Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Taking a stab at explaining #OccupyWallStreet #OWS #OccupyMaine

Published online at thePhoenix.com
Based on my observations, conversations, and reading of Occupation reports from around the globe: 
Despite mainstream media incomprehension, the message of the Occupy movement is extremely clear and lucid. It is creating a parallel, alternative society that cares for humans, represents humans, and provides for humans - using systems free of corporate influence and corruption. The message is that such a world is possible, and need not rely on politicians or corporations to exist. Rather, it can be created by regular people, supplied by donations, and duplicated widely in communities around the globe.
Naturally, corporations, governments, and media outlets want to obfuscate this possibility, to hide it from the masses, because their very existence relies on the continuation of our existing nonrepresentative democracy. Many of their drones, indeed, likely cannot even see what is directly in front of them, and therefore claim it is hazy. It's not.
The Occupiers are building a world adjacent to and yet fundamentally different from our existing. By example they are highlighting the gross inequalities and inadequacies of our existing governmental structure.
They are providing social services: feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, providing free basic medical care, and offering educational training sessions. This is all happening with no budget, made out of individuals' assets - clothes, food, money, knowledge, supplies - that are donated to the effort.
They are operating a government: gathering as local decision-making bodies to discuss the local, regional, national, and global issues of the day, and making decisions on how to take action in a process in which every individual's voice can be heard - and they are carrying out those actions. This is happening in public, with no administrative staffers and no lobbyists.
They are about to embark upon a trade infrastructure: The Occupy Wall Street group, flush with donations that fill a warehouse, is talking about renting at least one truck, fill it with surplus supplies, and drive around to other Occupy locations, dropping off whatever they have that is in need there. This is happening funded solely by donations of items and money.
Their efforts are, admittedly, laid over the basic foundation of roads and public-safety protection. But nearly everyone agrees those things are a real, necessary function of a common government.
In their creation of this parallel society from the ground up, they have already demonstrated the failures of our existing governmental system, which is focused not on the well-being of the people but on protecting the privileges of corporations.
The Occupiers are saying to the public: Look at what government does, and look at what we're doing. We can do this ourselves, in what amounts to our spare time away from being students and part-time workers and homeless veterans, better than our government is doing it, and that has to change. Government must serve the people, answer to the people, meet the needs of the people.
Right now, as is very obvious to anyone who takes even the barest glance at the Occupy movement, a group of part-time volunteers are performing the basic functions of government on donated money, donated time, and donated energy - and at times surpassing the quality, scope, and breadth of service provided by professional lawmakers and career civil servants.
They are not only calling for change, or asking whether change is possible. They are demonstrating how to execute the changes we need. Every day the Occupation lasts, it grows stronger, and its counterexample to our failed American system gets clearer.
All that remains is for each of us to choose: In which of these parallel societies do you wish to live?