an aside!) about ensuring the GA’s were structured to ensure everyone got an equal chance to speak. An agreement was made by ‘consensus’ to use this structure going forward and then, the next night, that agreement was completely disregarded as the same individuals self- propelled to try to dominate the discourse.
    This set things off on a disastrous footing and things have just deteriorated from there. This is why your Facebook post has generated such a lot of posts as it is finally addressing the fundamental problem with Occupy Edinburgh – it has merely recreated the power relationships that lead to the 1% we are all supposed to be railing against.
    I agree that Occupy Edinburgh as it stands is non-redeemable. The people who have assumed responsibility for it (the 1% of the 99%) show no sign of being willing to listen or change their ways. I think we should set up an alternative Occupy Edinburgh group both online and in substance that has the right founding principles from the offset. Equal voices, genuine listening, ever-watchful of patriarchy, no leadership (or assumed leadership), genuine humility. Love to all in the movement, even those who know not what they do.


    November 11, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    • So many times this. Thanks for commenting, Emily.

      Kate Harris

      November 11, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    • All the posted have now been deleted. I think the behaviour of the moderators of the OE site on facebook speak very loudly. I am getting ready to with draw my support and walk away too.
      What happened to transparency and freedom of speech? Your opinion is allowed and welcomed as long as it is the same as ours. Bull shit.


      November 11, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    • Quite…

      Kate Harris

      November 12, 2011 at 1:53 pm

  8. Well done Kate on not being silenced. There are only around 20 people at the St Andrew’s Square general assembly meetings – a tiny minority of the multiple thousands who support the worldwide Occupy movement in Edinburgh and surrounding areas. A few bad apples amongst that 20 certainly won’t be allowed to spoil this movement as a whole – it’s too big to fail.


    November 11, 2011 at 9:15 pm

  9. Please everyone scroll back up and re-read Rosalind’s post. There is a lot worth reading twice in it.

    For people to say Occupy Edinburgh is ‘unredeemable’ is really hurtful. Any ‘side’ is capable of ‘shutting down’ another, both on the screen, in the GA, and in one’s head. Rosalind is absolutely right that many of the folk on St. Andrew Square are doing this for the first time, trying to learn as they go. In the cold!

    Were you born a feminist? I wasn’t. If you believe in the inherent benefits of feminist approaches, find the patience, and dig up the resilience, to grasp the nettle of helping others to benefit from what you have learned.

    Ultimately, in some way, you yourself might be dismissing others on the basis of their supposed ‘weakness’.
    Is that feminist? I’m not trying to provoke, really, I just wonder if that makes sense.



    November 11, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    • I may not have been born a feminist but I was brought up as one. It is not a woman’s job to educate you it is your job to learn. Demanding they educate you about your privelige and insinuating it is their fault if they are not willing to do so and are marginalised as a result is one of the nastiest forms of derailing about. I went out and educated myself about my privelige (there are plenty of reading materials out there) I would suggest you search derailing for dummies for a starting point and then pass those resources and your knowledge with other guys.


      November 13, 2011 at 11:11 pm

      • Um….. ‘I may not have been born a feminist but I was brought up as one’. Isn’t that a bit like being taught it? Or did you bring yourself up? If you were brought up feminist, then that is your privelege. Please don’t invalidate the processes of others who are differently priveleged.

        Um… ‘it is your job to learn’: I reject the ‘job’ metaphor, but it is because I’m interested in learning that I encourage others to share views and knowledge with me. Am I supposed to learn in solitary confinement?

        Um… ‘I went out and educated myself about my privelege’. Good for you.

        ‘I would suggest you search…’ – Are you trying to educate me? Thank you, but it’s not your job. I guess I should ‘go out and educate myself’, like you did.

        ‘…pass those resources and your knowledge…’ This sounds rather like a soft demand that I teach others. But it’s not my job, course, to teach others. I should probably just let ‘other guys’ (thanks for that) fend for themselves when it comes to learning, eh?

        Derailment theory can be really helpful to begin to have insight into one’s priveleges and patterned behaviours etc. But it can also have a damaging effect on interpersonal dialogue too, in my opinion. The ‘Derailing for Dummies’ page is an example of this, in that it almost formalises a complete distrust of other people, building in perceptions of bad faith.

        This, our, interaction, is an example of that, combined with the walling effect of the screen.

        What I mean is that it becomes far easier to see people’s words as a ‘classic derailment’ than to have to actually listen to what they are saying without derailing them oneself! (Especially when we have the time to laboriously analyse each other’s every typed out word).

        Of course, this can all descend into a kind of solipcistic spiral, where no understanding seems possible at all, ‘trapped’ (or contained) as we are by our selves.

        I hope we can get around that.


        November 20, 2011 at 1:13 pm

  10. #EC No, I don’t think it is fair to try to create a moral equivalency here. Occupy Edinburgh camp in St Andrew’s Square is not-redeemable. Look at the latest reaction on the Facebook page. The 1% of the 99% have banned discussion of this topic, with the exception that the usual white, male, middle-aged voice and the male admin have allowed themselves the luxury to declare the issue to be a misconception and that this little misunderstanding (subtext: that these hysterical femi-nazis are getting so worked up about ‘calm down’) will be sorted out quickly on Sunday if you only visit our wonderful, sexist camp. They will not change their ways as their ignorance is so entrenched they cannot escape it. I do forgive them – actually I pity them as they are barely conscious, although I’m sure they like to claim they are ‘all for women’s rights’ when it seems politic for them to do so. I’ll be delighted to support another Occupy Edinburgh not associated with the current farce.


    November 12, 2011 at 11:22 am

  11. For interest, of the current top 2 Facebook threads one white, middle-aged, man accounts for 13 out of 30 posts in the first and 5 out of 18 in the second. He also happens to be the person calling for the link to this blog to be removed as the page is not ‘one person’s soapbox’.


    November 12, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    • Just, WOW. Oh dear…

      Kate Harris

      November 12, 2011 at 12:56 pm

  12. Golden rules:

    (1) Treat every human being with respect.

    (2) No conspiracy theories to be promulgated under the Occupy banner or debated on any of its websites. These are divisive and repel many potential supporters. This is not a question of “freedom of speech” (you can debate these things elsewhere) but of sensible strategy. Do you really want to influence people or not? There is enough generally accepted evidence out there about the unequal distribution of wealth. Stick to it.

    (3) No racism. (Learn the difference between Jewish and Zionist.)

    (4) No chauvinism. Learn to recognise when testosterone and the desire for status in the tribe is driving you, men. Take a deep breath (or several!) and look at your animal, genetically-programmed antics. Let your higher self take charge.

    Anyone who infringes these rules should be given one warning and on repeating the behaviour should be told to leave the movement. This includes abuse triggered by alcohol. Tolerating such behaviour does not help the individual address his problems. It also alienates potential supporters.

    I think moving from St Andrew’s Square could allow for a rebirth. There are enough of us willing to set aside our personal pet topics and look at what we all have in common to reform the movement. I have suggested we jointly approach all the religious organisations (and humanists) to ask them if they could make a building available (realistically the Scottish winter will defeat any outdoor occupation anyway). This could be a huge publicity coup and bring them all onside. It will at least compel them all to formally debate the issues and it would be a great story for the media.

    The Coffee Republic guy is part of the 99%. If you can’t see that and make amends with him then I shall formerly dissociate myself from the people who label themselves Occupy Edinburgh as I shall not be able to see you as being part of the global Occupy movement. I am part of the global movement. All those who have annoyed him should act in a mature manner and apologise in person.

    We should learn from Ruth (Anneruth) Strauss about consensual communication. She is offering her services free.

    This is not meant as an attack on the brave and enduring souls who have camped out night after night. (You deserve huge gratitude and recognition for what you have done.) It’s just a recognition that the movement is at a crucial turning point at the moment. It could implode or really take off. Our choice.

    Think, think, think!

    Am posting this on the Facebook page as well.


    November 12, 2011 at 1:21 pm

  13. P.S. Typo: for “formerly” read “formally”.


    November 12, 2011 at 1:27 pm

  14. I was curious about the camp, but kinda glad I decided not to attend the introduction day. Around 8 on Thursday I went for a look around and saw the high vis jackets and there where around 5 men who seemed really drunk and where arguing. I thought they must people from outside the occupation…shame to find out they where actual occupants.

    Great post I think I will unlike them on facebook.


    November 12, 2011 at 2:35 pm

  15. Hello all.
    First let me say that I have to agree with much of what I have seen expressed here. OE has gone bad and excuses of ‘it’s only our suchandsuch week’ or ‘we don’t know what we are doing as this is the first time we have done it’ don’t cut it for me. OE will be a month old very soon and there is little comparison to other Occupations of the same age?
    As for the ‘we don’t know we’re trying our hardest’ argument. If you don’t know something, seek advice from another. If another has a better ability to do a task than you. Let them to do it. Do not refuse to give any power away while at the same time stressing yourself out and making more and more major mistakes.

    It became apparent to me within the first few days that the camp was setting a trend of promoting bad habits. Drinking, drugs, uncleanlyness and dirty standards of living. My girlfriend very quickly came to feel unsafe on site while I continually struggled with trying to fit in with the clique of students and the other adults staying onsite. I camped the first night and two others over the next few weeks. The second time I camped I had all of my belongings picked up and thrown from one tent to another without any consoltation. All day I had been back and forth checking my stuff as the tent I had stayed in was on the edge of the camp with members of the public walking just feet away, the door also didn’t close on the tent. So can you imagine that horrible sinking feeling and flush of anger that swept over me when I discovered that everything was gone. This is not a feeling anybody should have to go through especially on an ‘all included making the world better’ protest site. My sleeping bag, rucksack, wallet, phone all just disapeared. It took me only a minute to find a member of the ‘Love Police’ who informed me that my stuff had been moved by the ‘guy who owned the tent.’ ‘There is no problem. End of discussion.’ This ‘guy who owned the tent’ even said to me some time later ‘yeah I saw your wallet, bet you were worried when you found it gone.’ *blank stare* He’s lucky I am commited to being non violent.

    Anyway. What am I trying to say here.
    Mostly that I don’t think there is any use in singling out one demographic of people who have been treated like they are not welcome by OE. It has happened to many different people for many different reasons. Whoever those people are and whatever the reasons for them feeling excluded the problems need to be sorted out. Fast.
    I find it disgusting that the general attitude of OE tends to be that if you have a problem with OE it is exactly that. Your problem and nothing to to with OE.

    I would also like to say that I was the first person to have their posts deleted from the FB group. As with the last post to get deleted (Kate’s), I was not abusive (angry certainly) and many other peoples very valid points were deleted along with mine. The reason for my post getting deleted was that I would not relent on the issue of alchohol fuled disrespect and the fact that the OE site was/and still is to some extent nothing but a party. The minority of ‘occupiers’ who had the power to shut me up and were also included umung those taking mushrooms on site and staying up till 4am drinking were the first to start ranting about how I was trying to divide and conquer. How I was setting a bad example. How I was bringing negativity to the group. After my post was vanished a few people I knew on site claimed they were disgusted that it had happened. ‘It’s terrible. It wont happen again. The person responsible should be held accountable! But what if the Police or Press had been reading the FB group? It was probably a good thing your post was deleted. We don’t want negativity around here.’

    I could rant for a week on all the problems with OE. I had such hope to join a global movement for change and was very quickly driven into a depressive state that is an echo of my childhood.
    I am not a Feminist. The only label I will give myself is Human. I was 7 when I first suffered bullying and phycological abuse. It was a group of girls who perpetrated my torture for several years. During my life I have been bullied and abused by people of all ages and genders. I do not agree with any notions of men are more violent than women (however men do have more ability for it due to obvious biological differences in body size). I do not agree with any notions of one gender should be dominant over the other. I have seen hatred and bigotry, alienation and gang mentality perpetrated right across the spectrum of Humanity on both sides of the globe. As a Human I accept we are all equal in our posibilities for acts of kindness and cruelty.

    But I did not expect to find such a close mined, ignorant and non self critical group of bullies hijacking what is supposed to be a movement for the people, by the people, for a better world of more equality for all and less corruption.

    I would be very happy to join an alternative Occupy Edinburgh. I cannot continue to suport OE in St Andrews Square though as I have been made to feel like an outcast for speaking my mind. My last night on site I volunteered myself to be a facilitator with another person for the upcoming GA, as it had been expressed to me that the same people were always incharge of GA’s and this needed addressing. Some 10 minutes before the GA was due to start I had members of the ‘Love Police’ bullying me by refusing to give me a key to the toilets as I had dared to try and enforce the ‘no smoking in the marqee poilcy’ (something the GA the night before had brough into effect but nobody was making happen). As nobody would give me a key I was forced to approch Mike (general finger in all the pies guy) and Kim (co facilitator for that night) to ask if they could wait while I went to find a toilet. Palm up to my face in a dismissive gesture Mike informed me ‘You’re not needed now’ before turning back to the conversation he was having.

    I support Occupy. But I do not recognise that Occupy Edinburgh is a part of the global Occupy movement. There are few parellels and many gaping fisures of difference.


    p.s How is it that the leader of the ‘Love Police’ believes that feminisim is evil and a ploy of Jewish bankers and there is a rumour of an outstanding warrant for his arrest yet he is still ‘integral to the movement’?


