#Occupy: The true motivations

#Occupy has circulated through the depths of the world from New York to Athens to Frankfurt and London. This dynamic cohort has certainly grabbed our imaginations to foment the revolutionary fervour deep within. “Death to Capitalism, Freedom to the people” are what some protesters bellow out in the Bosnian city of Sarajevo, as hundreds walk the streets of their respective financial cities worldwide, including Geneva, Amsterdam, Brussels, Geneva, Zurich and Melbourne. The motivations and intentions sweeping over #Occupy is ambiguous to say the least as you’ll commonly find veteran leftists, anarchists, student protesters and a cohort of celebrities escalating the scale and upward momentum which had initially begun just over a month ago.

The true meaning of #Occupy was a distorted message by our
ever-present mainstream media (took them a while to notice this though didn’t
it?) over a series’ of questions regarding issues not associated with the true essence;
for example, in America where various media channels typically assumed the
mantra of beefing up rhetoric in regard to Obama’s ratings approval. Presently,
these are futile and impotent questions. Politics of the executive and legal
order have disenchanted the masses from active participation and igniting a
real change in real issues such as economic inequality, social housing,
austerity cuts for much-needed public services and many more. Mainstream
politics has winded up the anchor and left the people bereft of opportunity and
hope. Which leads me onto the diversity of reasons for #Occupy; if you ask 30
people why they’re here-whether that be in Syntagma Square or Madrid- you will
get 30 different answers. It is this collision of reasons and attributes of
different social groups that make the outcome of #Occupy all the more
captivating.

The pervasion of protests throughout the international sphere and blogosphere have led to a concept of “Thinking Globally”; unlike those in 1931 when Globalisation 1.0 had collapsed and many nationalist protests arose, but only dwelled within national borders. The marginalized class of 2011 will not disappoint whatever its virtues and demands as an out-of-sorts, disjointed group have now formed cohesive strategies in order to uphold its cause for the near-future.

The determination is however more lucid to your commentator; this is much bigger than a single cause or campaign. This international movement’s primary aim is to limit the power of financial capital and corporate greed which has grown from neoliberal principles from the mid-1970s. They strive to build a more equal society, while rejecting the hierarchical methods of the parties that once claimed to do so.  The rise of welfare inequality and deregulation in financial markets since the Thatcher-Reagan regimes has played its cataclysmic role in prohibiting those masses segregated in class warfare. This movement is a replacement social democracy; run by the people, of the people, for the people.

Occupy Everywhere, then, is the kind of movement you get when people start to believe mainstream politicians have lost their principles, or are trapped by vested interest lobby groups who have seamlessly governed our state’s ideological egos for decades gone by. The elimination of middle government and its replacement with interest-group lobbying has brought chaos to health, education and planning reform. When David Cameron said that lobbyists were “the next big scandal waiting to happen,” he was right. Ironically of course, this speech was before his government came to power.

Those on the streets facilitating #Occupy have never been more disenchanted with mainstream politics and governing effective change. As the euro crisis grips the abiding nations and splurges onto neighbouring countries, the people can do more than opine their maligned state; they’ve produced platform to voice their needs and impact upon the stranglehold of government by lobby groups and maligned interests, to provoke the awakening of slumber of the marginalized communities in society. To break social norms and overcome those force at work who have restricting their freedom for far too long is an override determination which is now being converted to reality and people’s mindsets. It is only by listening to the people and watching the movement in its essence will the true motivations be comprehended.

#Occupy

p.s. If I obtain a lowly mark in my Political Philosophy essay due to lack of engagement with the reading, then this is the reason. So
when I rant about my inability to achieve a First/Second Class in my essay in a couple of weeks time, please refer me back to this article. But if I sacrificed this article for an
essay, I wouldn’t be a very good wannabe-journalist now would I?

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The Importance of Black and Ethnic minorities week

With the anticipation of Black and Ethnic Minorities Week, and the numerous social and political issues which are prevalent in our society, it has become increasingly important to justify the significance of this poignant week in reflection of society today.

There are an inextricably huge amount of factors impacting the under-representation of certain communities in not just corporate industries, but on the political platform and public services, such as the police force. A recent survey indicated that only 3.7% of the police force are from ethnic minorities, emphasizes the so-called negative discrimination which is currently embedded in our public culture. Futile attempts to reverse this trend have had knock-on effects to the next generation, with mixed ethnic groups seeing the biggest increases in youth unemployment since the recession began, rising from 21% to 35% in the period, and as graduates, black people are three times more likely to be unemployed than white people within six months of graduation. Within five years of graduation, black students earn up to nine per cent less than their white peers for the same work.

