What emerged from the Tent City University debate last night was the ready acknowledgement by the eminent panel of lawyers of the need to maintain common land, the importance of the right to peaceable protest as a justified means of drawing attention to an unacceptable state of affairs and the vital role of the law in championing the rights of the people.
There was recognition that people play the part that they can in whatever position they are in to change law and society for the better, whether it be, for example, through protesting, journalism or practising law and that sometimes it can only be through a combination of these means that dramatic change can be achieved - as emphasised by David Wolfe and Conor Gearty.
The impeccable Sarah Sackman gave the inspirational analogy of the American black people’s struggle and success in achieving recognition of equality in the first half of the 20th century and the vital role that the law played alongside civil disobedience. David Allen Green’s strong support of his fellow panellists (on first hearing the Cathedral’s charge that the presence of Occupy presented a threat to health and safety he declared it a sham in his article in the New Statesman) was tempered only with one proviso: that civil disobedience should not be the first recourse to changing the law as the law itself provided means for change but that where there was no other way, peaceful demonstration was a necessary and acceptable means of drawing attention to an unacceptable state of affairs or rather in his apt words, “you need to throw everything up into the air!”
Occupy LSX is back in court on Wednesday 22 February to hear whether judges will allow permission to appeal. Readers may also be interested in Conor Gearty's article in the Occupied Times on the role of the Cathedral in the eviction case.