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Occupy London says "Let the G7billion decide our future, not the G20"

 

Occupy London says let the G7billion decide our future, not the G20

As G20 leaders meet in Cannes this week, Occupy London Stock Exchange (OccupyLSX) has released a statement to occupations across the world to spark the process of creating a unified global statement that reflects the grievances and goals of the movement.

At OccupyLSX’s General Assembly yesterday – at St Paul’s Churchyard just by the London Stock Exchange and St Paul’s Cathedral – 500 people unanimously ratified the call for global dialogue. The short, four point statement – which is being sent to occupations around the world and the G20 Counter Summit – criticises the current global system for creating inequality and environmental destruction. It calls for a global system which is democratic, just and sustainable, putting people before profit.

Ragnhild Dale, who was involved in the drafting of the statement, said, “We reject the G20 as a valid forum for decision making. It is unjust, unaccountable, lacks transparency and continues to promote a global economic system that is fundamentally unsustainable. We want to create real dialogue and debate, which isn’t happening at the G20. We invite everyone to join us in creating a global statement that reflects the combined voices of the 99 per cent who aren’t at the G20, so that we can realise real change.”

Jamie Arad, supporter of OccupyLSX, added, “We ask questions that the G20 will never ask, such as why are decisions that affect 7billion people made by a powerful elite behind closed doors? Why do we rely on a global economic system based on infinite growth when we know that the world’s resources are finite? Why do we assume the G20 can be trusted to put people and sustainable living before profits and corporate interests?”

OccupyLSX statement to create global dialogue:

  • Our global system is unsustainable. It is undemocratic and unjust, driven by profit in the interest of the few.
  • An economic system based on infinite growth, but which relies on finite resources, is leading humanity and the environment to destruction. As long as this system remains in place, people of the world continue to suffer from an increasingly unfair share of income and wealth.
  • We seek a global system that is democratic, just and sustainable. The world’s resources must not go to the military or corporate profit, but instead go towards caring for people’s needs: water, food, housing, education, health, community.
  • An international, global collaboration has started, and is working on a statement that will unite the occupy movements across the world in their struggle for an alternative that is focused on and originates from people and their environment.

Two new banners have been installed at OccupyLSX highlighting this call for action – they say ‘Real Democracy Now’ and “Not G20, the G7billion”.

 

 

15 Responses to “Occupy London says "Let the G7billion decide our future, not the G20"”

  1.  
  2. OK, let’s be practical.

    “Our global system is unsustainable. It is undemocratic and unjust, driven by profit in the interest of the few.”
    Says who? Where is your measurable evidence – not anecdotal, not bitter “he has, I don’t” stuff, actual measurable evidence that I can read and evaluate for myself.

    “An economic system based on infinite growth, but which relies on finite resources, is leading humanity and the environment to destruction. As long as this system remains in place, people of the world continue to suffer from an increasingly unfair share of income and wealth.”
    Again, where is your evidence? What are you prepared to give up to equal out the balance of the unfairness? Would you give half your house to a homeless person in order to equal out the unfairness?

    “We seek a global system that is democratic, just and sustainable. The world’s resources must not go to the military or corporate profit, but instead go towards caring for people’s needs: water, food, housing, education, health, community.”
    Good piece of idealistic rhetoric, but again, how will you manage this in a practical sense? Looking at recent wars, and then applying your thoughts to it, it would appear that you think it is acceptable to leave a bully in charge of a country, a person who gained that country by military coup, Or do you think that the military dictators of the world will also suddenly see the light and get rid of their military as well? That didn’t work with nuclear disarmament, and I can’t see it working with this. HOw would you enforce it? Could you enforce it? Are you relying on Occupy movements around the world? Is there one in Syria? Tehran? China? Either of the Korea’s? Rwanda?

    “An international, global collaboration has started, and is working on a statement that will unite the occupy movements across the world in their struggle for an alternative that is focused on and originates from people and their environment.”
    Lovely. You make a statement and unite the Tented Ones across the world. Lovely. What will change?

    Be practical!

    Would you keep the Euro? What would happen to Greece? If the Robin Hood tax (as it has been dubbed) was introduced, what percentage would you use of it on what area of the economy? How could you improve the public transport of Britain? What would you do about sink estates? Teenage pregnancy? Gang revenge rapes?

    Rhetoric is all very well my loves, and I actually think that you have a couple of lovely idealistic – if not flat out Utopian – points, but the devil is in the details, and those are what we need to see.

     
    • Sarah,

      I can’t help but think that you’re being a bit mean in your comments here, and I think the post below from Howard answers many of your points.

