Wednesday, 2 November 2011

The Occupy Movement - The background

I've been following the Occupy Movement since it began, and the misrepresentation of it in the mainstream press and the focus on the negative aspects of the movement has appalled me - so this blog, for the time being, aims to provide an independent perspective and my direct observations from being involved in it.

It is a movement that is still young, continually evolving and still finding its feet - but movements as big as this (at the time of writing there are over 2000 Occupy protest camps in over 80 countries) are seldom, and the importance of it cannot be understated. The movement is not confined to the camps - there are many who are actively involved in spreading the word on the internet also. Last weekend, Occupy Bath was set up in Queen's Square. It is not outside a bank or a local government building, but surrounded by hotels, a science institute and museums, things that are not necessarily the causes of the problems. Someone asked me "Why, of all places, did you choose Queen's Square?". Through these blogs I hope to present a decent case for this location and explain why this camp is here. I'll start from the very beginning.

Our governments and our financial system have failed us. For the last few years, every new day has brought with it fresh news reports proclaiming cuts to public services, recession, mass unemployment, rising living costs, increased university tuition fees, wars and environmental degradation. The democracy our governments and their media claim we live in isn't working. Somehow it is possible for people to run the country with less than 50% of public support, and even then they do not always keep their promises. There's good reason to be a little disillusioned with the world right now.

And then, 2011 happened. In the Middle East and North Africa, whole nations went to war on their corrupt leaders and ousted them. Riots broke out in London and other areas of the UK. The Greek economic crisis peaked, affecting the rest of the Eurozone and other economies around the world. But amongst all of this dark news are glimmers of hope.

Although perhaps the most commented on protest in the world right now and, in terms of impact quite possibly the most significant, Occupy Wall Street was not the first of its kind. It started in Spain.

In May 2011, Puerta del Sol Square in Madrid filled with tens of thousands of people disillusioned with their country's financial situation and their government. But this demonstration was different to the usual angry mob, this was a demonstration with much optimism. People set up camp and began to debate about the root causes of the problems and come up with solutions, using consensus decision making rather than a parliamentary system to come to decisions. The movement spread across Spain to other towns and cities. The roots for the Occupy Movement began here, with the Indignado Movement, which is still continuing to this date and still continues to inspire. 

Further reading: 

Next: The Occupy Movement - Occupy Wall Street

No comments:

Post a Comment