Occupy Wall Street (OWS)

Do you remember this post? Pouring out the Holy Spirit will bring peace to this world. In that post I described some of the spiritual changes occurring in the Earth. In particular I pointed to a post on 12 Feb 2010 called The God Who keeps His promises and I explained that this storm was spiritual in nature and will result in change. That change was the emergence of the Tea Party from nowhere within 2 weeks of that storm.

In this more recent post The feast of Tabernacles, the end of captivity, Sabbath rest again I said that I felt that September through to October 20th would be pivotal. During that time the Occupy Wall Street movement sprang up.

Check out this live map showing the more than 1,000-1,500 locations of protest all around the world.

Look at the sudden spike in protests during September 2011

And it’s worth noting that Tea Party founder backs Occupy Wall Street.

If you are interested, here is the back story for OWS and Day of Rage (see US Day of Rage)

Tim Eastman, a photographer who took part largely out of curiosity but left at about 23:00, says he was wary of becoming involved in yet another “cliched” protest. “It didn’t seem at first like it would become the sort of monster it became. It looked like it might peter out after a few days.” Like Mr Bray, he returned to the camp when it became clear it was taking off, and is still involved with the Occupy movement. – Occupy Wall Street: The story of the first night – By Brian Wheeler – BBC News, Washington

If you want to follow some of the protest organizations on Twitter go here, to follow the majority of them follow this list and this list (NOTE: each list can only have 500 members, so check if he has a third and fourth over time).

View the financial statistics behind the complaints.

What would Jesus do?

Much of the church is paralysed by teaching which demands that they submit meekly to authority figures and the desire to look good and not lose tithes etc. So… many churches probably not organising the protests – which is a pity since it’s our God given mandate to look after this world.

But Jesus wasn’t like that, was He? If you think He was, you haven’t read the bible!

So… what WOULD Jesus do?

An Occupy banner outside St. Paul's Cathedral in London

This movement is astonishing for one main reason… and any Christian should already be focussed on it. What is God’s one command? To love one another. What did Jesus say we would be known for? For our love for one another.

Here is a great article by Reuters covering the current position of many faiths on the Occupy movement.

There is a growing and very impressive list of published authors from all around the globe who have signed on to support the Occupy movement.

What’s it all about… really?

What is this movement known for? Let’s let Naomi Klein capture this historic movement…

Yesterday, one of the speakers at the labor rally said: “We found each other.”

That sentiment captures the beauty of what is being created here. A wide-open space (as well as an idea so big it can’t be contained by any space) for all the people who want a better world to find each other. We are so grateful.

That is what I see happening in this square. In the way you are feeding each other, keeping each other warm, sharing information freely and proving health care, meditation classes and empowerment training. My favorite sign here says “I care about you.” In a culture that trains people to avoid each other’s gaze, to say, “Let them die,” that is a deeply radical statement.

Naomi Klein

Lessons from the life of Martin Luther

Back in 14th December 2008 it was already on my mind to share what happened when Martin Luther sparked change. Way back on the 31st December 2008 I wrote about the changes that I thought were coming – which we are seeing now.

Let me explain the danger. When Martin Luther spoke truth to power – the Catholic Church at the time – he spoke about the awful corruption of religion and the power and wealth illegally acquired by the elite. This Occupy movement speaks the same truth to power about the same issues. It is abhorrent that so few people have so much, while so many die of starvation.

How incredibly wonderful that a movement now has sprung up to recalibrate and rectify. However. What Martin Luther did not realise at that time was that the peasants (the 99%) would go on a rampage and destroy the property of the elite. As they did this they were using his words as their justification for their rampage. And when he then realised was happening, he said this was “the work of the devil” and the elites (the 1%) used his words as justification to crush the peasants – and obviously that was ALSO the work of the devil.

My point is this… while pursuing the objective of equality and justice and equity – the very things I wrote about and used Lady Liberty and the plaque on the side of that statue to prompt us to rethink the direction we are going.

And now, here we are, dictators falling in the middle east, economic tyrants falling under pressure in between 1,000 – 1,500 cities around the world. Apparent coups have occurred in the last few days in Italy and Greece with the EU putting their own un-elected people in leadership there.

So Martin Luther’s lessons looms large to me.

