In case you are unaware, the power is shifting. Corrupt politicians and big businesses have been running things for to long and they have turned living conditions of the average civilians into a commodity that they control. They have distracted us with meaningless entertainment as they forwarded their own agenda, but people are starting to realize it. You may already know this and you maybe helping others realize it, but I’m not writing this for you, I’m writing it for the uneducated masses that follow the crowd.
The straw has broken the camels back and it won’t be fixed with any standard procedures. Less than one month ago in Istanbul, Turkey a handful of people gathered in Gezi Park to stop nature being destroyed to build another fucking shopping mall. The protesters were peacefully protecting their park but the police were told to stop it by the people in charge. They used tear gas, water cannons, pepper spray and rubber bullets, not in response to violence but to prevent and discourage protests of any kind.
What started as a simple demonstration to protect Gezi Park developed into a wider anti-government movement that spread through out the country. Freedom was at stake and the people were willing to do what ever it takes to make sure that things will change. They built a camp with a library and first aid tent but police responded with more brutality and fire. There is to much to summarize but there’s a lot of good information on the Wikipedia page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2013_protests_in_Turkey) and you’ll find even more from a quick Google search even though most of the mainstream media has been ignoring what has been happening.
A similar situation is unfolding in Brazil as we speak but its about more than just freedom of speech. The demonstrations were initially organized to protest increases in bus, train, and metro ticket prices but again they escalated to dissatisfaction with inadequate provision of social services in Brazil. The Brazilian government is expected to spend over 13 billion dollars on the 2014 Soccer World Cup and the upcoming 2016 Summer Olympics, but education and health care are underfunded. The police brutality was the spark that lead to protests spreading like wild fire through the country. Again there is to much information to summarize but check out the Wikipedia page for more (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2013_protests_in_Brazil).
Now what does this have to do with you? Well let me tell you. The same corruption and suppression of freedom and rights is rampant in your country too, it’s just a little bit better concealed and the general population is more concerned with whats on TV than with what their president or prime minister is doing.
The amazing thing is that in both Brazil and in Turkey the massive protests started over something that may not seem important to most people but it quickly spread to encompass a wide variety of economic and social issues. The same thing can happen here it only takes a few people to spark irreversible change. In Canada we recently had Bill C-309 pass (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_C-309) which basically makes it illegal to conceal your face whilst protesting. Could this be the ember that lights the flame of freedom in Canada? Hopefully. If not people around the world are realizing that they are many and the politicians in charge are a tiny amount in comparison. We have the power, we simply need to start using it to see real change.
@thunderfeet, I’m missing something here, but what does Canada have to protest about(other then a semi-unreasonable law preventing hiding your face whilst protesting)?? Best health care, good economic structure, very fair and just police(this is from personal experience of having lived in Vancouver 8 years), decent government, amazing wildlife preserve laws, and overall the best standard of living in the world.
Are you saying they should protest just to protest? That’s like a rich kid complaining to their parents that they got a 16 gb iPhone instead of the 32 gb one.
Come on man, the rest of the world has it way worse.
@thunderfeet, The thing is like @yoinkie, mentioned that these countries you are talking about have something to protest for. Canada, as well as other civilised countries have an abundance of luxury and nothing to complain about. We do complain a lot, but actually we do not have anything to complain about.
On the contrary to Brasil where people die out of poverty, do not have access to health care, hygienic standards are worse than you could imagine, there is no food, no shelter, no protection etc. They need to do something about their situation in order to survive, but us? What do we need to protest about? The fact that beer prices are increased by 7 and not 5 % ?
This is just the nature of human, you will not change this. Why would you take a risk if you have so much to lose? If you got nothing to lose you are willing to take risks, but if you got everything you need, why would you protest because other people are dying out of poverty in Africa? I mean, this has been going on for aeons, some people are wealthy, some are not. The wealthy ones will not protest for the poor ones, why would they? Nobody is altruistic.
@thunderfeet, I think the elite must now be confident in their technological superiority, we have a choice to be there slaves, get left behind in poverty or resist and die.
It comes down to how the elite want to play it, either they are okay with genocide or if they want to stand up for what is right.
