Fair disclosure:  This is only my opinion based upon my experiences in Madrid and New York. This movement is about a lot of things for a lot of people.  The problems are complex.  We are currently learning how to articulate these problems.  Only then can we be ready to solve them in a way that is meaningful and significant. 

 It started in Tunisia and the broader Middle East, and then moved to Europe  (look up Iceland, or the 15th of May Movement in Spain). Many of the strategies that are being used in the US were first tested in Iceland and Spain—they stopped major cuts to social services/education/health/public funding and stopped huge bank bailouts. The European fight continues. In the Middle East this movement has given them a chance to fight for democracy. With each country this global movement takes local characteristics. This is the world’s first glocal youth movement. It’s cause: lack of democracy, politicians paid for by corporate interests, corporations willing to do whatever is necessary to make profits.

In the US, the Occupy Movement is about (broadly): 

  • 1) It’s about re-imagining democracy in the 21st century—why don’t we have direct democracy?  Shouldn’t we try harder to understand our pluralistic world?
  • 2) It’s about wealth distribution—why does 1% of the population have 40-50% of the wealth (i.e. fair tax code).
  • 3) It’s about social justice and equal access—how is it that every member of congress, and every other “developed” country in the world has free health care? Shouldn’t we all have access to security in health and home? (i.e., “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”).
  • It’s about unemployment—why can’t educated, young people get jobs? Why can’t MOST young people afford to get an education? (See: wealth distribution/social justice and equal access)

 

How do we solve this?

Capitalism has gone wild.  We must reign in big business/industry/corporations that have wrecked the global economy, oppressed peoples, and wrecked our planet while making record profits. A corporation’s profit is the result of someone, somewhere in the world getting cheated out of their hard work—forced to live in poverty and oppression.

In this movement you see a wide-variety of issues represented. To address these problems we can’t look at it piecemeal, trying to patch together single acts and laws that can’t possibly address all these problems. A holistic approach is necessary. These occupations are creating a place where people can learn to articulate these problems, so that to better address them.

What seems chaotic from the outside is direct democracy in action. Fair tax codes/wealth distribution/regulation ARE related to the environment. Fair tax codes/wealth distribution/regulation ARE related to immigration issues. Fair tax codes/wealth distribution/regulation ARE related to why teachers don’t have supplies in their schools. Fair tax codes/wealth distribution/regulation ARE related to why your friend/family member is out of a job. Fair tax codes/wealth distribution/regulation ARE why the wealthy get richer and the poor get poorer.

 

Helpful links:

World Revolution 2011 – The Arabian Spring!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6S8iQ5KSkU

Arab spring: an interactive timeline of Middle East protests

 http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/interactive/2011/mar/22/middle-east-protest-interactive-timeline

Europe’s Economic Protests May Be Contagious, 30 January 2009
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=100029099

Anti-Government Protests Erupt Across Egypt, 25 January 2011

http://www.npr.org/2011/01/25/133218489/Anti-Government-Protests-Erupt-Across-Egypt

Youth Protests Sweep Spain As Unemployment Soars, 26 May 2011

http://www.npr.org/2011/05/26/136683688/youth-protests-sweep-spain-as-unemployment-soars

The Rap Songs of the Arab Spring, 9 Jun 2011

http://www.npr.org/blogs/therecord/2011/06/09/137067390/the-rap-songs-of-the-arab-spring 

 

A Growing Indignant Global Youth Movement, 10 August 2011

http://burntcitrus.com/?p=391

Wall Street action part of global “Arab Spring”?, 11 October 2011

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/10/11/uk-global-politics-protest-idUSLNE79A03Z20111011 

Occupy_______: So what is this Global Youth Movement? (pass it on)

http://burntcitrus.com/?p=454

Twenty reasons why it’s kicking off everywhere

http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/newsnight/paulmason/2011/02/twenty_reasons_why_its_kicking.html