      You ask if the protestors would like to “leave a bully in charge of a country”, but the truth is that we (our leaders) support bully-boy leaders overseas when they serve our interests and oppose them when they turn against us. This is still going on today and is having an awful impact on the global South.

      You ask for evidence – again I think Howard below has provided some – and as for some sort of economic or philosophical support to the statement’s claims I would recommend reading E. F. Schumacher’s “Small is beautiful: Economics As If People Mattered”, published in 1973 and arguably more important now than then, it is packed with practical, humane wisdom that is a rare quality today (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Small_Is_Beautiful). One of my favourite quotes of his is, “statistics never prove anything”.

      You ask what will change, I think the intensity of the public debate has already changed and I hope the terms of the debate will also shift. Conversations are powerful things.

      I have been down to St. Paul’s a few times and have been genuinely impressed by the atmosphere and knowledge there. Feel the love and pass it on!

       
  3. To ‘Occupy:’ Thank you all for your brave, principled and intelligent protest. My heart is warmed by your actions.

    I was going to write my comments on your statement, but instead wrote a reply to the comment of Sarah above, and it sort of says what I wanted to, so I am going to post that. I am broadly in agreement with the statement from the GA.

    In reply to Sarah’s comment above. This has turned into a long reply, since the issues that you talk about are not simple. I am not at the occupy camp, though from what I have heard, I support their movement. They are non-violent, and they operate a horizontal democracy. I am answering your comment in some ways to frame my own response to the movement. I hope that my reply is respectful.

    You ask for evidence of the “unjust nature of the system:” A couple of days ago it was announced that the executives of the top ftse companies were receiving up to 49% pay rises. This is pay rises not for people who are earning £20,000, but who are already earning hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of pounds. I have friends who are teachers – they are getting a 2.5% pay rise, which given that inflation is 5% means an effective pay-cut of 2.5%. This is anecdotal, but it is measurable. Find a teacher and ask them how much of a pay rise they are getting.

    I am sure that if you go to the occupy camp, there will be economists there that can give you clear statistics for more examples of how wealth is being transfered from the poorer to the richer in society.

    In terms of sustainability of the system – if one uses the resources in a finite system, such as the earth, as if they were infinite, at some point they will run out. This is beyond common sense. If you take 100 nuts, and every minute you subtract one from that total, without replacing it, within 100 minutes you will have no nuts. Anytime we use non-renewable resources, this is what we are doing. (And we are all doing it – electricity, many of our consumer products. Yes, so are many of the occupiers themselves. It is very difficult not to in our society at present.)

    You call the idea of putting the world’s wealth into food, shelter etc and away from the military a “good piece of idealistic rhetoric.” You ask what are the practical solutions.

    That is a good question, and there are so many facets to it: How do you change the world?

    It is not going to be done through our current system. When you start to investigate, to look into the dark areas of how our system operates, you see that many of the problems are created and sustained by that very system.

    Why are there so many dictators in the middle-east, which we keep having to fight? The main answer is ‘Oil.’ The West has been meddling in the Middle East for centuries, installing dictators, arming them, over throwing them, installing new ones, all in order to keep the flow of oil coming. (referring back to a past point of yours – oil, without a doubt is finite. It will run out, that is provable fact.) I have often thought that if in the 1970’s oil crisis, the West had invested in renewable energy instead of meddling in middle eastern politics we wouldn’t now be so dependent on oil, and as a result we wouldn’t be fighting wars. It is impossible to give evidence of what I am saying in my reply, but even a brief read of history will show numerous examples of the West over-turning elected governments and installing and supporting dictators – the Shah of Iran and Saddam Hussein being just two. The list, once you start to write it down, is fairly endless.

    I think that the questions you raise though, about how do you stop dictators is a valid one. My own understanding of the occupy movement is that they do not claim to have the answers. But they are pointing out that the system we have at the moment also does not have the answers. What they are trying to do, it seems, is to have a debate about these things and try to find solutions. Real solutions.

    Since our political system is so corrupted, with lobby groups and money, it is unable to solve the problems because it doesn’t want to. It profits from those very problems – in arms sales, oil revenues etc. For evidence of the corruption in our system; the recent Liam Fox scandal, the MP’s expenses, the News of the World influence on all MP’s and PM’s for the past thirty years, the oil interests of the Neo-cons in the US – again the list is almost endless once you do a little research, and start to write it down.

