To this point in my life; I’ve resisted “ism’s.” Sexism, racism, ageism, classism, abilityism. It should be obvious to everyone that “ism’s” do nothing but divide us and so they are not be trusted.
There are, of course, other “ism’s” that exist: Capitalism, Marxism, Socialism, Anarchism, Hinduism, Presbyterianism, etc…
The only value of “ism’s” is that they begin a conversation. They aid and abet us all in discerning “which side we’re on.” Hopefully you understand what I’m talking about, but if not here is an example to illustrate: Person A meets Person B for the first time. They experience a social attraction and begin a dialogue with one another. Person A says “this, but Person B says “that.” There is a difference of opinions and so they both begin arguing their point of view. Person A believes “this” about such and such “ism,” but Person B believes “that” about so and so “ism.” Neither are right because all of the “isms” are flawed from the start because of their completely divisive nature.
Don’t get me wrong, I think we should still be arguing and figuring stuff out together, but there are far too many people with “beliefs” that have not found emotional peace concerning the relevancy of their said “beliefs.”
And so, with that said, I feel an obligation to contribute some “ism’s” as possible solutions to our economic crisis and to the evolution of the occupy movement.
Keep in mind that my values, and thus goals, are always love, equality, freedom, and a sustainable civilization.
The consensus that the occupy movement has found so far is that the system is broken and should not be trusted. The system has become a massive juggernaut of a machine that may very well prove to be unstoppable. People power is the only thing that can slow it down – and slow it down we must. There are too many questions concerning our human sensitivities that the machine brings to awareness. The machine appears to be anathema to the values that we hold so dear. And the machine appears to be destined to alter the course of life on this planet with GMO’s, massive monocultures, and an overabundance of humans who are increasingly dependent on the machine for life.
There is an alternative to the machine. However it will take some drastic changes to our system. These changes can and should be enacted locally first and foremost and the Occupy Movement will be the best place to see these changes beginning to take effect.
To be clear about this movement: There is the “occupy ideal” and the “occupy reality.” The reality has been a messy, violent clusterfuck of an experience so far. No one said democracy is supposed to be slick and clean like they make it look in city hall or on the news. Democracy has always been messy – and we technically don’t even live in a true democracy (one voice, one vote), so we don’t know what a “clean” democracy should like. I still think it’s possible though. And this possibility takes its form in the “occupy ideal.” There are a majority of occupiers who are living into this ideal.
The ideal as I understand it is such:
1: Love. Unconditionally given to all.
2: Logic. And a heavy dose of it.
3: A “no ownership” or “non-attachment” philosophy. This perspective is necessary for more people to adopt because the root of the greed problem is our own instincts that default to saying “THIS IS MINE!” Ownership mentality leads to the constant pursuit of “security” and the need to protect one’s possessions. The occupy ideal is that the only thing you can ever “own” is your body. Everything else is meant for sharing. That includes all property and material goods.
4: A distrust of money. Money is quite possibly the greatest evil ever propagated by humanity. It has incredibly corrupting effects which lead to people wanting to kill each other over it – and too many people are brainwashed to believe that it is necessary to getting their needs met. Money is not worth keeping. It should be burned, or saved for Las Vegas where it can get burned in another fashion.
5: Gardens. Big time.
6: True Democracy. Thanks to the internet, we are able to communicate in unprecedented ways. The internet gives us the ability to initiate a democracy in which one voice truly equals one vote. There will no longer be any representative democracy, or financial political economy. Instead there will be a system through the internet in which the best ideas will rise to initiate the necessary solutions for maximum sustainability.
So, there are now 7 billion of us humans bumbling around on earth. No one really knows what they are doing (myself included – be skeptical of anyone who says they have it all figured out). Many people see humanity as a resource to be exploited. Many other people are the resistance to that first group. Who is to say who’s right?
Throughout history there have been a whole heap of traditions that people have latched onto in order to receive guidance about their life path. There are many paths, and in all likelihood they go to the same destination. No one has a monopoly on truth. Truth remains relative, and flexible, and able to change with the times. Or maybe it doesn’t. I don’t know. And neither should you. The only thing that remains true is the mystery of life itself.
There is nothing to solve. There is only the need to live. But how do we live without exploiting each other and destroying the earth?
Capitalism is not the way.
Marxism gets closer, but it is still confined to a centralized state. Any state will be oppressive and harmful to the fragile human psyche.
Anarchism gets closer still because it offers no state, no law and ultimately no violence.
Various wisdom traditions like Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Shinto, Native American and other indigenous people’s traditions provide a healthy moral code that is worth pursuing.
Using these various “ism’s” we will be able to build a system which can guarantee that all 7 billion of our needs will be met.
We can stop the machine of destruction and transform it to a machine of creation and production.
We can stop the foolish pyramid scheme that capitalism is. We can evolve out of our financial paradigm into a post-financial society based on trust and mutual aid. Yet we can still employ the infrastructure that we’ve become used to and cultured with. Using our existing infrastructure we can move onto a Culture Of Trust where money no longer exists. Instead of money we can use our Language to barter with. In order for this Culture Of Trust to be effective, we must always tell the truth – which will require us to follow through with our promises. That means you can work with someone to make sure that every home and office gets covered in solar panels and be confident that they will finish the job and do it well from the start.
There is nothing difficult about any of this. We simply must have our priorities straight.
I believe the next logical step for the occupy movement is to continue working foreclosure activists. The San Francisco meeting that I attended today had people from Homes Not Jails and there was a lot of good energy about keeping people in their homes even though the banks may be trying to foreclose. In San Francisco alone there are some 12,000 homes lying vacant. We will begin to occupy those homes with anybody that still needs a roof over their head – however we should be respectful of those people that do not want to live in a box.
In addition to making sure everyone gets a shelter at night, we should begin encouraging EVERYONE to begin producing some sort of food. There are plenty of community gardens around SF and there is room for plenty more. There is also lots of space on rooftops and balconies. Not to mention hydroponic in-door growing systems where people could be producing a whole tomato patch in their living room.
I’m personally not opposed to the idea of tearing up the concrete in our streets and planting fruit and nut trees and berry bushes all amongst our avenues. We can redo our rail system to account for the trees, and we can ban cars from the cities forever. Additionally we can make sure that every San Franciscan has access to a mountain bike or in some cases all-terrain wheel chairs.
We should be concerned about food and housing first.
Then renewable, clean, sustainable energy should be our goal with a total dismissal of fossil fuels. There should be plenty of energy out there to soak up between solar, wind, wave, tidal, bio-mass, and geo-thermal (lets lay the nuclear crap to rest). The faster this happens, the better.
We are unstoppable, a better world is possible.
None of this will be easy. In fact it will be just as painful as childbirth. We are hatching a new kind of civilization with the occupy movement. It is a new society developing within the shell of the old. The pain associated with this birth will most likely lead many people to lose faith in their american dream and/or simultaneously quit their jobs. The Occupy camps should be a safe space for these people to go to and know that their needs will be met while they re-examine their values and decide what kind of new occupation they want to pursue.