Monday, May 7, 2012

What is Occupy?

As many of you are already aware, last October I joined in with many other citizens of Halifax and took part in the Occupy Nova Scotia movement. By now, I am fairly certain that you have at least heard of the Occupy movement wherever you might be. Hundreds and hundreds of offshoots from the original call out to occupy Wall Street have spawned as a result; no doubt there is one near your own community. While I was there, I had the opportunity to engage a large number of people in conversation. The most common question I was asked was what we stood for; why were we down there? On my birthday, a little less than two weeks after beginning the occupation here in Halifax, I wrote down some thoughts on my interpretation of my experiences and what I thought. Today, I am going to share that piece of writing with you. I hope you will enjoy and that it may provide a small glimpse into the motivations of the movement; or at least my motivations for participating. Thank you all for reading and please, enjoy today because tomorrow is not guaranteed.

There seems to be a lot of questions surrounding just what it is that we are doing as part of the Occupy movement. What do we stand for is a common question I hear. Many times there is no direct answer to give people and I am certain that this leaves some perplexed and others unconvinced of our movement. I do not think it is hard to tell through the history of past posts, that my personal reasons for being down there are self evident. However, I will briefly address them in short, bullet form here:

-the creation and distribution of money
-the inequality of wealth
-mental illness
-political corruption
-corporate bailouts/tax laws/greed

I would, at any time, gladly sit down to discuss these issues with anyone at any time so long as we enter on the premise that it is a discussion and that open-mindedness would be required from all parties concerned. However, I am not here to address those particular topics. What I am writing for is to describe, through the personal experiences I have shared as a member of the Occupy Nova Scotia movement, the ideas I have discussed, the issues that have been raised and the relationships I have made, what I feel are some ideas that could help people to understand why we are down there and why when we say that we are the 99% that we mean you too. Again, this is in no way an official expression of any member of our community, just my subjective views. 

1%: "What do you want?"
99%: "Change."
1%: "Change? What kind of change?"
99%: "We don't know, but we have ideas."
1%: "We don't understand. Tell us what you want."
99%: "Change."
1%: "That doesn't make any sense. Everything is fine. Go home. You are hurting the economy."
99%: "We will not go. We demand change."
1%: "We don't understand your message."
99%: "We want change. We want change so that when our children grow up and go to University they do not end up jobless or working outside of their chosen field. We want change so that our veterans are taken care of and given the proper help they deserve for defending our freedoms. We want change so that when we elect our government representatives they will be held accountable. We want change so that large corporate and financial institutions can no longer control our money and steal from us. We want change so that our children, and all descendants of the future will have a clean, eco-friendly, sustainable planet to exist on. We want change so that no single individual will ever have to wonder if they will have food, shelter or water. We want change so we can once again, as citizens, have a voice that is heard. We want change so that the mentally ill of our society are given the proper treatment and assistance required to help give them a proper standard of living. We want change so that we willl no longer have to decide between electricity or food. We want change so that there willl be no need of standing armies, war, or weapons of any kind of destruction. We want a change so that  X and Y can sit down to engage in healthy, intelligent discussion with open minds and open hearts. We want a change so that no more will there be judgements made based on sex, religion, skin color, geographic location, culture or any or form of labelling. We want change so that the people will no longer be treated unjustly or unfairly. We want change so that all humanity is taken care of and given, each and all, their opportunity to achieve. We want change so that we might know our communities once more and the people within them. We want change."
1%: "I still don't get it. What do you want?"
99%: "Change."
1%: "You're not making sense. Go away."
99%: "No."

Again, I do not represent, in any way the message of Occupy NS or any Occupy movement. It wasn't originally how I intended to write it but it's how it came out.
It is not hard to take a good long, look at the world you live in and to know something is most definately wrong. You may not feel comfortable admitting it, even to yourselves, alone and in silence; but it's there. It's different for different people. Each has their own recognitions; some, many, are very similar. This is not accidental that a group of individuals from all walks of life develop their own ideas on the that something and end up with like-minded thoughts; it is a result of the system in which they live. They identify with each other based on the similar, but individual ideas because they are not just ideas, they are indeed true in many ways. Regardless, I thank you for at least taking the time to read some of my thoughts. I always enjoy sharing with others.