Sunday, 30 October 2011

The Modern Selling methods of Peaceful Protest - Occupylsx

(Update at 30th Oct 2012  Speech at Friends House, Euston Road )

The  City of London is the financial district  often called "The City"  and is administered by the Corporation Of London. The City area has many old street  names to do with buyng and selling - the early markets.

An example from the poster wall at the protest camp at the Occupylsx protest at St Paul's Cathedral

Shoe lane. Milk lane. Bread street.
Cheapside ( cheap = market). Wood street. Honey lane.
Poultry ( Chickens) and Cornhill ( Wheat market).

Some of the earliest merchant guilds were established in medieval times and practiced their selling craft  .

The various trades whose livery companies were foundations of early com panies ( com = with, panis = bread) who broke bread  and shared fellowship and trade much as the Eucharist /communion of Christianity is shared today.
There are many churches to be found in this compact district of London.

Many were built after the great fire of London 1666 with designs by Sir Christopher Wren. The main glory is of course his masterpiece - the Cathedral dedicated to St Paul whose trade was a tent maker!

Over the years I must have walked through Pater noster ( Our Father..) square on many occasions to reach St Paul's through the gate - Temple bar  which was repositioned at the square in 2004 .

To one side of the square, there is a lovely sculpture by Dame Elisabeth Frink of the Shepherd leading the sheep.

Paternoster Square near St Paul's Cathedral  is private land belonging to an estate's corporation

 Access is currently barred by striped tape,metal barriers ,security guards and police officers .

All this disruption has arisen due to the current tented protest part of the worldwide protest "Occupy the city".

 In London the protest group have set their encampment beneath the steps of St Paul's Cathedral.

I  have paid a couple of visits to the site to listen to what the protesters had to say.

I have bought some coffees sandwiches and offered them to some of these visitors to London. The food and drinks were graciously accepted. at the info tent.

They seemed a very friendly and good natured bunch of people. They were also well organised. The are not obstructing the visitors or worshippers to the cathedral. They also are self-policing the camp ensuring there are no drugs or alcohol being consumed on the site.

They  have many agendas so it was quite difficult to ascertain at first what their objective is but I guess they are selling ideas to those who wish to listen  on how they feel about  how our imperfect world could be a better place.

 They seek to see a more just distribution of the world's resources and challenge some of the huge salaries and profits earned by some of the big firms.

I took the opportunity to find out their feelings, opinions and attitudes which have not been that well explained by much of the conventional media I have read .

Putting aside the legal or illegal aspects of the encampment I was impressed by the range of modern sales and marketing techniques that they use effectively. 

 Is imitation of capitalism a source of the protesters' flattery?

 For example Objection handling:-

The story about the empty tents has been countered by showing  that tents mask the heat signature of the infra red cameras used in the newspaper articles last week.

Many of the protesters are  Gen Y  modern generation who have no need to speak to the 'old skool' newspapers to  ask them to retract any questionable allegations - they simply made  a video on You tube and put it on the net to demolish the allegation.

Attention Grabbers par excellence - A Giant  Casino Roulette Cloth and counters laid at the steps of St Paul's Cathedral

The home made posters were direct and effective

The Church of England may find it difficult to disconnect from such images . They imply a relationship to Big Business. Perception is Reality regrettably to many today whether capitalists or not.

The messages of some of the home made signs show subtle appreciation of the church's viewpoint

Sadly St Paul's was closed for public worship for last week -an unintended consequence of the protest that was protesting against amongst other things -the banks, the stock exchange and pleading for justice.

By the second week the Cathedral was open again for business and prayer- both with free entry for religious services , for free private prayer in the peaceful and spiritually filled space- St Dunstan's chapel, and £14.50 entrance fee for tourist visitors. St. Paul's is a very expensive building to maintain.

Using words like 'usury and mamon' have an arresting resonance with many worshippers and visitors to St Paul's

This message was even referred to by the Bishop of London in his engagement with the protesters on Sunday morning. In an address Dr Chartres told protesters, who fear forcible removal, he shared many of their concerns on corporate greed.
However, he stopped short of agreeing to protesters' demands for a promise not to support eviction.

Public relations attention grabber at the steps of St Paul's a giant spoof of the monopoly board

FEW would not wish and pray for a peaceful resolution to the situation

An Anglican Priest from Hackney speaks to the crowd on Saturday afternoon of the poverty he has witnessed in his parish at the 'sermon at the steps' series of speeches from 20 different religious and spiritual leaders.

The people listening to the multi-faith session on Saturday

Time for partying and dancing -protesting must be entertaining as well

The Protest in the foreground and tourists and worshippers entering the Cathedral at the top of the steps - a sort of temporary normality.

To end this piece  -  a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down !-

 with a former description of the steps of St Paul's in perhaps simpler times but still with a relevant message for all today.

Early each day to the steps of Saint Paul's
The little old bird woman comes
In her own special way to the people she call,
"Come, buy my bags full of crumbs;
Come feed the little birds,
Show them you care
And you'll be glad if you do
Their young ones are hungry
Their nests are so bare
All it takes is tuppence from you
Feed the birds, tuppence a bag
Tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag
Feed the birds," that's what she cries
While overhead, her birds fill the skies
All around the cathedral the saints and apostles
Look down as she sells her wares
Although you can't see it,
You know they are smiling
Each time someone shows that he cares

Though her words are simple and few
Listen, listen, she's calling to you
"Feed the birds, tuppence a bag
Tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag"

from the song from the film Mary Poppins


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