The #occupy movement is sweeping the social networks, & the web in general. Twitter has various trends #occupywallstreet (also #OWC); #occupyphiladelphia; #occupyLA; #occupy_Yourself (I quite liked that.) I could probably go on all day, but you get the picture. The current focus by newsgroups is #occupy protesters being evicted & arrested, so my own personal favourite – #occupyPrison. This is an article for those who don’t see #occupyPrison as a very constructive form of protest, & who would rather #occupyLivingRoom, or #occupyBlog, although personally I think most people would rather just #occupyThePub.
The #occupy movement involves people who are currently disgruntled with a socio-economic system which they were quite happy with, say, ten years ago, when they had jobs; could get credit; never gave the poor a second thought, & called people who challenged America’s systems, “evil commies.” People mob the streets, & set up camp. In South Africa we call this squatting, in America they make it sound like a pleasant pastime, calling it camping out, “join the #occupy movement, a great outing for you & the kids.”
This movement may well have a long history.
It all started in antiquity, probably further back than I’m willing to go. We’ve seen it over & over. A powerful franchise based in Nineveh, had far reaching influence, until an activism group, Nebuchadnezzar.com, started the movement #occupyAssyria. Later a bunch of Medes joined forces with a bunch of Persians to #occupyBabylonia, in order to overthrow Nabonidus Inc, who had absorbed Nebuchadnezzar.com for propaganda purposes. The Roman Empire saw its demise when a bunch of uncivilised barbarians (that we like to call Europeans) decided to #occupyRomanTerritory. I think you get the picture, when people want what others have they #occupyIt.
The modern anticapitalist form of the #occupy movement may well have started in Zimbabwe. Under the guidance of multimillionaire Jesuit priest Robert Mugabe, the people of Zimbabwe got tired of the greedy capitalist farmers owning land, & started #occupyFoodSource. Now all these people are lucky enough to be starving on their own farms, rather than eating in small informal settlements (that’s South African for shanti towns). I believe they’re currently trying to get the trend #occupyEmptyDinnerPlate going in Zimbabwe.
South Africa decided #occupyFoodSource was a good idea. This trend is driven by the fact that these evil white farmers stole the land that the Central African Bantu tribes had stolen from the Khoi/San (how inconsiderate), & where spurred on by anthems about the killing of these evil food providers. This was all undertaken by a government department known as Grand Claims, so called because of the grand claims made regarding the rightful ownership of land. The anthems started much debate, & the latest South African trend is, #occupyCourtroom. To be fair, I did hear of an #occupySA movement, but we’re so used to squatters here that it’ll probably pass relatively unnoticed – if it hasn’t already.
Finally, the first world has gotten in on the act. Americans, after the latest market failure (it was bound to happen, wasn’t it?), have decided that the system they’ve sent their children to die for (&, in fact, still send their children to die for) is evil. Funny how these people thought the American dream was great, until they woke up. So they started the #occupyWallStreet movement, & a cornucopia of similar ideas followed. Obviously the people who don’t agree with the #occupiers, control the government, & thus the police, which is what has led to #occupyPrison. To be fair, the #occupyPrison movement started when a concerned capitalist pointed out the unhygienic conditions that the protesters were living under & decided that prison was the healthier option, after all, they can live rent free, get free food; electricity & medical care, most Somalian citizens would be over the moon.
The point here is, people aren’t really thinking about what they doing. The Zimbabwe story, although a parody, shows how things work in these situations. The people of Zimbabwe weren’t acting in their own best interests, but in the interests of a tyrannical priest. Their behaviour deflected from other issues, & kept people from focusing where the powers that be didn’t want them focusing. Since the #occupy trend started, I haven’t seen much in the headlines about what’s happening inside wallstreet, but plenty about what’s happening outside. Perhaps the movement was started to raise awareness, but now it’s really just raising awareness for itself rather than the issues. The media (owned by the people inside wall street) will happily turn a blind eye to the issues, & focus on the protesters.
What we need is #occupyYourMind (which, by the way, is already on twitter, & has been accosted by plenty of the “causes” already available.) Awareness is only secondary to education. These movements try to create awareness for what the organisers think would be a better way of life, they don’t try to encourage people to think about what they think would be a better way of life. They want you to think about their better way of life, not your better way of life.
Something else that bothers me is the thought that, like any activist group, the organisers may be drawing a salary from donations given to the “cause.” This goes a step further, have you ever heard of a major player in Greenpeace doing time? No! It’s the volunteers, not the paid employees of these organisations who #occupyPrison. The man on the street (in this case literally) is the pawn.
Go out there, find out what it is you want, find out what others around you want, if you get enough people who all agree (remember, it’s a democratic world), maybe you can fund someone to go into government who through your support won’t be answerable to a wealthy minority. I’m not saying it’ll happen overnight, I’m not even saying it’ll work, but there has to be something better than donating money to organisations that get people to #occupyPrison.
Use your money wisely if you want to change the world. Bear in mind that people will always try to make a quick buck off people who have something to say. If you don’t believe me, you can go get a Jay-Z t-shirt saying “Occupy All Streets” & the proceeds will kindly be donated to, you guessed it, Jay-Z. I just wonder how long it will be before you can keep up with the latest in the #occupy movement on your iSquat, while chewing on your #occuPie purchased from your favourite food vendor. Don’t worry though, the people who you protesting against will gaze down on the squatters in the streets from their high rise offices while chatting; tweeting or (hopefully) choking on their iDontCares.