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Occupy Calgary Receives William Irvine Award at the Unitarian Church of Calgary

25 Mar Reverend Debra Faulk - Unitarian Church of Calgary

Reverend Debra Faulk - Unitarian Church of Calgary

Reverend Debra Faulk - Unitarian Church of Calgary

We are most gracious to the Unitarian Church of Calgary for presenting this award to Occupy Calgary. Thanks for your consideration and hospitality today! For those who weren’t able to attend, you may watch below.

What Does Leaderless Look Like

25 Mar

http://wagingnonviolence.org/2012/03/what-does-leaderless-look-like/

The 4th Reason – James W. Jesso

6 Dec

There have been a lot of people angry at Occupy Calgary and the camp associated with it. This is interesting when you realize we’re part of a global movement attempting to stand up for the downtrodden economic casualties—that most of us will become if we don’t wake up soon—and with the help of more people it would be much more effective. Yet still some people are outright against it.

I addressed a few reasons why this may be happening in my article Why They Don’t Occupy and got some of the angry backlash I as expecting. One of the comments from a user named anon provided a great example of the same under-informed opinions I’ve been hearing since Oct 15

Projection, Apathy, Personal Gain. Interesting ideas, but you forgot number 4. Those of us who think occupiers are a bunch of people with overinflated self esteems who saw the Wall Street occupation and said “Me too! Me too!”. In other words, those of us who think you are a movement made up of idiots.

You will probably mark me as a “personal gain” kind of person, and in a way you’re right. If I thought I could do better under your system, I would swap in a heartbeat. I would jump in with both feet. Instead though, all I see is a group of children sitting around banging drums chanting “Gimme, Gimme, Gimme. We want free electricity. We want free heaters. We want a free place to stay”

Maybe your system is better. Maybe it’s the right one. But the groups ability to broadcast any message other than “we’re a bunch of freeloaders” sucks. Face reality, you’re losing in the marketing department.

Well anon you’ve brought up some good points and you’re right, there is a fourth reason. You’ve made a great case for it. Sorry to those of you that prefer brevity but this reason is called Indoctrinated values on behave of the overtly potentate simplification of the mainstream media

Though most of the anger coming from the uninformed public has been expressed with clearly ignorant rhetoric, some of it has a standing reason. People are angry at what they hear about Occupy Calgary. Unfortunately what they are hearing what is seen on the television, read in the newspapers, or heard through friends.  Most of which is based on the media’s ability to take a very small segment of factual information, load it with bias and sell it with sensationalism.

Presenting Occupy Calgary campers as homeless, ignorant, smelly, freeloading hippy-idiots that are stealing from the city and shitting in the park. This same media presents Occupy Calgary as only complaining and having no value by using well-planned and delivered video clips to support their acrimonious claims.

We can see a great example of this in anon’s reply when he says, “If I thought I could do better under your system, I would swap in a heartbeat. I would jump in with both feet.” Occupy Calgary has never claimed to have an alternative system, they are encouraging people to come together in open discussion of the system we have in an effort to find solutions; to admit and address the problems instead of pretending the government will.

Though the media’s claims may present information that is fundamentally inaccurate and untrue, it is still what is being distributed en mass as “news”.  The majority of news-watching people develop their opinion accordingly and I can understand why.

Occupy makes very big claims and addresses very complex problems. In the United States, people don’t need to understand these complexities because they understand they are suffering the social-economic violence being perpetrated against them. It is a different story in Canada because it hasn’t hit us yet, though it is coming.

To recognize the problems, Canadians—Calgarians specifically, as we have it the easiest in Canada—have to look beyond their comforts into the complexity of governmental corruption. So most people choose to look away. It confuses and probably scares them to address the fallacy of a system they have based most of their identity on and it is easier to continue to believe in “happy and polite Canada”.

Though I doubt it, this current fallacy may have once been true. But currently the reality is that we really are the retarded cousin of the United States because we smile and take it when our dad beats us too but ridicule the States for not doing something about it. (Pardon my honest opinion).

