What is occupation, anyway?

I just got back from a rather intense work trip abroad, and this weekend I started tackling all the hundreds, nay thousands, of blogs that I had queued up to read but not yet opened. I knew this whole “occupy” thing was going on, to be sure – I may have been away but I wasn’t hiding under a rock. What I didn’t know, however, was just how much emotion surrounds it all!

Two of my lovely online friends have posted about it – clearly they take pretty much opposite views on the topic: This one really believes in it, and this one not so much.

Here in the UK, no one can give me a straight answer as to whether St. Pauls Cathedral, and by extension the Church of England, was gracious to allow protesters on their property in the first place, or is showing its evil capitalism heart by not being more supportive? Can anyone help me unravel that mess a little?

And… turns out this stuff is going on just about everywhere! All the countries in the so-called “first” world, “developed” world, “global north”, whatever you want to call it… Apparently occupying has taken over for arab-springing as the big movement of the year!

So what do I make of it? Well, I figure that at least one or two people who read this blog actually might be curious to hear my opinion, so I’ll attempt to have one. The truth is, though, that so far I really have not found it in me to conjure sufficient emotion to make a big deal out of this, either pro or con. But, here are some thoughts:

1. I think the figure 99% is a skewed expression of victimization. In the countries where Occupying is going on, most people live a decent life. I read in one of those articles linked above that youth unemployment in the U.S. right now is 15%. Ok, maybe that’s 15% higher than it should be. It’s also a WHOLE lot less than 99%. There are countries where 99% may be a fair figure representing the number of average-people who don’t-get-a-shot… but those countries are, well, I don’t think they’re wealthy enough to have Occupy protests going on.

2. Yup… it seems to me that there is something inherently yuppy about Occupy. I can’t put my finger on it, but it’s not capturing true need or suffering for me. Does this seem to anyone else here like an activity for someone from an upper-middle class family who thought they’d just be handed a job on a silver platter upon graduation from university, then didn’t get the job, so they decided to blame it on the capitalists? Please do correct me if I’m seeing this through seriously scratchy lenses…?!

3. The word “occupy” sits a little wrong with me. As an aid worker in the Middle East, occupying is what the U.S. military did in Iraq, what Israel does in Palestine. Not things we want to do, as the young progressives that we are. I know there’s supposed to be a subtle irony in there, but it’s not working for me.

4. As the previous paragraph may imply, I feel like these should be my people. I feel like I should relate to them because they fit into my socioeconomic demographic. So I want to understand them.

5. As much as I find it irritating and easy to criticise, I also have to admit I’m glad that people are standing up against corporate greed. I mean, really, it’s ridiculous some of the stuff these so-called ‘capitalists’ do!

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