Small ads

'Occupy Hebden'

From Mark A

Saturday, 17 December 2011

I have just read the 'Occupy Hebden' item on the Hebweb and offer the following for discussion.

I find it difficult to understand what the 'Occupy' movement seeks to achieve - OK it makes the news - but the only news is that some people are occupying somewhere and causing others difficulties by their actions. The actual message the occupiers seek to transmit fails to penetrate.

I am interested in making the world a better place too but can't see how 'occupying' will achieve this - there must be more useful ways to contribute especially at a local level. How about helping to clean up a park, or helping older or less able people (I expect many to this anyway).

The '99%' message is slightly lost on me too. If 99% of people are benefitting from government policy then the government are doing better than I thought they were! Perhaps the 1% can articulate what they are not happy about and the other 99% can help. I (think I) am lucky enough the 99% but do care about the 1%. In actual fact I think the ratios are probably more like 85/15.

From Andy M

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Mark, are you sure you haven't got the 99% and 1% the wrong way round?!

From Mark A

Monday, 19 December 2011

Andy just goes to show how lost the message is! What is it exactly the 1% are doing to the 99%? I guess I'm still in the 99% but I don't feel persecuted. I'll admit things could be better though - that's clear enough.

The problem with these radical views is that the central point behind them (valid though it may be) is contorted into something that actually alienates many of the population. Occupying achieves nothing in my view except giving a small number of anarchists an excuse.

I think I get the thrust of transition from Anna's piece on the Hebweb locals making their community better. But is there a plan for Hebden - an aim - a set of things to achieve. If there is would someone please direct me to it; if there is not can a transitioner please post more info on the Hebweb. You never know how many more unenlightend people like me there are who may be persuaded to get involved.

From Graham Barker

Monday, 19 December 2011

Mark - the Hebden Bridge transition town website is here but at the risk of offending anyone it's not very good. It hasn't been updated since September for a start, and wanting to call HB 'the greenest town in the land' is a little presumptuous. You'll get a much clearer idea of what's what from the Totnes equivalent. Even so, none of it is too impressive. The whole movement seems to be not much more than a campaign group for people who like forming campaign groups.

I agree with you about Occupy London, which must be the most half-witted protest movement of recent years. One awaits with great interest an announcement about what exactly Occupy Hebden Bridge plans to occupy.

From Andy M

Monday, 19 December 2011

Occupy movement - Wikipedia and plenty of others but basically a 'democratic awakenning' protesting against social and economic injustice.

It's not just about the 'demands' either; the way society and state react against such demonstrations/expressions of free will can be very telling and valuable to know in its own right.

From Anne H

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

The Transition Town movement is basically a transition towards being less reliant on fossil fuels. Everything else - the detail - is about how to achieve that and in what time scale.

From Tim Brooks

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

I think the occupy movements, and the transition towns are really calling for a new way of running society. There needs to be political discussion and change to achieve this. There are people, like George Monbiot, who are laying out the ground work for this. This article expresses a good view of why the Occupy movement arose and what it is calling for.

To summarise: Modern libertarianism is the disguise adopted by those who wish to exploit without restraint. By this means they have turned "freedom" into an instrument of oppression.


From Mark A

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Tim, George Monbiot seems to be an accomplished commentator on wrongs - he makes his points very well. But I can't see that he offers any solutions to the problems he identifies. Clearly wealth and power are not evenly distributed - and perhaps more importantly well being evades too many people that seek it. However, I'm not convinced we can blame this on 1% just the same that I am not convinced 99% of the population want to blame 1% whoever this 1% are.

But let's not get hung up on numbers dreamt up by some Guardian readers sitting round a fire drinking green tea. The key question is, to all the eloquent points made by these well educated and well paid commentators, what do they propose should be done to change the situation.

Your summary is a clever use of words that may help George sell papers but these clever words are wasted - they may be eagerly digested by the 'Occupiers' or the 'transitioners' - but they achieve nothing in reality.

So I return to my original question - what are the Hebden transoccs / Occutrans going to do to actually change anything.

From Jonathan Timbers

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

I attended the Occupy/ Transition town meeting last night to hear for myself what these groups were actually saying.

I was impressed by the idea that Occupy stands for reclaiming public space, for building the 'Big Society' instead of the pursuit of selfish private acquisitive ends. I was encouraged by the financial support the co-op gives to community initiatives and will be giving to micro generation.

