The Occupy Movement Changes Everything

I particularly like #2. That’s why we’re doing this in the first place, isn’t it?

Ten Ways the Occupy Movement Changes Everything

by: Sarah van Gelder, David Korten and Steve Piersanti, YES! Magazine | News Analysis

(Photo: Robert Stolarik / The New York Times)

Before the Occupy Wall Street movement, there was little discussion of the outsized power of Wall Street and the diminishing fortunes of the middle class.

The media blackout was especially remarkable given that issues like jobs and corporate influence on elections topped the list of concerns for most Americans.

Occupy Wall Street changed that. In fact, it may represent the best hope in years that “we the people” will step up to take on the critical challenges of our time. Here’s how the Occupy movement is already changing everything:

1. It names the source of the crisis.
Political insiders have avoided this simple reality: The problems of the 99% are caused in large part by Wall Street greed, perverse financial incentives, and a corporate takeover of the political system. Now that this is understood, the genie is out of the bottle and it can’t be put back in.

2. It provides a clear vision of the world we want.
We can create a world that works for everyone, not just the wealthiest 1%. And we, the 99%, are using the spaces opened up by the Occupy movement to conduct a dialogue about the world we want.

3. It sets a new standard for public debate.
Those advocating policies and proposals must now demonstrate that their ideas will benefit the 99%. Serving only the 1% will not suffice, nor will claims that the subsidies and policies that benefit the 1% will eventually “trickle down.”

4. It presents a new narrative.
The solution is not to starve government or impose harsh austerity measures that further harm middle-class and poor people already reeling from a bad economy. Instead, the solution is to free society and government from corporate dominance. A functioning democracy is our best shot at addressing critical social, environmental, and economic crises.

5. It creates a big tent.
We, the 99%, are people of all ages, races, occupations, and political beliefs. We will resist being divided or marginalized. We are learning to work together with respect.

6. It offers everyone a chance to create change.
No one is in charge; no organization or political party calls the shots. Anyone can get involved, offer proposals, support the occupations, and build the movement. Because leadership is everywhere and new supporters keep turning up, there is a flowering of creativity and a resilience that makes the movement nearly impossible to shut down.

7. It is a movement, not a list of demands.
The call for deep change—not temporary fixes and single-issue reforms—is the movement’s sustaining power. The movement is sometimes criticized for failing to issue a list of demands, but doing so could keep it tied to status quo power relationships and policy options. The occupiers and their supporters will not be boxed in.

8. It combines the local and the global.
People in cities and towns around the world are setting their own local agendas, tactics, and aims. What they share in common is a critique of corporate power and an identification with the 99%, creating an extraordinary wave of global solidarity.

9. It offers an ethic and practice of deep democracy and community.
Slow, patient decision-making in which every voice is heard translates into wisdom, common commitment, and power. Occupy sites are set up as communities in which anyone can discuss grievances, hopes, and dreams, and where all can experiment with living in a space built around mutual support.

10. We have reclaimed our power.
Instead of looking to politicians and leaders to bring about change, we can see now that the power rests with us. Instead of being victims to the forces upending our lives, we are claiming our sovereign right to remake the world.

Like all human endeavors, Occupy Wall Street and its thousands of variations and spin-offs will be imperfect. There have already been setbacks and divisions, hardships and injury. But as our world faces extraordinary challenges—from climate change to soaring inequality—our best hope is the ordinary people, gathered in imperfect democracies, who are finding ways to fix a broken world.

Ten Ways the Occupy Movement Changes Everything | Truthout.

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Occupy The Future — In These Times

This from Noam Chomsky. If he hadn’t said this, I would have. In fact, I’ve been saying it all along as well. Including the part about the 70’s.

I’ve never seen anything quite like the Occupy movement in scale and character, here and worldwide. The Occupy outposts are trying to create cooperative communities that just might be the basis for the kinds of lasting organizations necessary to overcome the barriers ahead and the backlash that’s already coming.

That the Occupy movement is unprecedented seems appropriate because this is an unprecedented era, not just at this moment but since the 1970s.

via Occupy The Future — In These Times.

I’m very excited about this movement. We’ve been out on the street corners of sleepy Sherman Oaks, Ca. Flashing peace signs and smiles at the cars driving by, holding our signs with their pithy slogans. I mean, it’s kind of quaint here in the Valley, but we are representing this world-wide, transformative movement. As one great sign I saw in the news said, “The Beginning is Near!”

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Class Warfare My Ass | Truthout

And we aren’t the ones waging the war either…

Class Warfare My Ass

Finally, someone telling it like it is!!

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Musicians Are Probably Smarter Than The Rest Of Us

Great article about how musical education and experience contribute to brain development.

I experience this directly as a piano teacher.