The thing is that doing the right thing will be a massive drain on their resources and they will eventually lose out to those who do not care for doing the right thing.
@yoinkie, @filipek, Nah man that’s not what I’m saying at all. I’m saying that conditions are degrading everywhere and the ruling class and going for a huge power grab because they know they are losing control. Right now Canada is fine but as America continues to turn into a police state where they enacted martial law for two guys that supposedly killed three people in a shady bombing, we need to start thinking of the future. Yes Turkey and Brazil have real reasons to fight for their rights and freedoms that are on the fore front but as time goes by things in other “good” countries like Canada may start turn worse and that’s when the sedated and indoctrinated masses need to wake up. Canada is a great place and it will hopefully continue to be a great place but the power grab by the global elite will leave no one untouched, it’s just a matter of time.
It’s also a matter of inequality and right now Canada is economically in America’s pocket. The Harper government is giving the US huge discounts on the oil that we produce in Alberta that is destroying our environment and the average person is unaware of it. Now when the big issues start coming up will they continue to be unaware? I hope not, that is why I’m speaking out. If most Canadians continue let our environment be destroyed and our economy controlled for America profit what else will we allow to happen?
@trek79, Yes, we live in a tumultuous time, our population is spiraling out of control and something must be done, but at the same time the global elite’s approach to this problem does not have the best interest of humanity at its heart. We can become enslaved and the survival of our species will be much more likely or we can rebel and achieve the true freedom that we have always dreamed of. Awareness will solve any problem better then some control method, and people are becoming more and more aware. Imagine if the entire population of China or India became aware of the big issues and rebelled, there would be no way for the ruling class to put a stop to it. If every religion and every race put aside their differences and worked together, there would be nothing we cannot accomplish.
Indeed! I live in Rio de Janeiro and protests have never reached this point. There were many of them before, but they wouldn’t gather more than 1000 people. Now, even though the media says it’s like 300k people in the strongest protests, we all here believe the streets are getting at least 1 million people. I hope things change, corruption happens often here and finally the masses are waking up.
@thunderfeet, That is an excellent point about awareness being far more effective than any means of control.
But I suppose that is what freedom really is; awareness of self control capacity within.
No one need control anyone who has a reasonable level of self control, and anyone with a reasonable level of awareness will know that no one can be an absolute master of everything, and we each have experience that others may lack, and visa versa.
At some point we can see that things are not about controlling each other but helping each other learn and adapt to situations in ways that will not kill us before we fully understand it.
This is something I wrote for something else, venting I suppose.
I believe we all deserve to enjoy the fruits of our own labor, and the owner/manger class does contribute and so earns themselves their own fruits for their trouble, but where is the line? What justifies these fruits? Where does our own fruits end and someone elses begin?
I’m not a socialist, I just believe we should earn for ourselves from our job but the job itself should have a humanitarian purpose, not focusing human complexes toward the individual gains of an elite.
An Admiral or a General in war will devise strategy and organise the complex, but his/her pay check does not depend on cost cutting on responsible management or dropping his soldiers wages. In fact his salary is set, win or lose, he does not get a commission or a bonus, he does not get to keep the spoils of war.
He serves for honour and duty, for pride and respect, for doing what he believes is right, not for the bottom line, not for a thick wallet.
People who have purpose work better than those who need reward.
As Kevin Costner said in Robin Hood “One farmer defending his home is more powerful than ten hired soldiers”
It is funny how we defend the idea that we should be allowed to earn an indeterminate amount of money from our jobs yet some 80% of occupations have a defined value of contribution.
It seems our fear is already predominantly a reality.
It means that no matter how hard most of us work, we have only our set wage to look forward to.
I think the ideal is not so much to limit all people to a defined wage, owner/manager class included, but rather have variable wage depending on our workload in any given shift, including the owner/manager class.
But then I believe industrial complexes are supposed to be humanitarian tools not opportunities for the already privileged elite to further add to their personal amassing of obscene wealth.