    It has been one of the shameful facts of the main stream media that is has accused the occupy movement of not having solutions. This media, on the whole, has not listened to the message of the occupy movement. The movement itself says that it does not have the answers, but…it is trying to find them through a process of real democracy. The answers will come, they claim, once we all find out information about how our system currently works, and start to look for different, more just, solutions. They have not come with a new system in place. They are not communists, nor simply ‘anti-capitalists.’

    It seems to me that they are trying to find the answers to questions such as yours in a way that is inclusive of the many, and in the interests of the many. I for one support that. Since I have myself done research into how our system functions and operates, and have discovered some of the human rights abuses that our system continues to allow – wars, lies to take us to war, the continued destruction of the environment, support for brutal dictators, etc. If you want evidence for this – go down and ask; or look at information on the percentage of rain forests that have been destroyed, or read yesterday’s papers about how ‘fracking’ is the probable cause of earthquakes, or look into the BP gulf of Mexico spill, or Fukishima, or find out where Saddam Hussein got his poisonous gasses from, again, the list, when you write it down, becomes fairly endless!

    You ask what they are prepared to give up. Well, aren’t a lot of them giving up rather a lot at the moment? They are sleeping in tents in the middle of London, in the cold! I am sure that they do not want to do that forever, but I think that is rather more than most of us are prepared to give up at the moment. It is certainly a lot more than I am. I know you are talking about in the long-term, but I would suggest that someone who is prepared to sleep in a tent in the middle of London through winter is probably prepared to give up a lot. This is a good question though. What are we all prepared to give up? Many people at the moment are being forced to give up a lot, because of cuts – jobs, benefits, housing, services. Those being affected the most are those who are most vulnerable, though it seems that those that caused the banking crisis aren’t giving up anything. Indeed their bonuses are getting bigger. But, yes, we are as a society having to give things up. It is happening anyway, so perhaps the question should be asked: how do we make that ‘giving up’ more even?

    You keep asking the movement to be practical. From what I can see, and read about them, they are an amazingly practical movement. In two weeks, they have set up a camp which has: live streaming, recycling, toilets, a library, a news paper, a tent university. They have negotiated with St. Paul’s and the City and have made changes to the camp to accommodate fire and safety, hygiene etc. All of that was done on only donations, and whilst under the threat of police eviction and the opposition of the Press, the Church and the City, and all done whilst maintaining a commitment to vote in the General Assembly. If that is not practical, I really don’t know what is.

    You ask a whole host of valid questions relating to societies problems at the end of your comment. I would suggest that the same questions could be asked of the current system, since if it was capable of solving them, then these problems would not exist.

    In wanting answers to your questions: if you think that you might have some solutions, then go along to the General Assembly and suggest them, or suggest setting up a working group to discuss solving those problems. That, it seems to me is exactly what the occupy movement is about. They do not have the answers, they do not claim to have ‘the answers,’ but they are providing a process where those answers may be found. It is a process based in respect – I have watched some GA’s on live stream, and am constantly surprised at how the facilitators say – “please remember to show respect.” The contrast to the house of commons cat-calling is startling!

    I’ll end this comment with a title of a song by Nick Lowe, though better known as an Elvis Costello song perhaps:

    “What’s so funny about peace, love and understanding?”

     
    • Howard,
      Simply enlightening,
      and with respect for Sarah’s concerns.

      I too have ‘blogged’ with Sarah, and I think, stress I think, she fears a future changing from what we know it as today. I too am fearful of a drastically changing future, but I am more fearful if it does not drastically change.

      ‘If things do not change, they WILL stay as they are’

       
  4. The C of L is legitimising your protest. I have been an activist for 50 years. In the deep south they used to say “Don’t trust Whitey.” Do not trust them! they use psychology.
    You are just a pimple on their bottom now–you need to be a huge problematic boil.
    Occupy Waterloo Station. Shelter.loos.and mix of protesters and passengers so difficult to dislodge–and cannot use horses. Peaceful protest there will attract people like “me”— the welderly–we can come and go–not get wet and cold. message will get to hundreds more.
    peace and love.

     
  5. @Sarah’s Question Is the world really run that badly?

    Often we hear about progress and the “hope” for change, but if one looks at the last decades, one will spot endless examples of failure. “Hope” is just not good enough when every day more than 20.000 people die from hunger, when we pollute the atmosphere with more than 20 billion tons of carbon dioxide every year, when biodiversity is declining year after year, when the financial crisis impoverishes millions around the world and when youth unemployment is at a high.

    Lets look at an example: In 1996, the governments of the world promised to reduce the number of chronically undernourished people (then 788 million) by half. They told us they would need 19 years – until 2015. In 2009, the number of hungry people for the first time in history of humanity topped the billion mark (in 2010 it was at 925 million, now it is again over 1 billion).

