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THERE WAS A CERTAIN HESITANCY going into the theatre to watch Occupy Love. My partner and I had just seen Chasing Ice — a disturbing documentary that graphically showed the effects of climate change via disappearing glaciers — the previous week. We weren’t exactly in the mood to get depressed again. But here we were about to watch a film whose context was a failing economy and an impending environmental and ecological disaster.
The mission of filmmaker Velcrow Ripper was to seek the love story that underpins the cultural uprisings of the Arab Spring, the European Summer, and Occupy Wall Street, as well as other environmental protests (like those against the Albertan tar sands and the Keystone XL pipeline). The message of the documentary is positive, but before it gets to that point it must wade through the hard facts of what is occurring today. As they say, it is darkest before the light.
To celebrate the global release of Occupy Love (which former Matador editor Ian Mackenzie helped film and produce) on April 11, I’ve assembled a collection of quotes from the film that struck me. To check if there’s a screening happening near you, or to host one yourself, visit OccupyLove.org.
An economist says that essentially more for you is less for me, but the lover knows that more for you is more for me, too. ~ Charles Eisenstein, author of Sacred Economics
Love is the most democratic experience that exists. When one empathizes with another, another human being, another creature, all the barriers go down, all the boundaries are eliminated, all the distinctions of status and class goes by the wayside.
Because if I empathize with you or another being, basically I’m saying, “I feel you as if you are me.” ~ Unnamed
The revolution here is from hierarchical to lateral power. That’s the power shift. So increasingly a younger generation that’s grown up on the internet and now increasingly distributing renewable energies, they’re measuring politics in terms of a struggle between centralized, hierarchical, top-down and closed and proprietary, versus distributed, open, collaborative, transparent. This shift, from hierarchical to lateral power, is going to change the way we live, the way we educate our children, and the way we govern the world. ~ Jeremy Rifkin, economist/activist
To love Mother Earth as if she is my real mother, as if she’s my real grandmother, you know? So for me, to love her is to take care of her, even to cry for her sometimes. ~ Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network
I really like nature, because when you go out into nature, it doesn’t yell things at you. It doesn’t tell you what to do. It doesn’t tell you that you’re a stupid idiot… It just makes you feel peaceful, and it doesn’t make you think of any bad things like hurting yourself or anything. It really helps you out. Because everybody’s trying to control things, and in nature, nature doesn’t want to control anything. ~ Hart Traveller, youth environmentalist
I can’t stay away from this place [Occupy Wall Street]. I don’t watch television anymore. I eat here every day… I’ve never felt so human in my life than coming out here. Watching the homeless get fed every day, watching people who would not normally have dialogue with each other talk every day. I met a lady from North Carolina who said she’d never met a black man… I understood she didn’t want to be ignorant to certain things anymore, and that’s the love story in itself for me, is just getting along. It’s just a weird feeling. It’s organic. It’s what you think that humans are supposed to do. They’re supposed to care for each other. ~ Malik Rhassan, founder of Occupy the Hood
There’s enough food in this world. There’s enough housing in this world. There’s enough shelter in this world. There’s enough clothing in this world. There’s enough teachers, there’s enough universities for everybody’s needs to be met, and the reasons they aren’t is not because of lack of resources. It’s because of distribution, and that’s the politics of hate, which is why this is a movement against that. It’s a politics of love. ~ Rebecca Solnit, author of Hope in the Dark
Today we live in a money economy, where we don’t really depend on the gifts of anybody, but we buy everything. Therefore we don’t really need anybody, because whoever grew my food or made my clothes or built my house, well, if they died or if I alienate them, if they don’t like me, that’s okay. I can just pay somebody else to do it. And it’s really hard to create community if the underlying knowledge is we don’t need each other. So people kind of get together and they act nice, or maybe they consume together, but joint consumption doesn’t create intimacy. Only joint creativity and gifts create intimacy and connection. ~ Charles Eisenstein
The people of the West want to live “better.” Always “better.” Accumulate more money, gain more power, become famous. Just a few people hoard the power while causing the suffering of millions. This way of thinking is abnormal. It’s not produced by love, it’s produced by egoism. We don’t want to live “better,” we want to live “well.” Living well means return to balance, return to natural harmony. ~ Fernando Huanacuni, Aymara leader
You can tear up the flowers, but you can’t stop the spring. ~ Rebecca Solnit
Real change doesn’t come without crisis. Childbirth doesn’t come without crisis. I think that’s happening with humanity now. Our growth has generated multiple crises…and these are the contractions that are propelling us into a new world, whether we like it or not, but I think we’re going to like it. ~ Charles Eisenstein
I started out looking for the perfect love story, but what I found instead was something even more beautiful — a messy love, an imperfect love, a human love. In this time of uncertainty, can I continue to love, even if it breaks my heart? ~ Velcrow Ripper