Joyce L. Arnold, Liberally Independent, Queer Talk, equality activist, writer.
It’s been a while since I’ve said this, so here goes, in two parts. First, the Occupy movement is helping create space for vital public conversations. Second, the Two Party Front for the Oligarchy becomes more powerful with each passing election cycle. We have the opportunity / need to name the unclothed emperor, and learn again that “questioning authority” isn’t just for the young. Unless, maybe, we have delusions of actually being a part of 1% approved “authority.”
Both have everything to do with the 2012 elections. They have everything to do with childish campaign ads; with Citizens United, “social welfare” organizations and obscene amounts of money spent on political marketing, and with “swing states.” They have everything to do with austerity, unemployment, fracking and off-shore drilling, health care as a commodity, and financial institutions destroying, with impunity, the lives of millions. And we mut not forget the profits of war.
Chris Hedges has become one of the most widely recognized voices related to the Occupy movement. One recent example, How to Think, begins:
Cultures that endure carve out a protected space for those who question and challenge national myths. Artists, writers, poets, activists, journalists, philosophers, dancers, musicians, actors, directors and renegades must be tolerated if a culture is to be pulled back from disaster. … They are dismissed, or labeled by the power elites as subversive … . They expose the ruling elites as hollow and corrupt. … They challenge the easy clichés we use to describe the nation—the land of the free, the greatest country on earth, the beacon of liberty—to expose our darkness, crimes and ignorance. They offer the possibility of a life of meaning and the capacity for transformation.
… if a culture loses its ability for thought and expression, if it effectively silences dissident voices, … it dies. It surrenders its internal mechanism for puncturing self-delusion.
We have options. Two of them: seize the public spaces for conversation, and help create “the capacity for transformation”; keep quiet about what the Oligarchy is doing, keep going in the direction which sees the tiny handful of people at the top continue to accumulate yet more wealth, while a growing number of people are forced to live (or not) on less and less – starting, of course, at the very bottom, but clearly moving “up” the economic ladder, submerging “working poor,” “lower middle class,” “middle class” …
Last week I quoted Jerome Roos, at Roar Mag, ‘Yo soy minero’: the miners light the way of the struggle. What he writes regarding the miners in Spain is relevant to us, to We the Electorate, who need to use opened spaces to recreate our We the People roles.
In the miners we see our … class consciousness that at some moment we lost or had taken away from us, the possibilities for collective struggle … .
Whilst we ‘set ablaze’ social networks, miners set real fire to barricades on the motorways. Whilst we call a strike every two years, with no great conviction and above all without continuity, the miners opt … for an indefinite strike lasting weeks. … Whilst we await the next anniversary to go back and take the squares, they set down in the Puerta del Sol after having made the squares of all those towns they passed through their own. …
Because of all this, the government cannot allow the miners to win this contest: because if they triumph, they will be giving a bad example to the rest of the workers … . Hence the immense police repression against the miners and their criminalisation in the media.
There is a great deal of such actions taking place, but of course we’ll never know it, dependent on the MSM. From Robert Hunziker, at Adbusters, “Capitalism in Crisis”:
The evidence is … hundreds of thousands of people in the streets chanting … ‘End the Oligarchy’ in NYC, ‘Democracy Not Corporatization’ in Paris, … ‘Fraud and Poverty’ in Madrid, ‘Hands Off Our Pensions’ in Athens, tens of thousands demonstrating in front of Indonesia’s presidential palace in Jakarta demanding a decent living wage, tens of thousands of students in Santiago protesting the profiteering in the state educational system, hundreds of Malaysian lawyers staging street protests opposed to governmental plans to ban street rallies … .
And from the “Red Square” protests in Quebec, via The CLASSE Manifesto:
Democracy, as viewed by the other side, is tagged as « representative »… . This brand of « democracy » comes up for air once every four years, for a game of musical chairs. While elections come and go, decisions remain unchanged, serving the same interests: those of leaders who prefer the murmurs of lobbyists to the clanging of pots and pans. Each time the people raises its voice in discontent, on comes the answer: emergency laws, with riot sticks, pepper spray, tear gas. When the elite feels threatened, no principle is sacred … : for them, democracy works only when we, the people keep our mouths shut.
It isn’t that we shouldn’t pay close attention to the 2012 elections. But if that’s all we pay attention to, we don’t know what’s going on. Not only does the Emperor have no clothes, neither does his (with the occasional “her”) court. Much of the national media and analysts not only fail to see the nakedness, they’re only scantily clothed themselves. And yet somehow We the Electorate talk about the great outfit My Guy is wearing and what a clown suit Not My Guy is wearing; and watch Generic Corporate News marketing / reporting without noticing the unclad or nearly naked condition of Emperor, court, “reporters” and “analysts.” Maybe before watching the “news” we should first take a look in the mirror?
(Declaration To Open Eyes poster via Occupy Pix)