December 2014: I am writing from New York City where massive protests asking to end police repression under the call "Let me breathe" have adopted hit and run tactics with an almost flash mob approach. In autumn 2011 I was here participating in the Occupy protests which used entirely different tactics by occupying or holding public space. We were driven from the streets. At the time I predicted the protestors will be back. Guess what? They are here!
When Occupy protests were disbursed in America, they re-emerged elsewhere. Authorities, please listen to the people in the street not the talking heads. You cannot hit us top down. But we will always go horizontal. Because the core root of the problems that are bringing people to the street repeatedly and globally are NOT being addressed. So no matter how hard you hit, wherever you crush it, the protests will only occur sporadically elsewhere. So rather than fighting lets work together to solve the actual problem that is bringing so many people to the street and giving you so much work to try and clear us off.
Brutal police killings of innocent youth are just the spark that ignited it all this round. The compounded problem is deep down inside. It has been incubated by a system that is not addressing core issues. We had hope in a president who could bring us out of the Bush era but only extended it. The nature of the protests are an incubated frustration that has been contributed to by lots of talk and no action. Even when we turn on the television, our mainstream media focuses on the sound bite, the protests themselves, but not the issues underlying them which are far more complex and need to be aired and addressed if we are to move forward.
The protestors who shook the world in 2011 -- and still going strong globally -- were driven by an overriding grievance: our planet is not sustainable the way it is being run! Our current economic system is rusted, corroded, corrupted, not working anymore, certainly not transparent. From Cairo to Barcelona, to Moscow, Athens, Hong Kong and New York, everyone is fed up with the greed conundrum, the widely accepted ethos that profit and self-interest are the end-all of economic efficiency and that conspicuous consumption is the measurement of one's worth and success. At the same time, the revolution underway is not anti-business. The issues should not be confused. The protestors are calling for those very values that underlie the way we do business to change. They are screaming outrage against the interests of a small global elite who have prevented the empowerment of people to run their own businesses.
Let's cut through the confusion and attempt to sum up what demonstrators across the globe have been demanding. Write it on a single poster board that can be paraded before police barricades. If not sprayed with mace, it reads something like this:
1) It's time for an economic middle way. We need pragmatic holistic economics, not theory. Put an end to the dogma of market fundamentalism.
2) Promote social enterprise, compassionate capital, conscientious consumption and stakeholder value to protect our communities and environment.
3) Sustainable local economics is the best guarantee for water and food security and for prevention of ethnic violence and terror, both in the developing and industrialized world.
4) Redesign our financial architecture to support green growth and conversion from fossil fuels to renewable energy as the next global economic driver. It is the biggest challenge our planet faces if we want to have a planet to live on. And it is time for our global youth to be stakeholders in this process. It is their inherent right, because it is their future!