Freeing the country from corporate influence is one half of the equation freeing ourselves is the other.
The Occupy Wall Street Movement is awesome and I support and stand with my fellow 99%ers and the 1%ers that have joined in the cause because they realize that things must become more balanced either for altruistic or selfish self-preserving reasons. While I agree 100% that we need to end the influence of corporate greed in our government and in our homes I can’t help but feel that we must take a holistic approach or face a return of the problems that we are railing so hard against.
If we want to bring about change we need to fight the corruption but we also need to make ourselves more self-reliant and work to set up checks against this ever happening again.
We need to remove the control these criminals have over our government but we must realize that we let them take control in the first place and we financed their take over.
So many people these days have been and are being forced from their homes. These people find themselves eating as cheaply as they can, wearing clothing longer and maybe trying to patch things when they rip. So many are doing these things with an expectation that we can all return to the days of living in large disposable suburban houses and the days of driving $60k SUVs, and eating out at chain restaurants 3-5 nights a week. If we do that we have only ourselves to blame when these profiteers and financial fascists claim power once again.
While it is not entirely our fault we do have ourselves to blame in that we let it happen. True we were marketed to and in many cases lied to but we chose to believe in the United States of Commerce and to believe we could have everything our way just as they sold it to us. The truth is many of us should have paused and said no. No, we don’t believe the hype, we don’t believe that we can live life on credit and never have to pay the collector. We should have refused to believe that we could leveraging our futures to enjoy ourselves now. We shouldn’t have but we did. Now we need to learn from that mistake, it was an experiment and it went horribly wrong.
We let the corporations and the banks take over, we let them feed us ideas that were too good to be true, we let them sell us giant toxic houses and worthless educations, we let them charge us $5 fees every time we use our money. So in that sense we do carry some blame for this mess. This is why we cannot go back to the same things that we did before as it will only lead down the same road. True these corporate overlords are doing everything in their power to maintain power but we allowed them the opportunity to take the power in the first place.
That is not going to work if we don’t resolve to change who we are. We must refuse to allow banks to be too big to fail by investing in local community banks and credit unions who know us, who keep our money local, who invest our money in projects that we believe in or that at the very least have a local impact.
We need to live in smaller more human scale places that connect us back to our planet and to our neighbors and are build with local materials harvested locally and not by the hands of ultra-wealthy industrialists that rape the land, it’s people, and the end consumer. We need to build ourselves homes that functions for us, not houses that force us to work for 30 years to pay for them as they poison us and fall apart around us while continuing to put money into the pockets of those that work against our best interests.
We need to get back to growing our own foods. This will reduce our bills and increase our health and our strength. At the same time it will help break the food monopoly, reduce industrial farming pollution, reduce food transportation costs, reduce the abuses against illegal and migrant workers, and will reduce the spread of food-borne disease.
We need to begin mending and making our own clothes, and supporting each other on a local scale. Wool, cotton, linen, and other raw materials can often be locally sourced which again reduces transportation costs. While not everyone should buy or build their own loom localizing clothing production reduces environmental destruction, child labor abuses, and the corporate greed that comes when banks and other middle-men work their way into the system. Even if we don’t make our own, buying locally made materials and finished clothing products make a serious impact.
How do we get started?
We can find great joy in simple things like gardening & cooking, sewing & knitting, and building things ourselves.
Eat beans as your protein for several meals a week, not because meat is too expensive but because you can make amazing meals with them and they are cheap. They’re also easy to grow. Plant them in a victory garden and declare victory over your food bill by cutting the cost of food by 50% to 80%. When we start to make dents into our cost of living we can get to a point where we realize that we don’t need as much money because we don’t need as many material possessions.
We can’t all build our own homes but we can buy older smaller homes and retro-fit them with cheap locally sourced non-toxic materials. We can also cheaply build things like small wind turbines and small solar kits. If even 20% of us began to generate 25% of our own power (or reduced our use and generate enough to effect our usage by 25%) it would have a massive effect on the price of electricity. That would be 5% of the total energy used. There would be less incentive to dig up coal, less incentive to frack for methane, and so on. That 5% represents a huge amount of money these power companies use to buy politicians.
Eating less processed foods, building our own homes, and powering them ourselves will all help to make us healthier. Spending more time sewing, building, and creating what we need with our hands will make us stronger and smarter. All of these in concert will make us more free and will help to prevent the financial and corporate elite from taking control again.
Measuring True Success
The occupy movement might succeed in getting better representation for the people but it will be a hollow victory if we don’t see this revolution for what it is and that is a chance to fundamentally change how our society functions.
True victory will come when we are all living within our means, when we create our own authentic lives, and when we don’t provide opportunities to be taken advantage of. We let the wolf into the hen house when we left the door open. Putting this wolf down only solves half of our problems. Once we arrest the enemies of our republic we need to make sure we don’t leave the door open for their return and that will take changing who we’ve become.
Economists believe that we will see stagnant growth for maybe the next 10 years. They see that as a bad thing. I don’t know that it is. Our growth since the 1980s has been a lie. It has been based on the phantom profits of Wall Street. It has not been real growth. In fact this growth was more like cancer in that it did more harm than good as it rapidly expanded and consumed the health of the rest of our collective body. If we want true prosperity we need to realign our society. We need to learn to provide more real valuable and tangible goods to ourselves, our families, and our communities. Doing so will allow us more time to pay attention to what the government is doing. It will also remove the incentives for the kind of corporate greed we’ve seen.