    November 12, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    • Hi there. It seems there are quite a few people who want to start an alternative occupation, so keep your eyes peeled.
      Really sorry about your experiences.
      By the way I don’t think men are inherently more violent, either – I think it’s socialisation that causes men to take on more violent forms of behaviour. And yes, women can definitely be abusive and violent. We can definitely agree that whoever it’s from or towards all violence, abuse and intimidation is disgusting and we won’t stand for it.
      All the best, Kate

      Kate Harris

      November 13, 2011 at 5:16 pm

  16. Hi Kate.

    Thank you so much for articulating this. Occupy Glasgow was rotten very early on, Occupy Edinburgh is also rotten. Let’s work together and sort this out. Solidarity. xx


    November 13, 2011 at 2:53 am

  17. —— was made an admin by Arban Ornelas Severin.
    So —- gets to have his finger in yet another pie. I thought this was a leaderless group?
    Who voted for him to get yet more power and sway on the opinion of OE?


    November 13, 2011 at 1:57 pm

  18. Yes I did notice that —- had now been made a Facebook admin 2 hours ago – so therefore rather than tackle the problems at OE they are increasing them. I have therefore taken the time to establish a new OE Facebook page – “Occupy Edinburgh Central”. If nothing else this will be a Safe Space. Please do share and join the group.


    November 13, 2011 at 4:48 pm

  19. Yep, there is absolutely no place for anti-Semitism. I hope you’re okay Colin.

    Kate Harris

    November 13, 2011 at 5:01 pm

  20. So let me summarize the current facts:

    1. a post was placed on fb by The Great —— saying there was a 20/1 male/female ratio at their camp meetings and asking for ideas on how to imrove this
    2. some women began to reply that patriarchy and sexism within the camp was a major problem and could be causing this
    3. these women were told to calm down, stop being negative and faced more misogynistic abuse
    4. these women’s posts were then removed, and they are now banned from the group.

    Deary me.


    November 13, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    • Maz, your summary might well help people to see a clear conflict, or make a perceived hypocrisy really stand out – but it also misses out some really valuable (essential?) complexity! These are ‘current facts’ only in the sense that the news presents current facts – it’s a selection, which tells a story (And I’m not saying it’s ‘true’ or ‘false’, one can’t – that’s kind of my point.)

      What happens when we ‘see’ patriarchy or sexism or hypocrisy or suppression or ignorance, rather than seeing the humans involved in it? Maybe it gives us mental clarity to ‘see’ these abstract nouns – but to do that is to give up at the first hurdle, the hurdle of actually having to communicate with people who see things differently from us.

      Does that make sense?


      November 14, 2011 at 4:17 pm

  21. If you are interested in working with a safe Occupy Edinburgh Central group please email your facebook name to We will add your name to the group and the email circle. Thanks, Emily


    November 13, 2011 at 7:37 pm

  22. I just tried to send an email to it and it failed to send.


    November 13, 2011 at 8:36 pm

  23. Sorry – please try again –


    November 13, 2011 at 8:51 pm

  24. Now up and running on fb – Occupy Edinburgh Central.


    November 13, 2011 at 9:06 pm

  25. Today I attended the ‘An inclusive, autonomous, radical space means …’ workshop down at the site. It seemed to go well enough other than a minority taking it upon themselves to attack the impartial facilitator. Accusations of ‘There were no problems here before the Feminist turned up.’ I deem this, in my regard, to be utter bullshit.
    What of the one malcontent who took it upon himself to try and disrupt the workshop with various antics culminating in shouting ‘Fashists!’ into a megaphone?
    The best way to deal with this situation, by persons unknown to me, seems to have been to give the offender of gross faux pas a ‘Love Police’ florescent jacket. A reward?


    November 14, 2011 at 1:01 am

    • Yes, I was the person facilitating that meeting. (And Tav if you’re who I think you are thanks for being such a calming presence!) It was a bit of a nightmare for me to run and wouldn’t really necessarily be able to say, that I left it feeling optimistic.

      I remain of the opinion that the basic problem is a lack of capacity, by which I mean experience (in running a clean camp, talking to the Cafe owner, in running a tranquillity team, a kitchen rota, having talked to a socialist before etc etc). Many of the people at the Occupation are there because they’re angry and confused about the present (international) political situation. That’s great! What an opportunity!!

      They’ll stay just angry and confused though, if they don’t want to, or learn how to, listen to and digest new ideas.

      After all, that’s what might help them develop a new perspective, right? Loose the sense of hopelessness, right? New ideas? And that’s what the meeting was meant to be about – how you create a space and atmosphere where everyone considers how they’re contributing to that important atmosphere. Possibly even getting on to ‘oh so the roles and inequalities we all experience slot together to the benefit of this 1% everyone talks about. RIGHT, so YOUR experience IS relevant to mine even though its very different, a ha’.

      I don’t really think that happened though, to much depth and its a long way off. There was some openness, a lot of huffiness, and a minority of explicit *explicit* hostility to talking about how we’ll make that atmosphere and reach out to bring this 99% together.

      That small minority’s anger was largely hung on anger that I had self identified as a feminist. And yes those people are very powerful within the camp and yes the megaphone thing happened.

      Its terrible, terrible shame, I don’t really know what to do. Some people on camp were literally begging me not to walk away, but some of the behaviour there was really unacceptable, I don’t really think I should put myself into the firing line again.


      November 14, 2011 at 11:58 am

  26. Wow, reading this as a Scot abroad is really sad. I’ve heard bits and pieces about OG, and the way they handled the rape was shocking. It’s just pretty sad that worldwide, there’s a widely anti-capitalist movement going on around the world and coming back to Scotland, I feel I can’t support either OE or OG in their current forms.

    I can say this though – the occupation in the city I live in, in Canada, seems like such a far cry from all this. Food tent is equal men and women, all working groups have representations from both sides. There was one meeting with some vets at one point with no women but that was called out and responded to appropriately. The GAs are generally pretty even, if not favoring women sometimes. I’ve camped there over night, and felt safe. I just get hugs from the security team when I see them. One person there had a tendency to marginalize people’s opinions, but everyone on camp agreed he was just an asshole. I felt my view here has been far more respected than in Scotland. Also, the only Jewish conspiracy theory I heard was from some kid giving me shit last night for saying I supported them while walking home. The Jewish dignity day here was treated with respect by the occupation, as was remembrance day and a memorial day for fallen policemen.

    I’m really proud of what the one here has done – no drink or drugs on site, street kids who swore at me at the start for not giving them cigarettes actually became polite and helped out; people that were cast aside from society were integrating, be trusted and learnt to trust again.

    I really hope a safe occupation comes around in both cities, though I actually don’t think occupations are essential to get the message out there any more – I think direct actions, for example, moving accounts to local banks/credit unions have send out a clearer message than the occupations themselves. I just see OWS it as an opportunity to send out a message to governments, banks and corporations together that we’re not happy with how things are, and have the support from around the world.


    November 14, 2011 at 4:56 am


    This is all great discussion – Colin you are articulate about the problems you see. I don’t think anyone expected Sunday’s discussions to be easy, and any suggestion (or interpretation of a suggestion) that such problems could be (completely) dealt with (whatever that means) at one workshop, is unrealistic.

    Rose was an excellent facilitator in difficult circumstances. I even overheard the people who’d felt she’d come with ‘an agenda’, say how good a facilitator she was. That is something, don’t you think?

    Although there are huge problems to work through, none of them adds up to making the occupation a write-off. How can it be? Many people feel that this is our final chance, that there’s this big wave to catch. This is a far bigger movement than just St. Andrew Square.

    If it’s for/by/of all of us – this 99% – then what choice do we have but to get stuck in, put our aspirations to work, and maintain patience? Starting alternative occupations only puts off having to face up to the real difficulties at hand.

    Does facing these real difficulties mean we sit at home writing about how unrepresentative and patriarchal our local occupation site is? Or does it mean we go there as much as we can, put our bodies on the square, put our muscles into the graft, put our smiles around our words, and put our ideals into practice?

    Doesn’t it mean we have to face up to unpleasantness? If we start another occupation site, it too will have to face up to the task of communicating with people living out this patriarchy – otherwise it will not be getting anywhere!

    Despite what you dub an irony, Colin!, Rose DID help people find their voice. Most of the voices were constructive, supportive, considerate. But plenty of the voices (the loudest) were shocking, outrageous, disruptive, and threateningly delivered. So with that in mind, is now the time to walk away from such fertile ground for increased understanding? I’m not being facetious.

    From the Occupy LSX Initial Statement: “The current system is unsustainable. It is undemocratic and unjust. We need alternatives; this is where we work towards them.” Where? Where else? On the ground, on the street, on the square.

    “This is where we work towards them” to me does not refer only to a physical place, but a period in time, and a community of people.

    “This is where we work towards them” doesn’t imply immediate results. What does ‘work’ mean to us? Occupy Edinburgh was a walk in the park, it wouldn’t be Occupying anything.

    Does any of this make sense?


    November 14, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    • *(last paragraph) “IF Occupy Edinburgh was a walk in the park…” x


      November 14, 2011 at 7:42 pm

  28. Sorry again, the email was successful but I still cannot find the FB group, could I have the link? If you don’t want to post it here, please could you email me at please :) thanks for all the effort of getting stuff going guys. I’m excited this discussion is great!


    November 14, 2011 at 8:58 pm

  29. Who is this posting under the name EC Edinburgh then? I thought that was all of us?


    November 14, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    • Sorry Rosalind I only just saw this post of yours. My name is Ed.


      November 15, 2011 at 12:34 pm

  30. Please search for us under the individual name “Occupy Ednburgh” – we’ve decided this is the best way foward for now. Please join us – we will al have an equal voice here.


    November 14, 2011 at 11:27 pm

  31. Typo! Please search for us under the individual name “Occupy Edinburgh” – we’ve think this is the best way foward for now. Please join us – we will all have an equal voice here.


    November 14, 2011 at 11:29 pm

  32. I think we feel the same really Colin. Clearly, at this exact moment, Occupy Edinburgh is not providing that setting for everyone.

    But re-read what you’re saying: “Given the current balance of power, I don’t see how it can.” Well then what on earth are we bothering with the global economic system for then? :-) If we really can’t imagine Occupy Edinburgh becoming the space it needs to be, then how should we feel about the massive task ahead of the movement as a whole? Impossible? Or possible? If it’s possible, then it encompasses all that we hope for for St. Andrew Square.

    There is a lot of labelling language flying around too! We hear strong feelings being expressed about Mike F., but how many of us can say we know or understand another enough, to say these things? He is a human being making his way in the world like the rest of us. But there is not a hint of what that really means, in the words written about him. Read them again: “Mr Egotist, white, middle-aged, last-chance-to-dance-politically man”. Is this a feminist approach? It’s not. This is sad, that a whole person has been reduced to this list. And why? Only to help you to give up on Occupy Edinburgh with a clean conscience? What would one’s own list say?

    I’m sorry if tone of voice is being lost here. I’m typing very gently and thinking about each sentence! I hope you can sense that I’m reaching rather than punching :-)


    November 14, 2011 at 11:47 pm

  33. grand track that.

    i got a bounce for the occupyedinburghsafely address; “Technical details of permanent failure: The email account that you tried to reach does not exist.”


    November 15, 2011 at 4:17 am

  34. you are the feature of your own reality sister, and this blog is full of your own negative outlooks on things. Sexism exists, it can’t just disappear for occupy edin. We all have struggles there, but if you care about the reasons people are gathering there you have to put your views forward and respect that they are living there and what might seem like a small issue to you is still important to them. Take your views to a meeting when it is relevant, and don’t just be a victim. It’s not fair to rant about people in such a negative way when you didn’t give them a chance to hear your views and respond to them first. You have chosen the defeated, victim path. The reality is, sexism, racism, abuse of power, idiotism and all the rest, exists and you either deal with it or run away. but that is our culture and if we their everybody out that WE don’t like then who are we? I would throw you out, you would throw me out. You will find sexism everywhere, and accusing groups based on a few people will get you no where. It’s the real works in there, you should have gone back and dared to give those people a chance to respond.


    November 15, 2011 at 8:34 am

    • that is supposed to say ‘ throw’ out , and ‘ real world’


      November 15, 2011 at 9:08 am

  35. sexism exists in the real world, I don’t know why you think it wouldn’t in OE. You can’t just delete or throw away the ones you don’t like our get on with, our what would that make you? Who says you are right about everything and they are wrong about everything, they could use the same rule and throw you out. Nd neither would be healthy. so what can you do? blogging about it only helps your cause, it does not help the occupy cause. It’s hurtful to group them all together like that in a monologue like this. You only gave a few examples, of possible sexism..that will happen in every square inch of the uk. Respect the fact that some smaller subjects do also mean alot to people and that there is sometimes a better meeting our time to put your views forward, and give people a chance before slagging them off. It’s such a noble cause, and all you do is achieve being the victim and pining the finger at them all. If you want change, you have to be there not run away and shouting ‘bully’ art a group ofpeople.


    November 15, 2011 at 9:04 am

    • again, ‘pointing the finger’, sorry for annoying typo’s


      November 15, 2011 at 9:10 am

  36. due to my phone, I posted twice and various typo’s, sorry.


    November 15, 2011 at 9:06 am

  37. Could the person calling themselves EC please state their actual name.


    November 15, 2011 at 10:18 am

    • Sorry! It’s not a secret! It’s Ed.


      November 15, 2011 at 12:36 pm

  38. Its shit like this that led me to part company with the Edinburgh Socialist movement ten years ago. More than a whiff of authoritarianism seething below the allegedly right-on surface.

    If we keep moving between left and right, we will never more forward.

    Jamie Stanton

    November 15, 2011 at 10:59 am

  39. The Facebook group is called “Occupy Edinburgh” (person). Please befriend us – we value Safe Spaces. Really.


    November 15, 2011 at 3:19 pm

  40. n.b. so i don’t end up sounding unhinged above, i was referring to a symphony of science track posted in an off-topic post which has since been removed.


    November 15, 2011 at 3:44 pm

  41. Ed – the reason voices have been raised in anger against —– is because many of us joined this movement on the basis that it had no leadership and would operate by consensus. Instead Occupy Edinburgh has a self-imposed, de-facto ‘leader’ who has tried to create a camp he never sleeps at in his own image, and a Green party type-campaign in his own image. If you take time to ask, I think you’ll find most of the people camping agree on this point, as well as the wider Occupy Edinburgh online community. I agree with Colin and will not be surprised to see Mr —– having a run out as a Green Party MSP candidate in future. I didn’t join this worldwide movement to massage someone’s ego or facilitate a selfish political campaign by one person, I joined because I want fundamental change in the economic system, and an end to patriarchy.
    Written by lightly and delicately typing, and certainly no punches. These are just some uncomfortable truths which must be addressed for the greater good of Occupy Edinburgh.
    Please join us at Occupy Edinburgh (person) on Facebook – we’re growing fast!


    November 15, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    • I said I wasn’t going to post here again, but here I am.

      I stopped posting here because of the exact reasons I gave – not because of the reason you gave: “Colin has now left this blog because he realised his comments about me were unfounded.” My opinion of you had absolutely nothing to do with my decision not to post here.

      You don’t speak for me. I speak for myself.

      Anyone who wants to contact me, can do so via

      This really is my lost post in this thread.


      November 22, 2011 at 6:31 pm

  42. From the community page on facebook.
    ‘Here in Edinburgh, we have had a communicative and productive relationship with our neighbours in St. Andrew Square, with Essential Edinburgh and with Lothian and Borders Police. The Square has become an important forum for discussing and campaigning against the injustices of the current system, but our continuing presence is not guaranteed.’

    1 out of 10 Politicians cannot afford this kind of spin.


    November 15, 2011 at 11:52 pm

  43. Joseph Stalin would be proud of the Occupy Edinburgh facebook group as it is now. Only positive stories and comments about Occupy Edinburgh allowed, ‘liked’ by the admins who are allowed to post the stories.
    Wow – that’s really quite embarrassing.


    November 16, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    • Just to explain the reasons behind the recent changes in the facebook page – it was failing as a way of communicating the events, announcements, media links and photos, because ongoing threads were constantly being bumped to the top (because they were so lively).

      The fb page was never intended to be a long-term forum space (facebook is a useless forum! Things get lost, forgotten, repeated, ignored), and now a proper forum has been set up on the .org site.


      November 17, 2011 at 12:38 am

  44. Spin. Yes I have similar feelings.

    Ed (is that the blonde guy who was on the blue couch at the sunday meeting yea?) I really hear what you are saying – how about you run the next workshop! I’ll come if you do!

    Despite the now centralised control over a FB page called ‘Occupy Edinburgh’, ‘Occupy’ as a movement remains there for the taking. It isn’t restricted to St A’s Sq.

    ‘Occupy’ as s concept is really interesting because it functions on at least 3 levels I reckon.

    There’s the symbolic idea of ‘Occupy’ which is really about protesting against inequality, demanding alternatives and by extension having to think differently and learn. In some cities, there’s an Occupy site, where some folk camp out, and many more drop in/organise around it. Its not actually about tents.

    Here in Edin, there’s a burgeoning trend of off-site meetings. I’ve heard they have been very productive and have had a totally different atmosphere, (and just as an aside have been female dominated). I’m going to check these out. In environments like this I can learn/organise/express something. I think this may be where the real spirit of the Occupy movement is to be had and there’s nothing as yet stopping anyone whacking up a FB page for an Occupy Off Site Meeting, emailing events and getting on with running an actual safer space for a couple of hours at a time. Yay for that.

    Marveling at the absurdity of being told by self deluding onsiters ‘yeah we’re doing pretty well really’: whilst other people in the room shout fascist at me with a megaphone isn’t really the best use of my time and political energy! [I’ve done it twice now. Now it’s Eds turn, I’m sure he’s got the patience and political will for it, and I’ll come and back him up when he does. Perhaps taking up the mantle again after that if asked. ] Meeting with someone who’s running a successful credit union, or tenants association, or a newspaper and thinking about what I can learn however, is. On the whole, I don’t really feel that the space in St A’s Sq is functioning as a forum or a place of learning and the reasons have much to do with bog standard human frailty.

    Running a meeting in a tent is actually fairly pants. And doing a 24/7 outdoor occupation is an exhausting, business on so many levels. Its probably often cold and wet, with no electricity, water, or internet. I’m sure sometimes boring and probably at times interpersonally claustrophobic. So its easy to get wrapped up the symbolic idea of occupying and ‘unity’ instead of learning much or reaching out to every activist network under the sun and saying ‘hey come do a workshop on whatever you want…’ . Its also a very self-selecting clique of people who can participate in a campsite that much. Most people in full time work with a family for example can only pop down once or twice a week max. Working full time isn’t a self selecting characteristic though and actually those people are arguably a more important group 99%-ers for the political future of any city/country/world.

    So I think really we probably shouldn’t assume that the people on site are as important as they reckon, including the aggressive ones. So Isla, there are certain points you make which on a level I agree with. ( I wasn’t totally sympathetic to the people crying intimidation till I’d been on the receiving end and saw what is actually happening.There’s power dynamics amongst the campers is a cross between Lord of the Flies and Tom and Jerry. ) There is indeed no need to let those folk stop us from getting on with our own efforts to reach out to each other, but bothering with them isn’t in my opinion terribly important when there are so many reasonable people out there. There’s 2000 likes and 600 members on Occupy Edin FB, why let 4-15 individuals get all our attention?


    November 16, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    • You may want to contact Claire Spiers – she organised the first two ‘off-site’ meetings, and the third is in a few days: There was a lot of positivity flowing from the people who went along so far (I didn’t make it). Like you say, people who want to Occupy, getting on and making it happen regardless of their ability (or not) or desire (or not) to either camp at St A Sq, or even to go there. Just Occupying everywhere :-)

      You mention the feeling of the square (not yet) being a decent (enough) forum or place of learning. You envision the place being frequently attended by people experienced in things like credit unions, tenants associations, etc, imparting their knowledge, and the square being a focal point from which to reach out to every existing activist network. You also quite rightly point out how the physical difficulties of camping in an unplumbed city park during the winter are mitigating against these things becoming reality, when leccy comes from a two-stroke generator, and there’s no permanent web access.

      The good news, I think, is that these feelings and hopes are shared by a good number of people who are working on them right now. The idea of a new space, set aside for learning/workshops, is being pursued at this very moment. If the space is good, and built and kept with care, then it will become a great hub for the movement in Edinburgh. The suggestion of a Folk University is one of many.

      I reckon you’re right to caution against the camp locking down and becoming obsessed with ‘unity’ and the symbolic act of simply occupying, and having no time to reach out. At a fringe ‘media’ meeting after GA this evening, I was personally really reassured that there are loads and loads of people hungry to get these things happening, with skills and experience too. I urge everyone who wants to see this be all it needs to be, to help it happen.

      Not only that, but the issue of permanent on-site internet access looks like being solved within a few days too. And following (no spin here!) productive and communicative negotiations with Essential Edinburgh, it looks like there will soon be some sturdy shelters where valuable kit can be locked up when not in use. This was in relation to preparations for the Xmas events in the Square. Look out for an alternative, buy-nothing, peace & justice Christmas Market-of-Ideas :)

      I am that Ed. If you think I could run a workshop following on from the last, drop me a line. Or see you at the off-site meeting perhaps. I’d like to know how you see the workshops progressing, especially given the difficulties of the last one! Message me on facebook Edward Coulson (picture of a swallow in a grey sky).


      November 17, 2011 at 1:25 am

      • Sorry Rose, I see you are already Attending, and probably know Claire already.


        November 17, 2011 at 1:30 am

  45. First of all, I would like to thank Rosalind for facilitating the workshops, you were brilliant under highly stressful circumstances. Also, great comment – it summed up all I had to say…
    My comment concerns a few posts made above about supposed ”victimization” and shouting bully”; a very surprising and might I add, illogical attitude.

    The entire issue (the conflicts and frustrations which arose, and frankly, described literally what the problem is) can be viewed terms of power structures, where masculine domination and intimidation is taken as a given (!!). It is essentially erroneous to ask for vulnerable / marginalized / inferior groups to ”try harder” to fit into an unequal system that produced their inferior position in the first place anjd ”stop being victims”.
    A collective transformation is needed but those who need to change primarily are the dominant and oppressive individuals. Same goes with other types of privileges like white privilege or class privilege etc. In this case it’s the (white) masculine privilege taking over and dominating – in a supposedly autonomous space which becomes a metaphor for social relations and paradoxically becomes oppressive to women and other vulnerable individuals under the pretense of being an anti-hierarchical, anti-capitalist movement etc.
    While it has been argued that this is ”a random collection of people, therefore you can expect them to have all sorts of attitudes”, I really do not see how sexism, bullying, intimidating and abusive behavior can be viewed as some form of ”opinion” like legitimately relevant ‘climate change discussions’ or the ‘economic crisis’.
    Writing off important topics like the intimidated, vulnerable and marginalized individuals (or telling them to DEAL with it, because ”sexism exists everywhere) only perpetuates a system of inequality that produced white male privilege in the first place – this attitude does nothing to facilitate a positive change.

    However, I am glad that a discourse did develop from all of these experiences and I am thankful to the individuals who showed support, understanding and the crucial importance of a positive constructive dialogue and self-examination.
    Keep fighting the good fight! :)


    November 16, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    • I’d just like to clarify that I said ‘deal with it’ in the literal sense. Not put up and shut up as people use the term today. Deal with it rather than bitching about people before giving them a chance to respond to the issues. Being positive rather than negative. Sexism is a big scarey word and if it was said at the meeting people would have responded with concern and would have to consider it. Though as always many people would disagree – the problem would still have to be addressed. That is what I call not being a victim, and what I mean by dealing with it. Perhaps I should write things more clearly in future but that is what I meant.


      November 17, 2011 at 5:59 pm

  46. Off-site meeting is this SUNDAY THE 20th, at 8PM, at Brass Monkey. Event page:


    November 17, 2011 at 1:29 am

  47. Oh that is odd Colin. I was actually shown it last night on a computer. I guess it’s not fully live yet, hope it won’t be too long :(


    November 17, 2011 at 1:04 pm

  48. Please join our Safe Space group on Facebook where we also encourage real debate x


    November 17, 2011 at 1:14 pm

  49. Occupy Edinburgh critics
    Please let me share my little “essay” here, as there is no option of sharing it publicly elsewhere (if you don’t count talking to people – I have spoken about some issues with many people and I am open to discuss about what I write; or writing this as comment under some of the post on FB). I hope it will be constructive rather than just all-over blaming. However I feel anger about things and therefore the obvious subjectivity and bias… I consider myself part of the Occupy movement and I am not happy with the state of things at St. Andrew’s Square. I want improvement, not disbandment. However unbelievable this might be, I am trying to help. But if there won’t be any improvement and no issues will be addressed, maybe disbandment is better than something that further damages the movement. I can understand defensive positions of people who are actually in cold conditions there and I appreciate their will and skills. You DO a lot of GREAT things, BUT, you guys are NOT doing EVERYTHING that great. And some things sucks a lot, otherwise I would have stayed longer and/or come back camping again… When I write about OE, I mean usually the camp and impression from the atmosphere created by some individuals – NOT EVERYONE, hope you’ll get my ideas from the context.

    OE is… (really?)
    1. movement with no leaders
    In the beginning I criticised —- for having too many responsibilities and therefore too much power. Answer was: “That is only for now, I do these things because I have experience. Later tasks will be distributed”. I think that it kind of happened with new and new tasks. Although the important ones remained in the right hands. But that it not just about one man and it is not just about tasks. Some people have a bigger power than others. There is a hidden hierarchy which is more difficult to expose, especially due to the nature of social relationships and no clear border between respect and authority. The best we can do about this is a self-reflection (and let this be a little tool) and displaying suspicious things. Another example of power is now well-known behaviour of aggressive defending of decisions made by couple of people, often targeting those who question it. Some moderation of the facebook page is also considered by some as censorship. In other words political will of individual/group of individuals to suppress voice of questioning/disagreement of their own decision or behaviour, from within a broader movement. This situation led to closing the facebook page, which often functioned as discussion forum. Since then it is clear that power in the movement have only those who are involved in camping in St. Andrew Square, and it gives even more power to people who have right to publish there (as well as those who can publish on website, although I believe that stuff what is put there is agreed by GA, someone might have a power over not to put in there, e.g. opinions – do not look there for this site)… It is also necessary to highlight that with restricting (it is still possible to discuss under posts) the mean of communication between people involved in camping and/or being active in working groups, the movement is closing doors even more to people who do not feel safe or good in camp or/and can only attend random general assemblies/off-site meetings.

