Occupy Us All

I’m sorry to see the stalwarts of the Occupy movement kicked out of their encampments. Not because I thought they could change the world by reinventing it on a small patch of grass — I didn’t. Not because I thought they should seize property to which they had no legal claim — in a capitalist society, that’s a non-starter. Yet over the past two months, I’ve grown tired of cynical pundits who’ve picked away at these protestors because they lack a programme; because they’re noisy and unkempt; because some of them end up behaving as humans always end up behaving in groups: with a measure of arrogance, stridency and naivete. It’s useless to critique a movement by using human nature as a bludgeon, since we’re all human and prone to the same mistakes. In any case, human nature also prompted acts of kindness, generosity and imagination in each encampment’s tiny polis and its newly-awakened citizens.

This awakening is the whole point. The occupiers bear witness to the silence that corrupts us and the moral power of people who say no. They are the voice of conscience; that is their function. They are Kafka’s axe for the frozen sea inside us. The Occupy movement has woken me up from a long sleep, a torpor that bordered on despair. Like most people, I don’t know what to do about the crimes of High Finance; in my writer’s tower, I coax my most difficult thoughts away from the window-ledge; I’m afraid to look down at the shattered lives below, the out-of-work and homeless. Yet now the occupiers have got us talking and sharing thoughts, feeling the sting of conscience and the relief of long-supressed outrage. Their encampments stand for the psychic space they’ve cleared for hope to grow. They’ve brought us home to our humanity, from which no one can evict us.

This movement is a blessing. I wish it well.



Filed under Other commentaries

7 responses to “Occupy Us All

  1. Thank you Carole for your insight. Confirming what I heard on CBC’s morning program (Fresh Air?) today. An interview with a prominent writer, Buddhist, humanist who articulated, better than I had heard before, the rhyme and reason of this new world wide phenomenon. An emergence onto/into another, higher level, of cooperative, informed living… It is not going away!
    Authoritative police violence will not work here, as it has in the past. Where are the politicians (and Theologians) smart enough to, not intervene, but to participate???,

  2. A good rhetorical question! I was happy to learn that the staff of well-to-do Trinity Church at Wall St. posted very positive support for the occupiers on their website, along with offering their premises for (daytime) rest. Still, we have a long way to go. I think (some) theologians will get it before the politicians do.

    • Nice to learn of Trinity’s charitable response to the Occupier’s plight. Should this surprise us?
      Interesting that what we are seeing in this demonstration is a cosmopolitan plea for what has been been supposedly at the core of Christianism since its beginning: “The strong (rich) lifting the burdens of the weak (poor)…” Too, this disparit situation has grown under theologian noses for centuries. How come?

  3. Beats me, really. It is a frustrating reality that too many of these folks live lives of academic or clerical privilege. They may think and teach radical thoughts, but it seldom goes further than that.

    • Could be why the Muslim faith is growing and our all-talk — no-walk Christianism is shrinking?? Really, who needs them?? As “Occupiers” are illustrating, thinking individuals as a collective, are quite capable of positively effecting society. . . All hail!!!

  4. I still believe that Christianity has much to recommend it, and I wouldn’t dismiss it quite so quickly in favour of any other religion. There isn’t an institution on earth, religious or otherwise, that isn’t in some way tainted by hypocritical behaviour, and that’s because humans are less than perfect — that’s all of us.

  5. Not hard to agree with the obvious Carole: “non perfect”. I guess some have simply become impatient with the socially acceptable “hypocritical behaviour” of politicians, clergy and corporates that top-up our social structure??
    Seems the architecture of that structure has changed little since the strong-minds first realized their great advantage over the weak-minds. Similar to the pyramids, broad base unlucky-born and raised to support the lucky-born and raised to be served. . .
    I believe Christianity is somewhat commendable. However, I am beginning to wonder what makes it so? Is it the humane influence on the organization, or is it the theocratic influence upon members?? Of course that doesn’t address the issues of salvation or redemption, that have little to do with the social-gospel base of the Occupiers’ movement.
    My conclusion: A theist might see the hand-of-God at work in this historic awakening of conscience! On the other hand, a non-believer could see this as taking matters into their own hands, to remedy a faulty social system too long exploiting natural AND human resources to feed their own ego, greed and power hunger. . .
    Been nice chatting with You Carole!
    Roger, over & out 🙂

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