So with the emotional and psychological load of accepting the need to address this complicated issue, we search out something easier to settle on. For the deeply apathetic it’s mindless entertainment or superficial social culture. For those who still have an urge to feel informed it’s the news, where they are delivered heavily simplified and sensationalized selective information. You can just eat it up like a bag of potato chips, tasty, quick but just like the potato chips it only pretends nutritional value. “Baked, not fried!”

So ok, the masses are simple because they are overworked and under-nourished in many ways, so why don’t they just simplify honest news? A good question, the long answer has a library of books to explain. The short answer is this: the system of power we currently perpetuate relies on the majority of people to be under-informed bricks, working to hold up the base of a pyramid scheme.

Currently at the top of this pyramid are massive conglomerates like Rogers Communication (telecommunications, media), TELUS (telecommunications, media) and Power Corporation of Canada (media, finance, resource).

Why would the media honestly represent a movement which stands up against a system of corporate corruption of government when it is the same people who own the main-stream media companies that have the most to lose? So anon is right when he says Occupy Calgary is losing in the marketing department, however it’s tough to win when they won’t even let you on the field.

I encourage people who are angry at Occupy Calgary to consider whether or not you have actually talked to anyone at the Occupy Calgary camp or asked yourself why 2,600 towns and cities worldwide and at least 20 in Canada chose to Occupy.

Read more by James W. Jesso

How to create Social Change: A long boring lecture – Trysch Anderson

1 Dec

I have been following the Occupy Calgary movement for awhile now and I do believe in this. Fundamental change is important on a political, environmental and social level.

While watching the movement develop I have come across another group called Common Ground Calgary. I love this group, they are very funny people with some well thought out ideas. With the approaching holiday season the group has collectively decided to help out around the community in any way they can. I support this, the holidays being stressful at best. Any support people can muster up at this time is a great show of community spirit. I decided to jump on board.

I was reading the forum today and someone posted an interesting article, I couldn’t help but write this after reading it. The question was asked if we were just band aiding the situation due to the holidays and ignoring the deeper rooted problems of the world. I am going to have to say no, this is not what we are doing at all. It may seem that way, however small change helps bring about larger change if we remember that instant gratification is a cookie or a glass of good wine and nothing more.

Helping people is part of the social change we need to make. A sense of community and a culture of reaching out a helping hand is a paradigm that is needed. Can you name four of your neighbors? If someone goes to break into your house tomorrow, will your neighbors know or care that it’s happening?

When I lived in a small town, if I sneezed at least four of my neighbors would say bless you. Living downtown I found the most remarkable building to live in. It was a small building however it was a community of people helping people. I could (and still can even though I have moved) name every single person who lived around me. I knew about their families, we ate together, it was a very healthy happy environment. No one went hungry, we had indoor and outdoor gardens. Someone always cooked and people brought what they could afford.

Part of making things better for everyone is helping. Protecting each other, being kind and considerate are the first steps to real change. This one small space still thrives, with everyone doing their part and contributing no matter how that manifested itself. By both small and large changes we will create a helping and kind society that strives for everyone to be equal and cared for and loved. That seems ok to me. Together we are strong. If a mob mentality can create destruction like it did during Vancouver’s playoffs last year, then a positive group mentality will bring about the change we are looking for.

We need is to find common ground to bind the community as well as the world together. This will bring about the sort of environment we want to leave for our children. As a mother of two, I don’t want my kids living in a world where pepper spraying and arresting innocent people is acceptable, nor where marijuana smokers are getting more jail time than child rapists. So bring about small change in your community and encourage other to as well.

I will be offering children a musical workshops in my home by donation once a week starting December 6th. These will be for people who need a couple of hours to just go shopping or wash their hair or whatever. Also come spring I will be helping to get people seeds so they can grow their own food no matter where they live. I grow a mean indoor apartment garden (it has to be able to defend itself against the squirrels. Sorry they scare me.)

I am unsure what else I will think of in the future but currently these are my contributions. This is what I can offer them to help change the world, one person at a time. Every journey begins with a single small step towards the destination. I hope you all find your niche as well. Good luck and may we all find some Common Ground in Calgary.

