A while back, I wrote a post on worker co-ops and how I felt they had the potential to play a key role in the various “global transformation” movements cropping up all over the world. Aside from providing a brief introduction to the co-op model for those unfamiliar with it, the main point of the piece was to challenge the now reflexive assumption most people have today about the profit motive being a sort of indispensable fuel for the innovation engine. As I was writing it, the name Steve Jobs kept flashing in my mind. A visionary in both technology and business, hailed by geeks and entrepreneurs alike, I knew his name would be the first one offered as a glaring example of someone who would seem to contradict my contention – someone who appeared, at least on the outside, every bit as motivated by the zeros in his bank account as the 0s and 1s in binary code. Sure enough, the “Oh yeah? Tell that to Steve Jobs!” comment arrived a few hours after I posted the article.
The following post was written by Nick Meador, and originally appeared in H+ Magazine on October 10, 2012. I’m reposting it here because I feel this is the kind of “outside the system” idea that has a lot of potential these days. If you’re interested in supporting the creation of this project (monetarily or with your ideas), links to the project website and Facebook page are at the bottom.
I wrote the following piece for Reality Sandwich. Since this was written with a new audience in mind, some of the ground covered in this article has already been covered in previous posts here, so I apologize to my regular readers for repeating myself a bit. As an aside, I highly recommend Reality Sandwich for anyone interested in new paradigms, new thoughtscapes, applied spirituality, or broadening their perspective of world affairs.
Reflecting on Occupy could be seen as a redundant exercise, given that the movement itself was born of reflection. Plenty would disagree, and insist it was frustration – boiled over from one too many pink slips, foreclosed homes or soul-crushing commercials – that sparked Occupy’s flame. True as this may be, the serious contemplation and reexamination of long-held assumptions required for the movement’s signature disregard of even the most sacred cows can’t be discounted either. While 99% of people on the planet may indeed be in the same rough boat economically, it can also be made fairly apparent from a typical afternoon stroll that an equal percentage of folks aren’t engaged in this type of reflecting.
The following post – currently appearing in Nation of Change and Truthout – is an updated and slightly edited version of a post from earlier in the year about Occupy’s May 1st day of action. To celebrate Occupy’s 1 year anniversary, I’m re-releasing this piece with an altered theme more appropriate to today and the road ahead.
Why are we occupying? Or to put it another way – what’s wrong with the world?
If voting made any difference they wouldn’t let us do it. (Mark Twain)
This election year is my first since losing interest in the political charade. It’s not fun, as I’m not one of those people who thrives on being different or separate from everyone else. I’d much rather fit in, feel connected to society, and feel that I have more in common than different with my fellow street walkers. Similarly, it would be much easier and less of a hassle to simply continue enjoying the things you enjoyed in the past – to still get that same sense of excitement going to a bar that you did in college, to keep cheering on your team with the same fervor you did before realizing sports didn’t actually mean anything. But evolution happens, whether you want it to or not. It’s natural to resist at first – to want things to stay the same, to still be able to rely on the same dependable highs of yesterday – but intrinsic to the process of growth is the necessity of leaving the old behind. To keep resisting is to resist your true destiny.
I have not lost faith. I’m not in despair, because I know that there is a moral order. I haven’t lost faith, because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. (Martin Luther King, Jr.)
I have yet to corral my thoughts on the Occupy National Gathering, which I feel overall was a fantastic and very significant event for the Occupy movement. I hope to do so this week, so in the meantime, please enjoy a few scenes below which capture a sense of what the week was like for me.
The first is a montage of the visioning process which took place on the gathering’s final day on July 4th – speeches by Occupy Philly organizers preceding the process, the process itself, the final march, and a portion of the final document that was produced. I heard many great presentations throughout the week, but I thought these speeches in particular were extremely powerful and heartfelt, making it unfortunate that I was unable to find them in their entirety on livestream, youtube or anywhere else. If anyone out there has access to these speeches, please do let me know.
The second video is snippets from a performance by comedian Lee Camp, which I was fortunate enough to be in the vicinity of. Like the first video, it doesn’t do the performance justice, but is the only one I could find. I include it here merely to introduce Mr. Camp to anyone who might not be familiar with him, as I find him to be one of the more cogent, sensible, yet impassioned voices of Occupy.
What happens now depends on vigorous participation, including yours, in thinking aloud together about who we are, what we want, and how we get there, and then acting upon it. Go occupy the possibilities and don’t stop pedaling. (Rebecca Solnit)
Much, if not the majority of commentary on the Occupy movement tends to be philosophical in nature – this blog certainly being no exception. Given the widespread “feeling of mass injustice” shared by the multitude, which until Occupy’s arrival had been uncertain as to whether this feeling was shared amongst its peers, there is no shortage of folks eager to exclaim their views on what Occupy is about, what it isn’t about, what its stance should be on various issues, and what its tactical approach should consist of. There comes a time, though, when philosophical paralysis sets in. Intellectuals and dorm room philosophers can debate and evangelize Occupy till they’re blue in the face, but it is of little consequence if that dialogue is not indicative of a genuine real-world effort to affect the sort of change being discussed. The same can be said of physical protests. Mass demonstrations are necessary, but say nothing of the “other world” that is possible. At some point, a movement must coalesce around a specific vision of its own, and more importantly, begin the arduous yet extremely fulfilling work of actually making it a reality. So what, exactly, is the social system advocated by Occupy?