First of all, I personally experience all of the advantages mentioned, in addition to many more, as a result of my own playing the piano and other instruments since I was 6 years old.

I have adult students who may have played only a few months as children. These adults have a well developed aptitude for the visual aspects- recognizing symbols at a glance, hand-eye coordination and left-right integration. Those adults who have had no experience with piano at all typically have a much difficult time with these factors.

And I get to give this to the children that I teach! Maybe I have the best job in the world…

Musicians Are Probably Smarter Than The Rest Of Us.

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Why poverty?

A little music to accompany your reading:


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There is a flaw in our basic premises when the equation [not enough money = starvation] occurs as valid.

For the less mathematically inclined… :) … if someone’s actual survival- life or death survival- is dependent upon having a certain minimum amount of money, then we are not doing the best we can.

We know that there is enough food for everyone:

Does the world produce enough food to feed everyone?

The world produces enough food to feed everyone. World agriculture produces 17 percent more calories per person today than it did 30 years ago, despite a 70 percent population increase. This is enough to provide everyone in the world with at least 2,720 kilocalories (kcal) per person per day (FAO 2002, p.9).  The principal problem is that many people in the world do not have sufficient land to grow, or income to purchase, enough food.

via 2011 World Hunger and Poverty Facts and Statistics by World Hunger Education Service.

Why poverty?

Most of us would take care of a starving family member whether or not they had any money or land. Some of us take care of homeless and otherwise needy people in our community. And some even have the global consciousness that allows them to contribute time or money to world-wide hunger campaigns. (like Oxfam).

And there are those rare souls with the hugest hearts that actually go and work for the people that need the most help. Maybe these few are the ones with the biggest vision. The ones who are willing to step outside the box, outside their own territory, and take “ownership” of the world as a whole.

It is not enough to make sure that those people in reach are taken care of- although this is certainly a good thing. If one person is starving, anywhere, we are failing.

As humans.

I don’t mean “failure” as a condemnation, but as an indicator of how to proceed. We are human primates doing most of our lives the way chimpanzees do, with a little bit of humanity flaring up now and again. So we can forgive ourselves for being all that.

To call something a failure implies an intention, or at least having something in sight. I think that most people would, if they thought they could, make sure everyone was fed and happy. We see the starving kids on the news, and we say, “tsk tsk”. Our collective eyes, if not exactly on the ball,  have at least begun to notice the ball. We almost have an intention.

We would feed everyone, just so it didn’t involve:

  • Communism, Socialism
  • taxing the rich, regulating the biggest corporations
  • Eating less meat
  • Giving up some personal luxuries
  • Considering that we are all equally deserving
  • Focusing agribusiness toward distribution, nutrition and affordability and away from profits and growth.
    • Note- I have nothing against profit and growth, just so it’s in the service of the customer and the product, not the other way around.
  • (Many other things…)

Basically, we all have ideals, and it’s all cool, just so those ideals are not confronted.

Why poverty?

I think, in the general sense, we’re all responsible. Our ideals shall not be confronted. This way of thinking puts an immediate end to truly creative and committed approaches to any problem.

I think, in the more specific sense, there is a particularly regressive set of ideals that are most in the way of any progress. I mentioned some above. The sanctity of the unfettered free enterprise system as a whole seems to be partially at the source of it.

Deeper. The Wall Street model, where companies operate with money borrowed against bets placed on their ability to make a profit (shares). The speculation model, where money is bet on the potential value of a commodity (money makes money). The insurance model, where a company takes protection money from you, charges interest on that money, and then attempts to minimize its obligations when called upon. Among other things…

(Gambling and protection rackets?)

Oh where oh where does the money go?

All of these are black holes. They are industries that contribute nothing to society, suck INCREDIBLE amounts of money, resources, brainpower and real estate. They all could be replaced by simple public functions. (Oops. That’s Socialism.)

And deeper. The sanctity of the “work ethic”, where you don’t deserve anything unless you are productive. Productivity is of course defined by the current zeitgeist, and different forms of productivity are arbitrarily worth vastly different amounts of money. Why, if there really is enough to go around, do we need to manage things based on “merit”

Another way of asking: Is a “job” the highest expression of the human spirit?

But that’s a really radical question.

Because, if not, then what?

Deeper yet. The idea of the nation-state. I remember someone describing borders as the place where two opposing armies got exhausted and agreed to call it quits and go home. Why is there a dividing line between Switzerland and Austria? Between Israel and Egypt? The United States and Mexico?

I know this is crazy talk.

By the way, cultures are, for the most part, contiguous. Culture doesn’t care about borders. Minnesotans sound kinda like people from Winnipeg. Foods, dress styles, music, dance, they all flow nicely from one area to the next with no defined borders.

