Psychology

12/29/2011

Occupy Everything

by Glen T. Martin, with comments by Saybrook professor Dr. Marc Pilisuk

The Occupy Wall Street movement has spread around the world. It has not only spread rapidly to cities and universities all around the US, there have been Occupy demonstrations and movements in Toronto, Athens, Sydney, Amsterdam, Stuttgart, Tel Aviv, Milan, and elsewhere. With the bailouts and immunities from responsibility of the big banks worldwide, with huge military budgets draining most nations of the world, and with debt restructuring being forced on nations around the world by a global economic system that transcends all nations, people everywhere are becoming directly aware of the domination of the world-system by the 1% at the expense of the 99%.

In these protests, unemployed persons join with discharged veterans, heavily indebted students, and politically aware citizens to occupy public places in protest of this global system of domination and exploitation. Police, like the politicians and governments they serve, have been colonized to do the bidding of the 1%, as is so painfully clear from the systematic violence and brutality they have shown in the repression of unarmed and peaceful citizens within the Occupy movement.

If the new sense of solidarity and political awareness of the Occupy movement are to have a real effect on this global system, it will have to become a planetary political awareness and bind itself in solidarity with all of humanity. Half the world’s population lives on less than two US dollars per day. One sixth the world’s people lack access to clean water. One third lack basic sanitation. Worldwide, the richest 1% have as much wealth as the bottom 60% combined. These figures are not new, but they are all getting worse. Global poverty is growing. Global water scarcity is growing. The richest 1% are getting rapidly richer relative to the bottom 99% who are getting rapidly poorer. We need to occupy everything.

Traditionally, the name given to societies within which there was a working equality and general opportunity for all was “democracy.” It is democracy that is being destroyed in the US and worldwide. When a tiny elite has that much wealth, it brings immense political power to them – power to colonize governments, police forces, and social institutions. Democracy, however, involves a set of political and legal institutions that protect civil rights, represent the interests of the population, and embody laws regulating economic activity so that many people, not just a few, benefit economically. Not only do the US and most countries lack true democracy, but everything, from economics to communications, has been globalized, everything except democracy.

One group within the Occupy movement just came up with the following statement:
We Envision: [1] a truly free, democratic, and just society; [2] where we, the people, come together and solve our problems by consensus; [3] where people are encouraged to take personal and collective responsibility and participate in decision making; [4] where we learn to live in harmony and embrace principles of toleration and respect for diversity and the differing views of others; [5] where we secure the civil and human rights of all from violation by tyrannical forces and unjust governments; [6] where political and economic institutions work to benefit all, not just the privileged few; [7] where we provide full and free education to everyone, not merely to get jobs but to grow and flourish as human beings; [8] where we value human needs over monetary gain, to ensure decent standards of living without which effective democracy is impossible; [9] where we work together to protect the global environment to ensure that future generations will have safe and clean air, water and food supplies, and will be able to enjoy the beauty and bounty of nature that past generations have enjoyed.

Whatever else the Occupy Movement may eventually demand, this movement involves most fundamentally a demand for democracy as this statement makes very clear. Economics has globalized, but not a democratic means of regulating economics. Every recession or depression for decades has been worldwide in scope, and the suck-up of wealth from perpetual wars, from the exploitation of global resources, and from the labor exploitation of poor people has also been worldwide. The industrial base of the US has been exported to the third world. How do the 99% place controls on a global system of corporations, banking, and militarized imperial nations? An Occupy movement within any one country clearly will not do it. The only real alternative is to create a global social democracy.

Effective democracy must be constitutional. It must truly be representative of the interests of the 99%, and it must protect freedom and human rights worldwide. A brilliantly designed Constitution for the Federation of Earth was written by hundreds of world citizens over a period of 23 years and completed in 1991. It is available in many places on the worldwide web, and it is supported by a worldwide organization (the World Constitution and Parliament Association, WCPA) that has translated it into 23 major languages and published it in many venues.

The Earth Constitution is the key to a transformed world system predicated on peace (carefully disarming the nations), economic and social justice (with two articles on enforceable rights for all citizens of the Earth Federation), and ecological sustainability (preserving the fresh water, forests, and agricultural lands needed by the 99%). The entire central meaning of the Occupy Wall Street movement is focused like a laser beam within these carefully written thirty pages.

Affirming the Earth Federation Movement (EFM) does not mean giving up local action or Occupy Everything initiatives. Quite the reverse. The maxim “think globally, act locally” still applies across the board. However, our local struggles will be so much more empowered if they are joined to a meaningful and practical vision of how it could be different, if we really see that it needs to be different on a global level and not simply within our own country, whatever country that happens to be.

We are one world, one humanity, one finite planet – and right now our irrational world disorder is destroying all of these. The only rational world system is one of planetary social democracy: planetary freedom for all, planetary justice for all, and planetary environmental sustainability for all. We need to embrace the Earth Federation Movement and ratify the Constitution for the Federation of Earth. If we are to survive much longer on this planet, we need to create global democracy and occupy everything.

Dr. Marc Pilisuk responds:

One joy of the Occupy movement is its drawing legitimacy and attention to who in fact are the 1%. Some focused in the petroleum industry are pushing all out for the Keystone pipeline which has been labeled game over. Others through WTO and affiliated banks are driving the crippling austerity programs nationally and internationally. Some of the most difficult parts to occupy are the security components. These range from surveillance apparatus, dark sites, counter-insurgency contracts, security intelligence briefings and a commitment militarization arms transfers and the depiction of enemies needed to sustain the warfare state. The capacities of the 1% should not be underestimated. The new vision of planetary justice, sustainability and global participatory democracy will require major transformations in industrialization, global capitalism and monetary systems. The new global statutes, lifestyles and values when made explicit provide a target for the 1%. The global visions are important for building collaboration-- but so too is the spontaneity of the local struggles. They challenge us to to find ways to enhance our own involvement in the this long overdue transformative change. Analyzing its prospects is  is fine, enhancing its actions is even better.

Posted at 07:52 AM

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