Climate camp goes to Barclays
I hadn’t planned to have an afternoon that involved advertising climate camp on the DLR, holding a banner in with a drunken banker, and coming home with a pocket full of free limes. But having stepped outside of the camp gates I got swept up in the enthusiasm of the 100 or so campers on their way to the Barclays Bank headquarters, right in the middle of the canary wharf complex which has become the familiar backdrop of our camp. Barclays invest heavily in coal, the most climate polluting fuel, as well as the arms trade. They were notoriously boycotted for supporting apartheid in South Africa, and those unethical connections continue now.
We took the DLR to canary wharf station (their only response to our invasion was to warn us to stand back from the train), and marched through the bottom of the canary wharf tower, despite the security guard trying to push me back out of the door. Only a few people managed to get into the tower complex itself, and gave out leaflets explaining our Barclays action to people working there. The city, with Canary wharf as its iconic centre, is the hub of the banking industry, whose funding of climate change and carbon trading is gambling with our future.
We left the gates of Barclays covered in messages written on coloured paper, stuck on with pink post-it notes. But not before a good bit of megaphoning at the security guards and any bankers listening, calling them to take of their suits and come and join us.
Then we decided to march around the city, and try to find some bankers in the local gastropubs having a Friday night drink. I was at the front holding our ‘more future, less capitalism’ banner, when a man in a suit came up next to me and took hold of the end of it. At first I thought he was a camper dressed up as a banker for the event, but soon realised he was a genuine city worker, who had drunkenly joined us. He didn’t really know what was going on, and swung between asking us what it was all about, and shouting that he loved us all. As we approached the main access road to Canary wharf, he took the megaphone and danced around in front of the banner (and about 10 big cameras), and addressed the masses.
Our banker left us before we sat down and blocked the road for a while, (letting through the buses). Then back home to the camp, clearing out the free limes being given out by people advertising something on the way home.