London, Regent Street
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Sat 26th Feb 2011
Added on Wed 23rd Feb 2011, 4:47pm — last updated Thu 24th Mar 2011, 7:38pm
Schools not Banks
There are massive cuts to the school building programme so let's set up a classroom in a bank.
Derivatives. Fractional reserves. Toxic assets. Sub-prime mortgages. Banking is complicated. Even the bankers who crashed the global economy into the ground didn't really understand it. And with massive Tory cuts coming to school building programmes, it's going to be harder than ever to learn. But never fear because this Saturday UK Uncut will be setting up a Big Society Classroom in a bank! For a lesson all about banking.
Banks don't have to be this way. As UK Uncut activists all across the country set up essential public services in banks, we will be reclaiming the Natwest branch on Regent Street and turning it into a classroom. Some brilliant teachers will be helping us to understand what's wrong with the banking system and how we can change it. Notebooks at the ready!
Dress code is obviously school uniform. Anyone not wearing proper uniform will be punished. You might also like to bring a packed lunch and an apple for the teacher. Or if you plan to be disobedient perhaps some paper planes?
This is a flash-mob. If you want to participate in the workshop you need to be inside the Natwest before 12 noon. The lesson will start promptly as soon as the teacher calls for quiet.
Tax Justice Network
Robin Hood Tax
The New Economics Foundation
UKUncut: The Plan Bhttp://isthisday.com/2011/02/27/ukuncut-the-plan-b/
When you arrive for a UKUncut action you often aren’t completely sure where your target is, can’t be certain that there will be more than a handful of people and are never really sure who is a fellow uncutter or just a member of the public (except for the Uncut Heroes of course) and then there is the problem we faced yesterday: your target might get wind of your plans and shut for the day. This is exactly what happened yesterday on UKUncut’s first international day of action.
Success before we have even started? Yes. There were so many branches of, RBS owned, Natwest closed across London that it seems they most certainly got our message and are running scared. But where was the fun in that? And more importantly where was the opportunity to engage with the public on the issue? UKUncut’s bail-ins are not about shutting down the banks but claiming them as public spaces and letting people know that they got us into the mess, we got them out of it and they are long overdue in paying us back. By closing up shop Natwest ran away from us and inconvenienced far more customers than anything we could have done.
So as I stood there in the pouring rain with a couple of fellow uncutters, a confused member of the public and a police van parked across the road, I searching through my twitter feed franticly to find an alternative. Luckily MissEllieMae and the famous Orange Umbrella soon arrived with news of a ‘Plan B’.
“Due to spending cuts the UKUncut comprehensive has had to shut, instead we will be going on a field trip,” said the headmistress before doing a uniform check and quick footing it down Regent Street and on to Oxford Street. Just before we went however, we left our own notes for Natwest.
As we played a game of ‘keep up with the orange umbrella’, questions of “where are we going” spread through the 60 strong crowd of ‘students’. But all was soon to become clear once we saw a fellow uncutter at the doors of Lloyds TSB hurrying everyone in. Shocked staff and customers looked on amused as we sat down for our lessons delivered by folks from Tax Justice Network, Robin Hood Tax, Corporate Watch and The New Economics Foundation. One employee even chuckled and took out his Blackberry when asked by the headmistress to call the CEO!
After only a couple of (very informative) sessions, a police officer (who went by the name of John) spoilt our fun and asked us to move on. We gave one more defiant chant and then moved the lessons outside where we were able to meet up with the Uncut Heroes who had shut down a Natwest and our old friends Vodafone.
Together with the heroes we moved on to another, closed, Natwest and finished off our last few lessons and then wound up back at Regent Street where there was much music, leafleting and discussion with the public.
It just goes to show, neither the rain or closing up shop will deter the UKUncut gang; either mend your ways or prepare to be occupied!