Why Don’t They Occupy? – James Jesso

26 Nov

The whole world is in an uproar and the Occupy movement is sitting smack dab in the middle. As if a stick stuck in the spokes of claiming business as usual during the most precarious times our civilization has ever seen.

We are facing the degradation of the environment, which is resulting in increased storm activity and sporadic weather patterns. We participate in a global economic system that creates abject servility in most of humanity to prop up destructive lifestyles indoctrinated by western culture and further grind the gears of a broken-down machine called the military industrial complex; a system on the verge of a collapse, an event will dwarf the Great Depressions of the 1920’s. We have mostly turned a blind eye to the nearly complete bastardization of North American democracy in the Untied States and Canada on behave of our disproportionately elected representatives. We are suffering the loss of the familial and social values of community, compassion and empathy, resulting in a drastic increase in homelessness, mental illness and crime. We are controlled into a total manipulation of our lives perpetrated by bias media conglomerates that are controlling our view of the world, furthering an agenda of sensationalism and profit instead of accurate depiction of the NEWS. We are seeing the results of the values of corporate profit-seeking utilizing psychological science and the corrupted media to convert our lives from ones of creation, wonder and honest relationships into that of good worker bee consumers, effectively materializing our emotional experience and creating an industry around useless products.

At a deeper level we are living out the cultivation of a fear-based forfeiting of our personal power to the systems that operate around us in the hopes that that system will take care of us. When in reality this system has been infiltrated and manipulated by egocentric, greedy intentions and whose function is only to extract your human essence as a resource and exploit it in the efforts of creating more profit, taking from us more then we are able to give and leaving us spiritually void, confused and over consumptive. We are left to try to fill this espoused void within ourselves through a material satisfaction presented up by the same system that helped us deplete ourselves. A material satisfaction that ultimately does nothing to enrich our souls and only results in a deeper sense a void, effectively stealing from our ability to embrace the true wonder of life.

The Occupy Movement is an uprising of people around the world, from all races, ages, sexual orientation, religions, political affiliation and every other diverse aspect of our existence standing up and saying “It doesn’t have to be like this. We don’t want it to be like this. We see where it is broken and we want to try something new. Let’s talk about this and make a real, lasting, mutually beneficial change”. From an aware and realistic perspective, this is exactly what the entire planet is in need of right now. So why isn’t there a higher ratio of people on this planet signing up?

Though there are infinitude different contexts and personal reasons for resistance, I will attempt to address 3 generalized reasons: Projection, apathy and personal gain.

Projection

Without going into depth on the psychology and philosophy that founds these upcoming ideas, to me, the Occupy movement is an externalization of an inner sense of unrest that is universal throughout the collected consciousness. It is people standing up to take their power back and use it in the effort to create a lasting change that is beneficial to all people. However, part of this process requires some level of taking responsibility for the role you have played in creating the problems we face. Not very many people are ready to do that.

A lot of people around the world – especially in places like Canada where we have been blinded to the tyrannical actions being taken by our increasingly fascist government – don’t support occupy because they are resistant to accept responsibility for their own destructive actions and inactions. When we see people

talking ignorantly about Occupy, writing brash blog rants, coming down to try to circumvent intellectual rapport with childish rhetoric or just sitting at home hating Occupy, what we are seeing is the their own inner frustration with themselves being projected onto an event that forces an address of the source of this anxiety, lack of self-love and inner confusions.

Though the source is the broken societal system being run and perpetuated by the same people that we have forfeited our power over to in hopes of security and prosperity, it is hard to look up and accept that the people you put so much trust in have betrayed you. So instead you hate the person who attempts to reveal the truth to you, fearing the lost sense of identity that will come when they accept that the paradigm they have built their identity off of was a fallacy.

