Reclaim the City- Defend the ‘Peoples Bank’ in Belfast


Occupy Belfast will be holding a rally this Saturday outside the former Bank of Ireland building at 2pm. Following the rally there will be a public general assembly whereby all are invited to participate in the discussion on where next for the movement. There is a stall including leafleting outside the building every day at 1pm if anyone is interested in getting involved.

The building remains occupied based on anarchist ideas of self-organisation, direct action and solidarity serving as a focal point and inspiration to those fighting house evictions and cut backs to jobs and services. It remains unclear when the new occupiers will be served with an eviction notice with an increase in police harassment including cutting off electricity.

‘Through engaging in direct action we learn by experience that there is no need to depend on some ‘expert’ or professional politician. We learn that we can manage our own struggles in our own interests. We learn the need to link up with others in the common cause. For example, if we want to win on the household tax, we have to involve more than just one area of the country. This is when the ideals of solidarity and mutual aid become real. There is no pre-condition for revolution more important than working class self-confidence. If this does not exist then the running of society will be taken over by whatever party is able to put across the image that they are the “professionals” and “experts”.

When this happens we can forget about socialism. A minority is in the driving seat and it is only a matter of time before they develop from a grouping with their own interests into a new fully-fledged ruling class. This is what has happened every time a minority has been trusted to rule a country after a revolutionary upheaval. Only a confident working class can create the true democracy that will stop this happening.’
Workers Solidarity 125, Jan/Feb 2012

Last night the occupiers released COMMUNIQUE # 2

‘The Bank of Ireland Building on Royal Avenue has now been liberated for '36 hours'. We are continuing to protest in the face of police harassment. We will not be deterred by police attempts to evict our legitimate protest. We are not breaking the law.

Today we have heard that twenty six thousand jobs will be lost from the public sector in the next five years. We currently have a youth unemployment rate that has increased by 155% in the past five years, so that now over 20% of young people are out of work. This, coupled with the imminent increase in tuition fees, amounts to nothing less than the destruction of our future. We refuse to allow this to happen.

As unemployment skyrockets, so too does homelessness. The possibility of owning a home has become nothing less than a pipe dream for increasing numbers of people throughout the country. For those who still own a home, the strains of keeping up payments are becoming unbearable and the future becomes ever more uncertain. When the banks foreclose, property ‘developers’ swoop in.

Premises, just like this one, will be left vacant until market forces and speculators decide that a sufficient profit can be made. This cannot be allowed to happen. These very buildings were built by our parents and grandparents who still had work to go to. We are left with no other choice but to take these buildings back.

In response to this social crisis our local politicians have proven themselves to be unprepared, unwilling, incapable or all of the above. Housing executive houses lie empty as people are evicted daily. There is no other option but to take action ourselves. By our actions we have transformed this space from a private milch cow into a community resource.

The cycle of lending, repossession and speculation must end. We have launched the beginning of that end and we encourage others to join in this struggle. This affects us all. We must reclaim the future. Join us. Solidarity is strength!’

Occupy Belfast/Peoples Bank on facebook along with WSM twitter have live updates.