Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Occupy Bay Street (Toronto)

For the people that don't know (or the people who saw some sort of sad excuse for a protest on TV), the crux of the Occupy movement is that 1% of the world essentially decide life for the other 99% and control around 42% of the world's wealth. 

The protest is SUPPOSED to be about inequality...when the real issue is capitalism. There are a bunch of people realizing that capitalism doesn't work. Or that it does, but with an end-life. And we're just unlucky enough to be at the pinnacle of it. The very concept of capitalism is competitive...and with competition comes a wider gap. It's funny 'cause it emphasizes hard work, but the longer a capitalist system goes on, it becomes more about luck. I like capitalism; it's the reason I can have the things that I need an/or want. But I'll admit that it sucks for the people who haven't had much luck in it. After all, that could've been me.

I think it's way too easy for the people who are well-off to say "suck it up and deal with it" 'cause they'd like to think that they deserve to be where they're at, and everyone else just brought it upon themselves. But that's not the way the world works - some people CAN'T help themselves...or if they can, it's not enough to actually fix things. But capitalism's never been about equality - which is what democracy's here for (ie. banks mess up the fancy world we live in and we have he right to protest about it). It's the only check we have against that system, and to be honest, it doesn't seem like we have many other "systems" to try out. Power and wealth differences will always exist because it's at the heart of capitalism. I don't think people realize that for someone to do well, someone else needs to do worse. 

I get what they're protesting, but I'm not sure there's really much that can be done. You can prolong a "failing" system by patching the leaks, but it's eventually gonna end up the same way. Given that, there's 2 ways to take this: accept capitalism and the idea that some people flourish and some are **** out of luck, or move towards a more equality-based system where everyone's doing okay. But that leads to another problem. No one wants to be "okay". Everyone wants to be great. No one wants to be okay because we'd all rather be happy, even if it meant risking that we'd be sad at some point. 

The rebuttal here is that it CAN be fixed - that you need to have regulations in place to control the rich who get greedy, which wrecks the economy for everyone else. But until you can fix people, that **** isn't gonna happen. It's especially NOT gonna happen in a system where the rich call the shots. You can't tell people who are the reason we even had or saw success in the first place what to do. Not even if you're the government (unless you're richer than them).

I saw the protest and it does more damage to the cause than anything else. It's a shame it wasn't better-organized. At the same time, the media's doing a good job of diffusing the issue - they use any chance they can get to bring attention to how disorganized it is, rather than trying to explore the different issues and factions. For such a big city, our version of occupy was such a sad demonstration (or maybe a testament to how we don't have it that bad).

A lot of people say that they're identifying the issue, but not proposing a good fix. Maybe 'cause there isn't one. So basically, hey're bringing attention to how we're all screwed and there's not much that we can do. And that's what I'm trying to do here. Here's to hoping (and in some cases, knowing) that some of you guys (will) make it in to the 1% club. ;)

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