When the TUC themselves are blaming the employment gap on firms discriminating against candidates from ethnic minority communities then this requires reformation of not just a social culture, but affirmative action to address the deep racism at the heart of our education and student life.

Why is this week so important? It is a compilation of influential events which help to expose the problems faced by ethnic minorities with commonalities of shared suffering and deep-rooted discrimination. The aim is to fight racism and under-representation and expose the shortages faced by victimised students who are treated unequally to their counterparts, as well as to empower these groups to learn about how integral they are in a developing multicultural society, by celebrating the contribution of Ethnic role models, such as Gandhi and Malcolm X, who held a meeting in our very own Student’s union Hall on the 3rd of December 1964, months before he was assassinated.

Unjustified inequality has been rife in our society for a long period of time, while efforts by many groups and movements have aimed to bridge this void, we still hear of the 72 per cent of Muslim women have experienced verbal abuse and threatening behaviour relating directly to their visible Muslim presence.

This week is so important to help engage with groups from an array of backgrounds and disciplines to tackle these issues head on. Our constant drive to lobby and campaign have insofar helped to raise fundamental issues facing back and ethnic minorities, but more needs to be done to empower these communities, less as ‘ethnic minorities’ but as global majorities and foster a sense of solidarity in common struggles.

Not only will these inequalities be addressed, but united on an equal front, we can also celebrate our rich heritage of the positive contribution made throughout civilization from the Civil Rights struggles to strongly featured history on the acts, culture and beliefs of self determining Ethnic groups and people such as Marcus Garvey and Steve Biko, staunch proponents of black equality- shining symbol represented in our very own union- something which we should pride ourselves in conceptualising.

Granted, these issues have contended with short-term fixes, now is the time to empower these groups into substantive action, immerse yourselves and support progressive campaigns that aim to tackle deep-rooted abuses in reality and fuel change by observing the inequalities around you.

Eurozone Debt Crisis goes from bad to worse

The market is making a resounding statement that will typify the response from International institutions in and beyond the Eurozone. On Monday, Italy’s Aa2 credit rating was cut to A2, due to purported market sentiment and “long-term funding risks in the eurozone area”. This can have a spiralling effect on the creditworthiness of Italy’s banks, which seem to resign itself to similar fates, which would put severe pressure on banks’ ability to borrow at low interest rates.

 

Robert Peston, Business editor of the BBC, says,  “If Italy is looking like a more risky place to lend, its banks… will find it harder and more expensive to borrow. The [eurozone] banking crisis will be exacerbated.”  As if there aren’t enough problems to deal with regarding debt restructuring and the small matter of managing a solution for Greece and its future pathway.

Additionally,Italy are now feeling the full force of the eurozone spiralling crisis, through a political angle also, as there have been numerous calls from Berlusconi’s long-time backers for the Prime Minister to step down following a decade of no economic growth and a dwindling of job prospects and a bleak future ahead.

Italy’s economy expanded an average 0.2 percent annually from 2001 to 2010, compared with 1.1 percent in the euro area. Gross domestic product grew 0.3 percent in the second quarter from the three months through March, when it grew 0.1 percent, national statistics institute Istat said on Sept. 9 (Bloomberg).

However, this may have ignited belated action by the controversial PM, with over 100 billion worth of deficit cuts and tax rises coming into the foray. Whether this will be counter-intutive (my rationale), due to the already stuttering economic growth, will be seen.

One of the most worrying consequences however is the over-flowing effect. For instance, another troubled eurozone country, Spain, have faced increased borrowing costs as markets have lost confidence of creditworthiness. This is the key for me; if you lose the markets, chaos foments. I’ll leave any extra analysis for the coming weeks, looking forward to see what solution our humble leaders come up with for repackaging Greece to the markets.

 

Black Students Campaign in Manchester

After a somewhat sufficiently stressful day, I found myself busy scurrying through lectures and meetings. After a 20 minute wait on the phone and £15 wasted constantly topping up, student finance has become the bane of my life. What followed on was quite the contrast.  The Black Students Campaign at Manchester University. Some of you may think what sort of affiliation I have with this organisation, but it represents so much more. It is an empowering term, one with a political and civil movement behind it, with roots from anti-racist and civil rights movements from the Black Panthers to Guerrilla forces across the land.

