They tell you we are dreamers. The true dreamers are those who think things can go on indefinitely the way they are. We are not dreamers. We are awakening from a dream which is turning into a nightmare. We are not destroying anything. We are only witnessing how the system is destroying itself. We all know the classic scenes from cartoons. The cat reaches a precipice. But it goes on walking. Ignoring the fact that there is nothing beneath. Only when it looks down and notices it, it falls down. This is what we are doing here. We are telling the guys there on Wall Street – Hey, look down! We are awakening from a dream. When the Buddha was asked to describe his experience of awakening he said, “What I have awoken to is deep, quiet and excellent. But,” he continues, “People love their place. It’s hard for people who love, delight and revel in the fixed views and places of absolute certainty, to see interdependence.” – Slovenian philosopher, Slavoj Žižek’s rousing speech at Occupy Wall Street protest
Remaining Human: A Budhist Perspective on Occupy Wall Street is an inspiring article written by Michael Stone (Centre of Gravity).
Stone’s message is an important one. As a student of the dharma, one learns to cultivate the middle way, and part of that is casting a discerning, questioning eye over one’s own views, intentions and actions. It is easy to let passions run amok and cloud vision and judgement. As the Buddha once said, “what you think you become”. Unchecked anger becomes violent action and is met with anger and violent resistance. We’ve seen in the past how the important issues which protesters seek to bring to light can get over-shadowed by unchecked passions and unskilful actions. As we all know, the media/news loves drama, and what could be more dramatic than a protest which erupts into violence. If this happens politicians will seize upon the opportunity provided by the unruly mob to shift attention from the important issues which people are trying to raise through their right to peaceful protest, and the core message will be lost in a media feeding frenzy of sensationalism and spin.
That is not to say that passions should be suppressed. More skilfully guided, and creatively employed. Occupy Wall Street, and other recent inspired expressions of the people’s voice (Cairo, Egypt. Where the people refused to pushed to violence. Patience, peace and unity won the day) have been victories for just such an approach. Keeping the right attitude is so important. Just as unchecked anger will spread and multiply, so too will a balanced and peaceful, skilful, determined and creative attitude. Through these means the people will begin to awaken from the dream to the reality of the situation. As Stone writes in his piece, Enlightenment is not personal; it’s collective. There is the tale of the rampaging elephant who is subdued by the Buddha’s unwavering light of peace and compassion. This truth will spread. Through unity and solidarity these skilful means can have the most potent effect, and once the ball starts rolling along the right path, momentum will build and no obstruction will stop its progress.
This Sunday, thousands of protesters organised by UK uncut, including everyone from Labour MPs to union members, health service officials, doctors, and the angry public, will join together to block traffic on Westminster Bridge, in a symbolic and powerful effort to show the Governement just how angry we are. I cannot think why the whole country wont turn up, there are free coaches to london, so if you are still umming and ahhing, get on it. This is crucial to the future of our nation’s health. Everyone should be there, no matter what their political leaning. We are all subject to illness, accident, to bad luck. Imagine if the cost of a simple operation left you unable to pay the rent? Doctors in York are already telling patients that they must go private for small operations- and this is just the beginning. See details of the event on the UK uncut website http://www.ukuncut.org.uk/ Another excellent article with alot of information about the bill and why this protest is so important is on the excellent website ‘left foot forward’ http://www.leftfootforward.org/2011/10/tim-holmes-uk-uncut-stop-the-traffic-to-stop-the-nhs-being-run-over/
Perhaps a lot of us don’t realize how lucky we are… In America, a friend of mine was sent home from hospital with meningitis because she could not afford medical bills. If you check out the tumblr for ‘We Are the 99%‘ , it soon becomes clear that many of those in the states suffering with poverty, illness and debt, are in these situations due to ill-health, where treatment incurs huge costs, where healthcare is for profit. Four years ago my best friend, who contracted cancer in her 20s, was operated on by the NHS, and her life was saved. Though already a massive advocate of free healthcare, I think it was this that solidified my absolute dedication to saving the service. But we all have stories to tell. Anyone who is not panicking about this should think for a moment about all the people they know that might not be around if it weren’t for a free healthcare system. Did you have a problematic birth? Have you ever been to hospital? Even tonsillitis can kill if untreated. Today, I have a broken foot, in need of operation, which has been ignored by my local health service, whose stretched budget does not allow for such ‘unecessary’ operations to take place.
We already have massive corrupt pharmaceutical corporations, and branded drugs, and look what profit has done to that system… Why do we consume so many mind-numbing anti-depressants and tranquilizers these days? They are, of course, heavily marketed. Ever noticed the brand-name on your GPS mouse-mat? Eli Lily perhaps? Seroquel? If the NHS is opened up for profit, then morality goes out the window. It will no longer be a system to care for the nation’s health, but like everything else in this corrupt nightmare of super-capitalism, it will be run for the monetary gain of shareholders. So those expensive chemotherapy drugs you need for your metastatic cancer? Not available, bad for business. As to those unhealthy and unnecessary brain-scans- you will be told you need more, as they can make a huge profit on them. Granted, I see the system of profit as flawed at it’s base. But a healthcare system for profit? The word evil springs to mind. And I take issue with that word.
When the right wing press and the British Medical Association are both disgusted at these changes, with the BMA stating ”the BMA still believes the Bill, as it currently stands, poses an unacceptably high risk to the NHS in England.” we must panic, we must hit the streets. There is so much to protest at the moment, the world is angry, with protests in America, Greece, the Middle East, all over Europe. We must stay strong and show our power, peacefully, but loud as we can, and in unforeseen numbers. We ARE the 99%. 99% of nearly 7 billion people is a crap-load of energy, a mass of voices, a mass of labour, of potential ‘money’, that if withheld will bring down that one percent of amoral cunts who believe they can play with our futures like this. We dd not vote for this. Hell- the majority of this country actually voted for left-leaning parties! Flaws in our democratic system aside- these reforms were NOT in the manifesto of either the LibDems or the vile Tories. In fact, we are happier with our health service then we have ever been. Big business, once again, is proven to own our governments. The conservatives stand to gain from this sell-off, with rich owners of private health services donating to their party. Surprised? I wasn’t. But I am certainly angry.
I will be reporting back on Monday when I return. If you have the time, and you aren’t going yet, get on it. Your lives, the lives of your loved ones, are at stake.
I have posted this 3 times using my other internet alter-ego- but it keeps being deleted… Time for a bit of redeye action for this infrequent but angry blogger… I have been censored on my favorite social network (again) so it looks like the government is worried about this Thursday. I am pretty sure I will be so busy moving house on this day that I will be unable to make any of it, but for those that can- here is the info for Leeds…
30th June, 6:30am – 10am
There will be picket lines all over the city – outside schools, colleges, universities and government buildings like job centres and courts. Loads of people will be visiting these picket lines to show their support, feel free to join in. If you’re not sure where to go then head Leeds Met Student Union on Woodhouse Lane from 7am, where there’ll be information about activity across the city.
30th June, 11:30am outside Leeds Met Student Union on Woodhouse Lane
Route yet to be announced, but it will be marching through town down to the rally at City Square. The demonstration will raise awareness about the stikes and be an opportunity to take the anti-cuts message out onto the streets.
30th June, 12pm at City Square
Hosted by the striking unions, the rally will have anti-cuts speakers from across the movement.
http://www.j30strike.org/ is a website for the movement which has additional information for folk across the country.
Anyone who uses the health service, anyone who has children in school, anyone who has been affected by the recession and the greed of the rich should be there to support our public sector workers… basically everyone who can be there, should be there. Lets show these bastards what we’re made of!