Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Voices of Protest

The mainstream media loves to mumble over-and-over that the Occupy Wall Street protest is a disorganized mess with no real message and something that should be ignored because it is only a tiny number of "agitators" who have no political program.

If you want to see the most compelling "political program" today. Go to this site and view the pictures.

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The Russian aristocracy and their financial elite partied until the day when people in the street demonstrated for "bread and freedom" and were cut down by Cossacks with their sabres. This rabble won a revolution but were stabbed in the back by the scheming Communists. Between the indifferent greedy rich and the cruel commies, the poor discovered that they would get neither bread nor freedom.

The French elites partied until the starving masses from Paris came to the gates of Versailles and demanded "bread" but were chased away as a shiftless mob, a rabble. But the mob returned and seized Versailles. The "let them eat cake" crowd discovered that the rabble without an agenda or a political party could overturn a powerful modern state.

What lies ahead for the US? Certainly the Republicans have no answer. They are pawns of the ultra-rich who are only interested in more "tax cuts" for the "job creators". Obama has proven that he can't hear the voices in the street. What lies in store for America?

That ignorable rabble on Wall Street has grown. It is now the spearhead of:
Together we will protest this great injustice. We stand in solidarity with the honest workers of:
United NY
Strong Economy for All Coalition
Working Families Party
TWU Local 100
SEIU 1199
CWA 1109
Communications Workers of America
CWA Local 1180
United Auto Workers
United Federation of Teachers
Professional Staff Congress - CUNY
National Nurses United
Writers Guild East
Community Voices Heard
Alliance for Quality Education
New York Communities for Change
Coalition for the Homeless
Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project (NEDAP)
The Job Party
NYC Coalition for Educational Justice
The Mirabal Sisters Cultural and Community Center
The New Deal for New York Campaign
National People's Action
Human Services Council
Labor-Religion Coalition of New York State
Citizen Action of NY
Common Cause NY
New Bottom Line
Tenants & Neighbors
Democracy for NYC
Resource Generation
Tenants PAC
Teachers Unite
Together we will voice our belief that the American dream will live again, that the American way is to help one another succeed. Our voice, our values, will be heard.
Will it take pitchforks and torches, and a mob crying with bloodlust for the media to notice what is happening right under their noses in NY and now spreading across all of America? Will the elites keep "partying on" trusting that the garrison state that they have bought and paid for will keep them safe from this unruly mob?

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More disorganized rabble with their incoherent message that the mainstream media deems unworthy of reporting can be found on this site.

Here is one academic's interpretation of this "incoherent unruly mob" and what it means. From Umair Haque's blog at the Harvard Business Review:
Across the globe, protests are rippling out like vectors in an epidemic.

I believe that we're witnessing the rise of a global Metamovement.

The Metamovement is a movement of movements. Not all these movements are similar, and no two are exactly like. The Arab Spring is part of the Metamovement; the London Riots were part of the Metamovement; India's nationwide anti-corruption protests were part of the Metamovement, just like Israel's massive demonstrations were; protests spreading across America, under the banner of Occupy Wall Street, are all part of the Metamovement.

Where did this virus erupt? The simplest answer is: in Sidi Bouzid, where Mohamed Bouazizi set himself alight in protest. What sent Bouazizi over the edge of sanity — or, depending on your perspective, into the arms of a kind of hyperrational embrace of a singular act of revolt?
"Twenty-six year old Mohamed Bouazizi had been the sole income earner in his extended family of eight. He operated a purportedly unlicensed vegetable cart for seven years in Sidi Bouzid190 miles (300 km) south of Tunis. On 17 December 2010 a policewoman confiscated his cart and produce. Bouazizi, who had such an event happen to him before, tried to pay the 10-dinar fine (a day's wages, equivalent to 7USD). In response the policewoman slapped him, spat in his face, and insulted his deceased father. A humiliated Bouazizi then went to the provincial headquarters in an attempt to complain to local municipality officials. He was refused an audience."
Got that? Bouazizi was not just systematically, structurally denied the opportunity to prosper, but also punished for having daring to try to do so. Instead of inalienable rights — rights not to riches, but to the tools with which to build for himself a meaningfully good life — Bouazizi was wronged. Think of a "wrong" as the negation of a "right": time after time, a monolithic set of institutions not only failed to deliver the economic and social goods, but also forced him to stomach and swallow bitter "bads" (unemployment, poverty, undereducation).

For the privileged and powerful, these institutions have turned fortune into excess — but for Bouazizi, they turned misfortune into a literal slap in the face, wresting from him the chance to be author of his own destiny, stripping away his agency and finally his dignity.

In a sense, that sentiment is the common thread behind each and every movement in the Metamovement — a sense of grievous injustice, not merely at the rich getting richer, but at the loss of human agency and sovereignty over one's own fate that is the deeper human price of it.

It's one thing for institutions to fail — as in fail to deliver the goods — but for them to punish people for attempting to pursue prosperity reaches beyond failure. To get a visceral feel for this, please stop for a second and visit We Are The 99 Percent. This is not merely nonfunction, but malfunction.

The Metamovement isn't just a faint, transient echo, but the increasingly resonant reverberation of people challenging this brutal state of malfunction, this Great Splintering of institutions and social contracts. Their truth, I suspect, might be this: there's no one left to turn to — and so the Metamovement has turned to each other. Not for yesterday's notions of "solidarity", or the corporatist ideal of "inspiration, "but as nodes in a pulsing network whose coherence defines it: to demand institutions which can literally deliver the goods of enlightened social contracts. That enshrine in the people, first and foremost, the inalienable right to be authors of their own destinies — instead of condemning them to be mute puppets.

It is, of course, this sense of autonomy that is the cornerstone of eudaimonia, the belief that a good life is a life lived meaningfully, and that it ought to be possible to both live meaningfully and make a living. And in that foundational sense, I'd say the Metamovement is the first glimmering of a larger revolution that will burn over the globe like Bouazizi's fire. No, not every revolt ends in revolution — but every revolution begins with revolt.

And make no mistake, this is revolt — an insurrection against a monstrous status quo that's failed too many, too deserving, for too long, while serving too few, too undeserving, far too well. It is not in the nature of man or beast to stay yoked to the gleaming machines of their own economic, social, and moral annihilation. Better — as perhaps Bouazizi thought — to commit the ultimate act; to choose. To choose to let loose a brutally human cry, one whose echoes might come to define a defining decade.
The mainstream media has decided for you there is "nothing to see here" and that you should "keep moving". Go watch the situation comedies on TV. Watch "reality" TV. Don't waste your time viewing these unorganized people with an incoherent message and no "organized political party". You have better ways to waste your time with mindless entertainment while 25 million are unemployed, tens of millions go to bed hungry at night, millions have lost or are losing their homes. Obama has told you that he has plenty of "hope" for you and lots of "change you can believe in". And the right wing nuts tell you that after 30 years of tax cuts, it just requires a few more tax cuts for the ultra-rich for all those "job creators" to suddenly shower you with jobs, jobs, jobs.

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