in Arts & Culture
Four years after the OCCUPY WALL STREET experience, what have we learned?
OCCUPY WALL STREET Zuccotti Park New York City
OCCUPY WALL STREET Zuccotti Park New York City
OCCUPY WALL STREET Zuccotti Park New York City

[Read more about OCCUPY WALL STREET]

It scarcely seems possible, but it's true. Almost four years have manifested in the form of days and nights of living, breathing, eating and simply getting on with things since the Occupy Wall Street spectacle. Whether you can count yourself among those who were there--in New York City, in Zuccotti Park--doing the things that Occupiers were doing, we are all left with the same question. What have we learned?

Well, as someone who actually lived in Zuccotti Park, let me tell you what I have learned.

    1. There is no shortage of any resource on this Earth. That includes food, shelter, anything you of which you could fathom. There is no shortage.
    2. Everyone deserves food and housing.
    3. Education should be available to everyone with the aptitude and desire to pursue it.
    4. People should only do what they love to do.
    5. If all of the above were manifested as true, we'd all be happier.

Food Tent

I know what you're thinking. "Well, these ideas are not new. People have been saying that for years and here we are in our capitalist society. How do you suggest we handle that?" you ask.

During our time in Zuccotti, Occupiers lived solely on donations. There were so many donations that we had Occupiers dedicated to managing the receipt and distribution of donations. Food, clothing, tents, any and everything that a human could need was provided solely through donations. I took this methodology to heart and during these four years, I have lived solely on donations. Literally. As one person in a vast capitalist economy, the life I have had has not been glamorous (unless of course, you romanticize the idea of being a homeless beggar) but I have seen the potential for a better quality of life and that potential was witnessed by way of first hand experience.

Implementing The Constitution

What I have found is that people are most unhappy while doing things they do not want to do. There are people who love to cook, who are working as accountants. There are mathematical geniuses miserable and unfulfilled working in food service. What's the reason for that? The reason is: The mathematical geniuses can not afford the education necessary to become accountants and the miserable accountants became accountants because the food service jobs do not pay enough money to support their needs. And then there's all of the other people who do not have time to pursue the education of their choice because all of their time is absorbed in doing what is necessary to secure food and shelter.

If food, shelter and education were not associated with a monetary investment, we would all have:

  1. More time to do what we choose to do and love to do, rather than what we believe we have to do but do not want to do.
  2. More happiness.
Those donations we received in Zuccotti were comprised entirely of what other people didn't need. No one sacrificed anything to make those donations. Those donations were given from the abundance of others. Cheerfully given gifts.

The Canyon of Heroes

I know what you're thinking. "If all of the cooks become accountants, who's going to cook the food? All of the accountants who'd rather be cooking will cook the food and leave the accounting to the cooks who would have become accountants if they could afford the education and since education would be accessible, they'd make short work of that process. Does that sound radical?

I have recently rejoined the traditional economy of employment and I find it very strange. It's very similar to begging on the street, really. The only difference is the predictability of the income, which is very good. But, there's also the general sense of malaise with regard to the inflexibility of the process. With traditional employment, the predictability of income is related to the predictability of attendance. If you're a street beggar, you make your own schedule and choose your own location. I make about as much as each day as I would make if I were having a productive day of begging.

This is certainly a lot different than my days in Seattle earning more annually than the vast majority of the world's population would ever earn during their entire lives. I know what you're thinking. "Oh, you're one of those. You had some sort of mid-life crisis or something like that and then you threw everything away and now you're a hippy and you're preaching to everyone." I don't know. Maybe. But, as I sit here in my friend's backyard--typing on my eight year old Toshiba laptop, continuing to practice what I learned first in Seattle and then really came to adopt during Occupy Wall Street, which is to utilize all resources until they are exhausted and to waste nothing--the view of these mountains, my small but comfortable tent, my donated clothing and food are all things that I love and appreciate and I am happier than I had the ability for being while I lived the life I had in Seattle. What does that mean? I don't know. But what I do know is: the true and most valuable work of this life can only be completed if there is time to do it. And, the majority of human time is squandered while securing food and shelter. The work we did in Zuccotti came as the result of living in an environment where food and housing were provided and all of our fundamental needs were adequately satisfied.

And what did we do in Zuccotti Park? We changed the world.

Sebastian and an Occupier having dinner

Wikipedia said:

Other activity in NYC:

  • 700+ marchers arrested
    (crossing Brooklyn Bridge, October 1, 2011)
  • 2,000+ marchers
    (march on police headquarters, October 2, 2011)
  • 15,000+ marchers
    (Lower Manhattan solidarity march, October 5, 2011)
  • 6,000+ marchers
    (Times Square recruitment center march, October 15, 2011)
  • 50,000–100,000 marchers
    (2012 May Day march on Wall St.)

Occupy Wall Street (OWS) was a protest movement that began on September 17, 2011, in Zuccotti Park, located in New York City's Wall Street financial district, against economic inequality.

The Canadian anti-consumerist and pro-environment group/magazine Adbusters initiated the call for a protest. The main issues raised by Occupy Wall Street were social and economic inequality, greed, corruption and the undue influence of corporations on government—particularly from the financial services sector. The OWS slogan, "We are the 99%", refers to income and wealth inequality in the U.S. between the wealthiest 1% and the rest of the population. To achieve their goals, protesters acted on consensus-based decisions made in general assemblies which emphasized redress through direct action over the petitioning to authorities.

The protesters were forced out of Zuccotti Park on November 15, 2011. Protesters turned their focus to occupying banks, corporate headquarters, board meetings, foreclosed homes, and college and university campuses.

- So sayeth Wikipedia, 09/02/2019 19:56:49

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