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The Faces of Occupy: Stephen R Moore

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The camp at Finsbury Square seems to have changed a little. Familiar faces are missing, and one rickety shelter I watched being constructed only two weeks or so ago, near the kitchen tent, has been demolished - whether by accident (it was waiting to happen) or design I couldn't establish. The camp is tidier too. There has been a concerted effort by the residents to smarten it up a little.

I know that some of the residents moved out to take up new occupations at Leyton Marshes and at Limehouse, which has since been evicted and is now somewhere in Mile End, I believe.

Stephen R Moore
Stephen R Moore

Of course some familiar faces have remained at Finsbury Square. There's the Boy-with-the-bag-on-his-head, there's Elijah, Squirrel, and on Monday 2 April Dom reappeared minus his magnificent hat, which was, he told me, "thrown on a bonfire by some prick".

I think the main reason the Finsbury Square camp has changed is that there was a near divorce. Some within Occupy had been arguing for Finsbury Square to be cut loose because it had become a dangerous place full of alcoholics and other substance abusers, out of kilter with Occupy's Safer Spaces policy.

On 26 March a document endorsed by "a number of Working Groups from Occupy London so far" stated it had "become clear that supporting the Finsbury Square campsite is currently undermining the Occupy movement and putting those involved in and around the camp at risk."

The statement proposed a number of steps, including the withdrawal of Occupy funding, the removal of all Occupy banners and material and the cessation of representation by Finsbury Square at any Occupy meetings.

This provoked a furious response from the Finsbury Square Occupiers who issued their own statement. "We are the same people that conceived of and opened the Bank of ideas and then later, the School of Ideas. We are the same people that opened Occupy Limehouse and are currently preparing to put our bodies in the gears of Bulldozers on Leyton marshes."

Expulsion
The expulsion. The fellow with the guitar is asked to leave the camp after taking up residence, uninvited, in the sleeping bag of one of the women. These sorts of incidents are common and it seems that there are people in the camp who can deal with these situations without it getting ugly.

A subsequent meeting between the two groups was held and things were straightened out; Finsbury Square is still a part of Occupy London. It does appear too that Finsbury Square, having battled to cope with the sudden influx of refugees from St Paul's and the School of Ideas, has decided to smarten up, perhaps aware that in all honesty, it did have an image problem.

Within this deliberately leaderless movement's camp there are leaders - people whose charisma gives them a sort of de facto status and who can marshal the some of the occupants to join in with such activities as a clean-up. One such person is, I would guess, Stephen.

Stephen is a big man - an ex doorman and bailiff. He has presence. What he has in bulk is matched by both his intellect and his belief in his involvement in Occupy. He strikes me as a gentle giant, set on exposing what he believes to be unfair and unjust. Having experienced the legal system from within, he is now working on a number of initiatives that he isn't prepared to talk about just yet, which will, he is sure, bear fruit.

Stephen is one of the Occupy figures who facilitated registering St Paul's Cathedral in the name of Jimmy, a rough sleeper at the Land Registry.

"A lot of people say that Occupy is an anti-capitalist movement. I'm not anti-capitalist - I want to make money, but I want to make it honestly on a level playing field where there is no corruption, no bullying. We should all have a fair chance and the same set of rules."

Name:
Stephen R Moore

Age:
40

How long have you been in the camp?
Since 5 November at St Paul's then moved on to Finsbury Square after a brief break following the eviction of St Paul's.

What were you doing before you joined the Occupy movement?
I was working on my books and my speaking career about life as part of the system and the effects corporate life has on society.

Are you a full time resident in the camp?
Yes.

Do you have a particular role in the camp?
I worked on tranquillity within the camps and take part in working groups that focus on the legal and financial aspects of the Corporation of London. I also manage the tech tent at Finsbury Square.

What compelled you to become an occupier?
I do not want to live in a police state that just guards the interests of the elite. When the Met Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe defended undercover officers using fake identities to deliver sworn testimony in court, I felt that the time had come to action, rather than just complain about it.

How will you as an individual make a difference?
By using my knowledge gained from being part of the system to help Occupy root out corruption in the City and to help to abolish the offshore tax system that aids criminals and tax dodgers.

Who is your enemy Number One?
My Enemy Number One is Sir Philip Green.

Why?
He owns a large percentage of everyone's high street and uses the offshore system to avoid contributing to the society that generates his fortune.

Who do you admire?
[Occupiers] John and Obi.

Why?
They cleaned the portaloos - which were rank - at St Pauls every day without being asked and without thought of reward for themselves.

What is the best part of being in Occupy?
The satisfaction of when I'm old, being able to look everyone in the eye and say "I did my bit."

What is the worst part?
Some people immediately distrust me because of my past as a bailiff. I have never tried to hide this fact.

Is Occupy making a noticeable difference?
Yes.

How so?
Much of our message has been distorted by the media, but we at least got the Corporation of London to consider making their cash books public. Also, many leading politicians started to raise issues in the banking system.

Anything else?
The eviction of St Paul's really hurt Occupy. It wasn't just an eviction, it was an attack on democracy. The actions of the City of London police culminated in me losing legal books and bundles, together with personal property worth £2,000. Even though I'm a bit "wounded" I will continue campaigning. Any organisation that thinks it is okay to drag Christians at prayer off the steps of a cathedral needs to be brought down.

Stephen R Moore

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