“The world is beginning to fracture, dissonance is building and if nothing is done by those in power the fault-line will snap. The world may be talking of an Arab revolution, but History will, I believe, see this as the birth of something bigger: the emergence of the first global identity founded on equality and a rejection of power.”
I wrote those words in February 2011, though I can happily say that I wasn't expecting it for a little while yet. To have a common cause shared between people all over the world used to take decades, if indeed it could be said to have happened at all. Occupy Together took just a few weeks; around 1000 protests in nearly 90 countries, simultaneously expressing a collective subjectivity the like of which has never been seen. Occupy Norwich is a part of that, and it does more for soft diplomacy than the government ever could.
Whether in the name of Occupy or not, change is coming. This is because what Anderson called the 'imagined community', our cultural identity, is closely correlated to communication technology which is itself going through a fairly extraordinary exponential growth. Throughout history, it was a rare place that the 1% of the time did not have near complete monopoly in the production of cultural identity, often utilising the 'other' against the 99% for no reason other than it works. Now such technological advances have progressed to beyond national boundaries, beyond language even, we are seeing the first generation in History able to form an identity that was not of their masters' creation. And what do they see? They see “others” of their generation around the world cheering each other on, helping each other in the face of arrest or even death, connecting with them far more deeply than they do with their own rulers (who themselves share far more in common with each other than they do with their own citizens). It is no longer justifiable to us to kill, exploit and profiteer from millions of our brothers and sisters away from these shores; the social-contract needs re-writing.
For the first time, people can develop through a cultural milieu not created by this ideology or that, but by thousands of regular folk the world over. This democratised identity, of which Occupy is but one emergent property, comes to radically different conclusions about morality than the closed, institutionalised mindset of capitalism or nationalism. It sees human equality as a given, not a PR weapon. It recognises the value of plurality, the danger of any ideology. From all corners of the globe, we are finally starting to produce the hitherto missing context that is necessary for many to even be aware there is a problem. It is a first step, and it will help.