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Occupy Sheffield: Press Statement

@OccupySheffield | 13.01.2012 00:45 | Occupy Everywhere | Sheffield

Occupy Sheffield started 2012 in determined fashion; unlike banks, parliament and many corporations we did not suspend activity or trading over Christmas and New Year. Instead we continued working for the many, expanding our Occupation and opening Sheffield’s Citadel of Hope.

The New Year has been a great time for us to take stock of how far we have grown during more than two months of Occupation. We established ourselves on Church St to challenge the local symbols of a global economy that is serving the interests of the few rather than the many: high street banks, tax avoiding retailers and the nearby international operations of a major financial organisation. We feel the sheer amount of public engagement and media coverage we have received vindicates our decision to be here representing those in Sheffield who do not have a voice, who know that the power they have vested in politicians and corporations has been abused and turned against them. Unlike many other establishments in the city we extend a warm, hospitable welcome to all people who seek to challenge the way our world works, who wish to reject the misinformation and disinformation of media controlled by the wealthiest 1%, and the rhetoric of politicians. We are a truly open forum where everyone can engage in intelligent and informed debate free from the influence of self-interested local and international corporate establishments, where everyone can propose and contribute to solutions for the problems facing our age.

In the wider world of the early twenty first century, responsibilities are shirked and the burden of reparation is shifted to those who did not cause the crises we are facing. Occupy Sheffield have rejected this endemic thinking; instead we have established a community that works towards self-responsibility and reliance within a supportive environment of holistic and collective responsibility, enabling each other to reach our potential with dignity and respect. We believe that by living in such a co-operative and compassionate way we are setting an example of how our society can work and flourish when the needs of the many are met and surpassed.

We are defining a positive message of hope, an alternative to the shadow of fear most of the world is living under, a message that is reaching the city and the world. Over 2000 Sheffield people have signed a petition supporting us; a counter petition received 4 signatures. In December 2011, Sheffield City Council approved a motion supporting our right to continued peaceful protest. We continue to receive the support of many other groups and individuals including The Sheffield Green Party , Sheffield Quakers, members of the congregation from Sheffield Cathedral, Positive Money, all trade unions in Sheffield, UK Uncut Sheffield, Women’s Institute of Peace and Freedom, Billy Bragg, Sheffield Live, Now Then Magazine, Sheffield Indy Media, Alt-Sheff.org, Broomhill Labour Party, Heeley Ward Labour Party, Justice for All, Heeley City Farm, Paul Bloomfield MP, and people visiting and walking by the camp every day who agree with what we’re doing and offer support, many of whom work for major banks and corporations. Whilst we use existing, open and accountable avenues of bringing the concerns of the many to account, we believe those avenues are few and reveal the true limit of what is often mistaken for ‘democracy’ around our world. That’s why we are using more direct actions to reach those who need to have their voice heard. By doing so we seek not only to inform and educate people about the problems facing our world but also to reveal the many solutions that stand up for equal rights and justice, against exploitation, corruption and corporate greed.

In January 2012 Sheffield’s Citadel of Hope will be welcoming people from around the UK to the national Occupy conference; we believe this will be a pivotal moment in the fight for a fairer world, a world where currently those in whom we entrust our power are using the social disaster, the economic crisis they’ve created to shock and awe us into accepting actions that go against our better nature and conscience. If they bring anything to us it will be misery and fear for our futures. They can only treat us like this whilst we let them; how much more we endure is up to us. We will not tolerate them ignoring us in favour of greed, arrogance and corruption. We can stand up to them as a city, as a nation and as a world, and show them that we are the real power for change.

@OccupySheffield
- Homepage: https://occupysheffield.org/2012/01/13/press-statement/

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