No tags :(

Share it

By Rowan Blair Colver

All over the world people from most walks of life are congregating in churches and financial institutions and are, in their own words, “Peacefully occupying them”. They all seem to have one common agenda and that is for fairness in society and in economics. Every individual person within the movement will have a unique and specific outline of why they are there, however all the explanations given point to one thing, 1% of the world’s population owns nearly half of the worlds wealth.

Let’s take a look at some of the main factors mentioned most of the time. The most moving argument I have encountered so far is that the amount of money spent on war and military build up and maintenance far exceeds the cost of feeding everyone on the planet. One typical missile can cost in excess of several hundreds of thousands of pounds, Just ONE. During a conflict dozens if not hundreds of these things are fired daily. The high tech weaponry, planes, helicopters, etc all cost phenomenal amounts of money. You could argue that military power is essential in society and it is money well spent, and that is up to you. The next point however is that human beings own the companies that manufacture and sell these products. Huge profit is made on war and military.

Billions a day are raked in by the arms manufacturers, especially when nations like the UK and America are invading non complainant nations. These humans who take home these vast sums are mega rich. Trillionaires are not fantasy. Remember a lot of wealth can be hidden in networks of foreign accounts, assets, priceless collections, estates etc. The other huge argument most occupiers will mention is the vast profits made by banking and insurance firms daily. It is on the same scale, if not more than the war industry. By moving money around from strong and weak currencies and then back again huge gains are made. By buying shares in companies that are known to be about to receive large government contracts also make huge returns. Usually the most profitable companies are those that make weapons and medicine. For those in ‘the know’ the future contracts and profits in these companies are highly predictable. High-street banks are dealers in pocket change compared to their investment banking counterparts. Billions of pounds are moved around the financial industry daily, profit margins are massive. The amount of profit made in banking daily could also feed the entire planet several times over.

Remember that 1% of the world’s population own nearly half of the world’s wealth. When the occupiers refer to themselves as the 99% they mean that they, along with pretty much everybody else in the 7 billion strong population of the world, are the majority. By the 1% they are not referring to the millionaire entrepreneurs, or the lottery winners, this is a drop in the ocean compared to the super-rich.

The more politically minded members of the occupy groups have also mentioned this, in our democracy we place a tick in a box and then somebody else decides what to do for four years, then you get to tick a box again. They feel this is an illusion of democracy, as no real choice is presented to them. The politicians that stand a chance of winning are backed by these large companies that can afford to pay for extensive and effective campaigns. Of course once in a position of power they could not make any suggestion that these company directors and executives should pay any more profits as tax. In fact, as a note, this new government has reduced corporation tax since getting into power, while pushing up the taxes regular people pay.

This brings us neatly to the arguments about taxation and government funding. Remember how much money is spent on the military by governments? Billions. A strong argument is that the priorities are wrong. While people are paying more and more for their essentials, in their rents and house prices, in their taxes, and the amount of available work sinks, why are the vast amounts of military spending taking place? After all, weapons kill and destroy, is this better than looking after those at home, on our soil? It is an argument many often repeat.

The banking crisis is costing the public money, jobs and public services. Because an investment apparently went wrong we are paying for it. This is common knowledge. Whether we should or not is a matter of opinion. Iceland as a nation has refused to assist Europe pay back the banks in a public vote. If you think about it, the banks will charge you for not having enough money to satisfy a bill, penalising you financially for struggling financially. Then they now have a shortfall and we, the public, are charged again. Many feel this is not fair. Many feel bank charges are not fair to begin with and this austerity measure is simply ridiculous and criminal. It is common argument. Remember how much money is floating around in the riches 1% – enough to fix the banking shortfall in moments without damaging anything.

The banks and financial institutions have one over on the governments. How is this apparent? National debt. Our taxes are paying off national debt in their billions. Our leaders are at the whim of the loan sharks. Could they not just say no? Could they say, “We are in charge, don’t tell us what to do, stop being so greedy and help build a positive society, you can afford it, it is law”? They could but they don’t.

So how do the occupiers suggest we begin to fix these problems? Although the 1% of the world who own nearly half of the worlds wealth could afford to feed the planet, build and maintain a school and a clinic in every village, fund international peace deals globally and much, much more, they don’t want to and wont. A law that says they must would be very difficult to put forward.

However, some sort of law needs to be implemented. The amounts of money they move around and make daily is, as I have mentioned, phenomenal. A Robin Hood style tax that shaves off a tiny fraction of this, which would be undetectable to their profits, would raise enough money to settle the financial deficit, pay off the debts, build economies, feed the world, build schools, hospitals, training, free education…the list is absolutely endless. Any selfless and humanitarian project you could mention would be made possible overnight. By eliminating poverty and providing well paid jobs globally, by eliminating the concept of a third world country, it would logically follow that the world would pay more taxes, and the cycle would enter a positive feedback.

The occupy movement want the government to say “No” to paying the banks money to reduce the amount of money the supposedly ‘lost’. Every day people are being given harder and harder times with rising costs in essentials like food and energy can be overcome by standing up to these corporate organisations and saying no. It is obviously apparent that the people in charge have enough money to solve the problem themselves.

Many occupiers want to see an end to military action in places that have no affect on us what so ever. Instead of fighting people who are claimed to be “Terrorists” why not fly over and ask, “What have we done to upset you and how can we fix it?” The protesters generally agree on the needlessness of war. It costs far more money that it would take to fix the global issues of poverty, disease, education costs, public services and much more.

What about the democracy? The idea of voting once every four years and then leaving it up to people you have never met is simply undemocratic in the opinion of occupy. How they go about decision making is to have a general assembly where everyone is invited to attend. A discussion takes place with one person in charge of giving everyone else a fair say. No one takes a leadership role and every decision is made by consensus, where by everything is discussed and debated until a middle ground can be agreed on by all. Once the groups have agreed on something it is documented and shared with other groups for consideration. Each ‘cell’ is responsible for itself; however consistency in opinion and decision is showing through where it is becoming obvious that all over the world people want change, and the change wanted is the same. The same principle could be taken to the running of the country.

Each local area has its council, which could be a lot more democratically involved with the citizens of that area. Once the citizens and the council have agreed on an action it is put to the national government, who also debate the principles with the public. The basic idea is that it cannot be left up to a select handful of people who we know nothing about to run everything that affects the citizens and the nation.