Contributors to the meeting mentioned the importance of class politics (i.e. relating to different not such generally middle class people), which seems to me to be the only way this group will have an impact locally. The importance of the Church (or Churches) was acknowledged as a source of the 'Big Society' in practice. One person was very keen to promote the idea of a citizens' income (I'm very sceptical, personally).

I was less impressed by the lack of practical suggestions about what to do (except grow your own vegetables, start your own local housing co-op and shop locally)! I think what Occupy want is confrontational invasion of private space. I'm more personally involved in a modest but time consuming project to bring some waste ground into recreational community use. I didn't see any interest in that at the meeting - admittedly, it's not a heroic venture, but it does suggest to me that what Occupy want is to find more people who are like them. They are less interested in relating to people who are different from them, with different lifestyles and approaches. Questions which were put at the meeting such as 'do you think to achieve Occupy's aims we need to defy the criminal justice system' reinforce that view.

For most of us, breaking the law is a very serious matter because we respect it. There are some occasions where civil disobedience may be justified, but that was not what was put to the meeting. Rather it appeared to be a jejune appeal to disrespect the police and a system which to some extent protects our civil and human rights. There was also no attempt to develop a strategy to engage in democratic processes to make things better.

These processes may be deeply flawed, but decisive change will not occur without mass participation and reform through parliament.

One positive I did take away from the meeting, however, is the fact that some people are at least prepared to meet together to talk about the possibility of living together differently and organising the economy to promote more equality and sustainability. There is value in keeping some dreams alive. Who knows, one day their time might come!

From Neti

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Hi Jonathan, it was good to see you last night.

It was never the intention of last nights initial meeting to come up with strategies to address any particular points of concern, these will develop as we meet further. The meeting last night was intended to be a space where we could meet, participate in a consensus making process and find out how, or if, we can join up with Transition Town. All these aims seemed to be satisfied, as well as a positive outcome and interest in meeting up regularly to discuss what is of particular interest to individuals, and how they would like to take things forwards.

The question, "Do you think to achieve Occupy's aims we need to defy the criminal justice system?" was posed as the Occupy Movement is often depicted as being an unlawful process. It seemed wise to find out what the views are around this, as people do have vastly different ideas and experiences of the law.

I for one, am not particularly interested in breaking any law which is in the public interest. But if, for example, I were to camp out in Hebden, I may have different views on whether this is a public dis-order offence or whether I'm joining in a global peace movement.

It seemed to me that people who wanted to talk had a space to do so. If this was not true for you then I'm interested in why this happened. As to the project that you are working on, I see no reason why as we meet and develop, that you could not join up with other like minded people, of whom I met many last night and take this project further, if that's what you wish.

Last night was a taster of the process and possibilities. It'd be good to see you at the next meeting, along with ideas and dreams too.

From Tim B

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Mark - I agree Monboit does a good line in polemic. Out of this it is up to others, and each of us as individuals, to decide what to do about it. It sounds like Tuesday's meeting was a good start. I hope a change in the way society is run comes out of the current groundswell.

P.S. I like sitting round a fire but I dislike green tea and easy cliches.

From Graham Barker

Saturday, 24 December 2011

This is Christmas, Calderdale style. This story about staff redundancies at the Calder Valley Club in Mytholmroyd appeared briefly in the Courier. Fourteen staff have lost jobs and disabled people face uncertainty and a reduced quality of life. If the Courier has got the story right (always a big if with them), this has come about because of Calderdale MBC dragging its feet about funding decisions.

Meanwhile, senior CMBC managers continue to get their six-figure salaries with all the trimmings for providing 'services' of very dubious quality.

So much for the Big Society. I'm posting to this thread because if the Occupy Hebden and HBTT movements were to focus on local finance rather than high finance, and on transforming our civic values rather than our energy usage, I'd be right behind them.


From Paul Clarke

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Graham, I think that local services are not worthy of the attention of those camping against capitalism. It's the man they are camping against.

But you are dead right about the disgraceful treatment of the Calder Valley Club. Yet more decent hard working people are thrown on the dole, and a perfectly good third sector service strangled cos the council won't make a yes or no decision.

It is interesting that in 2010-11 our useless council spent £24K on bottled water yet this group has had to reduce services after it ran out of reserves at 44K. Good to see Calderdale getting its priorities right. Bottled water or services...no brainer for Calderdale.

Once again I have to point out that one of our local councillors Jane Battye (Calder, majority 53) also leads the council.

