This year will be known as the year of Global dissent. The year opened with the Arab Spring, when Civil Society took to the streets across the Arab World in peaceful protest to make their collective voice heard, calling for a Government of, by and for the people, Democracy. As the austerity measures in Europe began the European Summer ensued with protests and riots. The Civil Society in Spain used the model of non-violent civil-disobedience, occupying the Porta del Sol plaza in Madrid. The movement spread to towns across the country facing down many violent confrontations peacefully. They organized using consensus to find out what the people felt the top issues were, and how they would resolve them. The whole of Europe began to learn from the Spanish how to hold rallies and organize.
To many people, the protests in Europe seem disconnected from that of the Arab Spring because European countries have democracy, whereas the arab world was fighting to over-through dictatorships. The protesters say that the situation isn’t that different, instead of presidential dictators they are fighting corporate dictators which includes the big banks. They say their representative democracy is not representing the will of the people, because of corporate campaign finance and lobbyists who line the pockets of elected officials to control regulation and legislation. The Spanish protesters had a vision of this becoming a global movement, a movement of participatory democracy, where the people are the steering committee in charge of creating the world they want to live in.
In September the European Summer bridged the divide of the Atlantic with the Occupy Wall Street movement, which opened the American Autumn. We are now one month into the American Autumn and this people’s movement for a participatory democracy has spread to more than 1500 cities and towns around the world. The people of this global movement refers to themselves as the 99% referring to the divide between themselves and the wealthiest 1% who own half of the wealth. As the Winter approaches the movement is being compromised by the mainstream news trying to fit them into their usual box of the Left/Right paradigm. They are being called Socialist, Marxist, Anti-Capitolist, Extreme Left and other labels. As the election tango begins, some are trying to co-opt and others extinguish the popular support of the Occupy Wall Street Movement. From Agent Provocateurs in Italy starting riots among peaceful protesters to mainstream media spins in the US news, this movement is facing pressure on all sides. The protesters, who span all demographics, are clear in their stance; they are not a political platform, they want economic justice and they want the People’s voice to be The Voice leading our countries, not the Special Interests.
Many of the people critiquing the movement are trapped in the Left/Right paradigm, saying that if the protesters don’t take a specific side and become a political platform they won’t achieve anything. I disagree, as Einstein said,
No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.
The strategy of divide and concur is not only a geographical one, these Mega Corporation use their record levels of “free speech” $$$ to “speak up for” both the Blue and the Red candidates alike. For the People to engage in a proactive, non-partisan dialogue is a big step in the direction of solving our common systemic insecurities. The ones who created and profited off of these insecurities will not resolve the very systemic issues that have made them the top 1%.
A few links on the Occupation story –
Democracy Now – Oct 15 Day of Rage
RT – Oct 15 From NYC to Everywhere
VT Digger – Oct 15 Vermonters Occupy
Fox News – Oct 16
CBC – Chris Hedges
To keep up on the VT Occupation Events – http://www.facebook.com/vermontworkerscenter?sk=wall
In Solidarity – VT4Evolution