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Occupy. Never. Stopped.

Reasons to celebrate the 2nd anniversary.

by Daniel Johnson

Occupy Gurrilla Gardening in Toronto
Occupy Gurrilla Gardening in Toronto
Occupy Regina GA
Occupy Regina GA
Banner drop, Kensington/Chinatown Toronto.
Banner drop, Kensington/Chinatown Toronto.
Joe Keithley from DOA performing at Occupy Regina
Joe Keithley from DOA performing at Occupy Regina
UPDATE: The article was focused on Canada, but in the US some major breakthroughs continue to be made. One is Occupy The Securities Exchange Commission, who have managed to influence the reform process through constant lobbying since they started in 2011. 
Another is the Occupy Rolling Jubillee, which raised money to buy debtloads at 'wholesale' prices, the prices that debt collectors pay to the companies, often as low as 5% of the debt itself. In the process, Occupy has paid around 15 million in debt with just under 7 hundred thousand.
Another is Occupy Medical, which grew out of the medical tent at Occupy Eugene in Eugene, Oregon. They provide a mobile medical center via a converted bus, complete with volunteer nurses and a part time doctor. 
Occupy San Fransisco, as well as Occupy Earth Summit (part of the New York OWS group) and Occupy Canada, have all been continually involved in various aspects of the UN Open Consultation Process. 
 
Today is October 15, the second anniversary for the foundation of most Occupy camps in Canada. 
 
Maybe feeling nostalgic, but also optimistic, and proud. 
 
Occupy is still alive. Nobody calls it that anymore except me and a handful of others, but I assure you a significant number of the people involved in that particular protest/ monstrosity of unqualifiable and unquantifiable wierdness of senseless contradiction and calamity/ low-budget festival/ community building and training exercise have continued working in tandem with each other, our central focus on fundamentally changing the world's economic structure by any means necessary.
 
Many continued the protest/activist/civil disobedience/monkey-wrenching aspect, with different groups that have come into existence, using different methods since the ones we're most known for are now largely tapped out in terms of effectiveness, many have taken it in different directions altogether, working their way into NGOs, political parties, government jobs, with a new consciousness that connects almost all of the world's worst problems with fundamental economic change as their binding common cause. 
 
The Occupy Toronto Livestream team has continued functioning as Toronto's default protest film crew, dillegently covering events for a variety of causes. The Occupy Toronto Garden groups is still planting heirloom seeds in places all over the city. 
 
The Facebook team at  occupycanada.org have stayed busy, acting as an essential inter-activist information hub that remains active as Occupy supporters across Canada have created integrated networks between various groups, including Idle No More, Council Of Canadians, Stop Harper, various Water Watch groups, Stop Monsanto, OCAP, No One Is Illegal, Fearless Summer and many others.
 
  The Victoria People's General Assembly and We Are Change Victoria, both spin offs of Occupy Victoria, continue their own work, though on opposing sides with some issues.
 
You may not see this reflected in mainstream media because media now black out discussion of economic issues by people outside the cult of economics, and no longer mention Occupy, but we're still having an impact.
 
 People who are looking at the higher decision making centers can see this reflected in reports coming out of the United Nations MDG 2015 Global Open Consultations, a major change from the corporate 'vs' state bureaucrat dominated process of the late 1980s, early 1990s that culminated in the Rio Summit 1992, birthplace of the infamous 'Agenda 21'. 
 
 I found kindred spirits and fellow Occupiers from around the world in the various discussions, though the Occupy Canada UN Liason Group were the only Occupy-spawned organization from Canada that uses the Occupy name in the UN consultations.  Occupy Canada's direct involvement in the consultations is around average compared to the other NGOs and agencies submitting, but the spirit of October 2011 can be seen in the general direction the consultations are taking as a whole.
 
 Just the quote on the back of the recently released Report Of The Thematic Consultation On Environmental Sustainability sounds like an Occupy statement: 'In the world we want, poverty has been eradicated and nature thrives; every woman, man, boy and girl, now and in the future can equally fulfil their rights and have sustainable, reslient, livelihoods that operate within planetary boundaries.'.  The report reflects this, and is one of the core documents given to world leaders and other delegates at the recent UN General Assembly. 
 
For my own part in that particular set of consultations, I primarily worked to promote more aggressive environmental protection laws, and stronger enforcement mechanisms, calling for major environmental crimes to be treated as crimes against humanity. When first suggesting this, I hadn't expected so many of the other participants to agree with me, and I was also happy to see this demand well reflected in the final report, though with less aggressive wording. The report calls for a world court for major environmental offences that would have the same powers as the world court for war crimes or crimes against humanity. 
 
For the record, I'm not a communist, and neither are most Occupy organizers or supporters I've met. Most that I've met support the idea of socialized necessities for the common good combined with a free market system for other things, but a free market controlled by a handful of rich people is not a free market and public control over resources should not require governments giving 'experts' control over every aspect of our lives. 
 
At the beginning, when the Occupy movement was focused on the banking system and had widespread support across the political spectrum with that focus, we said capitalism is not our enemy.
 
But it damn well can't be our master either. 
 
Because competition for it's own sake belongs in the recreational sector of human endevour, not in important decisions like resource distribution and justice. As the basis of an economic system, competition is a waste of energy. 
 
But now that the competion has been 'won', since the wealthy of today have sealed off any chance of anyone competing with them in any realistic way, was it ever a real competition to begin with? 
 
