Society: Why The Occupy Movement Matters

Every morning in my pre-work slumber, I do what every twenty something surely does and I listen BBC 4’s the Today Show. I have to admit it had all become a rather depressing.  Whether it was Nick Clegg, trying to convince us he isn’t a Tory or hearing how Greece needs to impose a unhealthy dose of IMF economic shock medicine, it seems not even my sugary weetabix can make me feel better.

But recently my mornings have become a bit brighter, the reason being the global Occupy movement. Since the first protesters set up camp on Wall Street, the movement has spread to 1500 cities across the globe. Their political slogan We are the 99% has spread around the world capturing the imagination of people from all walks of life and from all over the world.

In the UK politicians such as Louise Mensch have been quick to scorn the protesters for drinking Starbucks or using Apple Macs. Her argument of ‘how can you be against capitalism then take everything it provides’, is in my opinion ridiculous. Capitalism is the system we currently, for better or worse, live under. The Occupy movement isn’t advocating  that we get rid of all financial transactions and move into the nearest cave. This week Occupy London put their demands forward to the City of London.  The demands have been created with the aim of creating a fairer society and call for increased transparency and removal of the special powers that businesses have to vote in elections.

If the occupy movement which pledges to no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%, can harness the sprit and talents of the local communities to produce democratically created demands like those made to the City of London, we will end up with a fairer and more equal society and that can only be a good thing.

What is clear is that the last 30 years of neo liberalism has pushed society to the brink. The world is in a desperate state with the vast majority of western economies grossly indebted. Inflation is soaring and unemployment, especially for young people, is at staggering levels. Oh and for anyone reading this thinking let’s raise some income by a healthy dose of privatisation, the news is there is nothing left to privatise – that gravy train has passed.

Politically the tide has started to shift against “predator capitalism”, a term both Ed Miliband and David Cameron are desperate to take ownership of (apparently it polls well). For me Occupy represents the beginning of the end for neo liberalism. The Arab spring has inspired the occupy movement and throughout the world people are now starting to believe we can stand up to uncontrolled greed from businesses and individuals. Around the world people are realising that they are not alone in wanting something different for themselves and for future generations. For too long the interests of big business have been thrust upon the electorate. It has left us as a society battered and bruised but the fight back has started and any business or politician that chooses to ignore this changing of the tide is in for a surprise.

Tomorrow because of the occupy movement I will wake up with hope and perhaps one day I will no longer need the morning sugar on the weetabix to get me through the day.

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