Occupy Wall Street

When we demonstrated for civil rights and against the Vietnam War in the sixties, the demonstrations made a difference. They helped lead to the Civil Rights Act (1964) and ultimately to bring down the presidency of Lyndon Baines Johnson.

When we demonstrated against the invasion of Iraq on February 15, 2003, 8000 people turned out in Santa Fe, the largest demonstration ever in our town. Millions of people around the world simultaneously demonstrated and it was said to have been the largest worldwide demonstration in history.  But, nothing happened. It was hardly covered in the press and war policy was neither debated nor changed.

Occupy Wall Street is the first movement since the invasion of Iraq to give voice to ordinary people. While, Occupy Wall Street has issued a very articulate statement, its distributed system of authority is the key message.

The message of Occupy Wall Street is basic and simple: we want a just and equitable society. When I was growing up, members of society talked about and aspired to the common good. Then as now, we have the solutions to our social problems; what we need is the political will.

Buckminster Fuller once said that our final exam as human beings will be whether or not we will take care of everyone. We have the resources to end poverty and hunger. Will we do so? The UN has estimated, for example, that it will cost $195 billion a year to end poverty for the 1/6th of the world’s population affected. By contrast, the US spends $195 billion in less than two months on the military. How long can we live with this kind of inequity?

This is what Occupy Wall Street is about: social justice. There really is enough for everyone and helping others doesn’t mean that we will suffer. What it does mean is that we will have to shift from a domination model of society to a cooperative model. We have to change the way we think.

As parents we certainly know what it means to change the way we think. We have to decide if we are going to be a family in which certain members dominate or if we are going to be a family that cooperates. It’s not easy giving up the illusion that you can control everything if you are a good parent, but it can be liberating.

We need to be liberated as a world society. We need to lead with compassion. When Occupy Wall Street talks about a just and equitable society, what does that mean to you as a parent? It means a lot. A just and equitable society, for example, would be congruent in regards to its messages about breastfeeding. It would support its advocacy for breastfeeding with legal limits on formula advertising, as is the case in societies with the highest breastfeeding rates. A just and equitable society would regulate an advertiser or marketer’s access to your child’s attention, personal space and value system, as is the case in Norway and Sweden. And, finally, in a just and equitable society, parents would receive paid leave for childbirth and parenting, like in all other industrialized countries.

The obstacles to breastfeeding, the onslaught of advertising to children and the lack of financial supports for families are all the result of the dominance of moneyed interests over the needs of the people. Occupy Wall Street is about hearing the voices of these people.

Here’s some things you can do:

Check out these photos of the global demonstrations on October 15th.

Talk to other people about Occupy Wall Street.

Join a demonstration in your area or go to one in NYC or DC

Send blankets, socks, and/or donations to the Wall Street demonstrators.

Use Cash.

Choose a Credit Union; they have lower fees and you can become a member.

Identify and help to solve one of your town’s most pressing problems.

Participate in our community thread Occupy Wall Street.

Imagine a just and equitable society.


Peggy O’Mara  (101 Posts)

Peggy O’Mara founded Mothering.com in 1995 and is currently its editor-in chief. She was the editor and publisher of Mothering Magazine from 1980 to 2011. The author of Having a Baby Naturally; Natural Family Living; The Way Back Home; and A Quiet Place, Peggy has lectured and conducted workshops at Omega Institute, Esalen, La Leche League International, and Bioneers. She is the mother of four.

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5 thoughts on “Occupy Wall Street”

  1. we’re failing yet again to address the REAL issue being the administration in office that passed these FAILED policies that did NOTHING to create jobs, help the economy, etc. Don’t blame someone else for YOUR problems. Don’t expect the GOVERNMENT to fix them. THAT is what is wrong with this line of thinking today in our children. They expect everything for nothing. They don’t expect to have to work hard to earn a decent living wage. That is what makes me sick about this “movement”. I get up every day and decide to put one foot in front of the other to make a living. Because someone else CHOOSES not to, I don’t want to be giving away MY hard earned money for them. This isn’t the type of MOTHERING I will teach my children either. You know what, my children have to work around the house, I don’t do it all, they learn to take part in what it takes to run a household even at an age as young as 4, she can pick up her toys, fold her clothes and put them away. She can clean up after herself at the table and LEARN that it is our hard work together that we enjoy a nice clean house. *sigh* You bring up the ’60s don’t forget about the demonstrators that SPIT on our soldiers returning from Viet Nam b/c they were against it? Our men in uniform didn’t ask to go over there, they were doing their civic duty, they were serving the orders of their country. Being a daughter of a Viet Nam vet as well as having several Uncles that served, I see the ramifications of your “making a difference” I pray EVERY DAY that that never happens to our men and women serving today regardless of anyones opinion of whether we should be fighting the war or not. So, NO, I will NOT be demonstrating but I will talk to others about OWS and how it is fighting the wrong fight. Perhaps, the truth will get out there more than the lies.

  2. Carisa > I’m glad you think everything is going OK with this country as it is. No need to fight, no need to voice injustice. YOU can sit there and teach your children to pick up their toys. I will be part of the movement. I will work at 3 non-profits and earn less than the poverty level. I will raise my 2 children. I will give back to my community. I will support people (which may include soldiers), but I will not support war. I will support peace and understanding. I will also teach my children to pick up their toys. I will teach them peace. I will teach them that their efforts are worth something in return, just as I will expect my efforts to be rewarded as well.

  3. Carisa, you are either grossly misinformed about economics and politics, or you are being willfully obtuse in your rant. In the same breath that you blamed the Obama administration for “failed policies,” you told people not to blame anyone but themselves. I am a professional who works 50-60 hours a week, I own my own business, and I make decent money. However, I am not naive enough to think the future will be so bright for my kids if corporate interests are allowed to continue to rule our country. I also care about what other people are going through. I care about the thousands of families that have had their homes taken by foreclosure because of criminal bank policies and their jobs taken by cheap overseas labor subsidized by our tax dollars. I honestly can’t respect the intelligence of anyone who thinks that these things are not a problem, and I can’t respect the humanity if someone says to another human being in need, “Suck it up. Try harder.”

  4. Peggy,

    Thank you sooooo much for this!

    My baby, her dad, and I have visited our local Occupy Wall Street in the hopes of becoming more involved. Specifically I’ve been thinking along the lines of doing something breastfeeding-related. The fact that you wrote about it inspires and motivates me to become more lactive (lactivism active).

    Thanks also for the informative links you provided.

    Peace and mommy’s milk,


  5. I never said everything was a-ok in America. In fact, I think things are very wrong in America but I do NOT believe the government has the answer. I think the outcry is being misdirected – THAT was my point. It is not just the OweBama administration – I never singled that out. I think the Bush administration played its own hand in this mess as well. I just don’t see how singling out the so called 1% is going to be the answer. Seriously. That is where the misstep is. I just don’t understand how capitalism and free market are the evils in this scenario. I really don’t. I pray for this country every single day that it will return to what it was once founded on, Freedom and Liberty for all. I will fight for what I believe in as well. It’s just not OWS.

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