FAQ

What is the Occupy Movement about? 

It’s about 99% of the world’s population who are being subjected to the money- and power-hungry tyranny of the richest 1%, the people who aggressively pressure our governments into making decisions that are in their (the richest 1%) financial interest and not in the long or short term best interest of humanity and the entire biosphere, the most pressing example being the subsidizing of projects like the tar sands oil over renewable/sustainable power. Corporations and the extremely rich are making this planet uninhabitable and exploiting billions of people in the process. Occupy is the global revolution for true direct democracy that will end corporate tyranny.

What is so wrong with society the way it is?

The industrial-monetary system is a pyramid scheme. Under the present industrial-monetary system, global human society is structured like a pyramid. Poverty forms the base. These people do the most work, endure the most suffering, and live the shortest lives in order to begin the process of generating wealth for the richest 1%. This labour is mostly resource extraction and unskilled processing. At this level, the actual wealth of the land exists and is exploited along with people.

The people involved comprise approximately 80% of the world’s population. The next broad segment of human society comprises approximately 19% of the world’s population. These people live in a gilded cage. By ‘gilded cage’ I mean to suggest that they have the perception that they are free and life is good for them, while the truth is actually quite the opposite (“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe that they are free.” – Goethe). They continue the process of generating wealth for the richest 1% by skilled processing of raw materials and materials with value somewhat added by the unskilled labour of those ‘below’.

This is where the artificial wealth is created by the promotion of conspicuous consumption and planned obsolescence. Conspicuous consumption is the consumption of goods for the expressed purpose of displaying wealth; so, essentially, the people doing this are relinquishing to the richest 1% the wealth that they have generated in order to obtain gold stars that supposedly set them apart from others but actually don’t in any significant way. Within that 19%, they appear to be quite free, while in reality all they have done is trade any true economic freedom for a symbol that is ultimately meaningless.

Planned obsolescence is the act of producing a product in such a way that it has a carefully calculated limited lifespan. For example, you want to make your fortune on brooms. Does it make much sense to design a broom that lasts forever? No, of course
not. You want your broom to last long enough that the consumer doesn’t have grounds to return it for a full refund when it breaks; but you don’t want it to last much longer than that because you want to sell each consumer as many brooms as you possibly can. Corporations actually plan these things. I’m not joking, and I’m not crazy. People are encouraged to work hard to earn the money necessary to spend on countless things that they either don’t need or they do need but break at the earliest possible time. That wealth that they give up through all of this spending finally makes its way to the top: the richest 1%. The richest 1% of the world’s population are the only people who are truly free, and they are exploiting the other 99%.

The implications:

1) Poverty doesn’t just happen; it’s planned or at least purposefully perpetuated when we have the ability to solve it now. It serves as the base of the pyramid. Without it, the entire system would collapse. Slavery still exists, and it is imposed through economic means. As long as the present industrial-monetary system exists, the vast majority of humanity will suffer poverty.

2) You are a slave to a small percentage of the world’s population just as much as those in poverty are slaves. The only differences are that you have a little more comfort (a gilded cage) and, up until now, you had no idea that you were a slave.

So, now that you know, what do you intend to do about it: hide in fear of indefinite detention without trial, enjoy the illusory rewards of keeping your mouth shut, or rise up and help take back our world?

You are complaining about so many different problems.  Do you even know what you are complaining about?

It seems to be about a lot of separate issues, but it’s actually about a web of interconnected issues.  The problem is systemic, and the complaints heard from people involved in the Occupy movement are about symptoms of a deep systemic problem.

What is the alternative to our society’s current structure? What would society look like if the Occupy movement had the change it seeks?

There is, of course, no simple answer to this question. It is up to us — all of us — to determine precisely how our society should be structured. But at least one thing is clear: our society must be shaped, step by step, by direct and transparent democratic processes rather than by the aggressive corporate lobbying and public deception that has led to its current structure.

Why do you have to sleep in a tent in front of City Hall to make your point? Why not do something more productive?

