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From Me Culture to We Culture: There is an Alternative

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While the corporate media deride the "anarchy" of Occupy Wall Street, they are not completely off the mark. Few are willing to admit that, just as in the Madison capitol, what is occurring among members of the rebellion on Wall Street is anarchism at its finest: cooperation, human relations based on shared values, organic collectives of non-hierarchical groups, and democratically advanced ideas. At the height of the Madison occupation in February/March 2011, thousands of people virtually lived in the state capitol. They organized themselves into units to maintain peace, to clean, to educate, to administer first aid, to distribute food and supplies, etc. No one concerned themselves with the potential for crime -- and in fact, no one was harmed, and no personal items were stolen as thousands of people amassed in an unguarded space. There existed nary a fear for person or property. The society of the occupation was one to be envied and emulated in "real" life. It appears that the experience at Occupy Wall Street is similar. I learned that they have even constructed grey water filtration systems and composting on-site. These occupations lay bare the simple truth that There Is An Alternative (TIAA). In fact, there are many options, as long as we have the creativity and the will to imagine and realize them. Of course, this discovery is precisely what the power elite fear the most, that their systems -- THEY -- are not necessary.

 

Toward a Collective Future

So, I sincerely thank you, occupiers. As I stand in awe of and in solidarity with all of you on Wall Street, in D.C., and all over the country and the world, I hope that instead of capitulating to the moneyed forces and voices who insist upon concrete demands -- which will undoubtedly allow for the continuation and promulgation of their deceitful, destructive systems -- the movement imagines a whole new paradigm for our collective future. It cannot be accomplished through traditional means; it will not be expressed through traditional pathways. In addition, I hope that the resisters continue to see beyond their own personal, immediate concerns and incorporate the needs of the forgotten, those who have always been suffering - the poor, the homeless, people of color, and the indigenous. The movement must never forget to include not only the currently disenfranchised who thought they could succeed under this system, but the always disenfranchised who never had a chance. In short, the movement will be worthwhile and long-lasting if it can embrace a future society in which "we" always comes before "me." There is a better alternative. It is here now, unless we retreat back to our superficial comforts, unless we surrender to our own egos, unless we cease to envision a healthier tomorrow for us all.

[i] George Carlin

[ii] Karl Marx

 


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Kristine Mattis holds a PhD in Environment and Resources. She is dedicated to social and environmental justice, public health protection, and ecological sustainability.


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