My home town of Totnes is a special place. As you drive past the “Welcome to Totnes” sign, your met by another with the words; “You will never leave again”- your not really, but sometimes I think I might as well just put the sign up myself, so people realise this may be their first and last visit.
This special town is now growing it’s own Occupation, but local authorities look set to do their utmost to squash any further displays…see more below.
I am certain that it is better to fight for something than to fight against something.
When I visited Occupy Wall Street for a couple of days, about three weeks ago now, I found a community of very organised activists. A community of academics, intellects, civil service workers, parents, children, unemployed, students, doctors, musicians, artists and travelers – the only person not at that meeting place, the only person not taking their seat at the “Table for the future”, were the bankers and the politicians, the CEO’s and the stock brokers; who we have now lumped, squashed and pushed into this coined expression of ‘the 1%’.
They never received an invitation and today I can’t help wondering, who are they really…
If this revolution ( I call it that, because it has all the traits of one), really is the story we want to tell, then maybe we already know it’s ending, its outcome…
About 2 months ago I was in a chilly room in Sao Paulo, Brazil, helping my girlfriend with some study work on the French Revolution. As I came to the end of a brief analytical description of that time and the massive process France went through and how the States people rose up against the establishment, I was left with the realisation that we are repeating their story. We are fighting a corporate dictatorship as they did. We are demanding greater rights. We are attempting to tear down their castles of gluttony, but to replace them with what? How does this story end?
This 99% we feel united behind will reshape society according to our values, become the drivers of society…surely? We will create the world we dream of until the next generation of 99%ers feel they have been born into a rigid structure that they didn’t agree to and then they too will march..
Well it doesn’t have to be that way. What happened to every human being on this earth having a role to play in our story. The young students and unemployed youth of our society often feel hostility towards those in power, they often see their freedoms restricted by others actions.
They see a world and societal structure that they are born into but not welcomed to participate within. They see old agreements that they are expected to fall into without ever agreeing to them. They now see a corporate stranglehold from the very top, that appears to threaten all of their future dreams and so it is no surprise that now they have woken and now they are angry…
But I beg you-let’s stop reinventing the wheel. Let’s stop letting history repeat itself- instead let us create a story. A story of such magnitude, of such hope and undeniable possibility that we co create a societal reconstruction and transformation that even goes beyond our wildest dreams- created with everyone’s participation.
It’s time to come to the table. To join the discussion. We need everyone.
We need the CEO’s, the politicians, the bankers and the stock-brokers. I strongly believe this and I know such a notion might make some of your stomachs turn, but these are human beings, fathers, mothers, brothers, teachers and intellects. If they are corrupt it is because of a corrupt system that made them that way. They were a healthy cell, dropped into a cancerous environment. It’s not about removing them; it’s about transforming the system.
There is no 1%. There is no 99%. Segregation and separation never achieved anything. Never. It’s time we came to the table. Us- the 100%.
The Movement of Movements: Why the flame that has been lit on Wall Street and has since spread, can never go out.
Ten days ago on Avenida Paulista, Sao Paulo’s Wall Street equivalent, I was given a handmade leaflet by a very old man, who’s trusting and broad smile had gained my curiosity. After reaching out my hand to receive his propaganda, I looked down at what was written -and baffled by what was there, I was quickly swept up by the numerous men in suits and women in skirts all rushing to their desks, board meetings and conference calls. I deposited the scrap of paper in the next available trash bin. Today I understand what the words now mean- their significance and most importantly their potential power.
Each leaflet he was handing out was hand written. It was written on scraps of newspaper, recycled envelopes, the back covers of magazines and even on cut up cardboard boxes. He was in the same spot yesterday, doing the same exact thing and I would guess he will be there today and no doubt tomorrow. His leaflets have just three lines of hand-written text, which read:
The text describes a time, a date and a place. The rest is left up to you.
What started in Wall Street, now over 25 days ago, has not only spread its message nationwide, but has directly instigated a global call to solidarity and to peaceful protest. Ask any protester in Zuccotti Park what it is they are protesting against (or for!) and out of the thousands there today, you will likely not receive the same answer more than a handful of times.
This must be because they are deluded, bored and arrogant and have nothing better to do with their time but cause trouble for the fine establishment, right?! Wrong.
This is because a movement is building that does not only recognize greater democracy as the most important issue of our times, nor does it push all it’s weight on a fairer global economy or on food security free from chemicals and genetic manipulation. Instead the movement spreading across the globe is incorporating all the issues above, as well as countless more.
Surely that creates ambiguity, confusion and weakens the foundation of a movement?
For sure not. The answer to such a question is present with the people on the streets, the activists on line and the many more yet to take a stand- such commitment is written on their smiles, inhabited in their eyes and living in their hearts .
It is the example of Roy McGeady- the 75 year old man who has been sleeping under a tarp in Zuccotti for the last 11 nights.
That leaflet I was handed on Avenida Paulista at the beginning of this month, describes the day Brazil hears the call. It is a day where all over the globe what we have been witnessing in Wall Street grows to our local communities and you should be there. Our children and Grandchildren are not simply statistics that we can be indifferent towards.
Whatever issue inhabits your heart, it is time to speak it. Whatever exterior force restricts your freedom, it is time to meet it. For a movement is only as strong as the commitment that lies in each of it’s participants and when they join with each other, when global movements mold into one, it can become unbreakable and moreover, can succeed.
Ernest Hemingway once wrote, “The world is a fine place and worth fighting for”. I believe in a better future, because a better future believes in us.