    2. anti-system / anti-capitalist movement
    The only real goal of OE so far is the Robin Hood Tax. I won’t analyse to details my opinions about its ineffectiveness and note that in current climate banks will take back their profits from their customers or state or will risk even more, but let me say I do not see anything anti-system or anti-capitalist in there. If RHT goes though the banks and governments will still be on the same side, people will be still exploited by 1%, they only may hope that some of the “tax-the-rich-money” will leak to them. So actually I believe RHT is pro-capitalist, just social-democratic/Labour or however you call “left wing” of mainstream politics. Never mind that people realise that money in current form mean nothing else than debt, so why would we want more of such debt? There is nothing revolutionary about the whole idea. The other important thing is that there was created a connection of OE with Green Party. It is difficult to say if the Greens want to co-opt movement, gain popularity or something similar, but I believe it is never good to affiliate with ANY political party if you want to be movement against the system. By the way here I suspect Mike’s interest of turning the OE into the ecological movement or simply strengthen the Greens. I would not be surprised if I see him as their candidate in next elections;-) I would also be careful with connection to Church of Scotland. Although I am (maybe naively) believing their sincerity in helping the cause, religion is very often political, too, and might want to persuade own interests. Just for explanation I do not say that this step is right or wrong, I say “Alert, danger here”! Whatever, it is important to be complex and think out of the box (system), not to try to repair it, but replace it. Otherwise we can create “Revolutionary party of slow progress within the current law”…:-)
    3. inclusive movement
    Some people like each other and living together in a camp gave them a sense of “family” or more exactly “small community”. Therefore those defend each other from questioning and many times behave towards people who cannot or do not want to participate in the same extent as themselves as outsiders. Such behaviour is excluding by default, never mind keeping the power only within the “insiders”. The big problem is that some people within the campers (let’s name at least Kenny and highlight some people who do “Love policing”) behave and talk in such manner that is abusive and therefore excluding. The other big problem to inclusiveness is alcohol/drugs-based behaviour. More about it later. Because the lack of [human] resources campers might be involving new people willing to stay – in case they are willing to accept certain things. Unfortunately those who are anti-social or abusive are defended because of similar opinions, friendships, defending against outsiders, fear of further deepened lack of [human] resources, simply ignorance or most likely mix of these factors. Again little bit of logic: “including exclusion means exclusion”, “excluding exclusion means inclusion”, for understanding maybe do the simple math: [0]+[-1]=[-1] ; [0]-[-1]=[+1]. Camp needs to be abuse-free space and it does not mean only that there is some safe space policy written down. It needs to be strictly adhered to, otherwise it is just a piece of paper and nothing else. Before personal opinions about feminism or people from different countries deciding “the path of Scottish movement” think if nationalism/racism and sexism/chauvinism are desirable and not abusive behaviour. If you think they are, people who behave in such manner do not adhere to safe space policy and need to be kicked off, otherwise the space is not safe in the reality. Easy and simple, when you have guts to do it… It did not happen and that is why Sunday’s workshop was a total disgrace: humiliation of those who came to express their opinion that they do not feel safe and/or were abused in the camp and win of the bullies. And that is [one of the reasons] why the guy from Coffee Republic is so pissed off with OE.

    4. political movement
    I do not say OE is not political, but I say it had much bigger potential. For some people it is also every-day party, which involves not only drinking and smoking weed, but also increasing self-esteem by feeling of “being revolutionary in this time”. Maybe some people even feel superior than others who “did not wake up yet”, but who knows. Not only that behaviour caused by drunk people inside tent does not make camp more attractive to both “outsiders” and some people within the movement, but further alienate them from the campers. It also contradicts a political dedication of camp. I do not say that people involved in OE should not have a life (and I am not judging alcohol or other drugs), but they should not drink/smoke/whatever in the camp, if it is to be a political space.

    What next? My tips:
    ‘We need to clean the gun before we start to shoot, otherwise we might miss the target.’
    • accept that there are problems and do not try to hide them
    • understand that the genuine atmosphere of camp would be much better PR than front page in Scotsman, because most of the people who are really interested in the movement do not trust the mass media or filter them anyway (it does not mean writing the shit to mass media, but not cutting communication channels with people) – maybe create separate facebook discussion page or finally add forum onto web pages
    • talk, argue, experience anger or other emotions, then calm down, try to empathise, talk again… (circle) until some solution appears; learn how to communicate effectively and if possible assertively (not that I would be an expert:-))
    • immediately start applying safe space policies, act upon that, kick people who are not complying
    • think and talk more about what do we want and how we want to achieve it: short-term, mid-term, long-term — discuss various tactics and strategies, it is always better to be prepared



    November 17, 2011 at 5:51 pm

  50. If —– does ever stand for Green MSP I’ll personally ensure he is not elected by publicising this blog widely. I’ve been heavily involved in the Green Party for years and it’s fair to say our Mikey’s not got many fans so it’ll be some time before he’s appearing on a hustings near you!


    November 18, 2011 at 2:33 am

  51. I’m sorry that the comments are personally critical, if you took anyone to court for slander you’d be laughed out though.
    I’ve spent very little time at Occupy Edinburgh but enough to show me the dominance of *some* men, including yourself, ‘security’, and enough time to see the hostility to outsiders, particularly critical outsiders.

    If you don’t rotate around the group anything that could be possibly construed to be a position of power – even if that’s just wearing a reflective jacket – you end up with grim social dynamics.
    If ‘outsiders’ are dismissed because they haven’t been there enough, and people can’t take any criticism, things will stagnate and deteriorate.

    It’s unfortunate that these things couldn’t have been stopped sooner.

    Kate Harris

    November 19, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    • Got confused with the ‘reply’ and ‘post’ sections on this blog so may have put up a long reply but it’s currently being ‘moderated’ so should arrive in a little while.

      In the meantime, I’d just like to point out that as I stayed late on the camp last night, am a 19 year old girl and was slightly worried about walking home alone, the security team arranged for one of them to walk me home, if these are the ‘sexist… dominant… grim’ people you are talking about then you obviously haven’t even bothered to talk to or get to know any of them.
      And I don’t judge you for that (ok, I do a little), but more so I feel sorry for you as you are missing out on getting to know a beautifully diverse, caring, open and compassionate group of people.


      November 20, 2011 at 2:34 pm

      • again, I’ll make the point that just because you have had a good experience does not mean that our negative experiences did not happen or are any less valuable. as happy as I am that some people (women) think it’s positive and feel they have been treated equally, respectfully etc, that does not mean that there are not still prejudices at play, it doesn’t mean that discrimination and inequality and sexist behaviour doesn’t exist in the camp, it just means that they haven’t experienced it, or possibly noticed it or had a problem with it.


        November 20, 2011 at 9:31 pm

      • Or that there never was any inequality, sexism in the first place and your just reading a piece of slandering misinformed lies. It disgusts me Kate, can’t believe you wrote this crap. Lucky I went to the camp and spoke to the people on camp about it.

        You have sent lies to the news paper, no wonder every one thinks your crazy shame I didn’t see it before.


        November 21, 2011 at 5:06 am

      • Not sure where you’re coming from here. The points Kate brought up here are mostly based on her personal experiences and firsthand accounts of others. That hardly counts as “lies” in my opinion.

        As far as the accusation of Kate being “crazy” is concerned, I’d have to say that accusation is both immature and totally ridiculous. If bringing up issues of inherent sexism, patriarchy and misogyny is “crazy” then a mental institution seems like a better model of society than the outside world. If you want to find out the definition of “crazy” you should talk to some of the people involved in OE about lizard people and Jews who run the world. I’d direct you to the OE fanpage to give you an example but that stuff has all been deleted by a guy who, just last week, asked if any of the “girls” wanted to brew up some tea. What a class act.

        Also, just to clarify, Kate did not go to the media about this. They chose to write a story about it themselves. I’m sure Kate would have preferred to not get all this attention seeing as she’s not a rabid egotist, as some of those running OE have proven themselves to be.

        Jacob Bloomfield

        November 21, 2011 at 7:07 pm

  52. As far as I’m concerned ‘saving the planet’ means overthrowing patriarchy and sexism.
    As much as some of the stuff you’ve done has been great, it might help to step back for a bit and indulge in some self-reflection. I don’t know you but I do know that when people criticise me my immediate reaction is to go on the defensive – it is everyone’s immediate reaction.

    It’s not just up to you to save the world, if you stop taking things all on your own shoulders so much then
    1. you’d be less stressed
    2. you’d feel less resentful towards others who don’t put in as much time or energy
    3. you’d be more inclusive of other people
    4. you’d have time to think about the effect your actions can have on others

    Take a step back for a few days, come back when you’re refreshed.
    You don’t need to take on all of the problems of the 99%!

    Kate Harris

    November 19, 2011 at 4:22 pm

  53. Well I think we can at least ALL agree what an honour it is for Kate to have the great man himself post on your blog.

    —– – I found your posts are quite revealing.

    1. “trying to ***manage*** such a diverse group is not easy.” I’m glad you do admit you are trying to manage the group. That’s one major point cleared up.

    2. if similar comments were made at a previous camp you didn’t camp at have you considered:
    a. that there may well be some truth to them?
    b. apologising and leaving Occupy Edinburgh to those who can treat each other respectfully?
    c. spending some time examining your own behaviour before getting involved in any other causes to try to change other peoples?

    3. every individual I’ve spoken to both online and offline who is involved with Occupy Edinburgh has a fascinating and varied life experience they can refer to. Most are sensible enough to wait until they are asked to share these pearls of wisdom with the group. Your previous experiences give you no greater say than anyone else. That is consensus.

    4. As a feminist, I find your comments about “attending our GAs” a tad condescending as they are not a safe space for all the reasons that have been outlined above.

    5. Please calm down. We do not appreciate negative comments on our blog. Your comments have now been removed and you are banned.
    Sound reasonable? Thats exactly how you treated Kate on Facebook

    Our paths have crossed on several occasions previously so I do hope you are in good health Mike. I hope you don’t mind if I ask again that you maybe look inward for a while prior to embarking on any more world-saving activities.

    Love and peace,

    Maz x

    “trying to manage such a diverse group is not easy.”


    November 19, 2011 at 6:00 pm

  54. Wow – does this man know no shame?


    November 19, 2011 at 6:28 pm

    • Are you actually being serious —-? you don’t think overthrowing patriarchy and sexism is important? wow.


      November 20, 2011 at 11:22 pm

      • Didn’t you say you were going to stop commenting about fifty comments ago? Maybe you should’ve stuck to that plan, as you’ve only managed to dig yourself a deeper hole. But, hey, at least digging that hole is potentially the first time you’ve done manual labor without asking a woman to do it for you, so nice work.

        Jacob Bloomfield

        November 21, 2011 at 7:11 pm

      • (The first comment was in response to Fem and the second in response to —–, just to clarify).

        Jacob Bloomfield

        November 21, 2011 at 7:12 pm

      • “Plain for all to see how you twist words”

        offensive and gaslighting.



        November 22, 2011 at 12:48 am

      • Lets just take a step back and reflect on this: why have such a reaction? Have you read HER posts – or any of the constructive criticisms ones? Your reactions can be viewed as outrageous simply because of blind defensiveness and me-isms.
        Surely you wanted to comfort Bethany and make her feel better – touching one’s arm can be a natural gesture of support in our culture – but she explicitly said that you ”invaded her personal space” and gave very serious (and quite upsetting) reasons as to why she feels like this. Wouldn’t any decent person apologize and express legitimate concern instead of endless streams of defensiveness and erasure of experience?


        November 22, 2011 at 2:32 pm

      • I think you’ve said your piece, and dug yourself a great big hole in the process. Kindly leave this blog alone now. After saying you were leaving, you keep posting and Gmail informs me that you’re now following my blog. It’s a public blog but unless you have anything new or interesting to say I’ll probably be deleting your posts from now on. There’s been enough gaslighting and experience -denying bullshit.

        From one human being to another, please take some time out to reflect upon your actions and think about something other than grandstanding politics. Read Kate Millett and other feminist authors and try to imagine what life would be like had you grown up as a girl/woman. Listen to women when they tell you their experiences. Read my blog post called ‘Stop talking about rape and start listening.’ You may find it shocking how common sexual harassment and assault are, as well as the fact that many women and girls have been having to go through it from a very young age.

        Kate Harris

        November 22, 2011 at 2:54 pm

      • I had a long and productive chat with Mike today which had a good outcome. As far as I’m concerned our differences arose out of a misunderstanding, and all is resolved.


