This Saturday, Oct 15th the world is being asked to occupy as many financial institutions as possible. In every city, in every country. But why? And how will this change anything anyway?
Let me start with a brief explanation on what’s led up to this momentous occasion. Most of you will know all of this but it sets the scene. Starting in reverse order; so-called “austerity measures” are being forced upon us all, wherever we are in the world. The poorest of the population are now having their jobs cut en masse to be able to afford to pay back the astronomical debts that the richest people in our individual nations have accrued at our expense. The poor already find it difficult to get by which makes these austerity measures seem a little harsh to say the least but it obviously doesn’t stop there. Why are we in debt? Because unregulated, large, financial institutions and banks gambled with our money and lost. So it seems we’re punishing the people that innocently (and maybe sometimes ignorantly) supplied the money and not the people that lost it in the first place. Doesn’t make much sense does it? To top it all, we gave even more of our money to bail out these banks and institutions as otherwise our economy would be in an even worse state than it already is. So to summarise, we’ve done as much as we can to help the people who got us into trouble and only taken more away from the innocent. Any judge, in any court, in any land would find this kind of sentencing absolutely ridiculous.
But this isn’t the first time something unjust or unfair has happened to you or your country is it? You’ve had your money used to fight wars you completely disagree with. You’ve had your health care system ripped apart when that’s the last thing you would have wanted. You’ve seen the closing of libraries, schools and public education services when all you’ve needed is to learn and the list goes on, through the decades of regular people being undermined and disadvantaged in the name of what is good for the few.
The cause of rallying everyone, regardless of their slightly different ideologies, under one banner, is to stop the corporate coup that has rendered the world’s citizens utterly powerless. It’s yet another reason why this current system of running everything fails us. If we don’t stop this injustice and nonsensical system now, then we’re all fucked soon anyway, due to the environmental damage that goes hand in hand with it. Big business also cannot afford for us to go green, that’s why we haven’t done anywhere near as best we could when it comes to the growing environmental crisis. Global warming has been a threat to us for decades and it’s only just become something that people can buy into but it’s still not enough. It’s not economically viable for big business or governments to switch money from oil to a more sustainable fuel because those that control our economy would lose out with such a huge change. In this way, if we let what’s happening continue we won’t just have the poor being poorer, we will also have a world that is ravaged by floods, famine and mass population displacement, naturally (as always) hitting the poorest hardest yet again.
This system we live under is a pyramid of power. Even if we don’t choose it, we let this happen by not doing anything to stop it. But let us not forget that we are the vast majority of this pyramid, we are the foundation blocks. If we remove ourselves when enough is enough then the rest comes tumbling down to the same level. We are at this point now and we can make it happen easily through collective action. Its not hard to see how those in power might do a lot more to raise all our standard of living if they were brought to the same level as the rest of us.
This is why the Occupy Movement deserves all of our attention and participation. Because it is you, the disenfranchised, the uncounted, the apparently voiceless that finally get a chance to be heard, to be counted and to make a difference. The futile odd vote that you get to cast in this two horse race, poor excuse of a democracy doesn’t satisfy you, it robs you of your sense of involvement and your sense of fairness while creating an illusion of participation. You are not represented properly and you haven’t been for all of your life. But you probably keep on voting because you feel it’s the only thing you can do. What other options are there? You’re a law-abiding, morally conscious being that wants things to work the way we are told they should. Unfortunately, things don’t work as they should. No wonder you feel powerless and out of control. This is your opportunity to be counted. To be part of a force that really can change things for the better IF it is supported properly.
Some are calling the people involved in the Occupy Movement fundamentalists. I would argue that it is fundamentalists that are the ones who caused this problem in the first place. People asking for regulation of banks and a ‘people before profit’ system is a completely normal and rational thing to ask for. The financial institutions that tear up international law, ignore humanitarian issues and cause major environmental disasters in the name of profit are the extreme fundamentalists. And they are the few, while we are the many.
Protests these days seem to fall on deaf ears. But lets make a clear distinction; this movement is much more than a single protest. It has longevity. A protest can bring millions of people together and still, nothing will seemingly change. An occupation is a nuisance, a constant reminder, an attention-grabber that lasts. It’s direct action that cannot be ignored if it continues to make noise. Something will have to change if we choose to put our collective efforts into this movement and keep our efforts there until the job is done. This is the simple fact of continued direct action.
This is a truly global movement and you can forget about borders right now. If global capitalism has turned us into the ‘global village’ then we can treat this struggle as borderless. It has no edge. It affects all of the world’s peoples. Stand up and be counted in any way you can. I strongly urge you to join the occupation. Not for one day but for as long as you can. Be unstoppable. Be the change you want to see in the world. If you can’t make it then keep people updated on what’s going on through social media. This is blatantly being ignored by the mainstream media and for good reason – they have the same interests as the ruling classes and corporations who have got us into this mess and don’t want to spread the idea that this campaign could actually work. You may have seen the Arab Spring televised but you’ve seen hardly anything from the Spanish occupations, the Icelandic revolutions or the Greek strikes let alone the current Occupy Wall Street movement. This is why people who are not even attending should do their best to spread the word, to keep the momentum up. To make sure everybody does hear about this.
We are at a turning point in history. One that could have our children celebrating our successes for decades to come. One that could fill our world with opportunity to rethink the way things work, to give a sense of power back to the people, to make a once in a lifetime real change. Or we could have our children living in abject poverty in a completely unequal and unfair world asking ‘why?’ when we had the chance to do something, we didn’t do anything at all. This is your time. This is our time. Make yourself heard.
Please find your local occupation HERE or perhaps start one yourself.
For the people of London, please join, attend and/or help with this occupation HERE
And finally, the amazing statement made by the Occupy Wall Street movement: