It's my personal soapbox, a place for me to express thoughts and feelings, musings and rants, reflections and recollections; to have fun with words -- about things spiritual, environmental, social, political, economic, and, from time to time, personal. And of course about peace. Soapboxes are in public places (as London's legendary Hyde Park) on purpose, and so I invite conversations with you, for it is through civil discourse that we can gain some perspective on the seeming chaos of these changing times and learn together how to shape a positive future for ourselves, our communities, and the generations to come.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Occupy the 100%

Posing enemies does not work. Nor is it consistent with the new way of thinking and acting that I've understood to be the intent of Occupy. At least, that is what has excited me about Occupy -- it's an experiment in putting into practice some of the concepts of a culture of peace, a culture of caring, compassion, mutual respect and support, and, yes, love. That means all those things for 100%, not just the 99% against the 1%. We are all in this together, and we need everyone to be included.

The "old" culture of violence has thrived on posing enemies, distracting attention from looking within ourselves and working together to find not solutions to this or that problem but a new way of living in which such problems do not arise, or at least are the outliers rather than the norm.

For this reason, I am very disappointed at the call to "shut down" the ports and the slogan "V for Vendetta". Such an action hurts the 99% much more than it does the 1%, and, as I said, hurting anybody is not the ideal of Occupy as I've seen it.

Better would be to come together and find a way to demonstrate (not protest) how we might live together in new ways -- caring, compassionate, and mutually supportive action and practices regarding money, health care, food, shelter, even local, direct/participatory democratic governance. Encampments aren't needed for that.

And certainly shutting anything down rather than building something new only sets back the whole movement and accomplishes nothing lasting.


  1. Well said Mike.
    I am disturbed by the shut down mentality.

  2. Thank you for this much needed reminder to Occupier's to keep the movement peaceful and positive. We will connect so much more effectively if we keep the words, signs, actions, etc. expressions of our own ideals (Peace,Justice, Democracy,etc.) rather than criticism of others. Barb Mallin

  3. I agree with the sentiments, Mike, and it leaves me wondering if the obstructive program of Gandhi has become obsolete.

  4. David, it boils down to the definition of violence and of nonviolence. Actually, in this transformative time of "not knowing", we can probably count on new approaches to effecting the transformation coming to the fore, as well. Creativity is the key!