While what we are doing is multi-faceted and not limited to just freezing our butts off in a cold tent 24/7, the movement is called ‘Occupy’ for a reason. A physical, public presence is foundational. The strategy employed by the Occupy Movement is somewhat analogous to a sit-in demonstration. With a sit-in, people demonstrate by occupying the physical space where the disagreeable actions take place. With this being a global revolution, the disagreeable action is occurring globally, so, based on that criteria alone, no one spot is better than any other for the conducting of a sit-in protest. This is where another consideration comes into play: Although the problem is all around us, what location has the most symbolic value? Our answer in Fredericton is City Hall. Rather than focus on problems by occupying a place symbolic of a problem, we choose to occupy a place symbolic of a solution. We have a slogan around camp: The Occupation Begins at Home. This means that we need to start with local initiatives in order to eventually solve the global problems. The constant nature of the ‘protest’ is due to the fact that it is actually not a protest. This is the beginning of a global popular uprising. It is people saying “To hell with this. We’re not playing this game anymore.” (although, of course, with such small numbers, we still have to live in the system when we are not at the camp). This will grow until the entire exploitative system is brought to a halt and replaced with an egalitarian system.

When will the tent come down?

When a tipping point in awareness is reached.

Why don’t you just get a job?

We have (just off the top of my head): several university professors, an accountant, several lawyers, several store clerks, several restaurant workers, one baker, one hospital patient attendant, a phlebotomist (one of the people in a hospital who draw blood for analysis), many students who have part-time and full-time jobs while they study, one cruise boat Captain , several retirees (not presently working, of course, but did before they retired), a freelance photographer, and several union executives and administrators. While our membership is diverse, reflecting various segments of society, the majority of us have jobs.

Why don’t you get a better job?

Everyone deserves to live with a stable income of money that is sufficient to provide them, at the very least, with what a person needs to live and prosper. If I wasn’t doing the particular low-paying job that I’m doing, someone else would be, and that person would be earning an unreasonably low amount of money. It makes no difference who is doing what job.

Why are you still protesting? Haven’t you made your point?

I think I see where the misunderstanding lies. This isn’t a protest. This is the beginning of a global popular uprising. In protests, people have their say by holding up signs and shouting slogans, then they go home at the end of the day. A global popular uprising is different. It has never happened before but, based on national analogues, we expect that it starts small and grows until the tipping point, at which point almost the entire population joins within a very short time and the demanded change is made. We will not be ending the occupation until this happens on a global scale.

You’re wasting your time. Do something that’s actually going to make a difference.

The foundational and absolutely essential public camp site is all that you are seeing, but we are doing much more than that. We have a slogan around camp: The Occupation Begins at Home. This means that we need to start with local initiatives in order to eventually solve the global problems. Here are some examples of our initiatives: the expansion of the public transit system (the expansion of bus service, the establishment of a bike-share program, the establishment of a car-share program), a campaign to encourage the patronage of credit unions over banks, the establishment of an expansive and extensive urban gardening network, the expansion of the farmer’s market, free recycling combined with a garbage tax, the promotion of local businesses over multinational corporations, the tightening of criteria of the Green Shops program, and the creation of a locally-sourced and sustainable energy production network that would power the entire city. All of this is meant to boost and bolster the local economy while making our way of life sustainable. In order to enact these initiatives, we are working to establish partnerships with small, local businesses and community groups, and we have had much success so far.

Here is a sample of some of the groups with which we have already established working relationships:

– NB Community Harvest Gardens
– Fredericton Foodies
– STU Campus Labour Council
– CUPE Local 908.1 (Doctor Everett Chalmers Hospital)
– CUPE Local 1190
– ATU Local 1229 (Acadien Bus Lines)
– NB Union of Public and Private Employees
– Fredericton District Labour Council
– Cedar Tree Cafe
– Jemseg River Farm
– Food Not Bombs
– ecoFredericton
– Ban Hydrolic Fracturing in NB
– Cultures
– Molly’s

We also conduct teach-ins two nights a week.  The academic teach-ins range in subject from information on issues of concern to sociological examinations of aspects of the Occupy Movement in particular or protesting in general.

What is the alternative to our society’s current structure?  What would society look like if the Occupy movement had the change it seeks?

2 Responses to FAQ

  1. Paul says:

    This is a great way to dispel the rumors perpetuated by misinformed individuals. Good for you Occupy Frederiction. You are setting a precedence for the Occupy movement in Canada. Keep it up, don’t give up.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thanks, Paul. 🙂

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