Apathy

I find that a lot of people in my demographic: 20 something, intelligent, somewhat engaged, working hard to get by, struggling but ultimately working it out as best as possible, are the ones showing the most perverse apathy, or at least here in Calgary. Though many of our grandparents and parents were forced out of their small towns and into the city in search of social-economic prosperity and bought heavily into the system, the generation of current young adults — if not deeply invested in capitalizing off the currently established system of disparity — have lost most trust in the government. With a shrug and a Whatever they allow their power to make change be forfeited over to accepting that there is nothing that can be done: “that’s just the way it is”. So they go about living their current social context knowing that they’d love to see real change but instead of creating even minor action, they just focus their energy into social culture. Avoiding dealing with the frustration of recognizing the power being stolen from them by failing to embody their true inner power to create a better world, even when that opportunity to do so is laid out in front of them.

When we become so manipulated by the current establishment that we allow the apathy it breeds to inform our decisions, we leave room for those in power to make the choices that deeply affect us to be based on the influence of corporate lobbyists. Because these lobbied opinions are the only opinions our supposed representatives hear, these choices not made with human welfare and the progress of humanity’s true value in mind. These choices end up being most beneficial to large corporations and the investment portfolio of country itself.

As young privileged Canadians, we mostly have yet to truly experience the suffering that that would inspire us to step outside of this indoctrinated apathy and take responsibility for the world we will eventually inherit, complete with all is broken parts and debt. I wonder how much social-economic and political violence against us it will take to shake such self-centered and weak-minded thinking out of the Canadian youth.

Personal Gain

The currently established system does benefit some, which may be part of the problem but is also part of what continues to hold it up. There are many people, especially in Alberta who have and continue to gain from the puerile extraction of both environmental and human resources for the purpose of profit gain. People who have worked really hard to climb the corporate ladder and see Occupy as a threat to that. Though this is incredibly egocentric, destructive and selfish, I don’t believe it is reason to cast-out, hate or judge the people in this position. They have identified with a dying system and to see a new form of social life starting to thrive off their host’s soon crumbled ashes is terrifying. So on behave of the system they identify with they fight out like a wounded animal cornered by animal services, whose only intention is to help them get back to health.

I know there are people who recognize the severity of global disparity and actively choose to continue to profit of it for their own interests, some who have even had a hand in creating this situation in effort to profit off it. But I also know that that perspective is not universal amongst the “%1”. Like the projection I

spoke of earlier, they do not want to face up to taking responsibility for their actions or forfeit the lifestyle they have worked for, so there is a subconscious deletion of any information that does not support their current view of reality. To a person in this situation – certain outspoken Calgarians are a great example – there really is no problem here.

With the direction this machine is moving, I highly doubt they will be able to avoid the truth of our world forever. As cost of living and resources rises with debt and inflation and the personal rights of being a living natural person are further circumvented, eventually they will feel the violence being perpetrated by the current system and their choices will change.

Regardless of how hard this dying system fights to avoid the recognition of its inevitable demise, change is already here. Regardless of whether or not Occupy camps are taken down, change is here. However, what that change looks like will be determined by what our choices are. Do we continue to forfeit our personal power and allow apathy to further the destruction of every valuable aspect of organic human life for the sake of a small group’s benefit? Or do we take responsibility for our lives and for life in general and actually make some level of effort?

Reading articles and watching YouTube is great, keep informing yourself. However, if you think that just posting links or complaining on Facebook or twitter will accomplish anything, you are sadly mistaken. Awareness is key, but without intelligent action to go with that awareness, it is valueless. Put your energy into something bigger then your own social interests and help create the world you know in your heart is possible.

Stop listening to mainstream media’s lies, stop projecting your problems on other others and stop perpetuating hearsay. Start being honest, embody your inner power and BE more. You’ve already got everything to you need to change the world; you just have to own it.

James W. Jesso

Why I Occupy – Donna Clarke

25 Nov
Everybody who disagrees with the Occupy movement seems to think that if you work hard you can be successful in this city, country or world! (This, I realise, is a bit of a presumption.) SO WHY AREN’T I RICH AND SUCCESSFUL? I went to university and got a degree and a large debt. I paid off that debt in full. I have worked for over 20 years. I work hard. I work a full time job during the day and two evenings a week. I don’t have any benefits with either job. I need $5000 in dental work. I pay my taxes. I do not have a luxurious lifestyle. I take public transit or ride my bicycle. I seldom drink and don’t do drugs. I have volunteered at a few inner city community centers. I don’t have a TV or own property. I help out my friends when I can and have been too generous at times. I am $12,000 in debt and don’t have any savings. If i broke my leg tomorrow I would be unable to pay my bills. i want to live in a just society where people care about each other, where I am safe and secure. THIS IS WHY I SUPPORT THE OCCUPY CALGARY MOVEMENT.

