Phil Edwards


29 February 2012

Taking Down the Tents

All sides seem to agree that the Occupy London Stock Exchange protesters are leaving undefeated. The cathedral authorities stress that although 'tents and camping equipment' have been removed from the vicinity of St Paul's, 'ideas and protests' are still welcome. One protester described the eviction as 'an opportunity for us to move sideways and be innovative and creative'. But in London, as elsewhere, as the campers have had to move sideways, Occupy will have to find another way forward. It isn't the kind of protest in which an achievable goal is linked to a symbolic nuisance, so that when the authorities see reason everyone can go home. Its demands have been much bigger, and they've been backed by the continuing physical presence of people obstinately taking up space.

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16 June 2011

A Slap in the Face

Under Italian law, an 'abrogative' referendum – which asks voters if they think a particular item of legislation should be repealed – can be called by anyone, subject to judicial approval and proof of popular support. Three of the proposals in the referendum held earlier this week came from the anti-corruption party Italia dei Valori (roughly ‘the Italy with Principles’), the other from a group campaigning against water privatisation. One of IdV’s proposals was also about water privatisation; the others concerned nuclear power and the ‘legitimate impediment’ law, passed last year, which allowed government ministers to say they were too busy to appear in court, however serious the charges.

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