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Friday, December 23, 2011

Occupy that


As the northern-hemisphere city-park Occupy camps wind down through artful opposition and wintry attrition, I'd like to take this opportunity to point out that while calling attention to corporate greed is useful, thwarting corporate greed is more so.

What we have been protesting is really nothing more or less than the end-game of those who, centuries ago, enclosed the commons, shutting off the less well-to-do yeoman farmers and shepherds from access to the land in the name of greater farm efficiency (but diverting more and more of those efficient earnings into the pockets of -- yes -- the top one percent of the social pyramid: "by 1876, after some 4000 acts of Parliament, less than 1% of the population owned over 98% of the agricultural land in England and Wales" (Bollier, 2002 see link above).  The practice of ownership transfer from, in effect, the owners of labor to the owners of capital has continued, spreading to the taking away of unmediated access to seed, to fertilizer, to water, to energy, and to all means of production.

I think the best writer on enclosure today is Vandana Shiva, who sees first-hand in third-world countries the destructive effects of the expanding edge of this practice. 

Everything is about debt, how to get more and more of us into it, and how to allow fewer and fewer of us to ever shed it. Popping the financial bubble -- the bundling of these debts and selling the bundles from rich to rich as if they were a form of actual wealth -- will gain us little traction in surviving this century, even if we were to successfully capture and prosecute the Wall Street bankers. And I think it's going to pop on its own. There will then still be the indescribably massive costs that their industrial friends and political sycophants have socialized to the people, the air, the water, the soil, and the biosphere of the world in the form of poisons and waste heat.

Meanwhile we have nearly all lost the skill to live within our world's means. Already the average American or British farmer is over fifty -- and most of them no longer know very many sensible practices.

I would suggest that those interested in the Occupy movement now, or as soon as possible, become interested in the land, the waters, and the air, as well as investigate the sources of food, clean water and energy -- as a commons

Our food supply, as a species, is in considerable danger. So the question with which we might best be occupied is: How can we live in such a way as to circumvent, bypass, ignore, and render completely irrelevant the schemes of the robber barons? In such a way the 99% could endeavor, not to take down the 1% (fun though that might be) but to save the 100% from utter destruction.

Here's most of the resource list from the sidebar of this blog. Look it over. Click some things. Click through from them to other sites of like mind. If you discover a passion among the livelihoods that seek to recover balance in the world, drop that mouse, get up from that office chair, and go find your piece of the commons that needs saving. 

Occupy that.

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