We are the 99%. We are the hands and minds that allow the corporations and institutions of society to function and grow, to produce and profit. Our capability for global decentralised communication allows localised acts to transform the global landscape almost immediately through our ability to shift perspective faster and more effectively than ever before.
Because of this, we have ultimate power over our future existence; but this also means we have a responsibility to act collectively towards a higher mode of being.
The revolution begins now, with you.
Active and vocal resistance such as the Occupy Wall Street movement and its global counterparts must be supported wholeheartedly, but such expression is only one component of the transition that can occur once we hold as sacred our ability to connect and share. An uprising of the 99% is not a call for violent revolution – unless in explicit contexts of violent oppression – but is instead a sign that the global community is beginning to embrace a new way of being. Wherever possible this must manifest through peaceful means that embody the true depth of human communication rather than revert to the easily accessible hatred and anger that our primal instincts might instill within us.
Our focus should be on formulating a collective understanding of the ‘common good’ and how it relates to corporations, governments and communities. Discuss privately and publicly what it means to better these areas; how one can identify and encourage such behaviour; what alternatives or options might exist and how they might allow us to grow and evolve into the multitude of different contexts and forms that transform society.
As a society we have to better understand the difference between desire and need, to recognise when we have enough of a personal share and it is time to distribute of ourselves to others in greater need. Our demand is that we renew society around a central proposition of fairness and equality, arrived at through transparent representation, rather than remain with the status quo that often serves only the needs of a self-perpetuating elite.
We must not dismiss the true hardship of life that countless face, barely finding the capacity to eke out a meagre existence within the current order. Nor should we ever allow ourselves to forget that almost half the planet lives on the equivalent of $2 a day, experiencing difficulties that many of us cannot even fathom. But we must recognise that to make demands of an amorphous and unaccountable ‘They’ will not bring about the revolutionary change that is needed in the very fabric of society in order to ensure a fair and just future for all. Injustices should always be fought against within specific contexts and towards particular guilty parties; but the wider movement overall must focus on proactive progression towards equality and liberty that transcends national borders and uplifts the exploited rather than focuses too narrowly on tearing down the impenetrable.
We cannot progress on opposition alone, for we must also provide the solution and become an active participant in its manifestation. The momentum being gained through the current physical expression of discontent must be harnessed and utilised to bring about a positive change in the many and varied structures of global society. You are the revolution!
In order to see progress we have to start acting upon our grievances, for it is only through action that we can improve our understanding of goodness and life; of justice and peace. Embrace openness, and always maintain the peaceful composure of genuine fraternity whilst not holding back from standing up to those who attempt to break down the bonds of society. The 1% are not to be identified through a bank account balance, but rather those working actively against the common good, looting the global community in order to ensure dominance, and rejecting transparency in instances where openness will benefit a large proportion of society.
Where are the practical suggestions behind these words of idealism? Even whilst reading this you are already imagining them, picturing them each to your own context and capacity. You already know what to do, or at the very least how to make a start. Particular actions can’t be dictated to you, because the reality is that a truly revolutionary movement must find its birth in all of us. By doing so it manifests across all social strata and circumstance and builds strength through the bridges formed between different local situations. Transformative power emerges from the unique perspectives of all those who participate. The one thing you must do now is start participating with open sincerity and pure intention.
The popular occupation movement cannot in and of itself lead to the change demanded, but what it does very successfully is galvanise those who hear its message from the influence of a deeply corrupted system. A system that promotes narcissism over compassion and thrives on our capacity to feel powerless and apathetic amongst the distractions and noise of modern life. Stand in peaceful unity when you see such a movement emerge in your locality, but know that you do not do this just to represent your own particular beliefs and values; you do this to change the world for the better of all that wish to see humanity flourish in its diversity.
No matter what community you identify with, you have a sense of what it means to belong and an empathy that can extend its membership beyond the immediate and increase your networks. Always seek to widen your capacity to give and receive. Be emboldened by the magnificence of life and the miraculous nature of creative endeavour.
It is important that we overcome the disgraces of the modern world with a joy that signifies our hope in the inherent goodness of humanity. An uprising of this nature means nothing if we will merely fall back onto the old tropes of xenophobic tribalism and selfish endeavour. True activism requires one to shift the entire momentum of their life and to shift it in such a way that maximises positive impact in whatever context we find ourselves in.
Do not reject authority outright, do not fall into the trap of blind anti-authoritarianism that often serves to weaken the possibility of representation and participation. Strive for ownership of government, not rejection of it. Recognise that government exists in a wider sense than just the halls of parliament, and that we are all guardians of a just and honest society. Radicalism for its own sake runs the risk of serving up change without true form, of revolution without recreation. It also runs the risk of playing into the very hands of those who seek to oppress this movement by undermining the deeper and wider message of participation that it represents.
It is vital to keep a strong basis of peaceful solidarity and not be goaded into actions that undermine the core message. Aggression must sometimes be used against particular injustices in order to overcome their influence, however true systematic change cannot be predicated on hostility but must rather be built upon foundations of charity. To stand together arm in arm, literally and figuratively, is to create a unified solidarity that will embolden those who come into contact with it. It will allow and encourage them to make the changes in their lives that are required on an individual level, across millions and millions of people, in order to make a lasting difference.
This is why, if nothing else, it is your duty to identify that you are part of the 99% and that you do so not just because you are angry but because you are hopeful. There is no fixed political message, no ideology or dogma other than an acceptance that the way forwards is to be built upon equality, openness and mutual understanding. Be very wary of those who would seek to undermine this message with calls for violence based upon hatred, for they are either seriously misguided or attempting to provoke you away from productive action.
The moment to physically stand up and be heard is right now, but what must come afterwards requires a concerted effort to move the message beyond the picket lines and into the heart of our collective being. It’s about recognising how to actualise the capacity for charity and compassion that the wisest throughout history have promoted as the peak of human endeavour.
We must continue to be vigilant against injustice, but at the same time also accept some responsibility for allowing such grievances to occur in the first place. We must stand in solidarity alongside the vulnerable and exploited around the world, but at the same time recognise that standing alone is not the only action needed. Once we have accepted this responsibility we can make a solemn commitment to no longer be culpable either through action or inaction. This will be the watershed moment that brings about a true revolution and recreation of society.
We are the 99% and there is no need to expect us because we are already here. Those who make decisions and act contrary to the tenets of goodness, justice and equality are not afraid of resistance; they are afraid that we might realise that they can be ignored and sow the seeds of a new form of social existence. Now is not the time to tear down the 1%. Now is the time to make them irrelevant.