Published: 28 May, 2012
The Occupy movement has united hundreds of thousands across the world to fight social and economic inequality. Julian Assange meets with prominent Occupy activists who say their collective efforts target global institutions.
The stand-off between large financial institutions and those who call themselves the 99% was brought about by the financial crisis, which revealed serious gaps in the current system, David Graeber from Occupy New York explained, pointing out that “the revolt is always in the name of democracy.”
“There is the first really effective planetary bureaucracy which is created in the name of the sort of ‘free-market’ ideology, which is supposed to stand against it, bureaucracy, but in fact exactly the opposite,” he says.
Aaron Peters from Occupy London adds that social movements are “always born out of grievance” and what is happening now would be impossible without the global financial crisis.
Activists say the movement has come about at the right moment, when there is an immediate necessity to unite to stand for the economic and social rights of the majority.
“There’s a feeling out there that the enemy is becoming increasingly globalized, and the only way it can be challenged is by global movements,” Graeber said.
Although it is economic and social inequality that are named as the main causes behind Occupy, Alexa O’Brien from Occupy in New York and US Day of Rage says it is not just about the global financial crisis but also about a global political crisis – because “institutions are no longer functional.”
Peters agreed, saying that political failure is a global phenomenon.
“We now recognize that public policy outcomes aren’t happening at the national level, and that policy makers aren’t actually the ones who are in national parliaments. They are elsewhere, and the ones that are dictating policy aren’t any way accountable, or, you know, they are not democratic representatives,” he said.
Although Occupy came into being in the United States, the activists are certain that the preconditions of the movement can be traced back to the Arab Spring and to turbulence in Europe.
“There has been a sort of global movement that started in Tunisia and swept across the Mediterranean: Greece, Spain. So it’s really the same movement that hit America,” Graeber declared.
Activists also emphasized the collective nature of the international protest, saying that the movement was born out of the solidarity and cooperative efforts of many enthusiasts across the world with people from Spain, Egypt and other countries flying to the US to take part in Occupy Wall Street.
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