The economy is not the weather. It is not an organic system of 'market forces' that can only be reacted and responded to by 'experts' following subtle signs. Economics is not a science. Economists of every stripe continue the trend of pretending that the economic system is somehow like the weather, with uncontrolled forces which we can only prepare for or react to based on subtle signals or what have you. The economy is not ever in chaos, when food is being destroyed because it can't be sold at 'market value' while others suffer from malnutrition in the same country because they 'can't afford' to eat anything but rice, it's not because 'market forces' have made a mistake in determining the asset value of food, it is because the wealthy elite have stolen control over the world's food supply and are using that control to create artificial shortages for their own profit, and this is not an 'economic crisis' caused by 'market forces', this is a deliberate, pre-meditated crime against humanity caused by a criminal subculture posing as a financial system.
 
'Unemployment' is a fiction, as are the 'job shortages' and 'job crisis'. Jobs are not a commodity. We do not need to 'create jobs', jobs are things that need to be done. We need to end this absurdity, of laying off people doing necessary work in order to lower taxes so that companies will hire more people to do unnecessary work just to stay busy. It's part of the same fraudulent doctrine as this 'financial system', that has twisted the purpose of money to the point where money is no longer just a medium of exchange to facillitate the trade of goods and services, but, rather, that the purpose of trade, goods and services is to accumulate money. We don't need more 'jobs'. 

If you read the reports and discussions among economists and 'development experts' carefully, you will notice that people who are self-sufficient outside the economic system are called 'unemployed', and when their independence is forcibly taken away from them by wealthy industrial powers for the sake of 'development', and they are forced to labour in a factory all day for a lower standard of living than they had before, they are now 'employed' and the fact that the urban hell they live in has dirty water from a tap instead of a well means they are now 'out of poverty'. 

Either it's because they haven't lived real lives and don't actually realize the harm they are causing, or they are using euphemisms to camoflage what they know will be harmful policies for the majority of people. Either way, it is wrong and it has to stop. 

We need a total reform of the economic system so that things that need to get done get done, with necessary labour divided up in an equal, democratic way so that everybody has liesure time to pursue something else.

Most of the worst problems caused by this economic system could be mitigated if the economic system was kept on a leash and prevented from effecting the general common good in fundamental ways. When obesity is a health crisis and 40% of food is thrown out in a place that imports it from countries where people starve, the people at the highest level responsible for the decisions that lead to that situation should face criminal charges.
 
When the ability of this planet to support life is threatened by irresponsible industries and the wealthy spend a fortune on bribes and propaganda to convince people it's not happening and bribe elected officials into ignoring independent scientists so they can continue behaving in an irresponsible manner as long as possible, it is a crime against humanity. 
 
When 'economists' give advice to governments that makes their employers wealthier at the expense of citizens, and elected officials follow that advice knowing what will happen because they will be rewarded when they leave office, those people have committed treason.
 
When wealth equals power, we do not have a democratic society. 
 
When our cultural outlets are dominated by an industry whose purpose is to sell as much product of every kind it has to in order for it to be bought, we see drug addicted adolescents as role models for our children because narcissistic adolescents with too much money they didn't earn through work are the dominant market demographic for the 'cultural industries'.
 
When 'free market' advice is followed, we see a lower standard of living for people who work more and more hours, but the fact that they work longer hours is then recorded back as 'job growth' and they're told this is a good thing.
 
In 2008, governments could have bailed out the mortgage holders instead of the banks, invested in family businesses instead of large corporations, and done many other things in a more sensible way, and this would improve the life of a majority of people in many ways.
 
But it is now blatantly obvious to every educated person that the goal of elected officials is to do the opposite and give as much money as possible to their own rich friends so they can be rewarded when they leave office, and all the official parties have agreed on this basic principal, and any 'disputes' between them are theater to justify the disruptions in people's lives while they give away public property as fast as they can. If they gave the money to everyone else through a gauranteed income the economy would grow again from the bottom.
 
Whether it was an outright fraud or not from the beginning is debatable, but we do know that the 'trickle down' theory has utterly failed and has been used as an excuse to syphon control of the economy upward. No banker ever built a house, or created the materials to do it with, so why do banks own everyone's homes? Why can't a country hire it's own people to mind it's own minerals and use the profits to build infrastructure, schools and hospitals, and feed their people, instead of signing resource agreements with foreign companies that pay extremely low 'royalties', plus receive subsidies in the form of infrastructure built at the people's expense entirely for the benefit of the foreign resource companies.
 
Banks don't create anything, so even if they are performing an essential service, why does their essential service give them the right to control the entire world for their own benefit? Because they provided the medium of exchange and the medium of exchange has been given too much importance so it has expanded beyond it's function, so that instead of the purpose of money being to act as a medium to facillitate trade in goods and services, the accumulation of money is now seen as the purpose of trade in goods and services.
 
For the same reasons, most 'small businesses' now are franchises of larger companies where the 'local owner' is basically a manager who invests, but has no more control over how 'his' business is run than the person who sweeps the floors, because with the larger corporations, everything is 'optimized' for full efficiency by experts in another city who make the most important decisions for hundreds of small businesses, systematically researched and priced, financed to lose money for a period of time, something local businesses can't do, in order to undercut prices long enough to eliminate most local competition and gain a monopoly, destroying autonomy and independence in local business communities.
 
All of these things were true on October 15 2011 when we set up tents in parks near banking districts across Canada, and all of these things are still true today and we are still working to change them. 
 

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