Occupy is a grassroots movement with no obvious leaders, so its demands are difficult to pin down. However, many people appear to be united in their dissatisfaction with the current distribution of wealth and a global economic system that seems to be more concerned with profit than human and environmental well-being.
Its message hit a nerve: in the wake of Occupy Wall Street, New York, 750 or more Occupy movements erupted in cities around the world during the last months of 2011, forming a loosely connected global movement that is still going. Points of discourse vary depending on location, but the movement has encouraged worldwide de-bate about failures in the financial system, corporate behaviour, environ-mental degradation and the way we live. Its overriding message is clear: if you don’t like the way things are, it’s your own responsibility to create the change you want.
Writer and radical thinker Naomi Klein spoke out in support of the Occupy movement.
‘Unfettered greed has trashed the global economy. And it is trashing the natural world as well. We are over-fishing our oceans, polluting our water with hydraulic fracturing and deep-water drilling, turning to the dirtiest forms of energy on the planet, like the Alberta tar sands. And the atmosphere can-not absorb the amount of carbon we are putting into it, creating dangerous warming.
‘We act as if there is no end to what is actually finite – fossil fuels and the atmospheric space to absorb their emissions. And we act as if there are strict and immovable limits to what is actually bountiful – the financial resources to build the kind of society we need.
‘The task of our time is to turn this around: to challenge this false scarcity. To insist that we can afford to build a decent, inclusive society – while at the same time respecting the real limits to what the Earth can take.
‘I’m not talking about regulating the banks and increasing taxes on the rich, though that’s important. I am talking about changing the underlying values that govern our society. It’s hard to fit that into a single media-friendly demand, and it’s also hard to figure out how to do it. But it is no less urgent for being difficult.’