Monday, October 10, 2011

Occupy: Hoping While Considering All The Facts

It has the feeling of the rebel teens of wealthy white suburbs, inventing their own oppressors to resist.

That's the kind of bias I'm talking about. "Oh, it's just a bunch of rich white kids." "It's just a bunch of circus-performing jazz playing hippies whining." Cherry picking facts to spin a dismissive narrative. Obviously the front line is going to be the students who don't have families they need to be constantly working to support, they're the first ones out. But even these students are mostly unemployed buried in 100+k in debt who have a life working at McDonald’s while banks siphon off half their wages, so the "rich white kid" stereotype that JP Morgan-funded talking heads try to wedge the movement with doesn't really hold. They're not just out there to "party" despite continued misrepresentation and selective cinematography; they're fighting FOR all the working class who can't be there, for the poor who can't afford the plane ticket, all of whom have been equally raped by the bankster gangbang. We’re fighting for your future after you graduate with your heaping mounds of student loan debt and dismal job prospects, for The Kid’s future, for Minibot’s future. But we’re way past just the college students now, with people of all ages, backgrounds, income levels, the unions, teachers, stock traders, doctors, bus drivers, cops, the 99%, are all out there, demanding justice for a global criminal cabal. Of course it’s not exactly “The Arab Spring”: that’s what makes it an analogy. The similarities are there: the young educated graduates get out of school with no prospects at 25% youth unemployment, and started making noise about it. Here in the US we’re eerily at that same 25% threshold. In Greece it’s a similar story: government in cahoots with banks blowing up their future and dividing up the severed body parts of the country like cuts of cheap steak. The main difference is JP Morgan is not having NYPD kill people (he did just “donate” 4.6 million to the cops though…) Do we need to wait till people start getting gunned down in the streets before we think about getting out there and changing things? Shall we let the Frankenstein monster shadow banking system continue to rampage, create Global Financial/Economic Meltdown 2.0, 3.0, 4.0 and send off our children into a nation who can only offer Wal-Mart, Burger King, people sloshing around on foodstamps looking for a hit of crack? It's like saying, "Well, you're not going into cardiac arrest in need of a quadruple bypass, so let's just let you keep eating those chicken fried steaks till it gets more serious." If anything, we are years, if not a decade *late* with Occupy Wall Street and similar movements, thanks in no small part to our anesthetizingly entertaining media. At what level of oppression does a people’s suffering stop being “rich white kids whining” and become real oppression?

The changes they're asking for are real, and valid, and are only going to happen the same way all changes happen in a democracy

Democracy? That’s funny. Text me when we have something other than a rent-a-government.

Since we seem adept at spawning influential political movements, just look at the vast changes, for better and worse, to our system over the past 5 years, that is a result that is unlikely for us.

Frankly, I'm seeing a lot of lack of change, or "worse".

Poverty rate 2008: 13.2% Poverty rate 2010: 14.3%

Unemployment rate: increased to 10% in 2009, stagnating between 9 and 10%, no light at the end of the tunnel in sight.

Average weeks unemployed 2009: 19.9 weeks. 2011: 40.3 weeks

Median income 2008: 52,029. 2010: 49,445

Average Family Heath Insurance plan 2008: 12,680. 2011: $15,073

Total jobs: Jan 2009: 142,201,000. Aug 2011: 139,627,000

Inflation rate Jan 2009: 0.03% Aug 2011: 3.77%

Food stamp usage Jan 2009: 31.9 mil May 2011: 45.2 mil

Price of gas Jan 2009: $1.82 Aug 2011: $3.66

National Debt Jan 2009: 10.6 Trillion Sep 2011: 14.7 trillion

Obama claimed hope, change, clean out Washington, campaign finance. Accepted the largest total campaign contributions from Wall Street in history.

Banksters: becoming even Too Bigger To Fail, still raping the US and world, President, congress, regulators continue to refuse to do their job. Continuing more of the same Bush policies.

Zero major financial criminals indicted and put behind bars. No effective reforms i.e. Glass Steagal, corporate compensation, HFT, mark-to-market, etc etc etc….

What is likely is that these movement will coalesce or be co-opted into an existing political structure that will attempt to elect memebers to office. Or it will simply subside back into a general unahppiness with the status quo.

I won’t say that utilizing the movement’s momentum to elect members to public office is a bad idea. Again, we need as many prongs on the attack as possible. But the specific trajectory on which it is coalesced (hopefully not co-opted, since we’ve seen how the “hope and change” and “tea party” turned out) is important. The strength of Occupy Wall Street is precisely that it does not end at simple myopic "demands" or buy into the fabricated soap opera “Left vs Right” thing, but rather is framed as “bottom versus top”; the 99% versus the 1%, as the reality is. Rather than some empty soundbyte, it is the non-thing, the societal Rorschach blot in which we recognize our own personal sufferings as voiced in the many 99% portraits, the mirror through which we can see ourselves, and the complex system to which we are connected, clearly. Which is why the puppet media is sincerely baffled by the movement. The original Tea Party leaders: Dylan Ratigan, Karl Denninger, Rick Santelli tried valiantly to keep the movement’s focus on the right target, but along the way, Sarah Palin and the Kochs manage to swing the train off track with their star power and billions, and now it’s essentially just another arm of the “There are droughts in Texas because Native Americans are cannibals” party. The 99% then becomes the intentionally jerrymandered “50%” against gay marriage, and thus the charade continues. More of the same. Whatever happens, OWS must attempt to maintain its independence and not be seduced by the golden hooks of big money “support” that might snare it, and make it another marionette as Obama has become. Perhaps a key cornerstone, an x-factor that makes this time different is the increasingly decentralized (and perhaps thus a little more democratic) methods via which people receive information provided by new, increasingly pervasive technology, namely the internet and social media. As the percentage of people who are limited to the blinders of CNN and Fox begins to migrate to the more varied universe of the digital, this will lower the barriers to entry for candidates who no longer need to pay millions for network TV airtime, as occurred with recorded music and other media when the price of production dropped. Because of this we may see a candidate who can actually take it all the way without having Goldman and JP Morgan shove their billion dollar fists up the OWS party’s ass.