@yoinkie, @filipek, Just look at the trajectory of things. At what point are protests justified, in your opinion? As Thunderfeet notes, the general trajectory is the same everywhere: The rich keep getting richer, the poor keep getting poorer, health care and education are underfunded and the police gets ever more militarized. This is true all over Europe, regardless of the nominal state of affairs in any individual country.
Nominally, the end of the crisis has been called in the US. But when you look at the actual situation of the vast majority of the population, it’s far worse for them than before the crisis hit. Poorer jobs, no benefits, huge debts etc.
When people say “oh, you guys in country XY have nothing to complain about”, I always cringe because that’s completely missing the big picture. And it always begs the question: at what point are protests justified. At what point should people seriously reconsider what they’re letting the rich elite get away with? E.g. the richest 1% of Americans used to own ~10% of everything in 1980. Today, they own about half of everything. To reiterate: The richest 1% have increased their share of the total wealth by FIVE HUNDRED PERCENT.
In your view, at what point should we consider this completely lopsided wealth distribution a serious problem? Also consider that thanks to Citizens United, money means virtually unlimited political influence. And since Obama (the evil soshalist) recently decreased inheritance tax, it means that more and more heirs of huge estates will inherit not only wealth they’ve never worked for, but also the political power that goes with it. None of that has any precedent in modern history, not on that scale.
@Moland, Absolutely, we must look at the bigger picture – at least in America, the whole democrat vs republican duopoly is a distraction, wittingly acted out by politicians and mainstream media, to keep us bickering amongst ourselves over micro-issues while congress, the supreme court, and the supposedly liberal/socialist/whatever Obama Administration (a great disguise) carefully contribute to an ongoing, gradually more corporatized sociopolitical environment that favors the economic elite. It’s all about the “trajectory” of modern policy!
@yoinkie, it’s not about privileged brats “complaining” – it’s about rejecting widespread COMPLACENCY (particularly in the middle class) and instead drawing attention and awareness to the externalities of corporate-run, mass consumerism where a narrow few control most of the wealth (and thus political power, real estate, and natural resources), a sizable minority “enjoys” their designer toys and desensitized media consumption (increasingly at the expense of family, community, and mental health), and the remaining majority bear the brunt of all this through corrupt labor laws, local resource depletion, and global environmental degradation.
@Moland, @thunderfeet, I get your point, but I always wonder why people talk so much and do so little regarding these things. I mean, what are you waiting for, if you are unsatisfied with how things are, nobody is holding you from protesting, creating action groups, or doing something constructive about it. If one does not agree with how things go it does not mean others have to comply with that. Throughout my life I have been going through many different experiences, from being poor, to being wealthy, to living in a capitalistic country, to living in an underdeveloped country etc. I would like to see things differently as well, and I try to do what I can and what I find appropriate in order to change this in my own way. I think everyone should do that, less talking, more doing. Know your limits and spread the love, Spreading negativity is not the way for me, cause negativity only enhances more negativity. War does not give peace. Peace gives peace. Protests will not give peace either, it will only create a gap between one group and another. How many protests have really led to great revolutions in the last two or three decades? And how does that relate to the absolute amount of protests you think? There are better ways.
@filipek, Well, in the 1960s, people wanted to act and not stop to think and talk things over. And they ended up being co-opted by the system. That’s why e.g. Slavoj Zizek advocates serious thinking and discussion over mindless agitation. What do you define as “doing something”?
Consider that the OWS crowd and similar protesters in other countries (all of whom have my sincere sympathies) couldn’t even formulate precisely what it is that they want. The average response was something along the lines of “money should serve the people, not the other way around”. Which is true, and sounds nice, but what specific policies to implement, and how.
We need to talk about these things, consider it all, discuss about it and only then can something politically meaningful emerge.
“There are better ways.” — Name one. It’s very easy for the elite and their spokespersons to claim that “violence is never a solution”. For them, of course it isn’t, because they are in power! So, what better ways?
@Moland, “And they ended up being co-opted by the system.”
Yes, that is why it is important to do things diligently, with a well prepared plan. Not just doing things for the sake of doing things.
I just always see a lot of complaints, but then I never see the people who are complaining taking some action to change the things they do not like. I see it with myself, I do it as well, procrastinate, whine and complain, and it is difficult at times to take action.
