The spontaneous emergence of Occupy Wall Street in New York in September of 2011 struck a chord that resonated around the world. Like a bolt of lightning out of the blue, the demonstrators in Zuccotti Park—chanting “We are the 99 percent!” — expressed in words and action the suppressed anger and frustration with the status quo felt by millions of ordinary citizens around the world. By October 15, Occupy Wall Street went viral over the social networks, morphing into Occupy World Street when the citizens of 1,500 cities across the planet took to the streets in one of the biggest demonstrations in history to express their dissatisfaction—and one with good reason.
The current global structure is dysfunctional, undemocratic, corrupt, and exploitative of the environment, the developing countries, and even the citizens of the wealthiest nations. The ruling elites are apparently quite satisfied with the status quo and have no interest in finding global solutions, which can only weaken their relative position in the hierarchy. The reigning “corporatocracy” has taken control of all aspects of American society—including Congress—widening the gap between rich and poor enormously under thirty years of politically driven neoliberal economics, designed to benefit the 1% at the cost of the non-profit seeking parts of society—the environment, ordinary working people and local communities. This is the essence of the message from the Occupy movement.
The current political leadership’s inflexible focus on financial manipulations and unsustainable economic growth makes it impossible to deal effectively with global issues like climate change, ecosystem damage, peak oil, and rationing of resources. Meanwhile, thousands of NGOs and millions, if not billions of ordinary citizens across the world are dissatisfied with the status quo and are crying out for change. The dilemma seems to be: those who can, will not; those who will, cannot.
It is with this backdrop that Ross Jackson puts forward a sweeping vision of the necessary reforms of our global economic and political structures. More precisely, he outlines in some detail an ingenious plan to create from the bottom up a new, more human-scale civilization based on the principles of ecological sustainability and human rights in a world of self-determining sovereign states.
Rather than force a direct confrontation with the crumbling Empire, Ross Jackson’s innovative “breakaway strategy” is to propose creation of a “Gaian League”—a scalable prototype of a new international economic and political order. The proposed founders comprise a handful of small nations that are prepared to break away from the contemporary global order and take on a leadership role at this critical time, replacing the WTO/IMF/World Bank with eight new institutions that serve people rather than profit-seeking corporations. In cooperation with grass-roots activists from across the world, who demand a referendum in each country on whether or not to join the embryonic Gaian League, other states will subsequently be invited to join the founders in an exciting adventure birthing a new civilization that will work for everyone.
Occupy World Street: A global roadmap for radical economic and political reform is now available from Green Books.
There is a supporting website at www.occupyworldstreet.org