Bits and Bobs
First things first, the latest occupation-related news:
More than 50 anti-Wall Street protesters arrested including a retired bishop in NY
Bid to evict St Paul’s protest camp begins at high court
Unsurprisingly, the attempted occupation of Duarte Square fell flat… but that’s okay. It’s not ending the movement by any stretch of the imagination, after all. As for St. Pauls? I guess we shall see what occurs, but at least, eviction isn’t likely to happen in the last bit of this year. That’s a victory of sorts, insomuch that the City of London tried to bargain to where the camp left of its own accord at New Year’s Day. And as time rolls on, it is becoming obvious that the physical camps that the movement started with aren’t necessarily needed to anchor the protest, so…
I also want to offer some food for thought:
The Walmartization of America Redux…
I find this piece nothing short of fantastic, if horrifying. I suspect that we all always knew that this was the case, but were in denial about it. I’m just as guilty as the next person; as someone in self-employ, I shop as frugally as I can manage. I don’t consider responsible shopping to be the refuge of the wealthy either, but it takes awhile to break out of the cheap (if valueless) comforts the box store provides. I, and we all, should want to break out of this mold, if only because:
Half of America is officially poor
Income inequality growing faster in UK than any other rich country, says OECD
As said, I can understand wanting to save money… but at what cost? To steamroll ourselves into poverty on the backs of the even poorer? While I do concur that these huge corporations are taking our money and hording it rather than pouring it back into the economy, our drive for cheap does us no real favors. We cannot buy our ways out of this hole, no matter what we’re told, and the only real solution I can think of is trying to genuinely buy local as we can. Produce and meat can be obtained via communal farms. As someone lacking all skills in sewing, I can’t exactly extol making ones’ own clothing (though if you can, you rock my socks), and I can’t really get on anyone’s tits about buying electronics. I know I like mine too much to fuss at people for buying them, but I can encourage people to think about how often they actually ‘need’ new gadgets. Each of those high-tech toys uses rare earth elements, pollute like a mofo… is it really worth it to have a new cell phone every other year, or to get the latest and greatest console that you don’t have time to use?
It’s all just food for thought – consider it well… and have a pleasant Monday!
I don’t buy at the huge supermarkets over here, mostly ’cause I hate their guts. It costs me more to shop at independent grocers/whatevers, but it’s worth it!
Re Occupy & Trinity Church in NYC: You don’t need to be Christian, or even religious, to understand -and embrace- the idea that “Whatsoever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” But many of the 1%, in blind greed and endless schemes, have forgotten this. They have closed their eyes to what the word “society” should really mean, and what it can mean. But due to Occupy Wall Street, we are finally talking less about CUTS and more about BLEEDING. Instead of demanding m-o-r-e budget cuts -to be borne by the middle class and poor- we are FINALLY focusing on the shameful bleeding that the poor and middle class has endured, for all too long. Instead of talking about even m-o-r-e cuts in the taxes of millionaires….we are now talking about fairness and justice – about an economy and a political system that is increasingly run for the rich, and by the rich. Instead of talking about LESS government, we are talking about a government that WORKS FOR ALL OF US, not just a favored few. Thank you OWS, for reminding us that people -ordinary working people- really DO matter, and for helping open our eyes to what’s going on in this country, and why. The attempt by OWS to occupy Duarte Square (the empty lot owned by Trinity Church) is much more than a plea for sanctuary. For like Zuccotti Park, it’s an attempt to carve out a protected space, a living conscience for the city, amid the repression. A refuge…in a city where control-freaks would sweep us under the rug, and out of the way. In a city where they would pen us in, and try to permit us to death. In a city that tells us to “move on, move on”….. you don’t belong, you don’t count, you don’t have a right to be here…don’t assemble, don’t block the street, don’t trespass, don’t EXIST! They would deny us, deny our lives, deny our very futures. IF WE LET THEM. But OWS responds, both in word and in DEED: it says we’ve had ENOUGH – we BELONG, we STAND our ground, and we DO matter! This IS our land, and we want it BACK! The word OCCUPY…says it all! That’s why OWS has captured our imagination. That’s why a living breathing OCCUPIED public space is important for OWS. Like Lady Liberty’s never extinguished torch that burns in our harbor, OWS needs to have a concrete, persistent, in-your-face presence.. ..to continually remind us of what we’ve lost, of what we are, and what we can be; a protected place to affirm, illuminate, defy…and inspire. Trinity Church, with its oft-proclaimed ideals (and its huge land holdings), should look deep into its collective soul, do the right thing, and help OWS secure a sanctuary. Not merely a space of refuge, but an enclave of hope, of non-violent change, and compassion. And dare I say: a space of love – love of country, love of your fellow man and woman, love for the poor and oppressed. Can thoughtful Christians argue with these simple Christian / these simple HUMAN values? For if Christ were physically with us today, as He was 2000 years ago, He would be among the FIRST to climb those fences, and occupy Trinity’s Duarte Square. Of this I am certain. Let us hope and pray and plea…that Trinity Church -and others- hear the call, and respond. For the old ways are not working. Find a quiet place somewhere, and consider this: Each of us has only one brief life….one chance….one roll of the dice….and many choices. The time has come to choose….to risk…and to act. If not now…then when? If not you, then….who? You DO have the power my friend….and the choice IS yours. Don’t let your hopes and dreams die: LIVE YOUR IDEALS!
Well put, mate. As a Texan by birth and upbringing, I am painfully aware of the hypocrisy that is the church; if they remembered anything about their supposed religion, they would definitely be opening arms and hearts (which obviously, is more than hot drinks and vague well wishes). That’s a big part of why I do not openly subscribe to the ideals of Christianity, and indeed, give a strong nod to my sister who manages – I would prefer to never be lumped/lump myself with those who know nothing of love, of compassion, of why it is so fantastic that people have woken up and said, ‘No more – the buck stops here.’ (har har) I just hope that we can all continue to gently but firmly make these points apparent against the juggernaut that is the media with their scary bullshit – it amazes me the things that friends and family back in the States quip off at me without even thinking what’s coming from their mouths. It shouldn’t surprise me, but I guess I like to think there are more people thinking for themselves. There might not be yet, but I think we’ll see more of it soon, and more of those? The better. 🙂