        November 23, 2011 at 6:17 pm

      • Can you specify, please? I don’t know I have some kind of wrong feeling that “all is resolved” might mean “let’s not talk about this any more”…:-/


        November 25, 2011 at 2:30 pm

      • I’d rather not give any details, as it was a private one-to-one chat, but the specific concerns I raised were talked about at length, and I feel it was very productive. I didn’t go into anybody else’s issues, as I don’t have any right to. I’m definitely not suggesting that people don’t discuss anything – it’s just that I’ve arrived at a point where I feel I’ve said enough. What other people do about their concerns or grievances is up to them.

        Just for the purpose of clarity: I don’t wish to be involved with Occupy Edinburgh in any capacity, and won’t be taking part in any of it’s activities at any time. After being involved for a while, I’ve decided it’s not for me – not the road I want to go down, and not the vehicle I want to travel in.

        To be honest, I just want to forget about the whole thing.


        November 25, 2011 at 5:22 pm

      • It’s rather how I am feeling Colin. I went down to the site tonight for a peek. Saturday night and the camp was pretty quiet (I had expected there might be music or workshops or something) except for the people drinking and the lingering smell of weed coming out of tents.
        Same old, same old. Nothing has changed. So why should I waste my time?


        November 26, 2011 at 10:12 pm

      • I dont EVER follow orders from bullies. Have you ever noticed that bullies tend to get hyper-defensive when their threatening behaviour is publically challenged? —- has really shown himself up to be exactly what he is here.

        Much love to Bethany and the progressive people in Occupy Edinburgh. We will no longer be silenced! x


        November 22, 2011 at 5:01 pm

  55. this really has gotten out of hand, isnt the occupy movement about coming together, finding a common ground and making the world a better place? all this anger is detramental to the movement and yourselfs. Ive been in the camp since the start and i find this all really offensive. We are the ones occupying. We are here creating a platform so you can express your voices and “have your say”. Most of you i have never seen on camp, or only seen once and it really isnt fair to the campers for any of you to have such ignorant, short sighted views. You all just sit behind your computer and argue and critisise, why not come down and make the change happen. If you have an issue with the camp come down and talk about it, you WILL have a voice.

    There are soo many lovely people in the camp who you are treating like shit, and i find it sickening, you preach this and that, yet you allow your actions to cause great riff’s within the occupy community, and once again, rather than coming down and enacting the change you wish to see, you hide behind your keyboards.

    This is all nonsense and i think that most of you should feel ashamed with yourself’s.

    Liam -The Love Police


    November 19, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    • How many posts did you read before posting this Liam?


      November 22, 2011 at 6:21 pm

  56. Both men and have been cooking in the kitchen, but from this photo its clear these are not females. Maybe I will create a facebook page complaining that males are being forced to work in the kitchen or wrote very misinformed piece of information about the camp being anti-whatever..

    Creating a page titled de-occupy Edinburgh is ridiculous! This is perfect example of attempts to ruin what all the occupations that are working for throughout the world, trying to make the world a better place but first you have to accept there are problems in society. They exist within you, with me, with everyone and if we cannot face them directly and move forward it.

    Every safe space created is never going to be safe, regardless what happens nothing is sacred. The blog begins to make me see that you Kate are Pro-Capitalist and you never wanted the Occupy movements to rise up. I can’t see why you would spend your resource on this, when the real enemy is standing atop of this laughing at how we are all fighting among ourselves!

    The thing we have now as people as the 99% is to unite together for a better future, a future that we can only accomplish if we unite together. Its going to be tough, maybe you going to be afraid but in the end all that matters is our love and compassion for one and other and that exists here in the camp.

    “For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love” Carl Sagan

    Oh I’ve notice you made comments only through approval, that is purposeful censorship. I can only ponder if this comment appears or not..

    An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it.


    November 19, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    • I’m pro-capitalist?

      Go and sort yourself out, criticising something for being sexist doesn’t make me pro-capitalist.

      Kate Harris

      November 22, 2011 at 12:57 am

  57. I’m really disappointed that Occupy Edinburgh has gone the same way as Occupy Glasgow, together with the lack of reflection of the occupiers. The idea that you are creating or faciliting a platform and that people should be grateful for it is dreadfully arrogant. Humility would not go amiss and standing back and looking carefully at why people who should be your natural allies arent supporting you, and rather than making demands “come to the camp and discuss”, “help us make it better” – reach out – make connections with other orgs, unions, events.

    I dont know why the Scottish Occupies have been such a disaster, or if in actual fact the reports of similar issues all over are just amplified in ones which I am close to, but a physical occupation is a *tactic* not an end, and its not looking like a good tactic to me.


    November 19, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    • Mhairi it simply is true that a platform has and is being created. There are forums, workshops, working group meetings, events. An occupation is a tactic, I guess. But it’s not just to camp out. Part of the point is to use the space constructively – Ruth Strauss and others are pushing forward with plans for a Folk University – a dedicated space to house the lectures and workshops that have already started happening.

      You say humility wouldn’t go amiss, then criticise someone for suggesting you ‘help us make it better’.

      You say ‘reach out’. If you were getting your boots muddy and actually making positive contributions instead of sniping, you would know that the group is reaching out: Kim’s spoken at union conferences, garnered support, others have met with church leaders, we’ve made connections with student activist groups to build the reach of events. These things don’t happen overnight, but linking with other groups who we can share goals with and learn from – these are a high priority for many in the camp.

      Your standards are too high, too fast. Others on this thread have made really valuable comments, constructive criticism, insightful, thoughtful, challenging expressions of a desire to build on what there is, have patience, share skills and perspectives with others. Your comments came far too easily to your fingers, you were writing the words because the phrases had power, but they miss their mark. You don’t seem to want to see the good in others’ efforts.

      This is not to say it is perfect – it is certainly a beginning of work in progress. The arrogance I see here is in people who supposedly have a clear idea of the kind of space they’d like to see, expecting others to do it for them (from a standing start), and sniping at them from their keyboards. It’s bloody hard pal.

      You say “I don’t know why the Scottish Occupies have been such a disaster”. At this point, I’m sorry, but I realise that I have no more energy to try to show you that you cannot write this occupation off from the pages of a blog, and that your energy too, is wasted here.

      So much love.


      November 19, 2011 at 10:23 pm

      • The saddest thing about this is that you write so compellingly on your own blog. I wish we could be friends in this battle.


        November 19, 2011 at 10:29 pm

      • great reply. these camps are the means a significant number of women and men have chosen to come together and demand change. These people have put a huge amount of work, commitment, time, sacrifice and heartache into the camps – so it isn’t surprising that calls for them to close is met with defensiveness or a ‘lack of humility’.

        If anything the De-Occupy blogs make it easier for valid concerns to be dismissed because of the siege mentality that it creates in tired and well-meaning people being publicly and collectively labelled as ‘sexist’ or seeing women as a ‘fucktoy for the menz’, to quote Mhairi’s blog.


        November 21, 2011 at 5:22 am

    • As a member of Unison, I am unaware of Unison support for OE, and no-one else I have spoken to from Unison seems to know anything about it either.

      I dont follow the facebook page for OE, although I have to say that I have found it a far more sensible one than OG, which is generally filled with conspiraloonacy, but it would seem that OE has done exactly the same to Kate as OG did to me when I raised questions over how much good it was actually doing. Giving a false impression of how things are, which is in and of itself dangerous as people who are thinking of coming to the camp cant judge the danger level for themselves before they get there.

      The night before the rape at OG I specifically went there because I was genuinely worried at some of the things that I was hearing, and was told that everything was fine, ithere were probs but they were managing them and it was all in hand. The next morning, I found out a pregnant woman got gangraped there. This didnt happen in a vacuum, it happened because a particular culture had got hold.

      There are a whole contingent of us who are looking on at OG and OE in horror, interacting on the sidelines with people that we know and trust from other actions – or who are sticking with the camp despite appreciating the problems within it, we are not willing to jump in and help youse sort out the mess that you dont even seem to appreciate that you are in because we are sick fed up of the attitude we encounter when we offer help, advice or constructive criticism – all we get is defensiveness and called names.

      If you cant acknowledge the probs, then you cant fix them and if you cant fix them, there is no future, and it is time to de-occupy.


      November 22, 2011 at 2:17 am

  58. Maybe I am commenting prematurely – as I said I havent been to OE – but I am basing my comments on my experiences of OG and what I have read about it. I’m not denying that its hard work, but the question is is it well directed work, is the work being shared appropriately and if its fallng on the shoulders of a few, why is that.

    It is for each action to explore how they widen participation, rather than demanding that people participate on their terms. And it worries me that when issues are raised, rather than as seeing it as an opportunity for dialogue and understanding of why the movement isnt gaining the support it should its seen as evidence of people being against you.

    In general I am supportive of the Occupy movement, I think it has merit, but I think the Scottish ones been poorly planned and thought out, and the problems with that – rather than being addressed early on, have got a hold and have become entrenched.


    November 19, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    • I think your questions are really spot on about how work is directed. From a personal point of view I just want you to know that these questions are on my mind A LOT! And I am somewhat involved in Occupy Edinburgh, so I hope that that provides SOME small mitigation against your worries! And I know I’m not alone, because I have conversations about this stuff with many others on site and off site, like you, pretty much every day: lamenting connections that were wasted or lost; savouring moments of good communication; trying hard to create together the conditions for the wider participation you talk about; learning what works, and what doesn’t.

      Entrenched problems. These are more difficult. Fundamental. But the 99% are the 99%, who are you going to replace them with? If we’ve got entrenched problems, so have you, because we are in this together. Can we meet up in person?? I’ll be through in Glasgow this week, I will try to send you my number.

      Some folks’ criticisms were met with closed ears. That is a real, real shame. What’s important to bear in mind is that while that has happened, and probably will happen again, there are also significant, positive interactions that DO lead to healthy growth of understanding, happening as well. When you’re on the nasty end of the first kind of interaction, no wonder it’s hard to see any potential in trying again, no blame there. But if you try again, you may have an experience of the second kind. And it will have been worth trying again.

      Of course, one only has so much resilience, I know.

      Occupy Edinburgh was not poorly planned and thought out: it wasn’t planned or thought out AT ALL!! Well, ok, there was a ramshackle get-together a few days before – but no one knew each other, knew if we’d even be allowed to put tent pegs in the ground on the first night, knew who would turn up, what they’d want to do, what hopes and prejudices they’d bring. It has been one of the most interesting 5 weeks of my life.


      November 19, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    • “Check out our facebook pages”.
      New posts on these Facebook pages can only be posted by admins, of which Mike is one, and debate is prevented by deleting any critical posts.

      “Come on down and find out for yourself”.
      Would love to but I read above from the last woman who did try to do something positive and hold a workshop about these issues that she was screamed at, threatened and called a fascist.

      It’s more than a “few folks negative comments” as well you know. Over 100 have joined the new Facebook group already. That’s quite “a few disgruntled folks” in 4 days.


      November 20, 2011 at 2:31 am

    • Inspirational and united?! That’s so ridiculous it’s actually funny…

      Kate Harris

      November 22, 2011 at 12:53 am

    • OE is not the most inspirational and united community I have ever been involved with. Far from it.
      My impressions are based from being part of the camp from the beginning.
      Certain individuals will continue to insist that only people who havn’t yet been on site have (unfounded) issues and complaints but I am testiment to how wrong that line is.
      OE has problems. Most of which are self created.


      November 22, 2011 at 6:34 pm

  59. No EC – the saddest thing from a female perspective is that privileged men, such as yourself, not only shut down discussion and banned Kate from your facebook page but are now visiting and posting on her personal blog to try to impose your will again, simply because uppity women femi-nazis are daring to point out how unsafe St Andrew’s Square is for us.

    None are so blind as those who will not see.

    Save your love – nobody is fooled.


    November 19, 2011 at 10:57 pm

    • Just for the record, I have no involvement whatsoever in running that facebook page; I had no input into the decision to close the comments or ban anyone; it is not ‘my’ facebook page; in fact i think the recent fb saga was handled rather poorly and should be learned from; i am not trying to impose my will any more than someone who creates a blog in the first place is :) I am not trying to shut down discussion. In fact I spend a lot of time repsonding as constructively as i can to people’s grievances, especially those to do with individual’s treatment at the hands of large groups, because i have a powerful affinity with weak and bullied people, which was ingrained in me (not through choice) through childhood and adolescence.

      It may help you to label me a priveleged man, but it alienates me from you. I am also human – and as a youngish male am far more likely to be physically brutalised in that square than you are. If I ask you to come down and do a shift of overnight security, to protect me while I sleep, will you? I would sleep easy. There is not room for complacency when it comes to the safety of people in the square, whatever the chromosomes.

      ‘…those who will not see’? I doubt you are a born again, but I’ve heard this line before! Ahhh but how do we know we are willing not to see, Maz? We can never know, none of us, because we cannot somehow step outside ourselves. What we see is what we see, willed or not. So either we are all blind, or we all see. I’ll agree not to mention the love that I feel, if you agree not to say I’m lying about it. Deal?


