It's about time I blogged on the Occupy Leeds action which has been taking place for last 24 days.
Like most of those involved I have been preoccupied with practical matters, keeping body and soul together, maintaining the focus of the Occupation and so forth.
An immense amount of effort has been invested in creating the camp, and truly heartwarming donations of time and equipment have shown that this public demonstration against the present system and in favour of a radical rethink of priorities and public behaviour has touched the hearts of many. I'm in mind of those who appear, only to stuff sixty pounds or a single pound coin into the hand of a participant and then vanish into the crowd. The people who ask what we need and turn up a short while later brandishing the very item in their hands, whether it be dustpan and brush, sandbags or gas canister refill.
And then there are those whose only purpose seems to deride the purpose of the camp. I won't repeat the nihilistic remarks, however the small but persistent minority who engage in this manner have caused me to take pause and consider why they take this position. On those occasions when I have had the opportunity to enquire further on the reason for their views I have found agreement with our position on corporate / governmental corruption but simply say that it will never change, so what is the point?
Most telling is the feeling that many would like to see us fail, whatever that means, if only to confirm their opinions. But there is a veiled and cautious respect, because this is something that gets beneath the armoured shell of their media programmed belief systems.
This is about empowerment or acquiescence. Face your challenge, become empowered through the growth it stimulates, or acquiesce and diminish, knowing in your heart that you gave up without a fight. It is better to try and fail than to never try; it is your honour as a free spirit that this is about.
We are at a cutting edge of human culture here. Our planet is in crisis and we know that our leaders are not making it any better. They engage in more wars, bankrupt more countries, destroy more ecosystems. All around the world, thousands of groups have self organised to occupy, or plan to occupy public spaces, to say what? the media repeat endlessly.
We all know about the demand to separate money from politics, to root out corporate buying and selling of governments the world over, this has been replied so often as to need no repetition. But, true as this is, and all the additional detail on pensions, tax etc etc, this is about something far more, something deeper.
In the face of a state which has stolen from the people what was theirs, sold us to faceless finance houses with lifelong debt, poisoned our seas, turned our food into garbage, cut down the great forests and filled our lives with meaningless toil and our minds with ceaseless inanity and diversion, this is a statement of the Human Spirit.
This says, 'I Am'.
We are free sovereign beings before the Universe, and we are more than economic slaves and operatives for a an elite who hide behind walls and hide behind desks. The 99% is about creating a new paradigm of reality which serves everyone, not a paradigm in which everyone serves a few like the feudal nobility.
This heroic struggle is about an evolutionary pulse which is running through the human race. Are we the pinnacle of three and a half billion years of evolution, a species which is unique on the planet in its capacity for self reflection and adaptive symbolic thought leading to problem solving ability that has enabled us to probe into the very structure of matter itself, or are we the dumbed down drones of a slave society in which 'freedom' is expressed through 'choice' of designer brands and tv shows?
The media doesn't understand what the Occupy movement is about because it can't step outside of its own limiting paradigms. As Billy Bragg said when he visited the Leeds Occupation, 'This may be an opportunity to go beyond ideology'. Ideology is simply a straitjacket to evolution and we must break out of it, find new ways to adapt our thought to reality as it presents itself. We are in new terrain, a continuous flow of corruption scandals have exposed the venality of our political classes; their profiteering from ceaseless wars and the inevitable collapse of the entire system which is happening before our very eyes plays into the hands of the power brokers.
This must be overtaken by an evolutionary movement, which, while it may well challenge the existing paradigm at all opportunities, is more essentially characterised by its spirit of expansion of ideas and behaviour beyond the artificial limitations now imposed. It is by no means clear what social models will develop as the machine topples, but people will need to develop ones which work better, ones which rely more on human relationships than economic ones.
The Occupy movement is about so much more than the politics, even though that is so big a part of it. It is the latest wave of the human growth potential movement. People are growing out of the limits that are expected of them. Humans are incredible creative beings who are capable of immense originality of thought and feeling, and we deserve so much more than the confinement of debt slavery.
All around in nature, we see species perfectly adapted to their environments. And yet humans are constantly at odds with it. Are we to buy into Original Sin? or should we perhaps consider that our societies have developed along maladaptive lines which stifle our adaptive urges?
We have been corralled like herds of cattle to serve as operatives for the machine which truly serves only the very few.
Humans are a wild nomadic species, and this is still in our blood. The challenges of the practical aspects of the Occupation have stimulated our evolutionary memories of how to function in this way. Erecting tents and organising encampments is something we have done for tens, if not hundreds of thousands of years. This is the human race starting again. We are remembering who we are before we go forward.
This small camp is a fragile gathering of souls, pitted against the aloof granite cliff face of a system which sneers at them in the arrogance of its hubris. Physically we are weak as we stand before the oncoming winter. But the news media have paid immense attention for such a small tribe, have laughed and joked at us, but always given some hidden, grudging respect. This gets under their armoured shell, too.
Beneath the media triviality that everything is made into nowadays, there is an integrity in the Occupation that is rare in society today. People who stand in their truth, are prepared to brave night and day in the face of continuous strangers, the threats of drunk and the unknown night. This is not people who don't know why they are there, this is people who have the utmost conviction: that our society has come to a point where it needs to change course or else not only the people, but our very planet, is in danger from the wilful rape to which it is being subject by these very faceless corporate plutocrats who enslave us with debt.
This is heroic.
To stand alone for your beliefs when there appears to many that there is little or no chance of it making a difference is courageous beyond the understanding of too many in the world. It is conscience, it cannot be bought or sold like our leaders. The iron fist is confronted by naked and vulnerable truth. The Occupiers of Leeds City Square have more honour in them than a cohort of greedy bankers.
This is a creative impulse from the heart of our species. To many there is little or no chance of it making a difference. But in a quantum universe, everything affects everything else. Even to those countless hurrying passers by who don't stop for a thousand reasons or one alone who have seen us and brushed off the thought, we have made a small ripple in the predictability of their worldview.
It is an irruption into the narrow world of human systems of evolutionary energy in adaptive response to intolerable conditions. It is a response from the spirit at the heart of every human being to find a greater purpose, to seek to connect with others and find solutions which the sham leaders have so singly failed to produce. To live in compassion with all and stop making war.
To go forward and endeavour to create a new world. Whether the Occupations as such achieve measurable goals is not really the issue at question. It is simply representative of a larger energy of forward movement. The corrupt elite see themselves as all powerful and invulnerable, but they are built on artificial systems of control a house of cards with no foundation in evolutionary adaptation, a mere deception, illusion. When the awakening to the enormity of the crimes that have been committed is understood, they will no more be able to stem the tide of change than the New Orleans levees were able to stop Katrina.
The fragile heroes of the Leeds Occupation and all around the world may soon be gone before the rigours of winter, but the next wave of social awareness and activism will begin in whatever way works. This is a collective experience for the human race, a Jungian moment which is about defining what we are as a species. Are we debt slaves, born into a world where we must pay to live? Is our world no more than a work camp? Or are we free, sovereign children of the planet, capable of out evolving, out thinking, out growing any challenge that we get ourselves into?
Are we going to believe in ourselves, or are we going to say, it's pointless, there's no use in trying?
The Leeds Occupation speaks for the human spirit.
We Are Here!
It is a celebration of our humanity, we will not give in to the machine, we know there is a better way than this sham and falsehood which is passed off to us. We will find a way. Life adapts and goes forward.