Here’s what matters

Let me quote Naomi Klein again…

A few final thoughts. In this great struggle, here are some things that don’t matter.

– What we wear.
– Whether we shake our fists or make peace signs.
– Whether we can fit our dreams for a better world into a media soundbite.

And here are a few things that do matter.

– Our courage.
– Our moral compass. 
– How we treat each other. 

– Naomi Klein

Wow. Look at that… the key is to have a moral compass and to take note of how we treat each other. Not a word about money or amassing wealth or greed

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. – 1 Timothy 6:10

An ongoing struggle against corruption

But you know… this is not the first time that love emerged as a powerful force during human history.

  • Jesus Christ peacefully confronted the Jewish establishment who were profiteering from religion, He asserted that we must help the poor and love one another and that His followers would be known for doing the same

Many other Christians (and non-Christians) have also overcome evil with non-violent behaviour…

  • Martin Luther was a German priest who peacefully confronted the Catholic Church (which to it’s credit has issued a statement that the gap between rich and poor must be narrowed).
  • Ghandi peacefully confronted a global political power and the result was two nations – India and Pakistan – were born and could determine their own identity and future.
  • Martin Luther King Jnr was a Baptist minister peacefully confronted political power and the result was civil rights for all races.
  • Archbishop Desmond Tutu is an Anglican priest who campaigned peacefully for change in South Africa.

All of this change came peacefully.

The science of war leads one to dictatorship, pure and simple. The science of non-violence alone can lead one to pure democracy…Power based on love is thousand times more effective and permanent than power derived from fear of punishment. – Ghandi

Naomi Klein again…

Something else this movement is doing right: You have committed yourselves to non-violence. You have refused to give the media the images of broken windows and street fights it craves so desperately.

And that tremendous discipline has meant that, again and again, the story has been the disgraceful and unprovoked police brutality. Which we saw more of just last night. Meanwhile, support for this movement grows and grows. More wisdom. – Naomi Klein

I urge all people involved in bringing a new sanity to this world to renounce violence, because we will lose the high moral ground and provoke a reaction. History shows that change CAN and WILL  occur peacefully.

“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall — think of it, always.” – Ghandi

The New York times recently wrote an excellent piece: The New Progressive Movement. In this article it shows how – over time – citizens have had to confront this same malaise of greed and power, each time winning more and more ground…

The first age of inequality was the Gilded Age at the end of the 19th century, an era quite like today, when both political parties served the interests of the corporate robber barons. The progressive movement arose after the financial crisis of 1893. In the following decades Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson came to power, and the movement pushed through a remarkable era of reform: trust busting, federal income taxation, fair labor standards, the direct election of senators and women’s suffrage.

The second gilded age was the Roaring Twenties. The pro-business administrations of Harding, Coolidge and Hoover once again opened up the floodgates of corruption and financial excess, this time culminating in the Great Depression. And once again the pendulum swung. F.D.R.’s New Deal marked the start of several decades of reduced income inequality, strong trade unions, steep top tax rates and strict financial regulation.

In both of those renewals, the change came peacefully. Let us learn from history.

The supremacy of non-violent love

Naomi Klein puts it in perspective…

We have picked a fight with the most powerful economic and political forces on the planet. That’s frightening. And as this movement grows from strength to strength, it will get more frightening.

Always be aware that there will be a temptation to shift to smaller targets – like, say, the person sitting next to you at this meeting. After all, that is a battle that’s easier to win.

Don’t give in to the temptation. I’m not saying don’t call each other on shit. But this time, let’s treat each other as if we plan to work side by side in struggle for many, many years to come. Because the task before will demand nothing less.

Let’s treat this beautiful movement as if it is most important thing in the world. Because it is. It really is.

Did Mohamed Bouazizi have any clue at all what he would unleash when he burned himself to death in Tunisia on 17 December 2010? There is no way that he could have known this action would result in such enormous change to the world we live in.

The last word goes to Naomi:

“Why are they protesting?” ask the baffled pundits on TV. Meanwhile, the rest of the world asks: “What took you so long?” “We’ve been wondering when you were going to show up.” – Naomi Klein

One response to “Occupy Wall Street (OWS)

  1. Pingback: People not profits « Faith + Hope + Love·

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