Sunday, May 27, 2012

A pots and pans protest

I've been hearing news about protests in Montreal (being so close to Canada I listen to occasional radio news summaries). But it was a photo in the Occupy Wall Street blog that prompted me to take a closer look (the text of the entry is about events in NYC). The protests were originally prompted by a 75% raise in college tuition fees so that soon only the children of the rich could afford college. The protests expanded when new rules for legal demonstrations went into effect -- and those rules don't favor the protesters. The authorities are blaming protesters for a few violent people using the protests as cover. These protests have added a new feature, the casaroles -- pots and pans -- demonstration. That means the protests are noisy, and according to a participant quite joyous. This posting has a 3 minute video of a protest. Alas, the noise was replaced by a song.

The People's Assemblies Network (Occupy groups from around the world) has written a Global May Manifesto to list the demands of the movement. Included in the preamble is this:
We find ourselves in a world where success is defined in seeming opposition to the most fundamental values of humanity, such as solidarity and mutual support. Moreover, anything that does not promote competitiveness, selfishness and greed is seen as dysfunctional. This immoral ideology is reinforced by the monopoly of the mainstream media, the instrument that manufactures false consensus around this unfair and unsustainable system.
The manifesto includes three broad areas with several demands in each section.

In the first section are demands around reshaping the economy around social utility, not private property. It includes free health care and education, free child care, adequate pensions, basic income guarantees, support for the arts, sustainable food production, world-wide environmental standards, and a ban on profiting from essential government services.

The second section is about democratic control of the economy from local to global levels. These demands include no tax havens; democratic control over International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization; democratic control over air, water, energy, communications, and the economic system; taxes should be progressive with a cap on maximum income; no more austerity measures; an audit of banks to identify immoral loans, which would be canceled; and an end of personhood for corporations.

The last section is about full democracy in political systems. This section includes decisions should be by UN General Assembly, not G20 or G8; fair and inclusive elections; zero tolerance for political corruption; workers have decision power in their corporations; freedom from corporate data-mining of internet use; and minimization of military spending.

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