Community discussion on the world we wish to create
To Shift Power to the People We Must Weaken the Pillars that Hold the Status Quo in Place
On Saturday, November 26, we held an open community discussion in Freedom Plaza. Initially planned as a way to build community amongst those living here on the plaza, many people from the surrounding community joined us and so the discussion moved into a broader exploration of what kind of world we wish to create and how we can get there.
Through our introductions to each other we found that we share many things in common. We all see that our country is going in the wrong direction and we believe that it is up to us to take a stand and change it. Some of us are long time activists. Some are new to advocacy and activism and some actually came from a background of opposing activism.
We started our conversation by listing the values that we believe are part of this movement. We found unanimous agreement on the following as important: Factual information, equality, honesty, community, diplomacy over militarism, democracy, diversity, tolerance, harmony, concern for all species, balance, companionship, courage, tenacity, fairness, optimism, nonviolence, creativity, love, forgiveness, empathy, idealism, personal integrity, self expression, justice, health, liberty, actualization, peaceful coexistence, humor, mindfulness, responsibility, dignity and prosperity.
Then we spoke about what we would like to see in the new world that we create. We discussed what it would be like to see equality of opportunity, which means sharing our resources fairly so that people can reach their full potential. Resources include education and access to information, credit and health care.
One participant expressed his desire to see that the global population has universal access to food, water, shelter, hope and dignity. Another participant wishes for global peace.
- We would like to see the end of fossil fuel use.
- We believe in free high quality public education.
- We agreed that a reasonable profit without gaping wealth inequality is acceptable.
- We want to see full democratic enfranchisement and a political process that allows more candidates a fair chance of running for office.
- We believe in accountability and fair application of the law.
- And we would like to see a press that is really free to provide honest information.
Naturally, the discussion then turned to what it will take to make the above values and vision into reality. The occupants of Freedom Plaza strongly believe in the ability of nonviolent tactics to shift power.
One of the reasons that the concept of the 99% is so important is that we do not have the monetary resources to take on the power elite, but we do have the human resources. In the USA, the top 400 people have the same wealth as the bottom 154 million people. But, we, the 99%, confer power on the top 1% and the current political system through our obedience to it. We have the ability to shift the power by using our collective wisdom and resources to meet our human needs outside of the system.
Gene Sharp of the Albert Einstein Institute writes that there are pillars which support the current power structure. It is up to us to weaken these pillars in order to shift the power.
The pillars are:
We hope to continue these discussions weekly in Freedom Plaza. Join us if you can!
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