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Beethoven's Ode To Joy - Occupy Madrid, Saturday October 15 2011

I was just blown away by this YouTube video yesterday of thousands of people singing Beethoven's Ode To Joy in Madrid's main square (the Puerta del Sol)  to support the first global day of the Occupy movement (OccupyWall Street, also known as O15 for yesterday's date) - so beautiful, such wonderful music and so many people assembled peacefully together in unity. (Linus would have approved:)

Spain/Madrid is where the Occupy protests actually started several months ago to the day - May 15, 2011 - in sympathy with the Arab Spring and to protest Spain's crumbling economy, ransacked by bankers like everywhere else. 

This video yesterday symbolized to me the first truly global day of the Occupy movement...and the fact that hopefully the whole world of the 99% is waking up, waking from a dream (or nightmare) and realizing that this is the time to take back power, to fundamentally change how our societies function. 

That's idealistic and incredibly hard to accomplish, but Gandhi and Martin Luther King achieved great things and wouldn't be deterred, so let's see what happens. We need a leader, someone of that stature, a visionary not a politician - or a whole group of visionaries.

The media, the pundits, the politicians, will do their best to demean this and to label it, box it in, say it has no clear message, say it's been hijacked by extremists (as did sadly happen in Rome yesterday, where masked anarchists caused violence and destruction at odds with the aims of the Occupy movement) - but maybe...maybe...maybe, through the democracy of access and news that social media have brought, the message will continue to spread, people will continue to gather peacefully and protest the fact that for the past three decades at least - but especially the past three years - the bankers and corporations and politicians have caused far more damage and pain to people's lives and to the fabric of our world than did those anarchists in Rome yesterday.

Don't let the actions of a few detract from a spontaneous awakening of people to the fact that we have been robbed, burgled, mugged, exploited, enslaved and metaphorically raped by the "international congress of the wealthy" - the 1% - over the past decades.

They have rolled back so many of the rights and protections and desperately needed assistance and security (job security, education, healthcare, pensions, a healthy environment, time to spend with family) that was won over the past century or more by brave individuals and groups - suffragettes, civil rights workers, unions - who often sacrificed themselves (as sadly did Martin Luther King) for the greater good.

This isn't about left or right: socialism didn't work but now we see that capitalism doesn't work, either. We need to find new paths, new directions for a world that is rapidly changing in terms of technology, population growth and the shift of global power to the Asia-Pacific region.

May people continue to gather in freedom and to ask for a decent standard of living, for jobs, for access to education and good health, for progress - for the "commonwealth" (on which America itself was founded) that we are born into: the beauty and abundance of this planet, if we take good care of it.

"Let freedom reign!"


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