Are we big enough souls to embrace the world, in all it’s diversity and texture, as one planet and people?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

At times, we are no different than chimpanzees on the warpath. And at times, we see the light and begin to experience our humanity.

I think that now is the time for we humans to embrace and nurture our humanity and our future. To actually make a conscious and intentional effort to grow up as a species. Make a project of it, as it were.

It’s our opportunity to transcend the entirety of the old primate dominance and survival ways. This very generation. We can do it.

In my stand for this- the maturing of humanity- lies my comment about our failure. In our quest to become fully human, we begin to experience ourselves as the Human Family. In this experience, we see that one starving person on the other side of the planet is as much of a tragedy and a failure as it were our own child, mother or father.

Who knows what the “solutions” are. Maybe it hardly matters. Maybe merely getting together and talking about it is the solution.

We can take this on- THIS LIFETIME. We don’t need the answers before we start thinking, before we start talking. Maybe we aren’t the victims of our evolution, but instead, the beneficiaries of it, with the wherewithal, the brains and the souls to make the most of it.

It’s even better than this, however. With our open eyes, we will begin to wonder… what comes after that? After everyone has enough food, shelter, education, information access… Then what? What’s really possible with our entire planet, so full of diversity, creativity and brilliance, when we all have what we need and learn how to work together?

Peace ∞

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The Return of the Giant Hogweeds, New York

And all this time, I thought it was just a cute little fantasy that Genesis was singing about.

New Yorkers battle giant blindness-causing plants • The Register.

I thought maybe this was a leftover April Fool’s joke, but no… it seems that there really are Giant Hogweeds with noxious, burning sap!

A little bit more…

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Mass psychosis in the US

Mass psychosis in the US

You’d think so, with all of the anti-psychotic drugs being prescribed nowadays. Well, that’s exactly what the article is about. I’ll let them tell it…

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Fresh Turmeric Pickle

I found some fresh turmeric roots at the local Asian market, and being the brave soul that I am, I bought a small pack. I’ve never had it fresh. I love turmeric as a spice, and I’m intrigued by it’s medicinal properties.

20 Health Benefits of Turmeric (Yes, I know. It’s just a website. On the Internet. Not to be trusted. True. Start here and explore for yourself if you’re interested.)

Wondering what one does with fresh turmeric roots, I looked it up and found out that… like most things found in the produce section, Asian or otherwise, what you do with fresh turmeric roots is, you eat them. They actually taste and feel kind of like a mildly spiced, exotic carrot. Maybe a ginger-carrot. The pungent quality of the dried powder isn’t nearly so apparent fresh. It’s quite refreshing.

And then, looking up this recipe-

Enjoy Indian Food: Fresh Turmeric Pickle.

which looked interesting and easy, I learned that there is something called mango ginger too. I’ll have to see where to find some :).

It’s nice to be reminded just how interesting the world is. There is always something new to discover, and when it’s food, well, talk about heaven on earth!

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Wal-Mart CEO: People Are “Running Out Of Money” | FavStocks

Wal-Mart CEO: People Are “Running Out Of Money”

Wal-Mart, for better or worse, is big enough that they are an indicator of what’s going on around town. It’s not news that people are running out of money. It is news that the CEO of Wal-Mart noticed- that the situation is widespread enough that it is impacting the bottom line of the very store who’s target audience is people who have run out of money.

So, two things. One, the problem has an impact on a scale to attract the attention of the CEO of Wal-Mart.

Secondly- and this could get interesting- Now What? When Wal-Mart needs to produce a result, they have a lot of clout to call upon to do so. If it becomes in Wal-Mart’s best interest that a greater number of people have jobs and money- to spend at Wal-Mart, then what actions might it take?

Is this a game changer on some level?

(Things that makes us go, “hmmm”).

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Walmart’s new Slippery Slope department.

I almost blinked and missed this, but it is all over if you do a Google news search.

Do you remember this? “If you see something, say something”. It’s back.

The “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign – designed to get Americans to play a more active role in security – is coming to hundreds of Wal-Marts across the country.

“Homeland security starts with hometown security,” said – Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. “This partnership will help millions of shoppers across the nation identify and report indicators of terrorism, crime and other threats to law enforcement authorities.”

You just have to think for a minute or two before you realize how insidiously bad this is!

It sounds good at first, because, yes indeed, we should be vigilant about the people around us. Don’t hit them with our car, help them if they fall down, smile at them when we pass. That’s why this is so insidious.

The implication is that the world, the city, the neighborhood, is intrinsically a dangerous place. We should be very afraid! The implication is that it could be anybody. Be very suspicious. That’s also why this is so insidious. It creates an unnecessary and counter-productive mind set.

Just wait for the false accusations. The witch hunts. The intentional abuse.

Should be interesting…

America’s Newest Anti-Terror Ally: Wal-Mart – CBS News.

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