Why I Occupy – Jase Alex aka TheCrimsonMavrick

23 Nov

For a long time a demographic has been moving up through society causing massive social, political, and economic changes. Everywhere we look we can see their influence. Their decisions have brought us all the prosperity and disparity today. But today, standing in that shadow, I can tell you that they forgot one thing. They forgot to leave a way up. The way forward for the majority is eclipsed and we fear for our future.

I am a born and raised Calgarian. I ask myself, why is it so tough to get ahead? I debate with friends and co-workers as to what is wrong and how to fix it. We laugh at ideas and quote expert “opinions” about why this or that idea is doomed to fail. Then something strange happened. The entire free world took to the street and started having that same conversation.

At first the only thing clear about the message was the urgency and dedication in which it was being presented. After further investigation of the strange phenomena occupying the world. I found that somehow they were having the same conversations. But instead they focused on what needs to be done to move forward outside of the status quo.

A grass roots movement, leaderless, collaborated, and committed to the identification of the problems; analysis and integration of the solutions. Working to serve the people with their best answers to move forward as a society. The birth of a social consciousness self aware and aware of its responsibility to humanity.

Being new, societies first reaction, naturally, was to kill it. First it was ridiculed, then violently opposed. To us it is already self evident. This conversation needs to happen the way it is happening and where it is happening. We have knowledge, but imagination is more important than knowledge. So join the conversation as we figure out what is needed to brighten the future ahead.

Open Letter to that 53% Guy – Max Udargo

20 Nov
53% guy
Hello,

 

I briefly visited the “We are the 53%” website, but I first saw your face on a liberal blog.  Your picture is quite popular on liberal blogs.  I think it’s because of the expression on your face.  I don’t know if you meant to look pugnacious or if we’re just projecting that on you, but I think that’s what gets our attention.

In the picture, you’re holding up a sheet of paper that says:

I am a former Marine.
I work two jobs.
I don’t have health insurance.
I worked 60-70 hours a week for 8 years to pay my way through college.
I haven’t had 4 consecutive days off in over 4 years.
But I don’t blame Wall Street.
Suck it up you whiners.
I am the 53%.
God bless the USA!

I wanted to respond to you as a liberal.  Because, although I think you’ve made yourself clear and I think I understand you, you don’t seem to understand me at all.  I hope you will read this and understand me better, and maybe understand the Occupy Wall Street movement better.

First, let me say that I think it’s great that you have such a strong work ethic and I agree with you that you have much to be proud of.  You seem like a good, hard-working, strong kid.  I admire your dedication and determination.  I worked my way through college too, mostly working graveyard shifts at hotels as a “night auditor.”  For a time I worked at two hotels at once, but I don’t think I ever worked 60 hours in a week, and certainly not 70.  I think I maxed out at 56.  And that wasn’t something I could sustain for long, not while going to school.  The problem was that I never got much sleep, and sleep deprivation would take its toll.  I can’t imagine putting in 70 hours in a week while going to college at the same time.  That’s impressive.

I have a nephew in the Marine Corps, so I have some idea of how tough that can be.  He almost didn’t make it through basic training, but he stuck it out and insisted on staying even when questions were raised about his medical fitness.  He eventually served in Iraq and Afghanistan and has decided to pursue a career in the Marines.  We’re all very proud of him.  Your picture reminds me of him.

So, if you think being a liberal means that I don’t value hard work or a strong work ethic, you’re wrong.  I think everyone appreciates the industry and dedication a person like you displays.  I’m sure you’re a great employee, and if you have entrepreneurial ambitions, I’m sure these qualities will serve you there too.  I’ll wish you the best of luck, even though a guy like you will probably need luck less than most.

