Tag Archive: occupy

Image of a densely-packed forest

Source: Linda Sanchez-Greissel’s Flickr photostream

OK, check this out. I’m pretty. I’m bad. I’m a pretty bad man. In fact, I’m so bad that despite what my online persona might have you believe, I go around the street knocking people upside the head. I can KO a dude with a single roundhouse kick to the head and not give a crap, that’s how bad I am.

I’m so bad, in fact, that one day I’ll stroll up to your house (yes, YOU) with a couple of my equally bad friends, rough you up, and kick you to the curb. You’ll stare at us with tears in your eyes as my buddies and I laugh, standing in your doorway. You’ll shout “You’re horrible! How can you beat me up and kick me out of my own house? (Let’s forget about cops for a minute). I’ll be like, “It’s MY house, punk!” high-five my friends, and call up some of my other friends like, “Yo, house party at the new crib I just stole!”

Soon, a whole bunch of people are coming up to get this party started. As you sit on the curb nursing your injuries, you glare at them. “You’re all just as bad as the three guys inside,” you shout at them. “That house doesn’t belong to you, but you’re going to enjoy it like it’s yours.” One person says, “Whoa, whoa, WHOA! Cut the GUILT trip! *I* didn’t roundhouse kick you in the head! *I’m* not the one who kicked you out of your house! I’m an individual and you can’t lump me in with everybody else. I personally didn’t do anything wrong, and you can’t make me feel guilty for something I didn’t do.” That friend then throws up a peace sign at you, and strolls up to MY new house, and high-fives me at the door. “This house looks NICE,” he nods. “This party is gonna be dope!”

You’re still shouting at everyone and how they’re responsible for your loss when one of your friends come by. You explain to them what happened, and reiterate how everyone in that party is just as wrong as me when your friend cuts you off. “Hey, that’s really cold,” your friend says. “You can’t take away people’s identity like that. Instead of lumping everyone together, you should try to empathize and not point fingers.”

You were expecting your friend to be supportive of your plight, but instead they’ve made you super angry. You’re hurt, you just lost your house, but your friend is asking you to *empathize* with me and my friends. You’re about to scream, but instead you take a deep breath and say, “I’m not saying the people in my house are not individuals. I’m also not saying that every single one of them beat me up and stole my house. Yes, only three guys beat me up, but all of them are now enjoying the benefits of what those three guys did, so I’m holding them all accountable.”

Your friend shakes their head. “Those house guests are individuals who have feelings and families, but you’re erasing their identities. That’s not cool.” You tell your friend to shut up (in perhaps not as many words). They shrug, and go join the rest of the guests in my house party.

The moral of the story is: individuals matter. Collective identities matter. Sometimes individual experiences are important and should be recognized (you’re hurting and you want your house back). Other times, collective identities need to be discussed because collective action is necessary (all those guests need to leave and give you your house back). We can talk about individual trees AND a collective forest, without ignoring one or the other. Let’s not focus on the individual as a way to deflect collective responsibility and action; let’s not focus on collective identity to erase particular experiences. Instead, let’s be context-aware and discuss these issues accordingly.

The end


Woman holding sign with caption “My humanity should not be up for debate”. Source: BBC News/Reuters

Managing multiple social media outlets is hard work, phew! I’ve been mostly on Tumblr and Twitter lately and have neglected this blog. But I’ve got some updates in the works. So much has happened in my country and around the world with regards to state violation of human rights—I want to write something cohesive than adds to the discourse rather than simply parrot what others are saying.

I’ve also been thinking about slightly broadening the focus of this blog as well—or rather, be true about the intersectionality of sustainability issues and not be afraid to discuss what’s happening in Gaza, Ferguson, Mexico, Kenya, Hong Kong, and throughout the world because trees or the environment aren’t explicitly involved. People can’t be proper stewards of the environment if we’re fearing for our lives. We can’t advocate for healthy foods when our governments silence us.

So look out for some new material soon.

