Who controls the past now controls the future
Who controls the present now controls the past
Who controls the past now controls the future
Who controls the present now?
Testify, Rage Against the Machine
I don't know where the Occupy Wall Street campaign is headed, and I am highly skeptical of anyone who claims such knowledge or insight. And those who know me know that I have been dubious of protest movements of the last 20 years, such as they are.
Continuing the rock lyric motif, though: "there's something happenin' here, but what it is ain't exactly clear..." Yet it's getting more lucid everyday.
And that's one of the ways I know this is something different.
In spite of the legion of low-rent Frank Luntz wannabee pimps and thugs out there trying to discredit the OWS movement, what the protestors are saying is as profound as it is simple:
As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors; that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit overpeople, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known.
Nevertheless, their first attempts to memoralize their principles surprised me with their cogency and focus.
But let me make it really simple; it boils down to this:
If you want to be rich, fine.
But you should not be allowed to become wealthy or maintain your wealth by making everyday life for your fellow citizens more dangerous, or more difficult than it already has to be. Nor should you be able to get rich or maintain wealth by gaming the machinery of government to the point where you and a small gang of plutocrats have all the wealth of the nation stove-piped to you by law. And finally, (at least for me) a strong and diverse democratic government is the only institution that can really ensure this.
There, how hard was that?
But on that subject, that's the other way I know this is becoming something real.
The pushback from the corporate tools and mouthbreathers from the Tea Party faction of the Republican Party and the amount of spittle-flecked, hysterical, racist, classist, mysogonistic invective and mendacity being spewed by the GOP's house organ at FOXNews and the terawatts of hate radio saturating our country has attained relativistic mass and speed.
Odd thing: I have interacted with some self-decribed conservatives and Republicans on other blogs who respect the OWS movement and what they are saying and asking for.
There are honest conservatives and Republicans who understand they have skin in this game, too. Even if we don't necessarily agree on what to do, we are honestly engaging in a conversation about the important issues being raised about the future of our republic.
As far as I am concerned, that in itself counts as a win for the OWS movement; when people can cross party lines to engage in an earnest search for answers to our problems.
It is a naked emperor moment for the nation, when we realize we can and should make common cause in spite of the carefully crafted and maintained -- yet utterly artificial -- differences fostered to distract the country from the real peril it faces.
Unfortuately, they really seem like they're in a small minority in their party.
The criticisms you see from the Corporatists and their pissant authoritarian footsoldiers is very instructive of the fact that they really have very little use for traditional American notions of democracy and plurality.
Their frenzied contempt and manic criticism tells me that there are people in positions of power in this country who are having an "oh shit!" moment.
And that tells me that these "dirty fscking hippies" are on to something real.
In fact, it is almost embarassing to say this, but if FOX and Friends had just shut their collective pie hole, if Eric Cantor and Herman Cain had not made such turgid and feverish claims about the movement, if Glenn Beck and Andrew Breitbart had kept their masturbatory "New American Civil War" fantasies to themselves regarding OWS, I would have found it very easy to ignore this.
So, I guess I owe them thanks on that score...
My only concern is thinking about what happens when the ugly rhetoric and criticism is not enough to shut these guys down and their protests gather more attention and more Americans start to really hear them.
My guess is that the nation's insiders and the anti-pluralism warriors of the Right think they can just wait these kids out with a combination of contempt and co-opting; that they're just bored yuppie larvae who will get tired with this as soon as mommy and daddy stop footing the bill for their smart phone accounts and pot, and they can just get on with business as usual...
I have a feeling that they are going to soon realize that is a losing strategy; that a critical mass could be hit when this can no longer be marginalized as just some "Angry Hippies" (and frankly, mojo is an "Angry Hippy," so I see nothing wrong with that).
Something will have to be done to stem the tide...
What do the Powers-That-Be do then?
What will that look like?