By Oscar Ten Houten at Jun 24, 2011
Modern western society can cater for almost every possible emotion. Lust over love, fear over hatred. Adrenaline. Drugs. Even beauty. Even freedom. But most of all, gluttony.
One of the few emotions it cannot cater for is solidarity. We all know the word. But as long as you don’t experience the emotion, you don’t know what it means.
All of us are supposed to contribute to society. Quite literally, we are supposed to pay our taxes. But other than that it’s each man for himself. The skills you need to thrive in western society are centered on promoting yourself, to the detriment of others if necessary. Competition is more important than cooperation, networking is more important than communication. Wit is more important than intelligence.
For quite some years I’ve had a problem with this mentality. I didn’t see the point in making myself useful for a society I resented. That’s the reason I became a sheperd. I would guide my herd of goats through the valleys of Tuscany, or through the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, and I’d be content. Animals are completely honest. They will never pretend to be something they are not. I appreciate that.
Then came the revolution. I had to go back to the city. I was finally offered the opportunity to do something really useful for society. Overthrow it. Or at least play my part in it.
So now here I am, networking all day long. The other day in the bunker I linked up with a comrade from ‘Agora’, our radiostation. We started making plans on radio coverage of the popular marches to Madrid. Not only in Spanish, but in English as well. We began brainstorming on the coordination of video footage for our live television channel. We decided to talk to Extension about this.
So we took a nice walk through sunny Madrid from the Audiovisual bunker to the squat that houses our ministry of Extension. We have a fruitful talk with one of the coordinators. We agree that there’s no time to pass through assemblies and commissions. Personal initiative gets things moving. We set up mailing lists, exchange contacts and go back to Puerta del Sol. On the way out I see that people are already working on the giant map of Spain with all the marches indicated. I like the sight of it.
At Sol we pop in at the Art commission, which has left its headquarters in the square. It consists of eight huge panels locked together, it looks like an Italian baptistry. We speak a bit with the comrades inside to see what they’re working on. It’s very interesting stuff. Holographic projections, happenings, photo exhibitions and more. “Only through art can we spread the revolution”. We exchange contact details. Who knows what great things we can do together with Audiovisuals.
Next to the information point there is a very small habitation made of just a couple pallets, a tent coverage and aluminum foil to reflect the sunlight so that it stays nice and cool inside. I met another comrade there the day before, son of a very wealthy Spanish family. He is working on sustainable technology as part of the Infrastructure committee. After studying abroad for a couple of years he speaks an awkward mix of Oxford-English and Harvard-American. Now that he is back he has joined the revolution, because it’s the right thing to do.
Western society teaches you to distrust your fellow men. Everyone is a potential competitor. They could steal your ideas and make money out of it. You should beware and you shouldn’t hesitate to stab someone in the back. He would do the same to you, it’s all in the game.
This mentality has completely changed at Puerta del Sol. In the heart of western society a new society is born, based on different values, not quantifiable in money. People have started to treat perfect strangers as brothers and sisters. They are freely sharing ideas. They are happy to know each other. They are putting things into practice, united by something that has been missing for a long, long time.
The common good.
All the best,