Source: Business Pundit

Wal-mart is now advertising a new “low” rate for cashing checks of only $3.…[T]he annual cost of check-cashing for this couple even at Wal-mart prices: $150 a year.

That $150 is a poverty tax — a fee paid by the poor because they are poor.

But then calling it a poverty tax isn’t accurate. It’s a poverty surcharge, not a tax. If it were a tax, then the couple in Wal-mart’s ad would eventually see some kind of indirect benefit from that $150. The poor families paying this surcharge receive no benefit — direct or indirect. All they get in exchange is access to their own money. This $150-a-year surcharge is simply a transfer of wealth from them to much richer people, a direct, you-have-no-say transfer of at least $3 subtracted from every paycheck.…

There’s the rub. To cash your paycheck without paying a fee, you need a bank account, and for working-class people, a bank account costs a great deal more than $150 a year.

People who don’t realize that — who don’t appreciate the enormous, steady cost of a marginal bank account — tend to think that those who rely on check-cashing agencies are just being stupid and wasteful. The couple in the Wal-mart ad, for example, who are paying $150 a year to cash their paychecks could instead open a $100 no-fee savings account that would allow them to cash their paychecks for free. That account would only “cost” them $100 — but even that money would still be theirs, sitting in their savings account and even earning a modest rate of interest.

The problem, though, is that such no-fee accounts are money-losers for the banks themselves.[…]

So seeing no incentive to provide such low-balance, no-fee accounts…the bank will instead try to push them into something more lucrative — into the kind of account that generates a steady stream of nickel-and-dime revenue from ATM fees, minimum-balance charges, late fees and, above all, “overdraft protection” charges.

Last year, U.S. banks collected about $36 billion in overdraft protection fees. This year, they expect to transfer about $38.5 billion out of customers’ accounts in the form of such fees.

$38.5 billion. $105 million every day. $4.4 million every hour. $73,250 every minute. More than $1,200 a second. Transferred directly from the poor to the rich.

Read the full article here.

On another note, if you’re in the U.S. and would like to have slightly more say over your money, you should visit America’s Credit Unions to find a Credit Union near you.

And for more data on American poverty, view the full image linked above.

Why didn't I think of that before?!

I found this article from a Linkedin discussion (of all places) with the caption, “Why do some people settle for ‘making a living’ or ‘making a killing’ when they could be ‘making a difference’?”

That’s not a rhetorical question. This BizShifts-Trends article gets at the root of this issue—why do people “settle” for unfulfilling work? It seems so counter-intuitive, doesn’t it?

If you’re caught up in the typical American view of work you may say you’re ‘making a living’ when in truth something inside you is being killed each day.  Every day, millions of people rush to get to jobs they don’t love and yet those people defend their choices as responsible, practical, and realistic. How can it be responsible to live the biggest part of our lives devoid of meaning, joy, and purpose?

How, indeed! For most readers, the excerpt above, if not the whole article, will probably strike a chord because most of them (the self-fashioned “99%”) live this kind of life, or used to before they lost it. They hate Mondays (no, the actual day, not America’s beloved boogie man), watch the clock tick away before lunchtime, and rush home at 5 o’clock (or 6, 7, 8…) on the dot into the welcoming arms of rush hour(s). Sounds so familiar, and it feels so inescapable…

But! the article sagely proclaims, “‘Making a living’ does not need to be eking out survival at an underwhelming job. It can and should mean literally what it says; ‘making a life’ with all the most energetic and interactive tools at our disposal.” And then like a great Oracle, it gives the secret to attaining this success: Continue reading

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and so many topics come to mind that I could write about. There’s giving thanks to relieve ourselves of our money on Friday, “pardoning” a pair of turkeys for the crime of not being human (naturally, they deserve the death penalty), and, of course, the whole point of the holiday: to celebrate the beginnings of the first Occupy movement—”Occupy America”, a European-led movement that successfully took over the continent and turned Americans into the 1% (well, more like 0.9%), but without any of the perks like having a say in the nation’s future.

That’s something worth celebrating, right?

Incidentally, you can learn about having a gentle Thanksgiving this year or in years to come.

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