We are a year away from the end-time predicted by the Mayan sages, and it already feels as if this year is going to be even more intense than the last few. The Arab Spring has caused the ouster of some of the most entrenched leaders of the Middle East, and the people’s struggle to redefine their system of government and economy continue. There is a somber lesson to be learned from the Egyptian revolution, where it appeared that the military stood with the people, only to reveal themselves now as working to usurp the revolution. The violence there has erupted once again — and we around the world who have joined the struggle against billionaire elites, corruption, and calcified power abuses must stay vigilant.
Do not be seduced by the military or police who “come over” to our side. They are not to be trusted too easily. In the same way that the American Occupy movement has let it be known that they will not be co-opted by either political party, we must let it be known that we will not be co-opted by seemingly repentant members of the military or police. Speaking of the Occupy movement in the United States, the first wave of occupations have ended, with the eviction of most of the occupiers from the various public spaces they once held. But the solidarity, the commitment, the comradeship that has been formed through those times of living and working together will not end. In fact, they are growing stronger as the movement reaches out in many directions: to combat the abuses of agri-business and its damaging and dangerous effects on our food supply, to stand up and demand a return to a high-quality public education system K-16 which is no longer in the hands of corporate power, to demand healthcare for all, restore and strengthen workers’ rights, to face down the lies of corporate-owned media, to erase poverty, to end police abuse, wars around the globe, the corruption of the big banks and mortgage companies and fight against eviction of homeowners, to end the lobbying criminality in Washington, D.C. and the wholesale purchase of our former representatives, who now represent the interests of the 1%. This video, from Occupy Wall Street, is a thank you to all supporters; it offers a wonderful message of hope and determination for the future directions of this movement.
What has come to be called the “main stream media” in this country was often heard saying that the Occupy Movement has no focus. “Where are the leaders?” was a question heard often. “What do they want?” was another. Either with intentional misunderstanding and will to deceive the public, or sheer inability to see, these commentators and journalists have missed the point of the Occupy movement. The attempt at pure democratic process meant there were no “leaders”, rather that each person was equal in the decision-making process of the movement. The “demands” so often asked for were resisted, not because we didn’t know what we wanted, but because “demands” are too simplistic. To name the narrow issues when all of them flow from a systemic breakdown much larger than any individual issue was to diminish the energy aimed at that larger problem – corporatism and the way it has ruined life for too many people around the world. Jim Smith, an Irish activist writing against the many atrocities being heaped on the shoulders of the Irish people, fully understands what this global uprising is about. In his article, “The Occupy Movement: When the Other Shoe Drops,” he takes an historical view of global capitalism, the takeover of rabid, for-profit-at-all-cost international finance, and the unbelievable hardships suffered by the majority of people around the world at the hands of this system.
As millions of people around the world begin to rise up against the various forms of tyranny that greed and cruelty have caused, the response of most nations, including the United States, has been to meet their demonstrations with force – beatings, pepper spray, shooting, arrest, murder.
Our days have grown shorter and shorter as we have approached the winter solstice, and it has been hard not to feel the heaviness of the dark in these terrible days. The latest polls and research indicate that 1 in 2 Americans are living in poverty. More and more families here are facing homelessness, joblessness, and are braving the cruelty of an uncaring Congress and White House. Lots of posturing and lip-service come our way, but little is done to fix the problems. And now, the National Defense Authorization Act which threatens to allow military arrests of American citizens on American soil, effectively suspending a citizen’s civil rights, is one of the few bills that sailed through Congress. How is it that such a bill has met with none of the paralysis experienced with bills to aid homeowners, or the unemployed, or the uninsured? How is it that no such zeal was seen in the prosecution of the big banksters for the fraudulent behaviors that caused this global economic meltdown? No, instead we have a bill that threatens to undo the rights of American citizens even more than the atrocious Patriot Act, and we see it sail right on through both houses. What does this say about the real concern and loyalty of these elected “representatives” of the people? The winter solstice season has traditionally been one of observance, and scholars tell us that spiritual practices that pre-date recorded history have been layered over with other religious practices, so that the solstice celebrations that were combined with Christmas, for instance, then take on several stratifications of meaning. So let’s consciously layer on additional meaning, in this time of approaching revolution: let us say that this is the time of the returning light of equality, peace on earth, harmony, compassion for each other, love. Let us commit to each other to stand determined to face down the growing resistance and punishment that is surely coming here in this so-called “free” country, as it has come to the other countries where people have had enough and have taken to the streets to demand change. Let us promise each other that the year of 2012 will be a year when our spirits will join, around the world, to usher in a new dawning, a new time when even the most vulnerable among us will finally be able to rise, to feel the warmth of light and love, and the hope of a new beginning. Let’s give our all in the hope that, by the Winter Solstice of 2012, the beginning of an entirely new world can be experienced, celebrated and welcomed.