I was asked awhile ago, what causes can OM get behind, that could find the broader community gravitating towards and maybe even more supportive of the goals that Occupy aspires to.
I thought about it and replied, I’m not sure the broader community really understand points about banks, foreign trade policies and corporations influence on the government, etc. However what they do understand is the amount of money in their pocket, so raising awareness, or campaigning about issues that are a drain on the money in their pocket, would seem a good approach. Two costs that came to mind, that I felt could be easily understood and possibly gain support from the broader community were public transport fees and childcare fees.
As was seen at the free public transport rally, there’s alternative methods of funding public transport that would be less of a drain on tax revenues, provide equitable access to all, as well as contribute to reducing carbon emissions. Which IMO are three important points and seeing them achieved would be a progressive and optimal outcome, for the broader community.
Free childcare would also be a progressive move, as it would reduce the financial challenges that families experience, as well as reduce the erosion of family life, which now (as a result of both parents working), have limited nurturing and bonding time with each other.
Child care fees have just increased again. The fees vary from state to state, but regardless of which state, the fees are high and a considerable drain on the average persons wages.
Laws state that the interests of children’s welfare is above all and yet these exorbitant fees, contribute to families (who have both parents working to escape the poverty trap, or the rental trap etc), being limited in their capacity to better their financial standing and as noted, is known to have the effect of eroding families ability to nurture and bond with each other.
So how is the current model living up to the ideals of the law, that children’s welfare is above all?
Much like the suggestions made about alternative ways to fund the PT system, these alternatives could also fund free child care, which would go a long way to redressing the imbalances, that exist under the current model.
One alternative could be that businesses,(who profit by having a broader workforce,due to males and females now being represented in it) could pay the costs, or contribute to childcare costs. Possibly even write the cost off as a tax expense, or receive financial incentives from the government with tax breaks.
Certain businesses that do have childcare services (at their place of employment) have noted improved productivity and a better work atmosphere, than businesses that don’t. In businesses that don’t have childcare, parents are having to juggle the stress of peak hour traffic etc to get to child care centres on time to pick children up, combined with the guilt (some parents experience) of leaving their children with others to raise, all so they can make a living and provide for themselves and their children..
Who benefits from this? Well again its the usual suspects, being businesses who have increased productivity and profit and the government, who have increased tax revenues from these companies, as well as the increased tax revenues they acquire from personal tax.
Latch key kids/X-box Kids (another related scenario) essentially children having their working parents replaced by mechanisms such as televisions (the weapon of mass destruction) and are being saturated by brand marketing and conditioned to consumerism.
All of which is finding them further detached from the nurturing of the family unit and becoming victims of the way society and business has developed and contributing to the way the family unit and on from there, the community fabric is being eroded.
What can be done about this? I hear many state that a reason they stand up against the way the current system operates, is that they want their kids to inherit something better and not have to experience the challenges that the regressive system currently poses.
I agree and believe that there are many concerns, ranging from freedom of individuals, through to environmental concerns, yet although this is the case, an immediate concern that can have not only awareness raised about it, but can actually see progressive changes in the present as opposed to in 100 years time, is child care fees..
So what can be done in the here and now?
Form groups, raise awareness in the broader community and campaign to members of parliament. Discuss this at the work place and enter negotiations about it with your employers. Strike, Sit in.. I’m sure others could contribute many ideas about ways to tackle this issue, the alternative is to do nothing and let the problem persist.. Food for thought.
Note: Joel’s previous piece on public transport can be found here in the digest issue of Day 231.
Picture of the Day
This amazing banner was made at a previous Occupy Fridays and displayed at Federation Square during the protest against KONY2012′s “cover the night” action, which led to one of our photographers being detained! It is getting a lot of shares around the world – read it and if you love it like we do, share it to make it viral before the world’s population reaches 8 billion.
View the full album, contributed by Chloë here.
Occupy Sydney – Best Of Picture Album
This is an exceptional album – see Occupy Sydney at their best – you’ll even see several of our own OM members there whilst they were visiting in solidarity – Link.
#Occupied: Reports From the Front Lines
This week in Occupy, the Cruz home at 4044 Cedar Avenue in South Minneapolis became a national flashpoint for the Movement, overthrown Egyptian former dictator Hosni Mubarak was sentenced to life in prison, Canadian solidarity had everyone wearing red, the Wisconsin gubernatorial recall sparked a frenzy among politicians and activists alike, and an Occupy Yale activist left us far too soon…. read more here.