Amy Goodman of Democracy Now speaks with Asma Mahfouz, the girl who began the Tahrir Square revolution in Egypt, in Zucotti Park yesterday. Photo by Democracy Now.
Renegade brokers and police joining the demonstrators today, photo by Canadian filmmaker Velcrow Ripper (more here).
I just don’t feel like writing about design much these days, unless the definition of design is broadened very, very far.
The first video below features Amy Goodman and Pulitzer prizewinning journalist Chris Hedges of Truthdig talking about “Occupy Everywhere” on Charlie Rose’s show. (A previous post on Chris Hedges is here.)
Occupy Vancouver, which doesn’t always fully realize that our equivalent of Goldman Sachs/Wall Street banks is actually property speculation, should be directing energy against the BC government rather than the banks. (Non-Canadian readers may not know that banks are somewhat more regulated in Canada, thus saving us from the subprime mortgage idiocy.) But the Occupy Vancouver movement is still finding its way through complicated issues. Let’s hope the City of Vancouver follows Mayor Naheed Nenshi’s example in Calgary and everything stays peaceful.
One thing is for sure: this gap between rich and poor is inherently unstable. This is as true in B.C. as it is everywhere else. The income gap in British Columbia is one of the widest in Canada, and is getting by virtue of some very sketchy mechanisms. By the way, our recent fight against a predatory province-imposed casino in this town, effectively a regressive tax on the poor and vulnerable, is squarely a part of this same protest against the wealth divide.
Cities won’t be peaceful places again until this gap is narrowed. In the TED video at bottom, Richard Wilkinson looks at global data correlating income gaps with a society’s life expectancy, health, mental illness and many other factors. Notice that the USA, the advance guard of unregulated capitalism, comes out very, very badly in every parameter.
Either we’ll force these governments to re-regulate, or there’s going to be ongoing and widespread unrest. When I was in art school a long time ago a teacher of mine remarked one day in the cafeteria that we would soon see a massive gap between rich and poor, a feudal-type economic system, universal unrest and small scale warfare, gated communities and the rise of religious and market fundamentalism. So prescient. I have thought of this often over the years while witnessing things like massive concentration of ownership, the loss of the Tommy Douglas/Lester Pearson social safety net in Canada, and a crude, so-called free enterprise ideology take over every element of public and social life. While we retreat into our interiors.