Happy May Day. Maydays aren’t usually happy and I suppose this one isn’t supposed to be either, but I’m pretty happy. Occupy is attempting to make its come back today.
“May Day is an international day of celebration to honor the labor movement. This year the Occupy movement has made a call for mass action—the May First General Strike (#M1GS): a day without the 99%. A general strike is a way to build and demonstrate the power of the people. It’s a way to show this is a system that only exists because we allow it to. If we can withdraw from the system for one day we can use that day to build community and mutual aid. We can find inspiration and faith—not in any leaders or bosses but in each other and in ourselves. Over 115 US cities have organized in solidarity with this call to action,” http://www.occupytogether.org/
This day will be used to ask for “for migrant rights, jobs for all, a moratorium on foreclosures, and peace – and to recognize housing, education and health care as human rights, and calls for the building of a broad coalition to make that a reality.”
I’m not exactly a support for all those, but they’re not all bad. Without getting into the complexities of Occupy and what they believe or do not believe or whether this is a good or stupid idea…blah, blah, blah, I will tell you exactly why I love Occupy Wall Street.
1) This is the probably my biggest reason. Americans have gotten soooo lazy and so comfortable. The country has been falling apart for years. The government keeps throwing away our money, corporations are gaining more and more control and we’re just sitting by, letting it happen. It’s disgusting. Finally, people are getting up, getting angry, doing something, anything whether it’s stupid or not, it’s just something. Finally people are standing up for themselves. Gosh, it’s so freaking amazing. It’s a game changer to say the least. That is the most important thing that I love about Occupy Wall Street.
2) Corporations have lobbyists and bribing money and it’s about time we have something. That something used be called congress, but it seems like that idea was burned along with our money. If this thing doesn’t die out like it did in winter, whether it was a mutual agreement or just happened, then I think it could have a huge and lasting impact. We just got to stay with it.
3) Everyone has a place. Occupy, for the moment, is a grassroots campaign. People can step up; find their place as the leaders they never thought they could be. If people think that this idea is stupid then they can come up with their own idea. People can organize their own movements. I think part of the reason that we’re so ‘lazy’ is because we’re comfortable, but also because we’re afraid. We haven’t been outside our comfort zone that we’re afraid to fail, of being wrong. I feel bad for the kids growing up, who have never had a scraped knee, or felt the burning of growing muscles. It’s good for us to be uncomfortable. It means we’re growing, except with a less cheesy line.
4) It’s bringing us together. Having a common enemy or a common goal always brings a nation together. For the Romans it was Gladiatorial games, for some countries it’s other countries. We all need it. Having goals, I hesitate to use enemy because I don’t want it to be an us vs. them mentality, will unite us and it will make us productive. And it’s not just America, it’s the whole world. The whole world is standing up for themselves. I love it.
5) Connected to the last thing is the idea that we’re learning how to work for something. People want the ‘American Dream’, but I think often times we forget that we actually have to work for it. Whether we are thinking about this way or not, the Occupy movement is teaching us that we have to work for what we want. The politicians, the companies, the banks are not going to hand us what we want, but we’re going to have to fight for it. We can’t just go to work and get a raise, we have do something that gets noticed in a good way.We can’t just go to school and expect to be handed the whole world when we get out. Going to school is nothing compared to real life. We have to prove that we can do more than memorize a bunch of useless facts and that we can also put those facts into practice. And about student debt, some people work through college, some don’t. Those who don’t shouldn’t expect to walk out and have money thrown at them. You have to earn it. That includes more than working and sitting at a desk, memorizing useless facts. Testing is hard, but it’s not real life. Also, students should stop lollygagging around. “Approximately 57 percent of first-time students who sought a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent and enrolled at a 4-year institution full time in fall 2002 completed a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent at that institution within 6 years. By comparison, 55 percent of students in an analogous cohort who began seeking a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent in fall 1996 graduated within 6 years.” http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=40 Unless they’re working too much, dropped out, or just can’t afford it, students should be out in four years. Period. Do that and they would have less debt. This is a subject that has many different variations and I’m interested in researching more about it, so I may have an update with this soon.
Back onto the real subject, I could list hundreds more, but I would consider these my major reasons. So, how are we supposed to celebrate this wonderful ‘holiday’. Well, take the day off for one. No going to work, no buying, no selling, no going to school, no nothing. It works because of us. Let’s remind them of why they should appreciate it.
- Move Your Money: If you haven’t already, May Day is as good as any to move your money out of a national, corporate bank into a local bank or credit union. Support your local community and break up the “too big to fail” Wall Street banks that threaten our economic system. Learn more about moving your money here: www.moveyourmoneyproject.org
- Have a Potluck: Share a meal with others and talk about subsidized agriculture and factory farming or make a meal with friends to serve to local homeless people a la Food Not Bombs.
- Start a Personal/Community Garden: On May Day, start or pledge to start a personal or community garden. Growing our own food means independence from corporate farms. This is one more way to take yourself out of a system bent on keeping us complacent.
- Have a Free Store/Fair: Get together and share your unwanted items with others. As they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. You could be helping someone who was about to go out and buy a (fill in your item here) anyway.
- Ride your bike to work/carpool with friends: Ride your bike or arrange a carpool to work. When you do this you are lessening our country’s dependency on outdated, unclean energies.
- Screen a Movie: Invite your friends or neighbors over to watch a documentary. After, have a discussion about how it relates to your values or the ideas of Occupy. You can watch political documentaries online at the following links for free:
- Have a Skill Share: Give a free class to share your skills and knowledge. This could be as simple as giving a knitting demonstration or as complex as teaching someone a new language.
Have a great May Day