      November 20, 2011 at 12:11 am

    • Your posts —- are a balanced view only based on your own reality of Occupy Edinburgh. Kate has freely provided this space for feminists and friends who value each other to air our personal experiences of Occupy Edinburgh. Our experiences have obviously been very different from your own and, I, for one, will not be silenced by your bully-boy approach.

      I would love to meet for a chat but I am extremely busy, as I have been for many years, trying to end patriarchy, which I believe is the fundamental cause of the mess which we currently find this world in.

      Not to worry, I’ll see you at many future Green events Im sure. Youll realise when its me soon enough.



      November 20, 2011 at 2:10 am

    • ‘You will notice that most of our posts are positive and try to find solutions and provide a balnced view based on the reality of Occupy Edinburgh.’ You spin me right round baby like a record baby right round right round. SPIN!


      November 22, 2011 at 6:39 pm

  60. I’ve lost all hope with Occupy Edinburgh, if headlines will be damaging then more power to them!

    I have experienced sexist and misogynistic behaviour when I’ve been down. My personal space has been invaded without my consent (espescially by you Mike, you stroked my arm in a very strange way the other day that made me feel incredibly uncomfortable, that’s not cool, I’m a survivor of abuse and rape and you cannot just assume people will be ok with you touching them). I have also experienced abuse on the facebook when trying to air my views in an inoffensive way. My experiences have been systematically denied by the people in the camp simply because they don’t necessarily agree with theirs. You take constructive criticism personally and get defensive when people pull you up on things. You ignore the obvious bits of sexism, racism, homophobia etc that go on within the camp on the facebook (deleted a post which raised concerns about OE but not a post which included a ridiculous amount of anti-Semitism or another which included a ridiculous amount of sexism). The safe spaces policy is among the worst I’ve ever read in my life. You ignore your various privileges and refuse to accept that you cannot speak for everyone.

    It’s also a hostile and unfriendly environment, however much you pretend it isn’t, those are MY EXPERIENCES.

    Occupy Edinburgh is NOT what democracy looks like.


    November 20, 2011 at 1:47 am

  61. also, saying that this blog post and the replies which agree with it are unfounded is downright offensive denial of other people’s experiences. If OE was truly inclusive, that wouldn’t happen.


    November 20, 2011 at 1:57 am

    • Are you denying —-‘s experience of those replies being unfounded?


      November 20, 2011 at 2:24 am

    • well that is literally just a lie. I was mildly pissed off all the way through out my visit to the camp the other day but I absolutely was at no point upset, at very least not outwardly so. If you are trying to comfort someone you don’t know you can’t just assume that it’s ok to touch them in a way you would people that you do know. It’s not appropriate and I for one would say if you can’t think of a way to politely ask “is it ok if i hug you etc” then don’t.

      And EC, I’d love not to get into a big discussion about what truth is, but you cannot experience things being unfounded because you are not experiencing them as everyone else is. What may be true for you may not be true for other people, eg. as a white woman i cannot speculate about how asian men experience things etc.

      While it’s great that people have had good experiences in OE, you HAVE to address it when people do not. And that does not mean just saying “well come down and we’ll change your mind” you have to accept when people say something is wrong, something has upset them, etc, and say “yes, we will change how we do this… we will address it…. we respect your experiences and take them on board”


      November 20, 2011 at 2:26 pm

  62. I am known as Saviour of the Universe, The planet’s a woman and I’ve been too busy saving her for 25 years, on my own, for any of this feminist trivia. But I don’t like to talk about past glories so don’t ask ok?


    November 20, 2011 at 8:48 am

  63. I just came to this blog as a result of the Scotland on Sunday story which I read in the last hour…. am frankly astonished that queries about OE have transformed into an ad hominem attack on a man I never met in my life until Oct 15th. The stuff about “mid life crisis” really racked me as I’m 46 myself and see the remark as a justification for criticism from anybody……

    I’d love to know the true motivation behind these attacks on MF and on OE, but that remains impossible without REAL conservation and it’s just easier and cowardly to hide behind pseudonoms and throw insults around the place.

    I am really very pleased by the progress made in OE over the last 5 weeks, the chief asset is that we have given the media no chance to have a go until now.. and the articles I’ve seen have been largely positive, but then people can hide behind any justification for throwing smears about…..

    The camp does not have enough women therefore it’s sexist
    Does not have enough Irish people therefore is racist
    Does not have enough 6’6 people therefore it’s sizeist
    Does not have enough over 80’s therefore it’s ageist
    and not near enough Jews therefore…… do you want me to go on……

    Just let me know the REAL motivation and it might be slightly interesting…otherwise it’s just the EDL type “avin a go”

    I’ve been involved since day 1, and Mike has been a strong voice of reason and balance within the movement from the start…. if that is construed into “leadership” then be aware that the construction is created by those who used it…. Mike has never mentioned being a leader, and I have yet to hear such shite from any of the participants either… so it’s a leaderless movement but lot’s of people have steered a little, otherwise we’d have chaos….. maybe that’s the true motivation here.. to create chaos and destabilise what’s been created here… no one says it’s perfect… there are lots of folks with lots of personal issues (myself included) but after 5 weeks it has become an important part of Edinburgh and the Occupy movement worldwide…..and while I’ve been involved in the camp I’ve continually heard and used the word “RESPECT” and the vitality of treating all others with respect… some of the stuff I’ve read this morning about MF is as close to respect as Edinburgh is to Uranus……

    Either be part of the movement, or move to the sidelines and throw shitballs….or start another one….. but in all cases please do it with respect, for individual people both on and off the site…. I’ll be sticking with St Andrew square unless this anti Irish racism or personal sizeism becomes too hard for me to handle.. then I’ll do exactly what RSB, AIG, The Tories and many others want me to do… go home and have a good cry for myself …. NOT

    Paul Newton

    November 20, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    • I’m not in the EDL. I’m an anti-fascist and a member of the UAF.

      I used to be in the Labour Party but currently am not in any party.
      Your post is insulting to people who have experienced sexism, racism, etc.

      Kate Harris

      November 20, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    • Haha. Since when did the Irish become a race. Derp. I think you might have meant to say xeanophobic.


      November 22, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    • Haha. Since when did the Irish become a race. Derp. I think you might have meant to say xenophobic.


      November 22, 2011 at 6:46 pm

  64. I’m disgusted but I can’t say I’m surprised to hear about this incident of abuse Bethany.
    Or —- trying the comforting a damsel in distress ‘explanation’. Stroking the arm of a women you barely know is always abusive, whatever the circumstances.

    —- and others have nothing to fear from the article unless there’s truth on this blog.
    Perhaps now they’ll start taking the very important points made here seriously and addressing them.

    Given —- still has the audacity to come into our safe space, demand responses and criticise, I’m not holding my breath. When will men realise that they can’t intimidate us into silence these days? It doesn’t work in 2011.


    November 20, 2011 at 1:03 pm

  65. Wow, I wish I hadnt bothered reading that. It doesnt matter how “correct” any of of what any of these comments are.

    There is only One question:

    Will you Help This Movement With Your Spirit?

    Do you think that individuals, the lives manifest from years of experience and internal and external struggles trials and joys can be summed up by such powerful words.

    Does anyone think that somehow a group of anti-feminist, anti-semitics have found each other in love and solidarity with each others biggotry and now occupy Edinburgh City Centre for the furtherment of their cause?

    Does anyone believe that there is so little passion on-site that Mike controlls all?

    Please we want help. Help to organise the deepest strategies and help to wash up and help to carry things and Most Importantly Help to feel together in this mamoth undertaking.

    Life is an endless interaction, and if you want to go to a Space which is ALWAYS THERE where your opinion is valued, where your free speech is protected by EveryOne, come to the OccEd Camp, St. Andrew’s Square.

    Politics is politics and activism is activism. We have to become proficient at Birth.
    There are many people that support us, but it is the Occupation. That commitment to be outside, infront of the public every day, living just on the edge of the comfort zone provided by oppressors, and the fact that we will refuse to leave, that gives people something to support.

    I have NEVER EVER seen anyone shut down at a general assembly. the Agenda is Completely Open to ANYONE.

    Personally I saw a single incedent where someone in a GA had something to say, and left the GA and the whole camp because he felt abused. He was told by person “I think you just like the sound of your own voice”.. and he got up and ran away.
    Either that person is suffering from issues with pyschological hyper awareness… or what, I dont know…
    The push and pull on our pysches from consumer advertising to love to generosity to fear of bankruptcy is deliberately reduced in the camp. Here is a space where HUMAN values reign strong.

    Can you not realise that the very fact that in a REAL PLACE in the CITY CENTRE of Edinburgh, the most important issues are about the balance of human interactions? About how we can love each other and be constructive. about HOW emotions are dealt with, not Whether they are, about The Balance of free speech, not whether or not you can find anyone to listen. What other Permanent fixture is there Anywhere in Your World where this is true? Maybe in your familly Home?

    If what is written above are the ideas that come from a meeting then I salute OccEd as creating a place of humanity slap in the middle of materialism, and I urge those who’s first few forrays into being a naked Human expressing opinions that REALLY matter to them, to come back and back until you can do it without reactionary behaviour.

    Good luck to all those people who think from the heart.



    Christopher Reay

    November 20, 2011 at 1:55 pm


    *criticising Bethany*

    *calling Kate a ‘girl’* (I don’t identify as a girl)

    *defence of Occupy Edinburgh*

    *denying other women’s experiences*

    The last sentence is the only thing I’ll publish…

    ‘I’ve never replied to a blog/thred/forum thingy before so sorry for such a long rant, I just thought someone should put the facts straight :) Xxxx’


    November 20, 2011 at 2:11 pm


      *criticising Bethany* – You personally attack members of the camp and I offered a factual correction to the misunderstanding or disillusionment that Bethany experienced

      *calling Kate a ‘girl’* (I don’t identify as a girl) – ‘identify as a girl?’ – This confuses me a bit, do you mean Kate’s a boy? Because I’m sorry if I offended you, I just assumed Kate was a girls name.

      *defence of Occupy Edinburgh* – So your taking away people’s right to defend what they believe in? By doing that you’ve just taken any right you ever had to complain about freedom of speech.

      *denying other women’s experiences* – I don’t deny that they may have felt what they felt, I just deny that they had any reason or cause (exempting paranoia or misunderstanding) to feel that way.

      The only thing you’d let me publish was “I just thought someone should put the facts straight :) Xxxx’”

      Gloating that you obviously were too power hungry to let me put them straight.


      November 20, 2011 at 6:23 pm

      • 1. You cannot “factually correct” me on MY EXPERIENCES! My experiences are nto a “personal attack”. DO NOT give me agency in this, DO NOT victim blame- someone crossed the line with me, it is THEIR FAULT.

        2. Gender essentialist much! Gender identity is a spectrum, and saying “you’re either a boy or a girl” is so utterly offensive to people who do not identify as either. Actually, we are adult women, not girls.


        November 22, 2011 at 12:18 am

      • I’m a queer woman…

        Kate Harris

        November 22, 2011 at 12:54 am

  67. Thanks Kate… I never said you were in the EDL (for f**ks sake) and if my post is insulting to all who have suffered racism or sexism then we should shut all conversation down around the world….. and people had the audacity to speak of ‘silencing” those who do not agree with their perspective…..

    If you want to be so sensitive then there’s no point engaging in any conversation… anything (as I pointed out in my previous post) can be interpreted as an “ism”….

    so females (am i allowed to use that term or is it insulting to women?) working in the kitchen is sexism…. so should we have bankers (interpreting like you) labelling my opinions as bankism…. maybe we could have deritivism, hedgism, or contractsfordifferenceism….

    We have laws…… so if our behaviour has been ismish then perhaps you should speak to the police… oh I forgot… it’s much easier to smear our efforts through the internet and the capitalist media…. and the De-occupy Edinburgh idea is of course a great attempt to encourage social discourse….

    So now that the movement and Mike have been labelled by you and your friends… what symbol would you like us to wear… yellow star… pink triangle… or maybe we should be burned at the stake like women with opinions in the past… or branded with hot irons like adulterers in the more recent past…

    I know lots about stigma and branding Kate…. and that’s exactly what people here are trying to achieve..

    Oh look there’s ——–….

    “He’s a witch…. He’s a witch…. burn him…. burn him…”

    “but what proof do you have that he’s a witch”

    “he’s middle aged and he touched a woman on the arm”


    (we’ve done everything to keep the people in Edinburgh onside, supporting and talking to us, thanks for using the blog and the media to begin the exorcism)


    Paul Newton

    November 20, 2011 at 5:47 pm

  68. Hey everyone. I’ve been camping in OE since the beginning, on and off. I suppose I am a male… And as to gender, probably more boy than girl, or more masculine than feminine… (Is there any non-labelising way to say how I feel?) Anyway, I also feel more feminist than the majority of people I’m speaking with. I think society has a long way to go towards equality, or equalities, and I’m trying my best everyday.

    I’d like to mention that we all think and talk about these concerns on camp. Unfortunately an ideal society is not yet what we are–but it is what we are aiming at through open dialogue–and I certainly think that we have taken a good direction. We are people from very different backgrounds who have different life-experiences. Some of us have lived on the streets for 15 years and some of us have always lived with their parents.

