I can bet that a trip into the depths of the financial heartland of the UK is not on most people’s plans this weekend. Come Saturday morning the square mile is eerily deserted, void of the men in suits shuffling between mysterious glistening buildings. This murky establishment has dominated the capital for hundreds of years, yet the actions and history of the City of London remain largely unearthed in the public consciousness. But with the coalition’s cuts biting into yet another chunk of welfare spending, the link between this institution and the financial crisis is becoming more and more important to explain. This Saturday 6 April, you have the perfect opportunity to find out more!
Outside Mansion House, the official residence of the Lord Mayor of London Photo courtesy of http://www.MaxColson.com
In a highly commended venture of popular education, a group of ordinary people have set up an educational walking tour in an attempt to open up this secret institution to the full glare of the public. The tour’s main purpose is teach people more about the City of London’s links to the financial crisis in 2008, but also to base this recent history within the backdrop of hundreds of years of unhealthy influence on economic, environmental and social policy. And with educational tools ranging from a history washing line outside the Bank of England, to a group rendition of the song Ice Ice Baby with a financial twist, the tour is perfectly set for participatory learning.
Starting on the steps of St Pauls, the tour embarks on a blow by blow history of various institutions including the Guildhall, Deutsche Bank, the University of Chicago, the Lord Mayor’s house and the British Bankers Association. And at each destination, it takes the audience through a series of jaw dropping facts and stories.
What makes the tour so great is that it is not run by economists, or anyone with professional tour guide experience. It has been produced by everyday people who have seen the effects of financial crisis in our lives and our communities – and want to do something about it. Their modest ambition: to simply inspire street side discussions about the windows we walk past every day.
The City of London police take an unexpected interested in the famous Black-Scholes equation, written on the pavement outside Deutsche Bank Photo courtesy of http://www.MaxColson.com
On its website the tour confirms is not a protest. However, it audaciously dances the line between the public disobedience associated with an Occupy-style protest and the lecture-style information given out on an ordinary city tour. This refreshing cheekiness is what makes it so entertaining. At one point the audience is listening to the guide’s explanation of a chalk drawn graph illustrating inequality, and the next we are all shuffling around on our feet to rub off the charge of criminal damage. Stunned by the harmless and apparently official nature of the tour, security guards and police can do nothing but watch from an amused distance (and educate themselves!).
Illustrating inequality at the London campus of the University of Chicago http://www.MaxColson.com
The City of London is a key target in both of the World Development Movement’s current campaigns. Our Carbon Capital campaign has already highlighted the web of power linking our government with the square mile. The financial industry is also the main profiteer from food speculation, and consequently the most vociferous lobbyist against regulation. Global justice activists can only benefit from expanding their knowledge of this murky institution, and Occupy tours give them the perfect opportunity to do so.
The next tour takes place on Saturday 6 April at 2pm.
To check the latest tour schedule visit: www.occupytours.org
To find out more about these amazing tours or to help out contact: firstname.lastname@example.org