October 20, 2011

Occupy Wall Street... but until when?

As a strong supporter of the concept of civil disobedience to counter injustice, I am of course encouraging the protestors of occupy wall street in America, the Indignados in Europe and all those related with it. BUT… a question comes to my mind and makes me wonder… By all means, be anti-corruption and be anti a capitalist economy that suppresses the poor and enriches the rich. By all means, shout out against the injustice of the bankers and roar against failing policies of self-absorbed and elitist politicians. BUT when you do so, also propose alternatives. Also propose ways in which you would handle the world differently.

The godfather of civil disobedience, Mahatma Gandhi, above all had constructive proposals and clear demands when he entered into a campaign of civil disobedience. Even more so, I do think some of the socio-economic proposals he did are still valid today: Let us work towards a society that supports and educates self-sufficiency instead of (financial) dependency. Let us work towards a non-violent society. And let us work towards a transparent society of truth. These are not simply abstract ideals for they can easily be put into concrete political demands. Some examples thereof for the occupiers of Wall Street: Demand a law that structurally embeds empowerment of the poor through free education for the unemployed. Demand an immediate cut in military spending. And demand that the ‘freedom of information act’ would not be restricted to political structures but would also be applicable to big corporations. So yes, we have a movement going. And yes they voice the concerns of many people. And yes it is good to see it happening in the middle of Wall Street.

But my question is: where are the positive demands? For this movement and civil disobedience to truly work, they will not just have to get together but also take a vow to ‘stay together’. That means that, as a group, they will have to clearly state: “We will not stop our occupation until …”  Only when they fill in the dots after the until with concrete demands, it will become true civil disobedience that the politicians will have to deal with.

In case such demands would in fact be voiced already, but I simply haven’t heard them, please feel free to comment on these thoughts and let me know.

1 comment:

  1. As a starter we'd need to redefine globalization, make it fair and equitable for everyone. There's a set of realistic and sound ideas in Joseph Stiglitz's 'Making globalization work'... a must-read for anyone thinking about a better world (or you can start with a short review of the book on my blog http://www.fredericdemeyer.com/2011/05/making-globalization-work-some.html no commercial intentions here).