People are on the streets.
In principle, I think that’s awesome. Regardless of what I will write in this post, I think it is remarkable how people are shaken out of their lethargy, their complacency, out of their god-given role of being a powerless victim.
I suppose that in my generation I am not the only one wondering if there’s still cause to demonstrate. For women’s suffrage, against the Vietnam War, for Free Love, against the Cold War, for Nuclear Disarmament, against tuition and nazis if you’re German, or for solidarity with Africa — there are a lot of things that people took to the streets, but they are all a little outdated.
Today, we complain on Twitter, on Facebook, or, like me 😉 on our blogs. About “the war”, “the terrorist threat”, “the economy” and people’s general stupidity. There’s so much “kinda wrong”, but because we are also “kinda safe”, warm, well-fed and online, we are appeased, perplexed, and lazy. We watched the Arab Spring with a sense of awe and longing for a revolution, some kind of action that gives us back hope that we can change our world.
And now, suddenly, there’s this (western-)world-wide movement. Occupy Wallstreet, Occupy London, Occupy Frankfurt, Occupy Rome, riots and trash, and food donations from bankers to the crowd – food and blankets, mind you.
My question is very simple:
What is the goal of the demonstrations?
People protest against the pecuniary power wielded by banks and international organizations. They are angry because the arrogance of investors and bankers are shoved in their face, because they are expected to pay up for the sins of a globalized financial system that has yet to figure out how to put cooperation and the greater good of the masses above financial advancement of the few.
Commendable reasons, sure. But what good is camping on Wall Street gonna do? There are no easily changed laws or policies that will satisfy the demands of the movement. Really, what are you asking for?
Allow me to guess…
Anyone should be entitled to adequate nutrition and housing, to affordable education and health care. The single citizen should not have to pay taxes to support grand scheme banking failures. One job should be enough to support a decent life, the stock markets should be less volatile, prices must be reasonable, politicians noble and children should respect their elders. And, of course, we’re not self-centered and ignorant. We want this for everyone in the whole wide world.
So really, these protesters seem to be asking for the banks, investors, cooperations, to change their policy of making money using every legal and moral loophole they can find, to a world where the law is reasonable and everyone abides by it.
Fat chance ‘o that…
So yes, let’s get loud. Let’s be active. Let’s try and change the world.
But may I suggest that we take some of the energy that goes into tent buying and park cleaning so you’re not forcefully evicted for something that might be smaller, but will also make a direct impact?
Buy local and organic if you can. Even if you can’t afford it right now – ask your supermarket to widen their product range. Educate yourself. Educate your children, your family and your friends. Smile at strangers. Help out at a shelter. Donate what you can. Take re-usable fabric bags to the grocer. Eat less junk food. Capitalize on left-overs. Tolerate your neighbors lifestyle choices. See past their religious believes. Turn off the lights when you don’t need them. Carpool. Join a cooperative. Buy less cheap china-made clothes from minimum wage shop assistants. Don’t print out all your e-mails. Plant a tree. Tutor a child. Take away your fair trade coffee in your own mug. Don’t buy at Wal-Mart. Or Kik. Campaign for your cafeteria to avoid multinational companies in favor of local soda-drinks. Introduce meat-free days. Recycle, dammit! Adopt a child from the third world. Start a Free Box. Visit someone at a hospital. Send a card to an estranged friend.
These are no either/or-decisions!
Let’s change the world in every way we can. And don’t believe anyone who says it’s easy.
(Who the hell am I to lecture you?
I am, unfortunately, not a perfect person living a perfect life. I try to do more, I fail at lots.
So, please believe me when I say I’m not trying to lecture. Instead I’m trying to raise awareness on a heart felt topic that’s been on my mind ever since #occupy became the next big thing.
But I believe that there is no excuse to be blissfully ignorant. Always strive and always propagate the strife. Do Good, Be Good, Feel Good. Because it doesn’t do any good for you to be dispirited.
Occupy Your World.)
* I don’t own the pictures, they were shared with me on Facebook.
Please notify me if I’m infringing your rights.