Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Occupy America

What does the Occupy Wall Street movement really amount to? Is it simply a nationwide act of civil protest by mostly youthful, disaffected citizens against a predatory and criminal finance industry (as represented by such commercial melafactors as Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, and the quasi private, state chartered Federal Reserve) or is there more going on? Who are the organizers of Occupy Wall Street? Is it, in fact, a leaderless, non hierarchical, self organizing entity that is not, in any meaningful way, controlled by some shadowy someone or something with an entirely different, perhaps even, sinister agenda-One World Government, for example- that is different from the one that the OWS movement ostensibly espouses.

I'm afraid I don't get out enough to have a firm first hand opinion of the precise nature of the Occupy Wall Street movement, but it is my sense that, in the main, OWS participants are a peaceful, if somewhat scruffy group, who, contrary to a host of MSM reports, are neither violent nor criminal. In any event, even were the movement peopled entirely by nothing but some aggregation of entitled, snot nosed layabouts and/or execrable street thugs, the group's collective shortcomings and transgressions would pale beside those of the banksters and their wayward political enablers occupying our nation's capital.

In that sense, we would do well to not traduce the messenger let alone slay him. And by way of answering my own question, we would also do well to recognize some of the salient characteristics of this movement and its brief history as we try to figure out what Occupy Wall Street amounts to?

Here are a few key observations that, to date, I believe to be true about the Occupy Wall Street movement.

1.) Whatever hierarchy may exist within OWS it is, in fact, a youth movement. Many of the protesters are approximately of college age, most are under thirty.

2.) Unlike the Vietnam and Civil Rights era protesters the OWS youth are undeniably economically less well situated than both their parents and grandparents. More importantly, they are keenly aware of their condition, if, perhaps, a bit confused about how events and trends have conspired to leave them on the wrong side of the tracks financially and economically.

3.) So far, nothing the protestors have experienced by way of a response from the so called Powers That Be could be thought of as encouraging them to hold onto whatever faith in the system they may still possess. And that's understating the matter.

The following points are conjecture:

1.) Demographically, their numbers are all but certain to grow in the years ahead.

2.) Increasingly, for purposes of self esteem and survival there will be very little to encourage Occupy Wall Street protesters to continue to practice a mode of protest that is peaceful since it has garnered so little for the movement. Put another way, as Gerald Celente would say, those who have nothing to lose, lose it. The authorities have shown their hand in this regard. And even as the government prepare for greater unrest they all but guarantee that there will be more strife.

3.) The other strain of protest, besides outright and open defiance, will emerge in a different form that will constitute a kind of middle ground between peaceful protest and the throwing of molotov cocktails. This form of protest might even become a kind of nation building movement though that may be a bit grandiose and ambitious for what will, at the outset, amount to nothing less than a campaign of dropping out. Communities, hard scrabble ones, will form out of necessity and the values and ways of being that define these communities will be at variance with the values that have defined U.S. society for generations.

4.) The government will attempt to disrupt this movement. They already are engaged in preempting it if one looks at the recent passage of laws pertaining to the growing of one's own food. The government will fail, though they will, as is their wont, create a lot of misery on their way to a well deserved defeat.

In conclusion, the Occupy Wall Street Movement, though it has achieved very little, if anything, towards reigning in or redressing the crimes of the banking and so called financial services industry-which, for all intents and purposes doesn't even exist anymore on Wall Street- has, perhaps, taken the first steps towards setting in motion something far more profound, a society (within our society) that operates along genuinely different principles than those that inform the functioning of institutions that are now under protest.


Debra said...

This weekend my husband and I went to see the documentary "Tous au Larzac" which follows the ten year struggle of Larzac peasants (in France.... the word is NOT an insult...) to keep their land in the face of the army's' determination to expropriate them in order to expand the local military camp.
It's hard to win against the State, Edwardo. Under any government... OF THE PEOPLE, or not of the people. (Geez, WHAT COULD THAT MEAN ??)
One of the nicest moments : when thousands of young, disenfranchised kids, "products" of mass education even in 1974, show up on the plateau to help out WITH NO MANUAL SKILLS, and are shown HOW TO WORK WITH THEIR HANDS in order to build a bergerie, a place for the sheep to sleep (my English is failing me here).
Very, very moving to hear the accounts of the oldsters, people with a VERY GOOD MINIMAL EDUCATION who know what to do with their hands, and live on the land, bemused by so many young people who, IN NORMAL TIMES, they would have written off as lowlife.
Everybody pitches in for the cause. Everybody has his word to say, his stone to place in the figurative edifice.
Very very edifying.
But it shows THE PLACE where you have a leg to stand on while RESISTING THE STATE.
This group won, thanks to an action of GRACE by newly elected president Mitterand, against Giscard d'Estaing who said : in France WE HAVE INSTITUTIONS that handle this situation, and THE INSTITUTIONS have decreed that the camp is FOR THE PUBLIC, COMMON GOOD.
Thank God that Mitterand used THE OLD LOGIC of the Ancien Regime AGAINST THE INSTITUTIONS, I say.
What mobilized everybody ? THE DEFENSE OF AN AGE OLD WAY OF LIFE, ON THE LAND, against the industrial logic.
Internet might be cool, but all of us connected will, in the long run, assure that everything on this planet THAT CAN BE CONSUMED, WILL BE CONSUMED...
Can't have your cake and eat it too, as they say...
From my standpoint, not a lot of people see this yet...