I understand your pride in what you’ve accomplished, but I want to ask you something.

Do you really want the bar set this high?  Do you really want to live in a society where just getting by requires a person to hold down two jobs and work 60 to 70 hours a week?  Is that your idea of the American Dream?

Do you really want to spend the rest of your life working two jobs and 60 to 70 hours a week?  Do you think you can?  Because, let me tell you, kid, that’s not going to be as easy when you’re 50 as it was when you were 20.

And what happens if you get sick?  You say you don’t have health insurance, but since you’re a veteran I assume you have some government-provided health care through the VA system.  I know my father, a Vietnam-era veteran of the Air Force, still gets most of his medical needs met through the VA, but I don’t know what your situation is.  But even if you have access to health care, it doesn’t mean disease or injury might not interfere with your ability to put in those 60- to 70-hour work weeks.

Do you plan to get married, have kids?  Do you think your wife is going to be happy with you working those long hours year after year without a vacation?  Is it going to be fair to her?  Is it going to be fair to your kids?  Is it going to be fair to you?

Look, you’re a tough kid.  And you have a right to be proud of that.  But not everybody is as tough as you, or as strong, or as young.  Does pride in what you’ve accomplish mean that you have contempt for anybody who can’t keep up with you?  Does it mean that the single mother who can’t work on her feet longer than 50 hours a week doesn’t deserve a good life?  Does it mean the older man who struggles with modern technology and can’t seem to keep up with the pace set by younger workers should just go throw himself off a cliff?

And, believe it or not, there are people out there even tougher than you.  Why don’t we let them set the bar, instead of you?  Are you ready to work 80 hours a week?  100 hours?  Can you hold down four jobs?  Can you do it when you’re 40?  When you’re 50?  When you’re 60?  Can you do it with arthritis?  Can you do it with one arm?  Can you do it when you’re being treated for prostate cancer?

And is this really your idea of what life should be like in the greatest country on Earth?

Here’s how a liberal looks at it:  a long time ago workers in this country realized that industrialization wasn’t making their lives better, but worse.  The captains of industry were making a ton of money and living a merry life far away from the dirty, dangerous factories they owned, and far away from the even dirtier and more dangerous mines that fed raw materials to those factories.

The workers quickly decided that this arrangement didn’t work for them.  If they were going to work as cogs in machines designed to build wealth for the Rockefellers, Vanderbilts and Carnegies, they wanted a cut.  They wanted a share of the wealth that they were helping create.  And that didn’t mean just more money; it meant a better quality of life.  It meant reasonable hours and better working conditions.

Eventually, somebody came up with the slogan, “8 hours of work, 8 hours of leisure, 8 hours of sleep” to divide the 24-hour day into what was considered a fair allocation of a human’s time.  It wasn’t a slogan that was immediately accepted.  People had to fight to put this standard in place.  People demonstrated, and fought with police, and were killed.  They were called communists (in fairness, some of them were), and traitors, and many of them got a lot worse than pepper spray at the hands of police and private security.

But by the time we got through the Great Depression and WWII, we’d all learned some valuable lessons about working together and sharing the prosperity, and the 8-hour workday became the norm.

The 8-hour workday and the 40-hour workweek became a standard by which we judged our economic success, and a reality check against which we could verify the American Dream.

If a family could live a good life with one wage-earner working a 40-hour job, then the American Dream was realized.  If the income from that job could pay the bills, buy a car, pay for the kids’ braces, allow the family to save enough money for a down payment on a house and still leave some money for retirement and maybe for a college fund for the kids, then we were living the American Dream.  The workers were sharing in the prosperity they helped create, and they still had time to take their kids to a ball game, take their spouses to a movie, and play a little golf on the weekends.

Ah, the halcyon days of the 1950s!  Yeah, ok, it wasn’t quite that perfect.  The prosperity wasn’t spread as evenly and ubiquitously as we might want to pretend, but if you were a middle-class white man, things were probably pretty good from an economic perspective.  The American middle class was reaching its zenith.

And the top marginal federal income tax rate was more than 90%.  Throughout the whole of the 1950s and into the early 60s.

