Thursday, March 1, 2012

Occupy, Money, Banks

Money should be conceived of as spirit; as part of our identity.  What we buy is a way we create our identity.  And we must own the identity bestowed on us by what we own.  And what we consume.  So if we have pension funds that invest in companies that are sucking up the capital of the third world and leaving people impoverished and hungry, then it is by our own hands that they are hungry.  And if we eat animals tortured and imprisoned, then we are their torturer.  And if we buy clothes from Primark, we are paying our seamstresses in India barbaric wages.  And so it goes.  If people considered what they could do with their money, how we could use capitalism to make a better world, starting tomorrow, then the world would become much better very quickly.  I know that many people have zero choice when it comes to feeding their family and paying the bills.  But those of us that do here in the middle class can at least be careful with the money that we spend. 

Money as spirit, as a kind of collective and separate expression of identity shouldn't really be held in banks.  Banks have become a terrible vehicle for sucking capital away from the masses and toward the 1%.  The 99% could agree to turn this around in a clear and fluid way:  require all banks to be run as nonprofit cooperatives.  Something as sacred as our own identities should not be left to shareholder return.  Getting the current government to agree to this is unthinkable:  they are with the Corporation of the City of London as the highest and best hope of the future of England is financial services and capital transactions.  This is a blind hope.  This hope rests on the assertion that we are different than Greece, that our fate will be different, our lenders will be serviced. This hope must be extinguished, because every year that the government goes forward with this hope in their heads, the world becomes more poisoned and life is harder every year for us all.  We are all working harder for less money and that our public institutions and our press and our government is nothing more than a web of corruption.  The corruption of pursuing naked self interest while in a position of public trust.  Everywhere we look we see them.

People have been all up in Occupy and comparing it to the civil rights movement.  The civil rights movement in the United States.  Please.  This is so much bigger than that, there is so much more at stake.  This is much more like the American Revolution.  We are being taxed and in return we receive fewer services, indifference and contempt.  The needs of our very planet are virtually ignored by every government on the planet.  A new kind of justice needs to come, and needs to come quickly, a justice in how our money is spent by ourselves and by our government.  In imagining what this new justice can or should look like, we are only beginning.  People ask if Occupy is dead.  Well, a lot of early movements, like, say, Christianity, or the Roman Empire or the formation of the United States took some time to get momentum.  Fits and starts and discussions at the beginning.   But we are here.  We will be here when the economy collapses and your personal threshhold is reached.  We are here because we believe an enormous idea:  that justice is possible.

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