Tuesday 28 February 2012

Occupy: The End of the Beginning

Mark's Gospel, the earliest of the four gospels in the bible, does not end with a resurrection story but with an empty tomb where a young man, dressed in a martyr's robe, announces that Jesus is not there but has been raised and has gone ahead of them to Galilee.

Galilee is where the story starts for Jesus, he comes from there to get baptised, then disappears into the wilderness and at once returns to Galilee where the real graft takes place.

George, a member of the Occupy LSX camp outside St Paul's Cathedral described the eviction as "not the beginning of the end but the end of the beginning". Today if you go to St Paul's you will see a fenced of empty space where the camp had been violently removed yesterday.

For those of us who have watched the drama and debate unfold, and especially for those who are there, this movement has felt historic and full of hope. At the Occupy University and even at the Occupy barbers new ideas and dreams were hammered out in the practicality of people's lives.

But the collusion between the state and religious authorities in the quashing of revolutionary movements is older than the story of Jesus and the end of the beginning, which last night's eviction represents, was no surprise to anyone. That St Paul's Cathedral staff appear to have agreed to the forced removal of people praying on their knees outside is sad but to be expected.

So the empty space outside St Paul's Cathedral feels a bit like an empty tomb. The Occupy movement has take the authentic Jesus-role as radical prophetic voice in a generation who have had enough of greed and corruption.

Their must be a great deal of bewilderment for some of those who have made the site their home and community. But Mark's Gospel ends with a promise, that if you go back home then Jesus will be there to meet you. The revolution hasn't ended, or as George puts it, "this isn't the beginning of the end it's the end of the beginning."