I was pleased to read the response to my previous column in The Packet this week from Simcoe North MP Bruce Stanton, as I know him to be a smart, well-meaning and hard-working public servant. However, just like our leaders and media have misrepresented the Occupy Movement, thus discrediting it, so has Stanton misquoted my words in an attempt to discredit me. Out of self-defence, I will focus briefly on the misunderstandings and the problem with traditional media. Out of respect, I will then attend to the underlying issues and values occupying the table; mainly growing inequality, injustice and democracy.
I did not say, nor have I heard of any elected Canadian official speak negatively against the unprecedented global occupations. I have heard both our finance minister and prime minister focus attention and criticism on certain aspects of the movement, while ignoring its complexity and diversity, thus deflating Occupy Canada. I have repeatedly noticed in mainstream papers, radio and online, deliberate and unknowing attempts to delegitimize and denigrate the people.
In person, I have watched very long media interviews of occupiers providing illuminating commentary on the movement and global political economy. The shepherd reduces these profound ideas into inedible sound bites which are then fed to the sheeple who regurgitate them.
The problem with the corporate media is that it is extremely hard to summarize complex global issues and social phenomenon in the limited space provided between advertisements. This biased one-way information stream inevitably misrepresents reality. It forbids intellectual, civil and fruitful debate, which is necessary for democracy.
The way in which social media have been harnessed by Occupy, technically and formally, is revolutionary. Previously alienated people are now talking with each other, online and in person, for long periods of time, about complex and controversial political issues. Through dialogue, people are able to reach higher understandings and make collective decisions that benefit everyone.
The fact of the matter, the fact that the media and our leaders continue to ignore, is the growing inequality of power and wealth in society. This extreme inequality isn't just bad for our health, the environment, for our kids, for justice or for democracy, but it is even bad for our economy.
Monopolization and oligarchy stifles competition and innovation, it produces ultimate power which then corrupts and collapses — see 2008 recession, U.S.S.R., Arab Spring and present-day U.S. Perversely, the corporate-state doesn't just allow monopolization, but encourages and rewards it with taxpayer bailouts, subsidies and bonuses.
Small government, big business and free-market fundamentalism championed by conservative parties at home and abroad contributed to exceptional levels of global development and profits. These profits have not been justly distributed, nor are they sustainable.
Billions in the global south, especially women and children, are shouldering the negative health, environmental and social conditions brought upon them by unfettered free trade. A minority of us in the global north consume as if gluttony was a virtue and not a sin — no wonder the obese debt we're in. Despite this reality, many of you have the nerve to complain that we are taxed too much. As if we don't have enough already. The stress on the backs of billions will be relieved by mass uprisings. I really hope it's peaceful.
Globally, we are now economically, culturally and politically interdependent to such an extent it renders municipal, provincial, and national governments powerless against global economic forces. The majority of us can no longer exercise our power through traditional political institutions because they are either structurally outdated or wholly corrupted. In reality, most of our votes don't count. Realize your power, represent yourself by participating. Vote now! Occupy Orillia and the world for a new kind of politics. Find us on Facebook, or firstname.lastname@example.org to participate in democracy, 100% welcome.
Jacob Kearey-Moreland is a local resident and student at the University of Toronto studying philosophy and sociology. His founding and co-ordinating of Orillia Community Gardens demonstrates a sustainable alternative to current monetary-market economics. Contact him at email@example.com
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