Activism, Parenting

Why the Occupy LSX protest is the perfect place for kids

29 October, 2011

I really believe in activism. I am absolutely sure that protesting changes things, so bringing the baby on board was always gonna happen. But today I realised that sometimes a protest is the perfect place for the baby. Not just as there is an extra amount of people she can woo and then phones she can steal and chew.

We had a wonderful time with the nippers up at St Pauls for Occupy LSX today- facepainting, parachute games, poetry, juggling, one of the dads even turned up with a bouncy castle. While some of the older kids reflected on and drew their ideas of utopia all around us debate, speeches and conversation took place about how we can change the utterly bankrupt society we live in right now.

I’m no stranger to the shaper edge of protest. In fact (don’t tell my mum this) the first protest I took Ramona on saw us sitting down to breastfeed in a cafe just as a Black Bloc walked past- they picked up a bus stop and smashed the entire front window with it. About 3 feet away us. I have also been in peaceful, sitting down crowds as riot police have bought their truncheons down on heads.

I realise it is not always balloons and bubbles.

But the cost of our younger generation NOT being there is higher than the tiny, one in a million chance of them actually getting hurt.*

For it is here that the little ones learn that there is HOPE – that people do believe in an alternative to the economic apartheid we currently live in. Here they see true, live,  democracy – people listening to each other and voting together. Here they hear the melody of diverse voices, discussing problems and solutions.

But it is also the perfect place for them as it reminds us why we do it. Because they are the generation who will either inherit all this- greed (and the inequality greed gives birth to) – stretched and bloated, many time worse then we have even now, or they will inherit a much fairer and more beautiful society. It is completely up to us.

Someone told me today that there are over 900 occupied cities in over 82 countries. There is an incredible global connection happening that is totally unprecedented. The Occupy movement is gathering momentum and could become enough to change things. As a friend pointed out this week, anti-apartheid protesters couldn’t envision the world beyond apartheid- all they could do was say ENOUGH, enough of this injustice. It doesn’t matter that Occupy LSX doesn’t have a list of policies, we are simply saying ENOUGH.

We have had enough of a world where FTSE 100 directors experience a pay rise of 49% on average compared to 0% increase in the public sector. Enough of a world where CHEESE is the top shoplifted item, because people just literally need to eat (baby formula is the FIFTH, the FIFTH!!!!!) and ENOUGH of a world where one years worth of bankers bonuses could pay for 23 years of the youth service being shut in every poor community in the UK. (More on all this in Polly Toynbee’s excellent article here.)

For our children’s sake. We have had enough.

If you’ve had enough too but weren’t sure about bringing your baby along to Occupy London, please get in touch and I can introduce you to some of the coolest parent and kid activists in town.


I’m sorry, all seriouspants once again. I promise my next post will be about poo.

* There are safety measures you can take, I for one would almost certainly leave with my baby at the first whiff of the riot police or other violence.

**Also, beware of the haters who can be equally vicious. Someone told me off today for taking Ramona to Occupy LSX, suggesting I was teaching kids about squatting and oppressing the rights of others. (Eh?!)  Thankfully it was only on Twitter so I was able to take a breath and graciously respond about how we were actually teaching kids about equality, justice and a loving, fair society. (While mentally taking his 140 characters and flicking them at his ragey right wing eyeballs of course.)

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  • -Sarah- 30 October, 2011 at 3:11 am

    I just can’t stop loving your blog posts : ) I often find myself reading out lines to my boyfriend as I’m challenged by your thoughtful and intelligent words but find myself chuckling aswell (I particularly like thinking about you flicking the 140 letters at the dude from twitters eyeballs).

    I don’t know if you’ve heard but unfortuantely in Melbourne ‘Occupy’ is being forced out of every space they attempt to inhabit by local councils, Universities (that was the latest attempt) and the police (at times violently). Its a sad state of affairs when a ‘democracy’ is restricting free speech and the right to protest.

    Its particulalry ironic when just in this last week our national airline, Qantas, posted an 8% increase in profit gave their CEO a 71% payrise but workers are asking for a 5% pay rise (only slightly above CPI inflation) and their claim has been met by them being locked out of the workplace.

    • lulastic 30 October, 2011 at 10:49 am

      Thanks Sarah! You are the petrol in my engine ha.
      I was just reading about Quantas yesterday- so immense and so wrong.
      It just feels as if people are asleep, to not be raging about the gulf between execs and workers. One thing Occupy is doing is opening the door on some of these facts.
      Hope Melbourne find a place to stay soon- it is incredible having a space to all be together, to imagine and debate.

  • Bek @ WeAreWildThings 31 October, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    Hi. Found your blog from Love New Blogs and I love it. Been reading all your posts. 🙂

    • lulastic 31 October, 2011 at 10:30 pm

      Ah, thank you!! I am just working my way through them now but haven’t got so far as commenting yet!
      Have just scoped your blog and love it 🙂

  • Amie 1 November, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    Hey Lu! Love hearing your fantastic energetic inspirational rants!! Am praying for the movement, especially with the church in opposition (that is wierding me out on a whole nother thought train- just doesnt make sense). I think there has been some good coverage but not enough of the issues, so great to have you keeping my feed updated.
    Lots of love

  • Jess 13 November, 2011 at 9:08 am

    Kiwi cops are very nice Lu. I have a particularly nice one x

    • lulastic 14 November, 2011 at 4:35 pm

      There are nice Ones here too ( tho not as nice as Greg) – it is more just a policing system that seems to criminalise protesters, y’know?