Occupy London Bank of Ideas

The Bank of Ideas is to open for 'business'. Photograph: Julia Ross

Campaign group Occupy London has put together a series of speakers for tomorrow’s ‘Bank of Ideas’ opening at an empty building complex owned by global bank UBS that they took over yesterday night (17 November 2011).

Controversial trader Alessio Rastani, who caused an internet sensation when he told the BBC he “dreamed of another recession”, will speak at 12pm.

The line up of speakers, which runs from 10am until 9.30pm also includes political author Nicholas Shaxson and spoken word artist Belinda Zhawi.

Discussing the latest development, Occupy London member Jamie said: “It’s great- I feel like we’ve really turned a corner after a difficult week.”

He said they had known for some time that they needed a building in addition to camps and some supporters had already offered premises for free.

Their choice of building is a strong statement.

Occupy spokesperson Jack Holburn said: “As banks repossess families’ homes, empty bank property needs to be repossessed by the public.

“Whilst over 9,000 families were kicked out of their homes in the last three months for failing to keep up mortgage payments – mostly due to the recession caused by the banks – UBS and others financial giants are sitting on massive abandoned properties.”

He added they hoped this was the first in a wave of “public repossessions” of property belonging to companies responsible for the global crash.

The multi-million pound property was empty for several months before last night’s occupation.

Activists from the movement have seized the empty office complex and are now claiming squatters’ rights.

They say the Bank of Ideas’ offices and meeting rooms will be available for those who have lost nurseries, community centres and youth clubs due to government cuts.

Today’s development comes after eviction notices were stuck on tents at the St Paul’s camp earlier this week.

Jamie says the people there are unconcerned as the legal process will take weeks to months and they are hopeful they may still win the right to stay there.

This is the third area campaigners are occupying – the other camps in the capital are next to St Paul’s Cathedral and on Finsbury Square.

The complex is owned by Sun Street Properties Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the global bank, UBS.

QC John Cooper is representing Occupy London on a pro bono basis.

Programme for the Bank of Ideas, Saturday 18th November 2011

10-11am IWW (Industrial Workers of the World) Battles For Dig of London

12-1pm Alesio Rastani – Banker

2-3pm Nick Pickle – Big Brother Watch

3-4pm Professor John Weeks and Professor Einer Hus – Senior researchers for the Centre for Development Policy and Research on Money and Finance Group, SOAS

4-5pm Belinda Zhawi – Spoken Word Artist

5.30- 6.30pm James Phils – Phase Ewa

6.30-9.30pm Nicholas Shaxson- Author of Treasure Island and The Men Who Stole the World


Occupy London protesters take over empty UBS bank offices in Hackney

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