The Bank of Ideas, Occupy London’s first building at 29 Sun Street on the edge of the City, has been opened and has begun its educational work.
The new 'Bank' - which is seeking to invest in alternative economic, political and social ideas, rather than make a fortune for a small minority - is sited where a huge abandoned office block owned by investment bank UBS was situated.
The site is being transformed into a space for civic discussion and debate. OLSX is calling the initiative "a public repossession".
At the opening in Hackney, one of London’s most deprived boroughs, occupiers aged between 2 and 62 years cut a red ribbon and launched confetti – made from copies of the Financial Times – to cheers and applause.
As part of the Bank of Ideas' work, offices and meeting rooms will be made available for those who have lost their nurseries, community centres and youth clubs due to government spending cuts, says Occupy.
Guest speakers so far include Alberto Durando, secretary of the Cleaners Branch of the IWW union. He spoke about issues facing cleaners working in the City of London, including the minimum wage, unfair working conditions and exploitation.
Durando said that it is vitally important for Occupiers and workers, especially the low-paid, to stand together in solidarity.
Also speaking was City trader Allessio Rastani, who earlier this year sent shockwaves through the media when he said that “Goldman Sachs rules the world” during a thought-provoking BBC interview on the Eurozone crisis.
Sessions have also been held on globalisation and the environment, among other topics.
James Sevitt of Occupy London’s Tent City University commented: “As we enter day 36, it’s hard to imagine Occupy London not being part of the City of London now. There is a real sense of community growing, as campers, speakers, workers, tourists mix, engaging diverse views about how we can create a more just society. This is collective thinking and wisdom in action."
“As Occupy London is very much in support of those unions coming out on strike on Wednesday 30 November 2011, we are busy getting prepared and its great to see unions lending theis support to the Occupy movement. Expect to hear more from us about this soon,” he added.
Ekklesia has been in touch with the bank of Ideas to express support for its inspiring initiative.
* Bank of Ideas: http://www.bankofideas.org.uk/
* Occupy the London Stock Exchange: http://occupylondon.org.uk/