    1) About sexism.
    It is not possible to have the same kind of conversation with all of us– it is not impossible that some have never spoken about gender. And if you engage that conversation, they may listen and answer; they may learn from you and you from them; but maybe they won’t be interested. It is mostly ideas. And even when people get into limited physical contact, it is still mostly about ideas. I feel attacked but he feels sympathetic. How can we solve the problem, reduce the paradigm gap between these two conceptions? The only thing I can think of is plain conversation. I feel attacked but you don’t want me to feel so. You want to be kind but I don’t want you to touch me because I think it is too personal, or I don’t want you to be kind because I think it is patronising. Is there really an insurmountable gap between you and me?

    I think we are all capable to explain ourselves and to have enough empathy to understand the other’s position and feelings, and so a conversation could help both your voices to be heard and to solve the problem.

    Well, tell me if I’m being over-simplistic and perhaps, as a consequence, patronising.

    It is clear to me and to my friends on camp that there should be no kind of segregation, whatsoever. And if there is, or if you think there is, your ideas are welcome as a basis for debate and improvements. Equality is our goal, we need your help, your experience, your knowledge.

    2) About safety.
    To me, safety may be more a question of links between people, like respect and, later, friendship. There are always people who I don’t feel so keen with, others into whose hands I wouldn’t put my life… (Personally, on camp, I would trust everyone, but it’s only me). But I’m sure that everyone can have enough good talks with people on camp in one day to feel good there for short or long term, and much more good feelings and agreements about tolerance than arguments. And if disagreeable words and experiences are exchanged with somebody, you can be sure that the others will stay open for discussion. According to their more or less strong but nonetheless respectful reactions, I’m sure that at least Amy, Paul, —- and me are–not to mention those who do not have access to the internet today or do not have time to write long comments on this blog.

    Let’s talk!


    November 20, 2011 at 9:27 pm

  69. So, how exactly do anti-capitalist feminists want to organize society?


    November 21, 2011 at 1:16 am

  70. It’s ironic that I made a comment on the fb group thread that clarified my statement that the kitchen team were all female, and then the whole thread was deleted minutes later, so I doubt anyone actually saw. I was at a workshop in Penicuik all day and by the time I got home, the thread had exploded and I wasn’t there to clarify my meaning earlier: “I would like to clarify my statement: I was ill and unable to go down to camp for nearly a week (whilst still doing loads of Occupy work from home)-during this time, the generator was being installed and the kitchen was getting up and running. My experience over several days after returning to the camp, was that Christina and Lesley were running the kitchen and often had to spend alot of time washing dishes before they could even cook anything > and as they were doing this during the GAs, they could not have attended if they wanted to. Personally, my issue has NEVER been whether the kitchen team was predominately male or female, as I know that the way work groups are formed, is by VOLUNTEERING. If you volunteer to be in ANY team, then it means that that is the job you WANT to do. For the past several weeks, I have been the ONLY female in the Media team-because I was the ONLY female who volunteered. I wasn’t appointed the position and I wasn’t invited. I volunteered. Thats how it works, okay? When Mike posed the question of how we can have more women in the GAs, I knew that there were two women already down there camping who were busy washing dishes and cooking during GAs and my issue was with the TIME of the GAs (before dinner instead of after) and the fact it didn’t seem like the dish washing ROTA was being honoured. One thing to remember is that the camp changes every day (note that the original post was on a Tuesday morning and referred to a male/female ratio at Monday’s GA) I know Tavis (male) helped in the kitchen on Thursday, and Christina went home to rest and Ross cooked dinner last night and Pete has been helping out in the kitchen too! These three people happen to be males, but the important thing is that they VOLUNTEERED. *incidentally, after a very productive off site meeting last night, we have a new member of the media team! And for those of you who are counting these things, she happens to be female.” – update is that the new female Media team volunteer never showed up to the media meeting despite several reminders. Many of us see all the “isms”- sexism, classism, racism, age-ism, etc. at play in camp, not a surprise as we are all products of a dysfunctional system where these “isms” exist. Tackling these issues one by one is a monumental task, and cannot be achieved in a new creative way – easily, overnight, especially when there are so few of us to handle all the daily tasks that must be dealt with. I think its much more effective to confront, tackle and find creative solutions to these issues of “isms” from within the group with a spirit of radical cooperation, radical compassion, radical acceptance, radical understanding, and radical patience. Fair enough to anyone who doesn’t have the stomach for it, its dirty work. I, and many others don’t have the stomach for it much of the time, but we are committed to the global ideals and fundamental ethos of the movement and for that reason are willing to stay. Every day presents new challenges that can seem impossible to overcome, but many of us try to stay focused on the LONG NOW.


    November 21, 2011 at 9:23 am

  71. Bethany I am really sorry you have been treated like this:

    Bethany says that last week ——- invaded her personal space and stroked her arm in a way she felt very uncomfortable with.
    —— says “I was trying to comfort you because you were upset” and offers no apology.
    Bethany says she was not at all upset.

    Second discussion. —— says it is clear to everyone how Bethany “twists words” and that ending sexism and patriarchy has been something he has been campaigning against for for many years.

    —— accuses Bethany of making false allegations of abuse and of twisting words.

    I haven’t met either Bethany or —— yet but after reading this I’m fairly sure who I believe, and who I’d like to ‘meet for a chat’.


    November 21, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    • Thank you for your support.

      I’m trying to rise above. Some people like being given power by a patriarchal system too much to see how stamping out misogynistic nonsense will benefit all.

      As for Mike suddenly changing his mind and saying that I am lying or twisting words, that’s a beautiful example of victim blaming and treating victims as guilty and lying until proven innocent and truthful. As offensive as that is, I’ve been living with that bull all my life and I have bigger issues.

      —– – becoming defensive is almost 100% proof that you realise you did something wrong. The fact that you then tried to turn it round by making incredibly personal attacks on me is abhorrent, I made no personal attacks, I simply gave an experience. Please be more respectful and humble in future if someone pulls you up on something they feel you did wrong.


      November 22, 2011 at 12:47 am

  72. Bethany I am really sorry you have been treated this way:

    Bethany says that last week —— invaded her personal space and stroked her arm in a way she felt very uncomfortable with.
    —— says “I was trying to comfort you because you were upset” and offers no apology.
    Bethany says she was not at all upset.

    Second discussion. —— says it is clear to everyone how Bethany “twists words” and that ending sexism and patriarchy has been something he has been campaigning against for many years.

    ——– accuses Bethany of making false allegations of abuse and of twisting words.

    I haven’t met either Bethany or —— yet but after reading this I’m fairly sure who I believe, and who I’d like to ‘meet for a chat’.


    November 21, 2011 at 1:23 pm

  73. Because she recognises you are a bully?


    November 21, 2011 at 1:59 pm

  74. Wow, are you actually not going to put up my post. OK (this previous one)
    Good luck ! :)

    Christopher Reay

    November 21, 2011 at 2:25 pm

  75. Oops, sorry, maybe its still being moderated, I apologise for being a bit reactionary there


    Christopher Reay

    November 21, 2011 at 2:26 pm

  76. While I agree that there are some wonderful people in the camp and many people have responded positively to criticisms and even apologized if they crossed the line, this is by far one of the most disturbing posts on this thread.
    You do NOT tell people how they should feel about their vulnerability and issues – especially if you know nothing about them.
    Not only is all of this horribly condescending and confrontational, but also most upsetting for potentially vulnerable individuals (”people like you who intimidate”, ”i feel sorry for you”, ”dont worry there is nothing wrong with you”, ”not everyone will rape you” – are you serious? Appalling.


    November 21, 2011 at 6:16 pm

  77. You would think that with the newspaper article these men would show a willingness to listen to the concerns raised but I’m afraid it doesnt look like likely from what I’m reading above. Shame on them.


    November 21, 2011 at 6:42 pm

  78. Just so you guys know I’m not going to tolerate any more minimising of others’ experiences, I’ll just trash comments that do that.

    Kate Harris

    November 22, 2011 at 12:32 am

  79. Sexual assault, assualt, getting in someone’s space, making people feel uncomfortable, intimidating people, patronising people etc etc etc does not just mean RAPE. That’s bullshit, and I never said he did anything close to raping me.

    I said he invaded my personal space. This made me feel uncomfortable and because of the public setting I felt too intimidated to say anything.

    That is NOT MY FAULT.

    Fair enough, some people communicate in different ways, some people are more tactile etc. however, if you do not know someone then you dont know how comfortable tehy will be with that. Therefore it is inappropriate.

    I am not “complaining” do not gaslight my feelings, you cannot devalue how I feel. That is not ok.

    There is a very big difference between a friendly environment and strangers assuming it’s ok to touch you.

    Don’t you dare assume you cn understand how anyone else feels about any kind of communication people have. As a rape and domestic sexual abuse survivor, my experiences are very different, my personal space is very important, my ability to get away from situations i dont feel comfortable with is very important, my right to give consent before ANYONE touches me ANYWHERE is bloody important to me. You cannot tell me any different.


    November 22, 2011 at 12:33 am

    • I think we can all see that —— is trying to bully Bethany into silence and adding insult to injury. This is a repetition of what he did to Kate and others previously online.

      Bethany’s experiences are her experiences whatever anyone else says. This is outrageous.


      November 22, 2011 at 1:54 am

  80. —- stroked a complete stranger’s arm in a way that made her very uncomfortable. That is an fact which nobody is disputing it. I find his posts slightly threatening in tone and read like a bully or a stalker that is having difficulty leaving his target alone. “Who exactly are you?”. “What’s your full name?”. “Let’s meet up for a coffee”. “Let’s meet up and talk”, “Come down to the camp and see me” and so on.
    No —- I really dont have any interest in meeting you – you sound like quite a horrible man and Id prefer not to be stroked against my wishes, thanks.
    You have now stated that you “definately (sic) arent coming back on here” on at least 4 occasions.
    Mike, can you not see that you have done enough damage, do not try to bully Bethany any further – we will not tolerate it here. Goodbye.


    November 22, 2011 at 11:59 am

  81. just witnessed 4 of the self appointed “security” people pushing a member of the public out of the square. It got nasty with punches thrown and police called. Nice PR. Love Police indeed. More like Lush Police.
    There is now also a notoriously violent and obnoxious Edinburgh drunk who seems to have made OE his home.


    November 22, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    • Brilliant. Lush Police. I’m laughing as I type.
      But on a serious note. Volunteers for certain positions of power should be watched closely for detremental behaviour. Power corrups?
      People don’t volunteer to wash dishes or cook food for 50 people or move 30 tents to help protect the grass because these are things that they enjoy to do. They volunteer because these are things that need to be done.
      But when it comes to such things as security forces (which are important but easily corrupted), getting a fancy jacket and the right to tell others what to do with force applied being counted as acceptable… more often than not the kinds of people who volunteer for this power are doing it because they DO enjoy.
      I feel I can say this with some authority after 20 years of my father running a Private Security firm.
      I see how he is. I see how people he employs are. I recognise how it has made me feel in the past to be part of a security team. I’ve heard about the guys he didn’t employ because they were too much interested in the position of power and not the reason for security.
      Looking out for others as apposed to looking out for yourself.
      It’s a big responsibility.
      Personaly I don’t think any of the Love Police would even pass a vetting for Group Four Securitas let alone a more reputable security firm.
      I believe the Love Police should be vetted before being given power. I have thought this from the start of OE but this is the first time I have moved the idea out of my head.


      November 22, 2011 at 7:15 pm

  82. […] theory here, inculding this gem: ‘Feminism’ is an evil alright but was first created by the Judeo-Bolshevik […]

  83. Is it not completely psychotic that ——- is demanding that people identify themselves by their full name? Who the fuck are you to demand that kind of information? Might I suggest you chill out and stop taking legitimate criticism of an entire camp as a personal attack on your ego? Just reading the way you speak to your colleagues and critics, I will never visit OE.


    November 22, 2011 at 9:42 pm

  84. Hi, thankyou to everyone who’s been vaguely sensible on this blog. I just feel for my peace of mind it’s important for me to make the point that I’m not stopping to comment because I’ve been intimidated and bullied, which, ——-, on here I definitely have.

    It’s important to me that everyone here understands that bullying techinques of myself and other women will NOT WORK anymore, we are too strong, you won’t win like that.

    I’ve put up with much more upsetting things in my life, I can handle your anti-woman nonsense.

    I will not allow anyone who thinks they have “won” an argument or debate by intimidating techniques to believe this is true, I, as a woman, will not allow my voice to be silenced by oppressive shouting.

    I’m busy. I’m not commenting much more because quite frankly I have educating myself and productively involving myself in activism which does not discriminate and intimidate and ignore huge groups of people, you (anyone who is guilty of doing so) will neither succeed in silencing us or ending corruption, capitalism, consumerism, inequality, greed, economical badness and whatever else it is you’re trying to fight against.

    Well done on continuing to alienate people who would be bloody useful to have involved in your cause. Your loss.


