If not now when? If not us then who?
A year on since Occupy became a house hold name, a year on since a yearning and passion brought strangers together all over the world; nurses, teachers, doctors, the homeless, artists, intellectuals, lawyers, seasoned activists, unions, veterans and scientists. Old and young. Religious and atheist. A counter culture sprung up in the hearts of hundreds of settlements and instant communities began to thrive on the internet.
As a movement it was regarded as a threat to every government where it existed. People realised they were not alone in their observations. A defensive action against worldwide austerity measures, against a worldwide criminal outrage, the depth of the deception showed us the integrity of our social order is based on PR/illusion, exploitation, theft and murder. For too many money being the ultimate arbiter of human action and demonstrably one that provides enough incentive to only pursue a just, peaceful, sustainable way of living in name only.
Even the most benign act of consumerism has the butterfly effect to cause the ravages of war and environmental degradation faced by millions. It is a tall order to address all of these issues. Though failure is not an option.
A most ambitious objective was undertaken, one that sought to change the direction of humankind itself by awakening that common desire for a future we can be proud to hand over to our loved ones. To answer the observed injustice that is taking place around us, actions that are claimed to be done because of us. To preserve us from forces that will cause us harm. Yet the tax avoidance continues, if you are poor and do the same you are criminalised. Wars rage because Afghan lives and Pakistani lives are not as important as European or American lives and the lifestyles that the plunder lubricates. The bonuses grow as those in the position stuff their pockets with sacked employees’ wages before they escape to their exotic island, homelessness rises in toe with newly built houses that few can afford, education becomes less accessible and those seeking to sell their labour are blackmailed to give it for one pound fifty an hour, NHS is up for grabs, libraries close, green belt land is sold and allotments that feed will soon be swapped for real estate greed. Somehow the world is starting to feel even more claustrophobic.
Despite their rhetoric the government still have the purse for nuclear weapons, continued conflict, billions of pounds worth of tax breaks for the likes of Vodophone and pals. Is this not a betrayal? Is this a reflection of our will? Does this not demonstrate that the cuts are akin to a global remoulding of society as oppose to a necessity of balancing the finance sectors proven cooked books? Is it a bid to compete with low priced workforces around the world? The absence of communism and competing distributive regimes might help explain the timing of this audacious financial coupe. Whats stopping them? What else is out there?
A small percentage of the populations’ insatiable appetite for everything has literally left very little space for the rest of the population. Yet as long as we are transfixed by riches we will swallow the contemptuous beliefs and behaviour of a few. Seeing through the heroic narrative of national ideology, idol worship and understanding how the rituals we partake in effect our relationship to each other is key to any remedial action.
Making the public pay for the crimes of the financial sector has gone unchallenged by the three political parties. It is akin to me steeling your house then selling it back to you at twice the price. The public assets are our common heritage. The government as custodians have abused this position of trust. They are selling the very assets that are manifestations of wisdom, goodwill, access to knowledge and aids to wellbeing. Spaces that reflect positive desires for each other; health, knowledge and the joy of nature. Some things are not about money, some things are unquantifiable. A bit like when people were justifying the Olympics seven billion pound over budget overspend.
Surely the threshold has been crossed, the collusion and lack of action to punish criminality of the finance sector players, the revolving door from parliament onto corporate boards, the amount spent on lobbying, the proven war crimes that go unpunished, the desire to repeal the human rights act 1998, workfare and the billions of pounds worth of tax exemptions from those that can attain the best lifestyle that money can buy regardless. What are we doing? Why are we allowing this? What are we hoping is going to happen? We must be unequivical. If not now, when? If not us, then who?