When the history of this age is written – if there are people left to write it, and if there is technology left to hold it – it will speak of a generation on the brink. Financial calamity combined with economic collapse combined with endless warfare and bottomless greed united to create a beast with hot breath and blood-red eyes that stares us dead in the face. It is an age on the edge of doom, and yet we persist in the suicidal madness of deliberate ignorance. If that history is written, the first line will be, “They were fools.”
That history will remember Occupy, and a year when a chance was held forth to seize on the idea that this looming collective calamity can be sidestepped. History will remember Occupy as having offered one last, best chance to be more than we are, to see the beast for what it is, and to slay it once and for all.
But Occupy is over, right? That is what they would like you to believe in the board rooms, and in the newsrooms that do their bidding. The camps are gone, there was no message, there were no leaders, and now there is nothing left. Why cling to an idea that went nowhere?
Because an idea never dies, because this idea is not dead, because Occupy lives on all across America and all across the world. Occupy lives in every American city and in every national capitol on the planet. Occupy continues to fight against the greed and violence of the powerful. Occupy continues to fight against those who are murdering our world with pollution and the profit motive. Occupy continues to fight unfair foreclosures and evictions, to stand with Labor and the rights of workers, to push back against the perpetual wars that suck the life out of everything and everyone. Occupy continues to stand in England, in Canada, in Mexico, in Chile, in Greece, in Spain, in Russia, in India, and in so many other places besides; in every place where there are people, there is Occupy.
Occupy has given us the concept of the 99% vs. the 1%, and that has stuck. Now, in America, the entire political discussion holds as its center of gravity this simple, undeniable description of staggering inequality and unfairness. In America, the Republican Party has selected Mitt Romney as its presidential nominee, and in doing so has given us the perfect avatar for who and what the 1% truly represents.
But Occupy is not about parties, or politics, or leaders. Occupy is about people, and their individual power to create change. The camps were a means to an end, a way to grab the news media by the throat and demand attention. Most of the camps are gone now, but the people remain, and within them lives the knowledge that they do not need to follow parties or leaders, but can act on their own to collectively drag this old, dying, deceitful way of things back from the precipice to create a better world.
One year ago, Occupy began. One year from now, I will be a father for the first time. My child will be six months old, and living in a world fraught with peril. It does not have to be how it has been, and for my child, I will Occupy. I will Occupy for an end to greed, for an end to war, for an end to savage inequality, for clean air and water, for safe food and fair work, for the new day that awaits my child if we all, right here, right now, come together and put an end to this madness before it puts an end to us.
Our history is not yet written.