There is a war going on for your mind. Occupy This.
“Only when the last tree has been cut down; Only when the last river has been poisoned; Only when the last fish has been caught; Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.”
Occupy what movement? Might as well be called the sat down, got wet, dirty, and tired, and then went home, movement. We don’t know what it is to suffer, that is why movements such as these will never amount to anything in the United States. Not yet anyway. We need some real suffering, some real pain, so we may progress to a stage where anything is possible to get what we need. I often think that a peaceful movement would be best, that I would like to never have to take another human life. But would I? Wouldn’t I be willing to do anything necessary to protect my family, the ones I care for, from certain destructions? Wouldn’t you? What if that pain was at my door? What if nothing could be done to ignore the inescapable truth that life as I know it is over, would I not act then? Would I do anything, at any cost? I believe I would. There isn’t a law I wouldn’t break, a barrier I would not overcome, a wall I would not take down, and unfortunately, a life I would not end.
No one here has really been put to the test, yet. When that day comes, many will fall, but others will rise. Many are ready now. However, it comes back to suffering, and we all need to suffer more. Compare us to most of the 7 billion people in this world for a brief moment. We sleep in fancy houses on comfy beds, drive flashy cars (a whole car per driver no less), eat ourselves to a grotesque shadow of the human form, and we believe that we have it rough. We complain about the rich while we pretend not to be them. Yes we are not millionaires (for lack of a better term), but I feel that matters little. We are unprepared for anything to go wrong in our “perfect system” that would make us uncomfortable for even a short time, say a few years. Could you survive if the power shut off tomorrow? What about when money holds no value other then heat? How long would the food in your kitchen last?
Some hold movements such as the Occupy movement in high regard. I am not sure why. I ask what did they achieve? What real progress, sustainable, measurable, progressive movement forward for that cause was reached? None. I don’t see any change in my life or the life of anyone I know as being any different. I am as average as they come, so if it didn’t affect me in anyway, shape, or form, guess what? It didn’t truly affect you either. I cannot say that some form or fashion of this movement is not still in existence, because it is, kind of
The creation and destruction of this movement reminds me of others that were hailed as a new wave of intellectualism, a new party, and a chance for accountability. From the right, the Tea Party, from the left, the Truth Movement. Then came the Occupy movement, a combination of left and right with no clear goals, ambitions and, or demands. They were upset because they couldn’t get the jobs they wanted. The moment anyone of the occupiers did get a job they quickly abandoned their post and reentered the society they so recently resented. Distain and rebellion were quickly replaced with apathy, consumerism, and passivity. As stated, it lasted about as long as it could; eventually outsiders with no real ties to the group moved into replace the fleeting, and discredited them all from the inside out. News did what news does, and before long only a few remaining soldiers, fighting the never-ending fight from behind their screens, wasting their time, remained.
Noam Chomsky hailed the Occupy Movement as a revolutionary intelligent being, an offspring of the disingenuous American populous. I’ve read his quickly outdated pamphlet and found one case of success loosely attributed to the Occupy movement. And I am really going out on a limb and giving the word success up pretty easily.
Chomsky speaks to the many options and opportunities that exist to change the system, and he points to examples in which the movement’s vision has already impacted city council proposals, debates and resolutions, such as the case of New York City Council Resolution 1172, which formally opposes corporate personhood and calls for an amendment to the U.S. constitution to permanently ban it. The resolution creates clear dividing lines between the rights of corporations and the rights of citizens, and it adds to the momentum produced by a growing list of cities – including Los Angeles, Oakland, Albany, and Boulder – that has passed similar resolutions.
Ok, so lets breakdown this success. NYC passed a resolution, what is that? I am not going to bother with proposals and debates, that is just talk. This is a resolution!
1. a formal expression of opinion or intention made, usually after voting, by a formal organization, a legislature, a club, or other group. Compare concurrent resolution, joint resolution.
2. a resolve or determination: to make a firm resolution to do something.
3. the act of resolving or determining upon an action or course of action, method, procedure, etc.
So NYC made a formal expression of opinion, after voting, that congress should consider sometime, maybe, looking at a federal case, (Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission) which declared that corporations have the same first amendment rights as people. I mean, are your kidding me?! Corporations and Congress both use this law to circumvent restrictions on unlimited and unreported campaign donations. NYC would have had more fun making the resolution into a paper airplane and throwing it out the window. Would have taken less time too.
With presence in hundreds of cities, mounting numbers of arrests and big plans for more actions up to the presidential elections and beyond, the movement is also very much occupying the court system and challenging the political nature of government repression.
Unfortunately, this movement has not survived. America has been re-distracted, often by nothing more than something shiny. The most important information in this very short read is Chomsky’s words on race and the tactics of the 1/10th of the 1%.
After the Civil War, the Fourteenth Amendment raised the three-fifths humans to full humans, at least in principal. But that was only in principal. Soon other methods were instituted to criminalize Black life, which led to virtual restoration of a kind of slavery. In fact something like that is happening again now, as the process of neoliberal globalization I was talking about leave a superfluous population among the precariat; and with the fairly close class-race-ethnicity relation in the United States, that means largely Black, secondarily Hispanic.
The dominant class recognized they had to shift their tactics to control of attitudes and beliefs instead of just the cudgel. They didn’t throw away the cudgel, but it can’t do what it used to do. You have to control attitudes and beliefs.
I hate to be as negative about all of this as I am being. But I don’t want to sugar coat progress, and yes I mean real progress. I applaud the thousands that went out into the streets and made themselves known, made their frustrations known. I cheer for the thousands that were detained against their will for trying to make a difference. You just fell short, just like the rest of us. It is not your fault, you and I just don’t know what real anger is, real frustration and, most of all, real suffering. We will someday, or our children will, and when that day comes, no one will be ready.
Excerpts taken from Noam Chomsky’s, Occupy, Occupied Media, Pamphlet Series Copyright 2012