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Gloucester County Humanists Message Board › Occupy Humanism

Occupy Humanism

Bill R.
jwreitter
Glassboro, NJ
Post #: 265
Occupy Humanism Bill Reitter, 2-12-2012

The Occupy movement is the largest sustained, progressive and radical effort since the Sixties. 2011 will go down in history as an international year of uprisings against ruthless dictators and repressive governments. Occupy confronts economic injustice and official corruption with non-violent resistance, civil disobedience and radical grassroots democracy: of the people, by the people, for the people. Their simple yet powerful motto is “Human Need, Not Corporate Greed.” What is the Humanist response to this amazing phenomenon?

Are we to ignore the Occupiers because they are not rational enough and they refuse to take sides in the god debate? Should we wait for the protesters to make specific demands? Are we waiting for a written invitation? The stated goals of Occupy are clearly humanistic.

As Humanists we should go beyond our rational, non-theist stance and stand up for the progressive issues we hold dear. We must take a strong public stand against all war, injustice and pollution. We must condemn oppression, tyranny, exploitation and loss of privacy. We cannot be afraid to take a stand on politically charged issues: the world is in a state of economic and environmental crisis and needs urgent leadership to protect people and planet. Social injustice and planetary degradation are the obvious evils of our time.

Humanists are best positioned to provide the moral leadership that the world needs to survive during and after destructive wars and global warming that have taken their horrible toll. Most young people I know have given up hope that governments can adequately address, much less solve, our problems... and they often see Humanism as a merely quaint philosophy that does not really care about them.

We need to show struggling students and discouraged workers that Humanist values are progressive, practical and even radical enough to meet the challenges of today's critical problems. These include criminal justice reform, radical military reforms, health care for all, education for all, decent jobs for everyone, and equal rights for everyone, and most importantly, grassroots democracy and freedom from corporate control and greed.

If we cannot take an ethical stand on these issues we are not worthy of the name Humanist.
Many Americans already favor most of our progressive agenda: free quality health care, free education and training, guaranteed jobs with dignity and safety, rehabilitation instead of prison, ban capital punishment and torture, end the drug war, equal rights for women and gays, consumer protection, animal rights, separation of church and state. Most also favor closing the income and housing gap, reducing pollution of air and water, clean-green energy and conservation, community based banking and shopping, efficient mass transit, peace on earth. All of these could be accomplished without raising taxes on the poor or middle class.

If the military budget were cut and corporations and elites paid fair taxes (and no longer received subsidies) there would be plenty of funds for these human needs. It is time for Humanists to support Occupy before we get passed by and wonder what happened. The world is finally changing before our eyes: this is what many of us have been hoping and waiting for. Let’s seize the day, or the students and workers will rightfully ignore us and move on to an uncertain future of their own making, and 2012 will be remembered as the year we failed to act on our convictions.

Gloucester County Humanists, NJHN, Facebook: http://tinyurl.com/NJ...­, Meetup website: http://tinyurl.com/NJ...­
Bill R.
jwreitter
Glassboro, NJ
Post #: 271
This brief essay will be published by AHA as part of The Humanist Teacher Corps project. To learn more about this effort visit http://www.americanhu...­.

A big thank you to Bob Bhaerman for helping with this. http://www.americanhu...­
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