    Why did this aggravation of poverty take place? The share in global household income of the poorest quarter of humanity has decreased from 1.16 percent in 1988 to 0.78 percent today. This is due to the way the world economy is organized, which in turn is beeing negotiated by a tiny global elite that looks at it’s own interests, but that does not take into account the interests of the vast majority of humanity. We have to change this! The decision-making processes must be transparent and democratic!

     
  6. What percentage of the 7 billion are literate? And what percentage of them hate the West? I’d rather not leave my future to their whims.

     
    • From what I’m seeing there seems to be a rising up taking place within individuals of an inherent, maybe so far dormant, sense of good (if I can put it that way), which seems to be overcoming many of the negative tendencies within mankind. I am excited about what I am seeing unfolding and developing within the individuals themselves through the process as things are gaining momentum. I know that personally I have been challenged on many levels and much stinkin’ thinkin’ is falling away through what is emerging.

       
      • That’s just within the West. What about the rest of the world? As a woman, the idea of the entire world population having a say scares the hell out of me. I like being considered a person with equal rights, I want to keep it that way.

         
        • Chazza, you raise interesting, and very valid points. I get the feeling that the Occupy movement, while being well intentioned, are actually very naiive. They want to change the system, but they’re not sure what to change it to. They also need to be reminded of the potential dangers that are lurking, the world is full of people who seek dominance, not equality.

          I’ve posted a few comments on here, that are aimed at the core people involved in the movement, but do not get acknowledged, I’m beginning to doubt their democratic credentials.

          What I would say to them, in the unlikely event that they read this, is pack up your tents, go home, but keep this website going, and keep the discussion going. You’ve made your point, you’ve drawn attention to the perceived problem. Stay at St Pauls, you become an irritation. Combine with the other ‘occupy’ organisations around the world, and use the power of the internet to start a global discussion. Continue with your ‘community’ at St Pauls, and I fear you will be hijacked by anarchists, and it will end in violence.

           
          • @ EVERYONE reading Jock Straps post above

            He is full of B***S***

            I have followed him around various discussions and lots of sensible people have acknowledged him , I have too but my comments to him I will admit are not the most engaging.
            There is no ‘core’ to the movement because they are a level democracy not a heirarchal (mis-spelt I know) democracy, so anyone is entitled to respond, and they do.
            It is he who does not engage, he juts throws grenades and runs, to next supporter to throw another grenade, and so it goes. I think he thinks he is some sort of saboteur, wannabe more like it !
            If they are not listening as he states he would more than welcome to go to st. paul’s and put forward his suggestions, they will listen and vote democratically.
            Look at where he has been on each discussion board and you will see it is he he does not listen.

            In the interest of fairness, his comment above has been his most constructive, for some un

            You are of course free to decide for yourself, please do.

             
  7. Dear me Jock Strap you have much to learn!

    One of the only things we can be sure of in this world is change. Everything is constantly evolving – don’t be scared!

    Howard, thank you for your considered thoughts, I found your comment most enlightening.

    The only valid point Jock Strap seems to have made is that the Occupy Movement could be hi-jacked by violence and we do need to be cautious of this. I witnessed the Black Bloc in action on the 26th March in London and was dismayed to see reports of their violent actions overshadow the thousands and thousands who marched in peace for a better world. The Black Bloc also seems to have overshadowed the amazing efforts of the Occupy Oakland general strike. I’ve been researching them for the last few days and evidence is emerging that undercover police infiltrate these gangs. It is an easy way to erase the voice of the mass. All action much remain peacefull and I urge the Black Bloc to consider this.

    I would like to float the idea that in addition to all the amazing work that the Occupy Movement has done already, perhaps it is time to discuss how everyone can embrace the movement in our everyday lives and find our true power.

    In this unjust system us ‘consumers’ have buying power. It is up to us to make the change we want to see in the choices we make everyday. Who we work for, no longer working for free, what products we buy and what brands we support. Instead of convienence shopping how about conscious shopping? Instead of popping down to the supermarket we could support local shopkeepers, leave our cars at home and cut down on air travel. We can really hit the 1% by now longer financing them. Instead of depositing our money with the major banks we should be looking at more ethical forms of banking like credit unions and co-operatives.

    To free ourselves we also have to kick our credit habit. This is how the 1% make the big bucks. We end up paying so much more than we should do for products because we rely on credit. Ask yourself do you really need that product and how long will it actually last for anyway? Many products are designed with short life spans to be superseded by the next ‘must have’ item that falls apart before we know it. Don’t fall for it!

     

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