Debra said...

Watching the ugliness this morning, I say to myself...
What do you think the outcome will be ?
Do you have ANY DOUBT on this one ?

Edwardo said...

Perhaps you could clarify for me what you meant when you wrote:

What do you think the outcome will be ?
Do you have ANY DOUBT on this one ?"

Debra said...

"Too big to fail" means putting 0 risk on trial...
Like WE CAN FIX everything/anything, basically by shuffling THE NUMBERS AROUND a few times.
IF... we can fix anything/everything that means that in our own eyes, we believe in 0 risk.
Behind all this ugliness there is also the consummate arrogance that "we" know everything there is to know about ourselves, and why we do what we do, positivism.

Edwardo said...

Debra wrote:

"Too big to fail" means putting 0 risk on trial...

-The doctrine of Too Big To Fail is the opposite of putting on trial massively irresponsible and/or criminal financial practices. I have to assume that is what you mean, namely that Too Big To Fail invites moral hazard. We have been heading down this road for several generations now, and we are nearing the denouement.

"Like WE CAN FIX everything/anything, basically by shuffling THE NUMBERS AROUND a few times."

-What we are witnessing is the result of the $IMF system coming to the end of its timeline. Triffin's Dilemna is exerting its inexorable logic and certain entrenched monetary interests are doomed to fight it all the way to extinction.

"IF... we can fix anything/everything that means that in our own eyes, we believe in 0 risk."

-Perhaps some actually believe there is no such thing as zero risk, but, I don't think it's anything like a majority view. Regardless, certain authorities who may appear hold that view have no other way to address a situation of their making then the tools that brought them to this deplorable state.

"Behind all this ugliness there is also the consummate arrogance that "we" know everything there is to know about ourselves, and why we do what we do, positivism."

-Perhaps. We humans do tend to strive for certainty especially where there is none to be had.

Debra said...

I read "Deschooling society", "The corruption of the best engenders the worst" this year, and really like Ivan Illich.
I said a long time ago that I saw no real difference between... American socialism and other forms of socialism, to the extent that ALL forms of socialism tend to promote the INSTITUTIONAL and PUBLIC "solutions" to the problems of caring for the young, the old, the sick, etc. WHETHER OR NOT MEMBERS ARE PAYING FROM THEIR POCKETS.
We believe in the institutional solutions so much that we have bottomed out the PRIVATE solutions to these problems. (When I say private, I'm not talking about ownership, and filthy lucre, I'm talking about... what is outside the PUBLIC DOMAIN.)
I believe that the institutional solutions COST A LOT OF MONEY, and have the incredible disadvantage of multiplying those actors (for meat and potatoes, but not just), thereby reducing the amount of personal implication and RESPONSIBILITY that the individuals in society feel towards the flesh and blood people who incarnate those problems.
Betting mucho filthy lucre on those infamous PENSION PLANS for retirement, betting mucho filthy lucre on that infamous INSURANCE AGAINST ALL RISKS (as they're called in France), and convincing your society that its WORKING members are ENTITLED to retirement insurance many years down the road because they have PAID FOR IT, well, that doesn't exactly create a very COHESIVE SOCIETY, shall we say. Nor does it create responsible members with initiative.
I believe.
When the baby boomer generation reaches the age of.. DEPENDANCY, who do you think that the children of baby boomers... who were farmed out to institutionalized day care on the work for salvation road to paradise, will turn to, to take care of Mom and Pop ?
An.. INSTITUTION, maybe ??
I bet.

Anonymous said...

Jack Abramoff critiques OWS

Check it out before it expires. Yahoo doesn't keep their news articles around for long.