The occupy movement is not letting up and even though there is no clearly defined leader it seems to be picking up steam. The new buzzwords throughout the English speaking world have become “paradigm” and “shift” and “impact” to express the need to redefine our societies and the way we interract with each other and the rest of the world (giving a new meaning to “globalization”). Many of the people who have jumped on the protest bandwagon have explained that not having a leader gives more creedance to the value of this collective protest and if you look at the different types of participants you will see that they come from every walk of life:
- Nuns, as the Quiet Shareholder Activitists, met with Wall Street Bankers on Tuesday to try to get them to change their way of doing business and shift their focus from “pure profit” or the bottom line, to more charitable goals like helping the poor and needy in our society.
- Songwriters and singers such as David Crosby, Graham Nash (from Crosby, Stills, and Nash fame) and Pete Seeger lent their names to the movement in New York
- Politicians such as Sarah Palin using the Occupy movement to draw attention to the culture of corruption in Washington
- University instructors at stepping down from their Ivory Towers and mingling with the masses such as Professor Richard Wolff of UMass Amherst, who spoke at Occupy Harvard on Friday Nov. 17th at 10am. Professor Wolff is an incisive critic of the current global capitalist system and author of “Capitalism Hits the Fan” amongst other books. Check out this page: Occupy Harvard
- Elite Harvard Business students are leading campus revolts and joining the “occupiers” See “Autumn of Hope”
- Business people such as William Buffett (the 3rd richest man in the world) and his son Howard Buffett have joined the ranks as symbols of the Business Community who are reaching out
- Join in Michael Moore’s pledge to the masses: “I’m gonna go talk to Keith Olbermann now because it’s been my job since the beginning to get the mainstream media to cover this event, this uprising, this rebellion for the people. And I am honored to be just one citizen amongst many. Thank you for being here. Thank you for being part of this with me. I’m so happy to be part of this with you. We’re all equals here. Let’s keep our voices strong. Let’s not ever give up. This struggle may be long. We’re not going anywhere!” — Michael Moore at day 34 of Occupy Wall Street, Thursday, October 20th, 2011
We see that a shift is taking place in the nature of power and influence. The internet media has seen this power switch from information technology companies to private people who participate in the creation of “open-source software”. We have seen traditional encyclopedias be replaced by Wikipedias written by the masses. Journalists power has been transformed through open forums and twitter while revolutions are being born on Internet portals and e-mail boxes. It is newspapers linking to other newspapers on their Web sites rather than walling themselves in. It is YouTube with their hundreds of thousands of videos just waiting to be shared and embedded commanding the kind of attention that once only traditional institutions could. As Anne-Marie Slaughter, a political science professor at Princeton University and former U.S. State Department official puts it, the leader must now become a catalyst, the diplomat a connector and the public-relations agent a convener. In other words, those who used to be all-powerful must rethink their roles in society and adapt to the new paradigm or disappear.
Making an impact has become the leitmotif of many large corporations and perhaps Bill Gates has been leading the pack with his charitable donations and philanthropic work. The very large corporations who have not understood that they will have to apply the 1 percent rule to the 99 percent of the rest of the people will be condemned in the court of public opinion making it difficult for corporate criminals to get away with their crimes. Even PepsiCo and Levi Strauss have come to recognize the force they exert on the planet’s people and resources and are engaged in unilateral social policy to make an impact on global economy. Their reach will go far beyond the walls of Wall Street as the paradigm is being redefined to include the 5 continents and not only Europe and America. As a New York Occupy Wall Street activist Manissa McCleave Maharawal has written: “Our movement is not contained by a park, our ideas are not contained by a park and we will not be contained by a park.”
Go to www.DebbysCorner.com to do an English language activity on this topic.