Occupy The London Stock Exchange

We speak to Occupy protesters in a new series of interviews

Mike Heet by Finn Andrés

Dazed recently took to the streets of London and New York to meet the protesters behind Occupy the London Stock Exchange and Occupy Wall Street. To coincide with Dazed’s upcoming January 2012 Survival Guide we asked people about money – is it the root of our problems and can we replace it? We also wanted to know why people are joining the Occupy movement and what they’d like their ideal future to look like

For Dazed’s first series of interviews, we went to the Occupy London camp at St. Paul’s Cathedral. The camp’s survival is threatened by a recent eviction notice from city authorities, but protesters are standing their ground as Occupy London lawyers and city authorities begin a legal battle. Dazed met Neil Howard, an organiser at Tent City University, Mike Heet, a young activist who has been living at the site, Janet Haney, a psychoanalyst volunteering her services at the camp’s Welfare Tent and Antonio Maniscalco, one of the chef’s running St Paul’s kitchen.

Mike Heet, 21, Tramp

DD: Why are you here?
Mike Heet: I’ve been living here for six days now, it’s an adventure. I think this is a corrupt system, corporations have free reign to do what they like – they’re the new imperial powers.

DD: Can we replace money?
Mike Heet: I’m not sure. I just try to live without money as much as I can.

DD: What does your ideal future look like?
Mike Heet: A culture where people assume trust rather than distrust when they meet each other.

Neil Howard, 29, Oxford PhD student, London

Dazed Digital: Why are you here?
Neil Howard:
I’ve lost faith in the political system. I think our political economy is profoundly unjust, Britain is not democratic. There are little alternatives now other than taking to the streets, we have a generational responsibility to do so. It’s back against the wall time.

DD: Can we replace money with another form of capital?
Neil Howard: I don’t think that money is necessarily problematic, it’s a lubricant for social relations. But there are problems with the way that we organise our economy.

DD: Is money the root of all evil?
Neil Howard: No, I don’t believe in the concept of evil, I think it’s bullshit.

DD: What should we be spending our money on?
Neil Howard: I guess people should be spending money on whatever they want. It would be nice if we had a society structured less around frivolous needs and environmentally and culturally damaging things.

DD: What does your ideal future look like?
Neil Howard: I think the future should be significantly more democratically participative and socially sustainable.

 

 

Janet Haney, 50, Psychoanalyst

DD: Why is it important for you to be here?
Janet Haney: This is just amazingly important. This presence here is creating a conversation that should be had, and is putting it right in the centre of our society. We’ve watched the commodification of everything gradually increasing and you didn’t really believe the effect it was going to have, but now it’s really obvious. And it’s obvious that the people benefiting from it couldn’t give a shit.

DD: Do you think that money is the root of all evil?
Janet Haney: I think that it has the wrong significance. It’s become the object rather than a side effect of what we do.

DD: Can we replace money?
Janet Haney:
Yes, with a desire for work and for love.

DD: What does your ideal future look like?
Janet Haney: This really. People struggling to have conversations. Struggling to make it work.

 

Antonio Maniscalco, 46, chef

DD: Why are you here?
 Antonio Maniscalco: I’m one of the two chefs in the kitchen at the St Paul’s camp. The movement is all about democracy and sharing, and we’re doing exactly that here.

DD: Is money the root of all evil?
Antonio Maniscalco: It’s not money, it’s the banking system. There’s no transparency and we don’t know where our money is going. The market has been cornered by certain individuals and they won’t share.

DD: Your ideal future?
Antonio Maniscalco: Where everyone would be able to achieve their dreams and have enough to eat, where homelessness is a thing of the past. We won’t settle for anything less.

Photography by Alec McLeish and Finn Andrés

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