#ows #truedemocracy #globalchange

Fiona, age 6, calling for a future for everyone

The ‘Occupy’ movement has my full support. I hear criticism of it – from friends and from the media – and their points of criticism sound hollow and petty compared to the motivation of the protesters. Their criticisms sound desperate and and unoriginal.

Conservative, if you will.

Because conservatives like to conserve things. Keep things the way they are. Keep the status quo. Keep the old systems.

But the status quo is unsustainable and has screwed us over via the financial crisis, which, thanks to existing systems, turned into an economic crisis.  Everything wasn’t just going along swimmingly before 2008 – things were pretty shit then, too – but it took something this severe and drastic to wake us up.

Less apathy, more action: for the first time since 2005 and only the third time in my life I got off my lazy behind and physically participated in a political demonstration. And it felt good. Granted, OccupyHamburg had a very modest turnout (approx. 2000) with more modest still enthusiasm, but considering how conservative Hamburg is it was to be expected.

My feeling is that we can’t let the global disillusion with the existing systems of politics and economics – and their resulting fallout – fade yet again to apathy. We need to (if you’ll excuse the term) capitalise on the momentum of widespread discontent to wipe the slate clean of the obstacles and threats to peaceful, loving, wealthy, just and happy societies.

The OWS and other Occupy allies around the world aren’t some crazy fringe hippie group. They are the 99 (+/- 5) %. The rest of the 99% are also getting screwed over by economic, social and environmental injustice but are simply too lazy/entrenched in the hegemonic idea that money is the be-all and end-all of humanity to take to the streets.  My point is, the human beings actually O’ing WS right now represent, in many ways, many of us – perhaps not always by their demands or slogans, but merely by the fact that they are on the streets trying to exercise their civil right and duty in democratic decision-making.

Now is as good a time as any to act in order to ensure a future for everyone.

And here are specific demands off the top of my head for a new world order:

  • electoral reform in Canada to realise proportional representation – so that a party with 39.6% of the popular vote won’t be able to form a majority government any more
  • implementation of a financial transaction tax (aka Tobin/Robin Hood tax) – to reduce harmful short-term speculation
  • no more bank/country bail-outs – nationalise the banks if need be to prevent widespread financial chaos… oh wait, too late re: chaos
  • political transparency and accountability – perhaps through increased direct democracy instruments like referenda?
  • a media watchdog – to monitor and publish the accuracies, inaccuracies, hidden agendas, hidden sponsors/donors, trends of bias and just all-around crappy ‘reporting’
  • stop budget cuts to the most vital social programs – recognise the inestimable value provided by teachers and health care workers to communities and societies
  • adopt and employ well-being indicators beyond GDP (there already exists a TON) – jobs and money are a means to an end, not ends in themselves, and our obsession with material and monetary accumulation has already led and will continue to lead to environmental and societal ruin


terror attacks in utoya and oslo

My thoughts and sympathies to the victims, their family and friends, and everyone affected by the attacks.

The alleged attacker is extreme in his ideology, so this terrible event is very political irrespective of motive.

I don’t mean to take away from the tragedy that was teenagers being slain – while on summer camp – and the bombing in Oslo, but let’s go meta and look at the reactions of the world.

The reactions are also political and ideological. Words used – and words conspicuous in their absence – are loaded. Not only do the attacks carry heavy weight in asking us what has become of man, the reactions should also be critically examined to shed light on what has become of man.

Again, not to take away from the death and destruction, but the response of individuals, communities and countries is very interesting. Keep an eye on it. I’ll have more to say about this when I get back from my holiday in Sweden.

The other tragedy today in the world, of course, is the famine in Somalia and Eastern Africa, where I think every day 2 out of 10,000 people die from starvation or malnutrition.

Last thing – one news article said this incident, the most fatal since WWII, is the end of Norwegian innocence. They said the same thing when the Swedish PM was assassinated in the ’90s.