Thursday, November 3, 2011

Occupy Boston

Fifth in a series of posts about the October UUA Board meeting

Knowing I spent years as a senior corporate executive, a friend asked me last night how I felt about the Occupy movements.

I support them. I may cringe sometimes at what I perceive as naivete - a lot of good things are enabled by corporations' abilities to raise and invest money, leaving me decidedly NOT anti-corporation. But I am anti-what-many-corporation-have-become, where the profit motive has outstripped psychological, ethical, and moral contracts.

So there I was with the rest of the UUA Board, wandering between tents, stages, and humanity at Dewey Square. Some of us (trustees) washed dishes in the mess tent, some of us held signs, and others talked to the people who had been there for several weeks. This includes Andy Coates, one of the UU "protest chaplains" who can't do a lot of blogging without wi-fi right now. Among the crowd I encountered Katherine Allen, the young woman from Minneapolis I sponsored at General Assembly last summer; Lucas Hergert, who serves our Livermore (CA) congregation; and a long time (non UU) friend from Boston.

The mood was festive, peaceful; a drumming circle at one end; Marshall Ganz and Noam Chomsky at the other. Ganz encouraged the crowd not to give in to the calls for organization, clear goals, and clear leaders. He cited the story of David and Goliath: David tried on the armor of a "traditional" warrior, and it didn't fit; he went on to fight (and win) his own way. Food was free, clothes were free.

Otto Scharmer, on the faculty at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, likens the current corporate system to a cancer -- it has grown out of control, and its primary goal in life is to feed itself, not caring if it is destroying the system around it. His proposals around Capitalism 3.0 are interesting, as is his work with some of the more enlightened corporate CEOs.

Like Scharmer, I am not quite ready to give up on capitalism. So in my next life I may become a corporate healer. In the meantime, Occupy community members are making some very important points about income disparity an a system stacked against the 99%.

1 comment:

Steve Burns--Davis, CA said...

I have just read (in IMT-Industry Market Trends) that "more than half (56 percent) of U.S. employers are worried about their workers' work-life balance." But I wonder how the employers are expressing that concern? It doesn't seem like there is very much outreach to the employees, who appear to be working every longer hours and are more stressed.