Tag Archives: Corporate Greed

We Are What Democracy Looks Like and We Look Fetching

16 Oct

October 15, 2011 was a Global Day of Action. I hope your actions included more than just eating chips and listening to the football scores. The Arab World had the spring, and this autumn is a chance for the rest of us to make a difference.

The day was tied to the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York. If you aren’t aware of them, may I politely suggest that you wake up and pay attention to the world around you? They’re a leaderless, non-violent movement of people of all ages, races, and political persuasions who are a bit sick and tired of the power and greed of corporations. One of their slogans–We are the 99%–highlights the fact that the richest 1% of the US owns 40% of the wealth and takes home nearly a quarter of the nation’s income, and therefore politicians seem more keen on protecting them and corporations than looking after the majority of the country.

The government bailed out the banks because “they were too big to fail.” I’m no mathematician, but 99% of a country seems like a pretty “big” group (see chart).

So protesters began “occupying” Wall Street. Within weeks, thousands of Americans were occupying their own cities. The movement went global yesterday with protests in countries around the world. People are gathering together to say, “Yo, politicians, we are here and you must pay attention to us.” (Use of the slang term “yo” is obviously optional.)

As an American who is—yes, I know this may shock you—part of the 99% and as a concerned global citizen, I felt I had to act. So Christopher and I led an occupation of the village green yesterday.

We set up our tent in late morning, and it didn’t take long to attract some attention. This may or may not be explained by my incredibly captivating attire (merci to the boys at Designs by Maurice). However, our multimedia presentation quickly helped to inform the less enlightened villagers, and soon our numbers rivaled those in major American cities.

Unlike the hypocrisy shown in many American cities towards the universal rights of freedom of assembly and expression, our local police were most respectful of our protest. I confess there were a few arrests. This was not due to violence or destruction, but rather because, during our General Assembly to vote on our demands, some participants insisted on saying “pacific” instead of “specific” and I felt compelled to shop them to the coppers as that level of ignorance has no part in any effective social change movement.

One criticism of the American protests is that they are unfocused: opponents see this as a weakness but many supporters see it as a result of the many different societal problems caused by greed. Our group decided while we stand in solidarity with all multi-issue protests, we would focus on one simple specific demand: we will continue to occupy until the world becomes a fairer and all round nicer place to live.

Although I elected not to stay the night out on the green, I have just returned from there and can report that the occupation is still going strong. If you would like to help us, here is a list of the campers’ current needs:

  • Food
  • Tarps
  • Cardboard and paint for signs
  • A job offering a living wage
  • Yesterday’s Wales v. France rugby result
  • Water

If you’re not able to stop by our group, please consider supporting or starting your own local occupation. Show your politicians that enough is enough. Greed has to led to a global financial crisis and austerity measures, which hurt the poorest the most, will not eliminate the problems. Take action. Do something. Just don’t bother throwing a pie in Rupert Murdoch’s face, because that didn’t really change anything, now did it?