Newton’s First Law of Motion states, “Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it.” Perhaps today’s threat of expulsion from Victoria Park may be the force that propels the Occupy London movement into doing something positive with the opportunity they’ve been given.
I truly want what I imagine Occupy London to mean to succeed. But the need to clarify that statement has been the organization’s biggest failing.
I support the idea of a greater distribution of wealth. I also support the idea of a free market society, where people should be encouraged to try to earn as much as they want. I don’t believe in salary caps; nor do I believe that poorer people should pay a disproportionately higher percentage of taxes overall. I believe in the elimination of income taxes; I believe in the increase of taxes like the GST as it’s a true consumption tax.
I believe in supporting services for all, encouraging the arts, and universal health care; I don’t believe in doing that blindly, supporting venues and ventures that the community shows little to no interest in; and I believe in some form of a two-tier system that supports those who are willing to pay for treatment as long as it doesn’t compromise the abilities for those who can’t to access those medical services in the same time frame that they do now.
So, essentially, I believe in a lot of different things. Some of those beliefs are traditionally left wing; other beliefs tend to lean a little right. And that’s the reason why I’ve never — and likely never will — join a political party. I can’t swallow all of the Kool-Aid all of the time.
That said, many of my beliefs may align with the crux of the Occupy London movement. But I have no way of knowing as, to date, it’s been a poorly defined collection of various causes coming together in one giant occupation.
But to what end? How long would this go on? Is occupying enough?
Not for me. Instead, we’re left to project our own beliefs as to what Occupy London means onto this group. We can hope that they hold certain ideals, but we have no way of knowing in the absence of a clear statement or manifesto.
I never gave into my kids when they held their breath and stomped their feet, but that’s the tactic I feel Occupy London is resorting to — just drop to the ground, cross their arms, and pout.
And that’s not what I think the intent is. Instead, they should have used all of this time to spread their message. They should have used two weeks of togetherness and overnight occupancy to formulate a plan, to define clear goals and demands, and then find a way to present them to the public outside of Victoria Park.
Best of all, they should have used each night to discuss and debate the merits of their ideas, finding flaws and solutions, so that their presentation to the public would be one based on realism, accountability, and positivity.
It’s not enough to hope and wish things get better; you have to actively play a role in making things better.
Today’s actions showed that the group can mobilize. It showed that there is a willing audience of supporters interested in spreading a positive message and affecting change. Now they’ve got to use the momentum created by today’s expulsion threat (which, as of this writing at 19:25 p.m., they have yet to face) to spur their collective into action.
This could be Occupy London’s Eureka moment. Let’s just hope they don’t squander this opportunity just as they have over the past couple of weeks.