Just thought I’d throw that in there.

Anyway, do you understand what I’m trying to say?  We can have a reasonable standard for what level of work qualifies you for the American Dream, and work to build a society that realizes that dream, or we can chew each other to the bone in a nightmare of merciless competition and mutual contempt.

I’m a liberal, so I probably dream bigger than you.  For instance, I want everybody to have healthcare.  I want lazy people to have healthcare.  I want stupid people to have healthcare.  I want drug addicts to have healthcare.  I want bums who refuse to work even when given the opportunity to have healthcare.  I’m willing to pay for that with my taxes, because I want to live in a society where it doesn’t matter how much of a loser you are, if you need medical care you can get it.  And not just by crowding up an emergency room that should be dedicated exclusively to helping people in emergencies.

You probably don’t agree with that, and that’s fine.  That’s an expansion of the American Dream, and would involve new commitments we haven’t made before.   But the commitment we’ve made to the working class since the 1940s is something that we should both support and be willing to fight for, whether we are liberal or conservative.  We should both be willing to fight for the American Dream.  And we should agree that anybody trying to steal that dream from us is to be resisted, not defended.

And while we’re defending that dream, you know what else we’ll be defending, kid?  We’ll be defending you and your awesome work ethic.  Because when we defend the American Dream we’re not just defending the idea of modest prosperity for people who put in an honest day’s work, we’re also defending the idea that those who go the extra mile should be rewarded accordingly.

Look kid, I don’t want you to “get by” working two jobs and 60 to 70 hours a week.  If you’re willing to put in that kind of effort, I want you to get rich.  I want you to have a comprehensive healthcare plan.  I want you vacationing in the Bahamas every couple of years, with your beautiful wife and healthy, happy kids.  I want you rewarded for your hard work, and I want your exceptional effort to reap exceptional rewards.  I want you to accumulate wealth and invest it in Wall Street.  And I want you to make more money from those investments.

I understand that a prosperous America needs people with money to invest, and I’ve got no problem with that.  All other things being equal, I want all the rich people to keep being rich.  And clever financiers who find ways to get more money into the hands of promising entrepreneurs should be rewarded for their contributions as well.

I think Wall Street has an important job to do, I just don’t think they’ve been doing it.  And I resent their sense of entitlement – their sense that they are special and deserve to be rewarded extravagantly even when they screw everything up.

Come on, it was only three years ago, kid.  Remember?  Those assholes almost destroyed our economy.  Do you remember the feeling of panic?  John McCain wanted to suspend the presidential campaign so that everybody could focus on the crisis.  Hallowed financial institutions like Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch went belly up.  The government started intervening with bailouts, not because anybody thought “private profits and socialized losses” was fair, but because we were afraid not to intervene –  we were afraid our whole economy might come crashing down around us if we didn’t prop up companies that were “too big to fail.”

So, even though you and I had nothing to do with the bad decisions, blind greed and incompetence of those guys on Wall Street, we were sure as hell along for the ride, weren’t we?  And we’ve all paid a price.

All the” 99%” wants is for you to remember the role that Wall Street played in creating this mess, and for you to join us in demanding that Wall Street share the pain.  They don’t want to share the pain, and they’re spending a lot of money and twisting a lot of arms to foist their share of the pain on the rest of us instead.  And they’ve been given unprecedented powers to spend and twist, and they’re not even trying to hide what they’re doing.

All we want is for everybody to remember what happened, and to see what is happening still.  And we want you to see that the only way they can get away without paying their share is to undermine the American Dream for the rest of us.

And I want you and I to understand each other, and to stand together to prevent them from doing that.  You seem like the kind of guy who would be a strong ally, and I’d be proud to stand with you.

Original Post at Daily Kos

“Qu’est-ce que le tiers-etat?” (What is the Third Estate?) – HR

14 Nov

This was the question asked by French clergyman Abbe Emmanuel Joseph Sieyes at the onset of the French Revolution. These were the question he put forth at the time and the resounding answers that seemed to naturally echo back:

1.       What is the Third Estate?

Everything.

