Archbishop states support for #occupy

3:45 pm - October 31st 2011

by Sunny Hundal    

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The Archbishop of Canterbury has finally broken his silence on the #occupy protests today, following the resignation of Dean Knowles this afternoon.

A statement posted to the Archbishop’s website said:

The announcement today of the resignation of the Dean of St Paul’s, coming as it does in the wake of the resignation of Canon Giles Fraser last week, is very sad news. The events of the last couple of weeks have shown very clearly how decisions made in good faith by good people under unusual pressure can have utterly unforeseen and unwelcome consequences, and the clergy of St Paul’s deserve our understanding in these circumstances.

Graeme Knowles has been a very distinguished Dean of St Paul’s, who has done a great deal to strengthen the pastoral and intellectual life of the Cathedral and its involvement in the life of London. He will be much missed, and I wish him and Susan well in whatever lies ahead.”

The urgent larger issues raised by the protesters at St Paul’s remain very much on the table and we need – as a Church and as society as a whole – to work to make sure that they are properly addressed.

[Emphasis ours]

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Reader comments

1. Man on Clapham Omnibus

Has Hell finally frozen over I wonder?

2. Prince Philip of Greece

Church in “Church must act like a Church” shock.

I’m not sure that qualifies as ‘coming out in support.’

Since the protesters have raised pretty much every issue imaginable from gay rights to global warming via Blair’s wars, bankers’ bonuses, executive pay and the need for hugs, Rowan’s words seem unsurprising, bland, C of E boilerplate really.

That’s my boy!

I’m wondering whether Boris Johnson, in his capacity as mayor of London, or Kit Malthouse, chair of the Metropolitan Police Authority, will be ordering out the water cannon to disperse the Occupy campers. That would save a lot of hassle.

“I’m not sure that qualifies as ‘coming out in support.’”

It is about as strongly worded as Rowan Williams gets.

Planeshift @ 6

President Mugabe would beg to differ.

I didn’t think he was harsh on Mugabe at all though, certainly compared to the harshness many of us would like to see expressed.

If Rowan Williams caught somebody attacking a family member then all he’d do is express dissapointment that the attacker had not considered the use of alternatives.

It is about as strongly worded as Rowan Williams gets.

In a very real sense…

There’s not much to admire in these Church of England top brass.
This whole situation is urgently needing some Spitting Image-like satire.

I want to support the St Paul’s protest, and Madeleine Bunting almost won me over in the Guardian yesterday, but every time I hear Occupy people speaking or see them on TV, they seem as middle class and objectonable as the C of E wimps.

11. Prince Philip of Greece


You wanna work for yourself whether you support the protests and not be swayed by people who may seem “middle class and objectonable” – but have possibly had no media training and are unlikely to be portrayed sympathetically by mainstream media. If you support the protests but you think you could do better than the protestors currently out there, then get to London and show them how it should be done.

“The urgent larger issues raised by the protesters at St Paul’s remain very much on the table…”

This must be the American use of the word, where if you ‘table’ a motion you put it back in your briefcase for discussion some other fine day.

The idea that this milquetoast murmuring from Williams could be classified as ‘coming out in support’ is risible; it merely repeats what one of the other senior clerics at St Paul’s said the other day, i.e. that they hold conversations from time to time with their sociopathic neighbours (and donors) in Paternoster Square.

Time to disestablish your State Church, I think; it did no harm to Anglicanism in Scotland, Wales and Ireland.

To look beyond parochial church issues, readers may be interested in some updates to my previous postings, with links, into the contrasting ways that local police departments have applied to Occupy Protests in Oakland (home to UC Berkeley) and San Francisco, California.

Earlier posts reported how Oakland PD had used tear gas to disperse protesters and that one had suffered a skull fracture on being hit by a gas cannister.

This video clip reports on subsequent developments in the protest:
Occupy Oakland march crosses Oakland PD line at 14st Bridge:

In San Francisco, it seems the local PD stood down a planned early morning raid on the Occupy Protest there to restore law ‘n’ order after five members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and other city and state officials went to the protest to show support. The latest news is that the Occupy Protesters there have peacefully encamped on what is described as a “dormant park” without official hindrance so far:

“Whatever you think of the politics, and whatever happens in the days to come, give Occupy San Francisco credit for this: It has activated a park that sat dormant for 10 years.”

How did it get to this, where OccupyLSX is now about the evils of St Paul’s and the CofE, not The Evil Bankers?

(that said, there is a suggestion St Paul’s and The Evil Bankers are in league!)

