The Occupy Movement has been making headlines for several months now. You know - this kids outside St Paul's in London? Yet we have already written it off as another flash-in-the-pan demo. Those involved are described as "anti-capitalist" because they question our economic system. Indeed the term "anti-capitalist" is effective in that it fixes in our minds the vision of a certain kind of antisocial-anarchist, peddling ideas so unacceptable that we need not give them a second thought. It is a label. In this case an inaccurate label. A label to discredit the movement and close off our minds to the debate. But we're better than that.

The idea started with "Occupy Wall Street" in the USA which kicked off in the summer. It was widely ignored by the media in the US - for a while. But then it didn't go away. How pesky. That was the point. It wasn't going to go away. It was the definition of the word "occupation". You would be forgiven for not knowing about it in the UK. Then the movement (that was inspired by the Arab Spring) came to London. It was something genuinely new. Sure there had been a few hot heads, anarchists and anti-capitalists before who cooked up a riot every G20 summit. There had even been climate camps of limited life and success. But this was different. It would be an indefinite occupation of our financial system modeled after the occupation of Tahrir Square in Cairo. Thousands would come just to sit in a tent with lots of banners. They believed, like the Egyptians, that they would change their world. It may be naive but change is built around such people. Just see what happened in the Middle East this year.

The regular media was mystified by it. "What does it mean?" they kept asking. "What do they stand for?" Surely the Arab Spring must be something that happens to other people and other countries that don't have democracy? The media likes simple, media-friendly stories with press releases, web sites, camera-friendly media spokesmen in suits, sound bites... Something with a beginning, middle and an end. Anything more deep & meaningful is dismissed because it is too complicated to explain. Thus the label "anticapitalist" and the media moved onto the sports news. The Occupy Movement defied summing up in terms acceptable to a mainstream audience. It could be done, but to do so would break a taboo so deep and violently upheld that it dare not speak its name. Thus right-wing pundits joked about the protestors getting coffee from Starbucks - simply because their stereotypes and cliches can't explain what these protesters are all about. They don't understand or - if they did - they sure-as-hell don't want YOU to understand.

This movement wants what the people of Tunisia wanted. What the people of Egypt got. What the people of Libya got NATO to fight for: justice & democracy. This is a deeply heretical thing to say in our society because we assume we have justice and democracy. We do, in most parts, but not in our economic, financial & banking system. Thus the Occupy Movement is a cry of anguish. Like all anger it may not always have a shape, form or direction. But, putting it simply, this movement wanted to know why we had got to where we were, and were there any alternatives? Was there, in short, a Plan B?

Recently conventional economics and politics showed us their 'Plan B'. It involves countries having their democratically-elected leaders ousted in favour of a "steady hand": normally a money-market-friendly banker. A very modern state coup. Now the Banks are in charge. The takeover is complete. The financial markets gave Greece a thorough beating for daring to suggest that their rescue package be put to a referendum. It seems that democracy must not get in the way. It was the sort of dictatorship we saw in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya. The one that is still in charge in Syria. All this happened under the gaze of the media. And nobody questioned it. Instead we were asked how outrageous it was that Greece would mess with us in this fashion. Big Brother in George Orwell's "1984" could not have used better Newspeak to describe it.

First and foremost the Occupy Movement is occupying a vacuum: a philosophical space. Wall Street or St Paul's Cathedral are but physical manifestations. Their area is a space in our democracy. A vacuum of ideas that they are daring to fill. I am not an anti-capitalist. I believe in free-market enterprise. It is amazing that I have to point that out because our culture promotes the idea that there are no alternatives and no other ways of operating - other than our current version of capitalism. The picture is painted as black and white with "capitalism" in one corner versus "communism" in the other with no shades of grey in-between. It is seldom explained that we actually have a certain version of Capitalism today that Adam Smith wouldn't recognise. And the problem is our money. There are no free markets for money.

At least one person in High Wycombe is very conscious of the problems with our version of a capitalist money system. He is our MP. Yet few are aware of his work in monetary reform. He believes in a currency free market with a web of local currencies like those advocated by the Transition Movement. This illustrates a key point missing from the public view of the Occupy Movement. It might look left-wing but this is not a left-versus-right struggle. No. It is old ideas versus new. It is epic. A battle sometimes between right and wrong. NOT because there is a conspiracy but only because an entrenched system of power protects its existence even beyond the point where it has ceased to serve society. Beyond the point at which it causes actual damage. Yet no one in this system is willing to simply say this emperor has no clothes. It is an old problem... In his 2009 book "The End of Money" Thomas H. Greco Jnr quotes one of America's first Presidents John Adams (from a letter to Thomas Jefferson) "All the perplexities, confusions and distresses in America arise not from the defects of the Constitution or Confederation, not from want of honour or virtue, as much as from downright ignorance of the nature of coin, credit and circulation". Greco quotes this in a section of his book called "What we don't know is hurting us". And it seems we have little real idea how our money system got so sick.

To understand an element of this sickness we should look at a recent essay by Brian Czech at the Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy (http://bit.ly/scUaqg) called "Presenting the Economic Policy of the Occupy Movement". He wrote "The Occupy movement is, first and foremost, an objection to the rule of Big Money; big corporations, big banks, and big-time rip-offs of the taxpaying public. It’s all about economic justice. But at this point in history, economic justice is complicated by limits to economic growth. The old notion that a “rising tide lifts all boats” has become morally inadequate and physically irrelevant." he goes on "That means an economy with stabilized levels of production and consumption, which means stabilizing population and per-person consumption. It means an economy that fits on Earth without threatening present and future generations with its overbearing, bloating size. It means an economy of stable size that, when accepted by national governments and sought in international diplomacy".

Such an economy is possible. It has to be in the end. It requires us to separate our central banking system from government - as we had once separated church and state. Our money-system is a weapon of mass destruction wielded by Governments for hundreds of years to pay for things that taxation could not afford. Wars, empires, health services, roads you name it. Things good. Things bad. We should have chosen more wisely. We didn't. So here we are.

The Transition Movement is sympathetic to the Occupy Movement ethos. Although we do not believe in protest we sympathise with them because they (like us) are having the debate that is so banished from our regular polite conversation. THEY protest. WE setup credit unions, alternative currencies and get communities to be more self-reliant. We are solving the problem one person at a time whereas the Occupy Movement wish to go straight to the head of the snake and speak truth unto power.

But power isn't listening.

I believe in a better way that makes our democracy, justice system and financial sector better. I don't seek its overthrow but it is in need of a thorough re-modeling. We now need to occupy the vacuum. We need to talk about the 'whats' and the 'hows': What will replace our broken economic & banking systems? How will we do it peacefully with justice & democracy? How do we create sustainable money with sustainable wealth and prosperity that doesn't disappear into a credit bubble? Book shelves are groaning with the wise words of economists who offer alternative ideas. Their words are outside the acceptable mainstream. Their work is not taught in the Schools of Economics. They are unpeople. Their ideas must not exist. They challenge a status quo.

It is time to dust these ideas off and start the debate. Time to occupy an area where we fear to tread lest we learn something we don't like. Time to listen to the truth. Time to rebuild. Time to occupy. Time to occupy High Wycombe with ideas. Time for the next industrial revolution and time to occupy High Wycombe with it. A new reality. One that, this time, just might be built to last.

There is a better way.

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