2.       What has the Third Estate been in the political order hitherto?

Nothing.

3.       What does it want to be?

Something.

Though in the present our woes are different than they were during time of the French Revolution and the modern culprits seem elusive and indomitable, I assure you friends that we are still battling the ghosts of ancient monarchies. The capitalist class effectively effaced and replaced the kings and queens yet they have made one grievous error: they have not abolished the injustice which was the original cause of the people’s discontent and rage (and rebellion).

We are still living in a system where a few have seized an extremely disproportionate amount of wealth to secure eternal prosperity by supplanting and enslaving an overwhelming majority. You and I are often quick to place the blame for our frustration on the Government. This is wholly wrong and playing right into the hands of the ‘privileged’ class. The government, itself a corporate-style hierarchy, has long ceased to be the voice of the people and has become the scapegoat of the Business owners. With the belief that the financial misery (and consequent general unhappiness) is the result of a few missteps of policy making, we aspire to electing yet another ‘representative’ government. However you must have realized now that you and I do not pay the politicians, the business do.

The businesses have seized the one arbiter that we thought we had and is using it against us. These businesses have accumulated immense swaying power and seemingly unending resources that they may even cast doubts among us as to validity of the current uprising against them propelling us to break into factions. Be assured, they are mistaken, because the power they flaunt was given to them by the individual sacrifice and can be wrenched away as easily by the people united. In the west we have offered them passivity in exchange for peace and our liberty in exchange for the bare minimum. In developing nations they have given the same without asking for returns for fear of death by starvation.

However the capitalist masters are not satisfied with present chasm between the people and the Few. Their abuses grow in proportional increment with our declining will. We have grown weak and weary from long hours of work and diminishing leisure (I have heard of those who must work up to 16 hours a day to secure a living). We are given only the opportunity to create families (for further propagation of the working class) but not the opportunity to enjoy it (for fear of our attachment to it?). Imagine what you may do if you had an extra four hours in the day! If only the banks did not consider you ‘high risk’ and charged you an insurmountable amount of interest (akin to financial prison) on you loans or if taxation was fair and you did not have to bear a lion’s share of sustaining the common welfare. How long do you wish to sell yourselves in exchange for inequitable wages? In light of our renewed struggles against insatiable greed of the Capitalist masters, are we far removed from the Tennis court oath or the storming of the Bastille? We must take this opportunity and again wrest (forcibly if need be) our freedom from the New Monarchs and return to it the people.


Not All The Media is At Fault – Stephen Hall

14 Nov

I am a member of the media, and like so many other citizens of this world, I too would fall into that 99% that feel a certain amount of disdain toward the system that has brought us to where we are today. I am also fortunate that I am not constrained by the corporate machine that drives the bulk of the media reporting that appears on mainstream outlets today. That means I am free to make my own conclusions without having a predetermined agenda.

I actually spend time at Olympic Plaza and have been welcomed with open arms by the members of Occupy Calgary because I spend time engaging in meaningful discussions and listen to their concerns. They know, like most rational people, that I may not agree with everything they say, as I am sure they do not agree with all of my thoughts. That is human nature, and that is how we show respect to one another.

When we use the term 99%, I feel that that is also representational of the percentage of participants that are articulate, educated and deeply concerned about the state of the world today. Unfortunately every group has that 1% and it is that small percentage that the mainstream media like to focus on. It saddens me to think that my brothers and sisters in the media are forced to stoop to those tactics because their bosses have made them do so. I don’t blame the street reporters for this because I know a number of them personally and they are really good people. I ask that you give them the respect you give to me, but hold distain for their organizations.

As a human being, and not just as a reporter, I pledge to be honest and truthful in all my efforts at information gathering. I will approach every situation with open arms and an open mind. I will respect your wishes if you do not want to appear on camera, and will always give you the opportunity to correct any information that you may feel is faulty.

In closing I can’t officially indicate if I support your cause or not, but those of you that have had the opportunity to interact with me fully understand my human position. God gave me a heart, and my parents taught me how to use it.

Stephen Hall

Encore News

reporting@encorenews.com

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