This is yet another fiasco - see library thread - on her watch. All I can suggest is writing to her to find out why her well paid officers didn't have the decency or foresight to say yes or no.

You may also want to ask their Head of Adult Services Sue Ross exactly how the council is going to 'ensure' the Calder Club people get the services they need. BTW, Sue, the club hasn't decided they don't want to run the service as you claim they are doing so cos your council starved them of cash...doh.

This is the exact opposite of what the Big Society is supposed to be about but what can you expect from this shoddy and badly run council?


From Cllr James Baker

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

It is disappointing news to hear about the Calder Valley Club's recession to make its staff redundant. I also read that they were victims of metal theft that rendered their mini-buses inoperable.

My understanding of this situation is that negotiations about the terms of funding for the Calder Valley Club were still ongoing, and that there were offers of funding from Calderdale that came with contractual changes. The proposed changes in funding from Calderdale were meant to ensure the club had longer term funding security, and ensure that tax payers for value for money from the services. Officers had been working on these, and two other similar clubs including the health stroke club in Calderdale have accepted the changes. However it appears the Calder Valley Club is rejecting them and raising concerns. I don't know all the details of the issues they are raising. However I do not think it is the case that funding has just been pulled.

As Paul Clarke should be aware Calderdale Council is run as a coalition between the Lib Dems and Labour. The cabinet member responsible for this area and adult health and social care is a Labour councillor Bob Metcalfe. Perhaps rather than blaming Janet and the Lib Dems he should consider the shared responsibly both political parties have for the running of Cadlerdale. Questions about it should be directed to Cllr Metcalfe. Hopefully negotiations about funding can get started again and a successful resolution can be found.

From Graham Barker

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

James - Do you have any hard information to contribute or are you just, as usual, trying to get in on the act with another handful of platitudes?

Try reading the report in the Bridge Times which, while maintaining HBT's customary standard of journalism, is at least more detailed and plausible than your attempt at justifying CMBC's behaviour. On my reading (and thanks mainly to a reader's comment rather than HBT reporting) it seems that because CMBC is taking 18 months to complete a fairly straightforward retendering process, the Calder Valley Club has had to meet 2011 costs on a 2008 budget. As a result it has had to use its own reserves to make up the shortfall and has now run out of money. This sounds like a wholly avoidable situation. If I'm wrong, can someone with more accurate information - not you, James - please correct me?

It really doesn't matter which party and which councillors carry the can for this. The bigger point is that at a time of austerity, reasonable people would want the most vulnerable members of our community to be the last to suffer from local authority cutbacks. In Calderdale they seem destined to be the only ones made to suffer. This is not right and it must stop.

If we must have cuts, let's include putting all CMBC department heads and senior managers through their own retendering process. Let's make them all reapply for their posts at much lower salaries. If they don't like it, they can leave. According to the government's grand plan, the private sector will pick up the slack - so how can these supremely talented people possibly lose?

From James Baker

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Graham I am just relying what i've been told. You will have to ask Cllr Bob Metcalfe the cabinet member responsible for all the hard facts and details as to why the tendering process has taken such a long time. It appears to me to be a contractual dispute and such things normally have two sides to the story.

I'd be quite happy for civil servants to go through tendering processes themselves as you suggest.

From Dave M

Friday, 6 January 2012

Councillor Baker's bio says that he has campaigned against the intoduction of tuition fees and the Iraq war and is, "immensely proud to have succeeded in stopping ID cards".

Mr Baker goes on to boast of a "range of political campaign skills, and (he) now want(s) to put these to good use in fighting for improvements in our community".

This is highly commendable, I think.

How about a campaign to save all local services for vulnerable people?


From Neti

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

One of the underlying principles of the Occupy movement is that each local community addresses local problems following the Occupy principles and ethics of democratic voices and voting. By linking in with well established groups such as Transition Town Hebden Bridge, Treesponsibility and others, Occupy Hebden Bridge has the opportunity to quickly become a movement of real change. However, this cannot be achieved unless the people who believe that change is inevitable become involved in this process of change.

With this in mind I would like to post an open invitation to the next meeting to be held at The Hole in T'Wall on Saturday 28th January between 4 and 6 o'clock.

Anyone wanting to be involved with the organisation of this event please contact OccupyHebdenBridge@live.co.uk

From Neti

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Due to the closure of The Hole In't Wall, the meeting in January has been postponed. Further details will be posted soon.

See also

HebWeb News: Occupy Hebden meeting (Dec 2011)