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Putting the Global Occupy Movement in Context: Who Are These Protesters and What Do They Want?

Putting the Global Occupy Movement in Context: Who Are These Protesters and What Do They Want?
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Written by Lois Beckett, ProPublica

At first glance, the synchronized protests that took place in more than 900 cities around the globe on Oct. 15 seemed to indicate that Occupy Wall Street had achieved a kind of worldwide resonance.

But the truth is more complex. Many of the protests elsewhere grew out of movements that pre-date Occupy Wall Street and out of frustrations that, though similar in some ways, are also specific to their countries.

Here’s a look at the origins, demands and affects of five of these global protests, as well as the criticism they’ve faced.

 

Horment/flickr

In Chile, Students Protesting for Free Education Occupy Schools

The Santiago protest in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street took place during a week of ongoing national demonstrations. Since May, Chilean students have been staging protests demanding that the government make education free to all.

Secondary school students have occupied their schools, sleeping on the floor and holding their own classes. Last week, protesting students occupied Chile’s senate building in Santiago. Hundreds of thousands of people have participated in marches over the past six months. At times, the protests have become violent, with police using tear gas and water cannons on the protesters, and “masked assailants” setting fire to a city bus.

Opinion polls show more than 80 percent of Chile’s citizens support the protesting students, who also have the backing of labor unions and teachers. Government officials, including the president, have resisted the demands, saying the government cannot afford to pay for education for all students.

Top photo from tranZland via flickr

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10:05AM PST on Nov 15, 2011

All protests share one thing in common: frustration at the status quo, and at not being listened to. Democracies want democracy to work. People under repressive governments want to change to having a say: democracy. I know this sounds naive and pat, but I believe it to be the underlying principle of all -- people are fed up with not being served by their governments.

1:48PM PDT on Oct 31, 2011

Kids: +$250 a month for each kid up to 2 until they turn 18, but no more after that. Only two caretakers can qualify for this benefit per child, and to qualify for this a caretaker must live in the same residence as the child, and actively participate in the child’s upbringing.

Income is not taxed by state/local government, and no income is earned by people who are incarcerated.

EX: Donna get’s $1000 a month for being alive, 18 years old, and has a high school degree. She has a master’s in engineering which gives her another $750 a month. She is presently employed in a job that requires her masters degree, she works 25 hours a week, and this gives her yet another $750. That would be $2500 a month, and $30000 a year.

Under this system everyone is taken care of, is encouraged to obtain education/employment, and is encouraged to make responsible decisions about having children.

(Partially inspired by the Minimex System in Belgium)

1:48PM PDT on Oct 31, 2011

Unemployment will reach 25% to 50% in the next 20 years due to increasing population, technological advancement, job obsolescence, and a rapidly shrinking job pyramid. Human society cannot survive under these conditions without changing, and here is one example of how it can change for the better.

The present money for debt exchange system with banks does not work, and would be abolished/replaced with debt free money. Under a debt free money system money would be printed as needed, and would have heavy oversight to make sure that the money being spent is actually going toward what is being bought. Wages, Education, Health Care, and Public Works are paid by the government that prints money as needed.

An individual’s monthly allowance would be addressed as follows:

Base Rate = ($1000 monthly) Alive, 18 years old, and has a high school degree.

College Education = (+$250 for each level of education that does not contain cross pollination. Associates, Bachelors, Masters, PHD) = Base rate with extra $ a month for level of education.

Working College Educated = Base rate with extra $ a month for level of education, and extra $ as determined by the education level required to do the work following the education formula. To qualify for this money a person has to at least work 20 hours a week.

Kids: +$250 a month for each kid up to 2 until they turn 18, but no more after that. Only two caretakers can qualify for this benefit per child, and to qualify for this a ca

8:02PM PDT on Oct 29, 2011

Yeah, they have a new ideal in mind, most of them just aren't able to articulate it yet, but it's been floating around since the 80's when big system thinkers, futurists and econimists saw the break down that was coming as the industrial era has ended and we started making stuff just to have jobs,,making more 'throw aways', ect. Useing more resources, polluting.The new money paradigm is inserting money at the bottom where it will bubble up. There will still be jobs and work to be done, but everyone over 18 would recieve a stipend to live on.Taxes would be on goods and services, not income, and our own government would print the money.If you're still steeped in the economic theories of the industrial era and set on thinking providing the basics for people is a hand out, then this idea is going to seem radical.But if you're an ordinary working person, haveing a garenteed income to fall back on in case of illness or job loss for any reason is just plain sensable.

7:12AM PDT on Oct 28, 2011

But, as in most protests, what are they going to put in it's place?

What are their goals and visions?

Will they reinstate the industrialism, control of banking and corporations?

If you realy want to help...find a solution...protest all you want...without a solution it will do no good!

11:36PM PDT on Oct 27, 2011

Australia like Germany is in a pretty good position as well. But we haven't escaped the Corporate Greed mentality here. When I read the Business section in a broadsheet newspaper it reads more like our local police report. As for the other causes, yes I can understand their fustrations. There are not enough jobs to go around - so some people will be unemployed for most of their lives. Education is getting dearer and will be inaccessible to most in the future, etc, etc. It is good that the protests are going Global.

10:08PM PDT on Oct 27, 2011

Duh, they all want the same thing.Is it fair to pay CEOs obscene amounts of money while the country is bleeding!

9:20PM PDT on Oct 27, 2011

Since Reagan, several trillion taxpayer dollars have been redistributed to corporations, always (to this day) on the excuse that it is "necessary for job creation." Trillions of dollars and three decades later, we have a fraction of the jobs at worsening wages. Since NAFTA, some 28 million American jobs have been shipped out of the country, thanks to ongoing corp tax cuts. At the same time, Clinton ended the entitlement to poverty relief for all those left behind as our jobs sail away. Making things even more complicated, without welfare aid, which actually provided enough economic stability to enable people to work their way back out of poverty, the percentage of the population in permanent, hopeless poverty has continued to grow. We're reaching a breaking point. If we don't start investing in the American people, from poverty relief to education to creating actual (eek!) rules to limit the power of corporations, there won't be an America to worry about.

12:49PM PDT on Oct 27, 2011

Political instability is a symptom, not the illness itself. Stay tuned for more crop failures, pandemics, wars over resources, and really funky weather.

11:31AM PDT on Oct 27, 2011

That should be a diminishing middle class and an increasingly lower class.

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