    November 23, 2011 at 1:17 am

    • I admire your courage and refusal to be silenced. I am only sorry you and your experience have been treated this way by various posters who are more ready to defend masculine privilege and sexism (using mind-numbing arguments) (“lies”, “divide and conquer”, “useless”, “vindictive” ) than to face serious and deeply disturbing social realities, as well as acknowledge our shared experiences. Especially token misogynist women, I dont even know where to start on that one…


      November 24, 2011 at 4:10 pm

  85. oh why did I come back in for a look, now I need a shower after standing in the middle of a big useless mud throwing contest…full of big dirty words being thrown at people and them throwing other ones back…patriarchal, misogynistic, bully, blah blah blah… all important words when used in a context with some evidence and personal experience… but when thrown from behind a veil of anonymity, by people who may or may not (how do we know?) have had any experience of the camp….well those words become missiles full of mud…..some are more affected than others but everyone gets dirty…

    So if the motivation was to make Occupy Edinburgh look less than DAZ white, and less that perfect… then you have achieved that very well….. but no shit sherlock… we knew that we were not perfect anyway….. so tell us something we don’t know…..

    If the motivation was to destabilise occupy edinburgh… (deoccupy lol) than I’m afraid you have been as useful as an ashtray on a motorbike….. the movement is close and together as it has been from the start… discussing, debating and acting on micro and macro issues… acknowledging problems and weakness and dealing with them.

    You should know that to rock a boat you have to be in it first…. (sit down sit down sit down sit down your rocking the boat… guys and dolls i think) but otherwise it’s external forces like the wind, weather and attacks….

    You generated a slight media breeze through Scotland on Sunday (well done) and the rest of the policy seems to be too attack with shitballs….. as a movement….. which is useful even though we already know we are not perfect……and to attack personally (MF) which is just IMO pointless and stupid…. if someone has a difficulty with someone else it can be discussed or brought to the police…. otherwise it’s back to gossip and slander…

    You could bring it to the authorities or leadership of the movement, unless you have forgotten that the occupy movement does not have any….. we operate by concensus….

    So if the strategy is to disguise your identity (anonymity) and throw missiles (shitballs) at individuals and movements,.. then all I can say is I hope you got a free telly…. cos the strategy is as mindless and pointless as the English yobs used in August… except some of them actually got identified and held accountable..

    Ok……. I refuse to hide my Identity….. I am Paul Newton…. the quite tall Irishman you can find on site most days…. (you may recognise me from the mullet) and I am not perfect either…. but totally happy to engage and discuss any macro or micro issues about Occupy Edinburgh… I may have a difference of opinion with some.. but hope that I always treat people with RESPECT….

    Enjoy the day….. I have to go to work…..


    Paul Newton

    November 23, 2011 at 10:06 am

  86. This blog disgusts me since its foundations are lies, and yes I used the word lies because Kate is well aware that a female from camp has told her of the misinformation and requested her to remove the mistruths, but alas Kate not only keeps the page the way it is, but presents them to the media as truth.
    I have actually spoke to people who wish to delete their comments because they feel they were manipulated into thinking things that weren’t true, and even came down to camp to apologize.
    As a women I can say that occupy Edinburgh has given me more of a voice than i’ve had my whole life, and thanks to the volunteers who patroll all night long to keep the drunks out I feel safe when I sleep. I also have found friendships that will last a lifetime and an environment that allows revolutionary thought to blossom and a platform for people to unite despite differences. Now no where is perfect but all of the problems that arise are born from our society, a society that is divided and does not confront many of the deepest issues. We at occupy are trying to confront them, which isnt an easy task, and constructive criticism is helpful but mistruths and dividing attitudes are not.
    Lastly and one of the most disturbing issues for me is the bullying of —-…..,and yes this is cyber bullying when a group of people gang up on an individual that singles them out, isolates them and upsets them, despite not know much about him.
    So whats —-‘s story? —- came to the occupation with experience and the desire to help, despite having a family and other commitments he dedicated a lot of his time to the occupation and worked as a team with the rest of us to put down those crucial foundations to allow the occupation to blossom.
    His lovely, intelligent daughters have also been down having interesting conversations with us and Im sure they would be incredibly hurt to read all these lies about their father.
    Yes —- was liaison but he was not in charge, every decision he put forward to authorities was predetermined at the ga and in actual fact —- has done a wonderful job at managing our wonderful relations with essential Edinburgh/police. Also no one else wanted to be liaison on several occasions mike invited others to attend but only once did someone actually show up. Mike has now found a replacement for himself though because he does not want to be bullied further for something he did to merely try and put his skills to use.
    So instead of hurting someone else maybe lead by example and ‘be the change you wish to see’ because more than anything this is a revolution of the mind and the change has to start from within.
    Kim Grant
    Occupy Ed


    November 23, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    • Firstly nothing I have said is untrue, and most things I observed myself in the short time i was at camp. Second, I didn’t approach press – they approached me. I couldn’t stop them reproducing a blog that is publicly available. I personally have never said anything to mike that was not constructive, and constructive criticism is not bullying. I would point to the posts he has made to bethany which were upsetting and horrible without being useful. That is bullying. I have been part of several occupations, all of which have had clear aims, demands and safe space. I understand that it is harder to occupy an outside space but as far as I can tell the st Andrews square occupation it is failing both tactically/politically and in terms of safe space. I think you guys have forgotten why you’re occupying. The occupation is not a cause in itself, it is a means by which to address causes. Finally, Edinburgh university students occupied a lecture theatre last night and there will be future occupations. To be clear, we are not affiliated to the occupy movement as we have specific demands of university management. We are certainly not affiliated to the st Andrews sq camp calling themselves ‘occupy edinburgh’. if anyone is interested in this my email is on the blog or email .

      Kate Harris

      November 24, 2011 at 12:37 pm

  87. This blog is a world away from the realities of respectful co-operation, hard work and problem solving I see every day in St. Andrew Square.

    From the recent conference of UK occupations we know that the challenges of building city centre autonomous communities, in winter, are affecting every single camp. Our nighttime city centres have been home to the chaotic and vulnerable and violent since there were cities. And we swan in wanting to set up a pro-demcracy, anti-corruption (etc) occupation… Challenging.

    How to have boundaries, but be inclusive?

    But we also know that Occupy Edinburgh is a great hope for many people. And some of those people have put their comments here. Time to draw a line under this escalating fight (which it is), and get down to actually, really, working on the problems. Let’s meet up and make it better.

    I challenge future commenters to put their energies not into the desperate hammering of fingertips on keyboard, but into direct human interactions which build on what there is.

    Refuse to fight each other, there are bigger fish to fry.


    November 23, 2011 at 12:43 pm

  88. Ahm, ok…. Aaaand in other news – this courageous blog can definitely be viewed as a detailed case study of the level of misogyny, male domination and erasure of experience/ victim-blaming/ belittling/ intimidation and silencing in our society and within autonomous movements.


    November 23, 2011 at 1:04 pm

  89. Bully-boy’s gone? I’m sure a visit to the small boy’s room was well overdue.


    November 23, 2011 at 5:03 pm

  90. Last week I was at a university in China and asked a professor about the cultural revolution. He said at that time, the university had two campuses with a fence in between. The students from each side of the fence decided they were the ‘true red guards’ and the other side were ‘capitalist roaders’. They got hold of weapons from the local arsenal (at that time the country was in chaos) and fought a trench-warfare style battle over the fence with machine guns. Many students were killed and injured. This is one of the things Chinese remember when they are supportive of the ‘order’ brought by an authorotarian state.

    Despite the lack of weapons, this thread, and the related divisions and use of separate monitored forums to post and delete/edit opposing opinions, reminds me of why for many, the current political status quo is preferable to the unregulated and potentially flammable uncertainty of proposed alternatives.


    November 24, 2011 at 4:34 am

  91. Tav I was there all day yesterday and was in a workshop then discussion forum for 7 hours, it was a really long day for all of us today, so yes I do have a right to retire to my tent with my friends after a long day of work. Just as I am sure you relax at home. There was about 25 of us last night between all the tents and marquees, and considering you havent been down in a while you would have missed friday night when I stayed up till 4 am in the marquee discussing everything from the economy/philosophy/morals/art with a group of 10 other people with was really interesting and thought provoking, so maybe you were too quick to judge again.


    November 27, 2011 at 10:24 am

    • having camped @ Occupy Edinburgh for 9 wks and also having been part of “security” aka The Love Police i would say the camp needs all our support !

      Andy Knox

      December 28, 2011 at 5:38 pm

      • Time to Reoccupy :)

        Andy Knox

        January 8, 2013 at 4:33 am

  92. New year, new start, guys. I see in a lot of these posts people who want to be part of the movement. We need to concentrate on the things that bring us together, the positive things. I think we can all agree that the core mesage of the Occupy Movement is mainly about greed, particularly in the banks with their obscene (yes mainly male) bonuses.

    What I am trying to say is for everyone to come back to Occupy Edinburgh, and concentrate on solving the corporate greed issues. At the moment, Occupy Edinburgh is online, and with various public functions. I doubt that there is a “safer spaces” issue at the moment, as any alcohol issue has disappeared. The meetings at the Melting Pot, P & G Church, etc. serve mainly water, not wine!

    So, lets stop this “de-occupy” stuff, and resume again with a new start. How about it, guys?

    Peter Gavan

    January 25, 2012 at 9:12 pm

  93. This is a shame. As a Spaniard, concretely Madrillian, I know how difficult is to organise and run an assembly with people who have no previous political experience. But this is simply shameful; it should not be named “Occupy Edinburgh” but “reproduce sexist capitalism in Edinburgh”. I have been living in this lovely city for 10 months now, and when first heard about Occupy Edinburgh I got very excited: the idea of getting involved as though I were in Madrid working with my compañeros just seemed perfect. Then I heard about this kind of intolerable behaviour and had to confirm it through Scottish friends because I could not believe it.

    I do not agree with those who claim that we should “go back and start again.” Well, the Occupy Movement is not everything. In Spain DRY! (Democracia Real Ya!) has witnessed the same dynamic: cryptofascists taking over assemblies all over the Spanish state. So we got tired and said “basta” (enough). Fortunately, these bigots did not have enough experience so traditional activists (above all anarchists and eco-activists) managed to keep horizontal, direct, and inclusive democracy as the main value of Los Indignados.

    Wish the same for Edinburgh. In my opinion lefty individuals and groups should come down this time to “resume again with a new start”. A new truly democratic start. These are not times for fragmentation, otherwise fascism tends to arise within this kind of contexts.

    Salud y abrazos.

    La Colectividad

    August 1, 2012 at 6:49 pm

  94. Sorry La Colectividad, you’re wrong. Please read the comments from those who are actually involved in Occupy Edinburgh. Kate Harris and her followers were never part of Occupy Edinburgh. A bunch of extremist feminist students with no life experience at all.About time this blog was deleted.

    Jim Brown

    August 6, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    • Oh wow this comment thread is still going.

      Occupy was like seven months ago. She’s dead, Jim. Go shit/minimise people’s experience in a different public square. The grass has just grown back in St Andrews’.


      August 27, 2012 at 7:05 am

      • About time Kate Harris deleted this. What does it achieve apart from division and hatred.

        Jim Brown

        September 5, 2012 at 1:36 pm

      • OE is not and was not dead.

        Andy Knox

        January 8, 2013 at 4:37 am

  95. As a follower of Mistress Harris, I STRONGLY take offense at your tone! You are not fit to smell Mistress Harris’s boot! The army of Mistress Harris shall rise up and all Scotland shall be ours!!!

    Edmund Schluessel

    August 7, 2012 at 11:43 pm

    • My apologies Master Edmund and Mistress Harris.The writings of Mistress Harris are intelligent, profound and based on empirical evidence that is unequivocal.How silly of me to doubt her unbiased views on the world given her long life and vast experience of all these issues. Her wise words and advice will forever provide the basis for a future of love and harmony and this blog will go down in the anus of history as the seminal, inspirational work of our time. All hail Mistress Harris!

      Jim Brown

      August 8, 2012 at 8:04 am

      • Sorry for being 23. Since I’m young all my opinions must be invalid. Only old people are allowed to express themselves.

        Kate Harris

        August 8, 2012 at 10:25 am

  96. Wisdom does often come with age, having a family etc…There are many different ways of expressing yourself, young children do it best without the trappings of indoctrination and they are a lot younger than you.Your opinions are not invalid Mistress Harris, just based on exaggeration, bias, hearsay, Chinese whispers, a lack of empirical evidence, arrogance and a huge sense of self importance.The very things you accuse others of.

    Jim Brown

    August 8, 2012 at 12:43 pm

  97. You do realise that everything you are accusing Kate of could just as lazily be said of you based on this comment? There is no empiricism to what you are saying and it is riddled in condescension. Kate is entitled to express herself and her age does not does invalidate her concerns.

    If you wish to disagree with what she is saying, which you are perfectly entitled to do, then have the courtesy to do just that. To dismiss her viewpoint based solely on stereotyping makes your comment utterly redundant.


    August 8, 2012 at 7:50 pm

  98. Oh and by the way I am a feminist.

    Jim Brown

    August 10, 2012 at 9:10 am

  99. Based on a lot more than stereotyping. How would you know anyway?On what empirical evidence do you base your view of my comment? Makes your comment utterly repugnant.

    Jim Brown

    August 27, 2012 at 6:00 am

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