Thursday, 15 December 2011

Libdemchild with Rev Jesse Jackson at Occupy St.Paul's

I was asked to speak at Occupy LSX (St.Paul's) today with THE Rev Jesse Jackson. It was an amazing honour to be in the company of such an important and historical figure. It was also a great privilege to have been asked by the Occupy Movement to speak. This is my speech.

Good afternoon Occupy, It’s an honour, a privilege to be here today. This is one of my favourite places in the world. I am here today to contribute to my future through debate and an exchange of ideas.

I want to live in a country where the level of inequality is minute and where children are able to get the best education no matter which school they go to in what area. No doubt we will always have people who earn more than others because people's abilities differ but I do want to live in a country where children can afford to eat at home, have heating and have a childhood. Poverty affects childhood well being. Children from poor families have more problems such as mental health, school achievements, alcohol abuse and teenage pregnancies.


Youth unemployment is now at 1.027 million. I have reason to worry about our young and I am grateful to Occupy for providing a space for me to talk about these things. To me, a child, capitalism is scary. It presents an illusion of how if you work you will have a decent standard of living. This isn't the case. People have lost jobs through no fault of their own. I am struggling to understand what forces are at play that allows 1% to keep accumulating wealth while there are children in this country who don't have breakfast before school because their parents can't afford it.

We have had free market economics for 30 years and it has resulted in a lobsided world. The Occupy Movement is right to ask for our economic system to be looked at. Capitalism was meant to provide for all. It’s not. When billionaires like Warren Buffet says that he wants to pay more tax and uses words like ‘it’s time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifices then it really is time.

What is the future for us the young people who form part of the 99%? Bleak if things carry on the way they are. The Occupy movement has been phenomenal in the way it has made the debate on inequality a part of everyday life now. When the banks first failed it was seen as an economic problem, nobody really could predict the way it would affect us all. Then it happened but people weren't able to put a name to it. The Occupy movement have given us a language to describe what we are living. Inequality.

I don’t understand the hypocrisy of society. While children are being abused, killed and neglected in their own house unnoticed by society or social services the city of London’s director of community and children’s services provided a witness statement to say that children were at Occupy spending time with drug addicts.

What really makes me so angry is that while much is made about this camp being a health and safety hazard children are living in unsafe housing, overcrowded homes with leaking roofs and damp on the walls.

People at Occupy are insulted for supposedly not having jobs. Yet, strikes and marches are organised demanding jobs for people. So if you are at Occupy you somehow can go out and magically get a job but if you don’t belong to Occupy then you are not to blame for being unemployed?

Professor Richard Layard, the professor on Happiness, said ‘We do not need a society based on Darwinian competition between individuals. Beyond subsistence, the best experience any society can provide is the feeling that other people are on your side. That is the kind of capitalism we want.'

Occupy is stirring intelligent debate about social justice, economics, race, feminism and education. These are building blocks for sustainable living. Anyone who criticises Occupy misses the real picture. It’s not about the tents, silly. It’s about redistribution. Redistribution of wealth, opportunities and ideas.

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2 comments

  1. I don't agree with redistributing wealth but I do agree with a more equal society. I want a capitalism that allows everyone to earn roughly equal before tax.
    Good speech.
    Where do you live by the way?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Nic,
    I live in London. Are you referring to the Tobin Tax?
    Maelo

    ReplyDelete

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