The danger in commenting about the Occupy movement, is that so many of us seem to have a desire to project own own ideas onto the movement, kind of like a Rorshach ink blot.
Initially blacked out by the media, now it's hard to avoid stories and commentaries, especially in the alternative press, and some of my favorite online hangouts are giving a lot of attention. Energy Bulletin has Occupy stories daily, Transition US has a page called Occupy and Transition: Resources Creating Lasting Change, and the Post Carbon Institute has page devoted to it as well. I have found it impossible to keep up, but there are a few things I've read that I'd like to share.
I'll limit myself to 3 articles (followed by a few more links). The first is inspirational, the second is realistic and practical, and the third is an eyewitness account from the Post Carbon perspective.
First is Charles Eisenstein's essay: Occupy Wall St.: No Demand Is Big Enough. Eisenstein, author of "Sacred Economics," has authored a profound and inspirational big picture take on what is going on, and what needs to happen. I hope you'll read the whole thing, but here is a two paragraph excerpt:
To those holding the reins of power, let us say, We will be your witnesses and your truthtellers. We will not allow you to live in a bubble. We will not go away. We will show you who you are hurting and how. We will make it awkward to do business, until your conscience cannot stand it any longer. We know, in the beginning, many of you will try to escape us; perhaps you will leave Wall Street for suburban corporate offices on private land where there is no "street" for us to hit. You might also retreat further into your ideologies of globalism and growth that deny the obvious. But nothing will stop us, because our tactics will constantly shift. In one way or another, we will speak the truth and we will speak it loudly...
The truth is dwindling rain forests, spreading deserts, mass tree die-offs on every continent; looted pensions, groaning burdens of student debt, people working two or three dead end jobs; children eating dirt in Haiti, elders choosing between food and medicine... the list is endless, and we will make it no longer possible to hold it in disconnection from the money system. That is why we converge on Wall Street, and anywhere that finance holds sway. You have lulled us into complacency for long enough with illusions and false hopes. We the people are awakening and we will not go back to sleep.
Second, Ellen La Conte, has written a realistic look at the movement, and offers a concrete proposal: Becoming Legion: Are the Occupations a brief preoccupation or the s... Ellen is author of the book "Life Rules: Why so much is going wrong everywhere at once and how ....
If at base this is all about money, if need of money is the problem, then why not rethink money? The Powers only have control over and possession of the present forms of funny-money and the funny-money monetary system. But funny-money and the viral capitalist systems that have created, managed and distributed it are only about 60 years old. They’re post-World War II creations, World Bank and WTO wet dreams. Can’t we come up with something better, something fairer, adapted to our present circumstances and capable of helping us provide for ourselves what the present system isn’t providing without destroying the natural systems that are our true source of wealth? Something truly transformative? Real change.
Yes. And some “we” of us already are. Over 100 communities in the US alone are creating alternative curriences that stay close to home, support local businesses, food and self-determination and the transition David Korten calls the Great Turning away from empire to post-carbon, post-global, post-plutocratic, ecological community. A search of terms like alternative currencies, complementary currencies, new economics, new money, open money, monetary reform, or alternative monetary systems, for example, will turn up as many sites as the Occupy movement does. If OWS does not yet signal the beginning of a transformation of consciousness, it may well signal a lot of “Ow”s and ouches for the Powers That Be. Stay tuned.
Finally, a young film maker named Ben Zolno has written an Eyewitness to the Occupation for the Post Carbon Institute.
While I enjoyed the dialogue and learned a lot, I heard many solutions that didn’t take the big picture into account. Instead, most demand their "fair share”--higher taxes on the rich, more corporate responsibility and, of course, Goldman Sachs schemers sent to the slammer. All valid, if you're looking at the current injustices of the system, but I found little examination of the system itself.
And so, I teamed up with Post Carbon Institute to spread the word. The real story is that our economic system requires infinite inputs, on a planet with finite resources. It's just not physically possible to continue this way. Sooner rather than later we’re going to run out of the resources that maintain our growth.
Thus, most "solutions" of equity and accountability will actually make things worse--by increasing participation, increasing growth, speeding up the train's path toward ultimate destruction of the planet we depend on to further our quantity and quality of life.
We must now broaden the questions beyond, "How can we make sure we all get our fair share in this system," to include: "How do we make sure we all get our fair share in the new system--a lower-carbon system--and how do we handle this transition?” Also, “What economic change can we create, and what default changes must we learn to accept?"
Also worth reading: James Howard Kunstler (Occupy Everything), Tom Atlee (Dawning Realizations re Occupy Wall St.), Thomas Linzey (Turning Occupation Into Lasting Change), Alan Seid (Occupy Wall Street's Rise or Fall), and Dave Ewoldt (An Open Letter and Proposal to the 99%).
Oh, and you can find the Occupy Bellingham facebook page here.