Thursday, November 17, 2011

I Am NOT One Of The 99 Percent

Image © Sebastian Kaulitski

I'm not one of the 1% either.

I'm also not surprised that a number of commentators are getting more than a little fed up with those who claim they speak for the rest of us, whilst wasting everybody's time on vague statements that seem to demand that "somebody does something, so long as it isn't us."

When I've been unemployed, I've found work. I've struggled to pay bills, worked more than one job at a time when necessary and focused on improving myself and my employment prospects until I either hit that promotion ceiling or got made redundant again.

Despite being qualifed to degree level in three separate disciplines, I've still worked as a cleaner, a carer, a postman and a checkout assistant. I take responsibility for my life and I'm no different from others. I know of people who have slept rough until they've scraped the money together to get a room; who've done 3 jobs a day to pay off mortgages early. They haven't demanded support or refused to pay taxes - they got on with living.

Camping in tents isn't going to change things. Banding together with enough like-minded people will, but there's more influence in cyber-campaigning groups such as Avaaz than you'll find on any of the Occupy sites.

I'd rather put time and effort into something like Branson's Screw Business As Usual, than join a protest where the majority of fellow campers appear to have no idea what it's like to live in the real world.

We live in a rapidly changing world. We need to adapt to survive. If we want to change corporate behaviour, it's better to effect that change in a way where everybody benefits. If the current variety of capitalism doesn't work, replacing it with compassionate capitalism is still better than a system where nobody is able to excel.


JohnandKath said...

Hi Anna
inspirational as always but I have to disagree with you about the protestors. It is only because others protested in the past that we enjoy the rights & freedoms that we enjoy today. I wouldn't do it but I'm glad others are prepared to.

Anna Ellis said...

Hi John and Kath,

Thanks for disagreeing with me :-)

Thing is, I'm not against protestors per se. I'm not against lobbying either.

I was a founding member of the Coventry and Warwickshire NO2ID branch to protest and lobby against ID cards, for example. I've stood next to MPs and Lords to campaign against ID cards. I've also worked with organisations from CAMRA to Charter88 to campaign for the Sustainable Communities bill which has now spawned the Localism bill.

But those protests and campaigns had a defined purpose - they picked on one niche and focussed all their energies on achieving it and it took years for that success to happen. Those of us involved had to slog on regardless. None of us camped outside St Paul's; we got on with work, family life and everything else as well.

This Occupy protest seems to emulate some of the CND camping festivals; I've campaigned alongside those who, in their time, campaigned at Greenham Common, for example. I appreciate the dedication and sacrifice they made to get their point across. The problem is, they didn't achieve their aims by having a permanent campsite, any more than Swampy succeeded with the Newbury bypass.

I suppose my point is, there are effective ways to protest. You need to focus on the most important points of your cause, you need imagination, dedication and drive. You also need to work hard, and learn to communicate in the language of your audience.

Not very different from being successful in network marketing, really.

JohnandKath said...

WOW - I don't know how you fit everything in, life really must be non stop for you.