More video news posted on YouTube from the land of the free – earlier confrontation between San Francisco PD and Occupy Protesters on 17 October:

By latest news reports about the Occupy Protest in Oakland when one protester suffered a skull fracture, some members of the SFPD had gone over to Oakland to help out their Oakland PD colleagues restore law ‘n’ order:

“OAKLAND, Calif. — The police officers on the center front line when tear gas was fired directly at Marine Scott Olsen are with the San Francisco Sheriff Emergency Services Unit (ESU.)”

”How did it get to this, where OccupyLSX is now about the evils of St Paul’s and the CofE, not The Evil Bankers?”

Because the CoE are soft and it was easy to mug and hijack them.
They are the unfortunate patsies of this situation … and it serves them right as well.
They are a complacent smug religious body, who presided over the British Empire throughout the ages. It’s fun to see them squirm and get so worked up over what is just a few tents on the pavement.

To keep these issues here in a better informed perspective, this is the latest news from Oakland, California:

“OAKLAND — From schools and downtown stores to the nation’s fifth busiest port, Oakland is bracing for Wednesday’s citywide general strike, a hastily planned and ambitious action called by Occupy protesters a day after police forcibly removed their City Hall encampment last week.”

10. damon and 11-

I agree with 11. Doesn’t matter what we think about individual protesters. I think the best of all possible situations may yet develop and I am heartened by the news. The church in the UK is struggling for relevancy and this as actors has put them centre stage, they don’t want to fluff their lines now. The protesters are struggling for err.. a number of things. I spoke to someone who tried to Occupy LSX and she told me it was this resigning Canon who told them they were welcome on the steps in the early hours of the morning and asked The Police to move.

I am a naively optimistic person but I think real change will only happen with people gathering peacefully on the streets in enough numbers. I was in Crete at the time and thought that they were outside St Pauls deliberately in a “bringing the focus of spirituality back to the capital” type thing. I didn’t realise it was a happy accident.

This is one of the most heartening articles I have read in ages. Did you read The Times article this morning quoting some mysterious protester who was leaving cos the protesters were drinking and taking drugs all the time? They voted the site alcohol free when I was there days ago.

This is getting really interesting

Dave Bones: ”Doesn’t matter what we think about individual protesters. I think the best of all possible situations may yet develop and I am heartened by the news.

You may be right. Don’t get me wrong, I’m quite fascinated with the occupy thing at St Paul’s. If I was in London I’d go down there for a look.
I don’t think discussing the people themselves should be seen as being totally against them though. To a lot of people they are quite odd. They come from a particular segment of society it seems. No wonder the ex-footballers on Talk Sport radio (like Alan Brazil) don’t get them. They mentioned the protest on his show this morning, and there was just complete incomprehension. Working class ex-footballers don’t get OSX – and I can see why just from watching the news.

Even though I’m kind of willing them on, and would definitely support them against the dumb thuggish police and the horrible Corporation of London, demanding the church have open dialogue with them is getting a bit towards pub bore territory.
Why should anyone have to talk to them about their agenda just because they have made themselves the centre of attention? Even though I broadly agree with their disgust at the rampant excesses of capitalism and the system?

It’s a bit of a catch 22 situation for me. I agree with them, and admire their spirit etc, but at the same time I’m a bit repelled by them too, as they’re just too middle class and of a certain type. They all sound so posh and well educated.

Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Pete Phillips

    Breaking: Archbishop comes out in support of #occupyLSX

  2. Jess Fitch

    Breaking: Archbishop comes out in support of #occupyLSX

  3. Daniel Knight (??)

    Breaking: Archbishop comes out in support of #occupyLSX

  4. Brian Moylan

    RT @libcon: Breaking: Archbishop comes out in support of #occupyLSX #ukpolitics

  5. Alex ?

    Breaking: Archbishop comes out in support of #occupyLSX

  6. Double.Karma

    Breaking: Archbishop comes out in support of #occupyLSX

  7. Jose Aguiar

    Breaking: Archbishop states support for #occupyLSX | Liberal Conspiracy via @libcon

  8. Jonathan Davis

    Breaking: Archbishop comes out in support of #occupyLSX

  9. Tim Mayo

    @libcon: Breaking: Archbishop comes out in support of #occupyLSX // what an unfortunate link title. #jamesbond007

  10. Janet Graham

    Breaking: Archbishop comes out in support of #occupyLSX

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    […] The Church of England, including the Archbishop of Canterbury, have now professed concern about the issues raised by #occupylsx, but has not as yet acted […]

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