Other recent positive developments that might turn the tables include things like crowdfunding which make it extremely easy for large groups to contribute small amounts. Perhaps even more potent than electing hens into the DC fox house are the allied hacktivist groups who can fight cyber-financial fire with cyber-financial fire, outing hidden risk and toxicity, then applying reverse-capitalism to blow up the fraudsters with their own weapon of choice: shorting. They've already taken down Chaoda, one of the Hong Kong Exchanges' largest and longest running frauds as a proof of concept, and are turning their sights. The "flow of capital" is a two-way stream, if we harness it right. An OWS activist hedge fund might go out and start a new viral tactic: instead of buying surplus pizzas, everyone buy gold and silver ounce by ounce, while simultaneously buying it up by the truckload with the billions they'll make from short selling corrupt vampire-squid banks and companies like JP Morgan, then suddenly the global financial dynamic shifts from being the Global Financial Ponzi Scheme to being the Global Financial Justice Scheme. The abused 99% flips the system on it's head and they become the rulers, who bring the hammer down on the People With Too Many Mansions doing the abusing.

There is a 'movement' mentality, a sense of being at an important place in history, that is common in these events. History is littered with pivotal moments that the participants were certain indicated paradigm change. Mostly they don't though. It is a flaw of youth to think that your time is unique.

Oh come on. Obviously this “might” not be the nodal point on which the world pivots. Since I know a little bit more than the average person about how the global child-raping machine actually works, how impossibly powerful it is, how deeply its tentacles are entwined in the fabric of our economy, society, politics, and culture, I am all the more sobered about the slimness of OWS' chances. Maybe it will have a massive effect, maybe it will help a little, maybe it will just go out not with a bang but a whimper and we’ll go back to the status quo, expressing our fits of mute rage by changing television channels and voting in loaded presidential elections. As I keep saying: we don’t know the moment of revolution, but that doesn’t mean we stop trying. Perhaps it’s naivete to believe this is possible. Perhaps this is just another exercise in futility and we should just start honing our obsequiousness, practicing our “can I take your order?”s, learn to set our own broken bones, and practice living twenty to a room. Build arks out of the decaying planks of underwater homes, for when the Great Flood of melting poles invades our cities overrun with looters both in hoodies and suit-and-ties. What matters is that we tried.

Revolution requires sacrifice? That's easy to say when you aren't paying for it.

We’re paying for it by NOT creating a revolution. I’m paying for it by working three fucking “kinda part-time” jobs which change hours or end every week without notice wondering how the hell am I going to pay for my family's skyrocketing food costs the next month. I'm paying for it as I'm paying off my equally wealth-stripping inflated student loans and criminally expensive housing and still not getting any health insurance for my daughter. You’ve got one of those, right?

Every person has these moments, mostly when they are young or when they are in the midst of a life changing period, where they are certain that what they are doing is the most important thing they will ever be a part of. In practice, unless you are walking on the moon or curing smallpox, that isn't the case

“Let’s not bother because we MIGHT not amount to anything.” Do you hear how defeatist and pathetic that sounds? “Hey you dumb hippy kids, this is just a flaw of your youth, a phase. Just pack up your loud guitars and tie dye and go home to part your hair, cause societal change and Civil Rights and all that jazz is probably never going to take off.” “Hey, you women with Mohawks and stripe suits, get back to the kitchen and massage your husband’s feet like a good pet, because your feminist movement will probably just fizzle out.” Come on.

That certainly makes a good excuse to tell your kids when they ask you why they have to work at McWal-Mart 16 hours a day so they can afford a thousand dollar first aid kit to tend their wounds they got from a mugging because the police department was disbanded due to “belt tightening” from Bajillion Dollar Bailout Episode IV. “Sorry, baby, but it’s not daddy’s fault. These movement things usually don’t amount to anything, so there was really no point in trying. It was just a bunch of rich white hippy kids going through a phase anyway.”

They say realism is hoping for the best, while having considering all the facts.

After being down at Occupy Oahu, amongst dozens growing to hundreds, the homeless, HPD cops who donated sandwiches, having sincere, positive discussions with both Ron Paul and Ralph Nader supporters, listening to single moms and their kids, bank employee couples and their kids, commiserating with laid off construction workers, philosophizing with college professors, and, yes, jamming with some bongo-bangin granola grinding neo-hippy college students, and seeing the movement across over a thousand cities on five continents growing stronger and faster than most anticipated, and witnessing hacktivists, financial gurus, and whistleblowers gearing up for cyber-fincial war, I believe I have considered the facts, and I continue to hope for the best. If that be naiveté, then call me a tie dyed-in-the-wool dreamer.

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