We live in a time of extraordinary fraud, corruption and tyranny and those who stand up against fraud, corruption and tyranny are subjected to the most grave persecutions and abuses. But this is far from the first time in the history of modern humankind that this has happened. In fact, we keep doing it again and again.
1. OCCUPIED CHRISTIANITY- THROWING THE MONEY CHANGERS FROM THE TEMPLE
2. OCCUPIED- THE PROTESTANT REFORMATION
3. OCCUPIED- THE WORLDWIDE WAR ON DEBT AND CORRUPTION
Persecutions of Occupied leaders are found in every movement. The persecutions are most grievously visited upon those who dare speak the loudest and whose voice and words reach the widest audience. Journalists, protesters and especially attorneys during this Occupied Movement, feeling the prick of the sharp end of the spear.
My favorite OCCUPIED movement was the Protestant Reformation and my favorite Occupied hero was Martin Luther. Ignore all the religious implications and focus just on the secular impact of his movement. Luther was a catholic monk. His father sacrificed everything he had so that his eldest son could go to school and become a lawyer, but Luther was struck by lightning, he claims he saw God, turned his back on the law and joined the church. His father largely disowned him. His father could not know that Luther’s legal training was a large part of his extraordinary success. Arguably Luther is the most powerful and successful (almost) lawyer the world has ever known. Devoted to principle. Devoted to speaking out. One of the greatest revolutionaries of all time.
After leaving the law, and joining the church by all accounts Luther was a most obsessed little monk, dedicated and committed like no other. Early on in his monk career he had problems with the leadership and the teachings of the church. Bottom line is he began to see the catholic church as an abjectly corrupt institution that was abusing the poor and directionless followers who were convinced that blind loyalty to the church was their only hope for eternal salvation.
Rome was the New York City of the Occupied/Reform movement. Money from all across Europe was being stolen or ripped out of the hands of the poor and used to fill the vaults of the church in Rome. The most egregious example of the frauds and abuses being visited upon the people was the selling of indulgences. Illiterate followers were told they could buy their way out of purgatory (and they could buy they way out for their long deceased family members) if they would simply buy the indulgences.
When Luther could stand it no more he wrote, in quite simple and plain language, a list of 95 complaints or errors in the way the church was advocating the Christian faith, then nailed those 95 complaints on the door of the Cathedral in Wittenburg, Gemany. Luther’s 95 Thesis were the start of the Protestant Reformation, a movement that changed not just the church but the entire world. Said Martin,
“I would never have thought that such a storm would rise from Rome over one simple scrap of paper.”
Luther spoke the truth. A universal truth. He preached self will and the power of the people. His fight, like the fight of all who seek justice today, was a fight to tear down the walls of corruption that enslaved his world.
But Luther might very well have remained an obscure monk who could be diminished and disregarded….were it not for the Press. Just like today, Luther’s revolution was entirely depended upon The Press. The Printing Press, Gutenberg’s to be precise. Without The Press, Luther’s original 95 Thesis might have remained tacked on a door….and would not have spread round the world.
In much the same way, today’s Occupied leaders face the very persecutions and struggles Luther faced. And like Luther, the arc of today’s Occupied movement is dependent upon the press and their ability to spread the message of those who dare to speak out against the abuses of the 1%.
With the exception of Christ himself, there are indeed few very real figures in the history of the world who stood singularly and had such a profound change on the world….it’s a change so profound that we are all impacted by it even today.
Click here for an exceptional video on Martin Luther and draw your own comparisons between today’s Occupied and one of the other great Occupied Movements…..