Whilst originally referring to people of African and Caribbean descent, the word has come to encompass both Asian and Arab people, seeing commonalities in their shared suffering. It is a voice for ethnic minorities in this downtrodden world.

Being an independent organisation is a wonderful thing, one run by politically motivated students is even better. The Campaign seeks to empower, enthuse and educate those who have felt under-represented in the social spectrum, and use our togetherness and inspiring united front to make a positive impact within the community.

Malcolm Shabazz, grandson of the great Malcolm X, will be giving talks across the U.K on his upcoming tour, which beautifully ties in with Black history Month, and the Black Students Campaign are planning to host a symbolic event which ties to all things: Black and Beautiful. The resurgency of such group is refreshing in this pessimistic world, and their attitude and vision can hopefully inspire many afar. Keep watching their space to find out more!

Put an end to the futile Middle East peace process, Our western leaders should stand up and be counted

On the 23rd of September 2011, Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority, announced that he had just made a formal application to the Security Council for Palestine to be admitted to the UN as a full member. “With our souls, with our blood, we will defend Palestine,” cry those who hae been shown a shining beacon of hope by Western rhetoric, not least from President Obama and his fake love for the Arab world, proven by his impudent  tone in Istanbul and Cairo- so soon after taking on the Presidential role. Old habits die-hard; especially for US presidents.
While hope, pragmatic processes and co-ordination have been extolled by both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his insane government, the Palestinian Diaspora have suffered unjustly- not only through the expansion of Israeli settlements across clear Palestinian territory and built a segregated system in the West Bank and Jerusalem that in essence foreclosed the two-state option, but Western leaders who are so eager to advocate Wilsonian principles of self-determination and justice in their own little worlds, have neglected the Palestinian people’s basic constitution of rights and statehood.
Obama is seen as a puppet in the negotiation process, along with Congress- one instance being a Republican congress member saying that, “Netanyahu has more credibility in the Congress than Obama.” Spitting no credible reason for the much-anticipated veto at the UN Security council apart from the fact that the issue should be settled with Israel at the negotiating table rather than at the credible authority for international law, reeks with utter hypocrisy and disillusionment.
But throughout the past two decades, ceaseless negotiations took place between Israel and the PA: Madrid (1991), Oslo (1993), Wye River (1997), Camp David (2000), Taba (2001), Quartet’s road map (2002), Annapolis (2007), bilateral negotiations (2008), Obama’s promises for settlements freeze in Cairo (2009) and declaration of statehood within one year at the UN (2010). The Oslo agreement has set out to restore equal rights and an independent state to the Palestinian people. Negotiations have proven to be ineffectual and frustrating, while everyday Palestinian people are confronted with the hard reality of brutal military occupation on the ground and Israeli intransigence at the negotiating table. The time for false mediation is over.
This courageous call for statehood will not only be a significant point in history for the Middle East, but potentially tear apart Western alliances. France and Germany seemingly possess a difference of views; the latter siding with Israel for historical reasons and the France sickened by the treatment of Palestinians. But Britian ofcourse, unlikely to be swayed by past duties as the Mandate Power for 25 years and leaving a country vulnerable to colonisation with no self-governable institutions, is unlikely to follow suit, no matter how much Cameron enthused about the UN showing a united front. Eastern and Western hemisphere itself is split; with most African nations showing overwhelming support for the Palestinian cause.
Veto or abstain, and the Middle East will be lost forever. How can you be an ardent supporter of the Arab Spring and let the Palestinian’s nightmare continue for much longer? For someone with such high ideals, Obama has categorically shown he cares more about the upcoming elections than the future of the Middle East. Siding with the Palestinian cause would ignite a huge uproar within the omnipotent Israeli lobby and thus a myriad of voters; it simply cannot be done for the un der-fire President. With the polls indicating a second presidential term is not on the cards, Obama needs every vote he can get.
This leaves our European leaders to fight for the ideals which have endlessly been flung around- none more so than our leaders-since President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was ousted on the 14th of January 2011. The Negotiation table has proven it can’t solve this issue, radical action is needed and Cameron is right to advocate a united front in the face of adversity; can they afford to abstain from this historic opportunity to revolutionize the Middle East forever?