I just always wonder how much action the people who complain so much about how things should be better really take? I mean, there are numerous possibilities. Create activity groups, talk about it with your neighbour, spread the word, make plans to come together and discuss these things. Why are so little people doing it? I guess it is because we are spoiled and most of us have everything we need anyway. It is human nature, very few people will do something until something affects them.
I also have sympathy for the people who try to do something, who protest etc., and I have deep respect for them, but I do not whine about how fucked up things are. For me things are not fucked up, yes I have my personal issues, but I can live. I have food, I have shelter, and I have a place to sleep. I do not need more. Everyone has issues, and I am helping where I think my help is needed and where my help is appreciated. I cannot help the whole world at this point, so I just do what I can. But I do not constantly whine about it to others. I try not to spread negativity.
I believe in Khamma in the broadest and simplest definition of the word: every action has consequences. I believe that every positieve action has positieve consequences and every negative actions has negative consequences (with action I mean everything, also thoughts etc.) However, these consequences do not have to show themselves immediately, on the contrary. It can come back in 20 years, or in 2000 years. But it does not go to waste.
“We need to talk about these things, consider it all, discuss about it and only then can something politically meaningful emerge.”
For sure! But mere words will not change anything. Talking is good, but it has to be followed by action, otherwise it is futile.
The things I have mentioned.
“So, what better ways?”
I do not believe that violence is a solution for anything. Neither is hate, anger, grudge, resentment and negativity. You get back what you give, I have absolutely no doubt about this universal truth.
@Moland, First of all it is my prerogative to reply as I see fit. Second, you do not have to agree with me, but that does not mean you need to insult me, that is not very nice. I am not saying action is bad, you misunderstood me. I said words without action are pointless.
I doubt anyone heard of the anti-government protests taking place in my country from the beginning of the year. You have to watch TV to be told not to watch TV. Ridiculous.
I am a Turkish guy, living in Turkey. It is very nice to see a post about the protests in Turkey and Brasil here.
I was there, right at the onset of the protest in Istanbul. All we wanted was to react against disproportionate use of force towards environmentalists. All of a sudden, police did that again with a greater density.
Then it was the beginning of these chain of protests all over the country. I can easily say that the demonstrants are mostly quite conscious, well educated young people. They claim, we claim, more freedom, more green area and less totalitarianism.
I am 41 years old. For long years, I was disappointed by the ignorance and the apathy of the general people towards corrupt power relations. They were, like, thinking about their social security and income only. They were ignorant about the subjects that they considered irrelevant to their lives – like gay rights, enviromental issues, minorities, etc. There were many people like me around; old time activists frustrated by the attitude of majority.
But now, this generation is far more conscious than their parents. We saw this. We saw the light, the intelligence, the humor of them. 20 years ago, social movements had based on violence and hatred. Now it consists of love and consiousness. I can say that this is definitely far more effective on changing the stance of general public.
I am very happy and excited about this situation in Turkey. Something suddenly changed. Things will never be same again.
@fatih, “20 years ago, social movements had based on violence and hatred. Now it consists of love and consiousness. I can say that this is definitely far more effective on changing the stance of general public.”
That is a wonderful perspective. I think it is the contrasting approaches to protest that is the point we are getting at in this tread. No violence, but not mere complaining either – conscious, compassionate solidarity between the haves and have-nots.
@Moland, It is your right to disagree with my comments. If you think they make no sense, I am not going to argue. Words are futile action in my opinion, as long as they are not followed by action (in this particular example). Inaction is also a form of action. Following the status quo is not though.
Indeed I am responsible for my perception and I find ad hominem arguments insulting, and in any way adding something constructive to a discussion. But if your point is not to have a constructive discussion then I will refrain from further comments regarding your stand.
@fatih, It is nice to read the perspective from an insider. Good for you guys, I hope you will get out of it whatever it is you think will be most beneficial for you guys. I am glad I live in an era with such sophisticated technology as the world wide web, where transparency in these kind of issues is higher than ever. Not only that, but the speed in which the news spread itself is wonderful.