Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The People Are Ready ... Or Music To Occupy By

Curtis Mayfield once sang, People get ready, there's a train a comin'.  Today we can plainly see the people are ready, it's the train that needs to stay on track and keep a'comin'.  The eviction of the Occupy demonstrations from overnight encampments on public property brings into focus something we have known all along.  The call for change, meaningful change, has been heard.  The next phase, to be successful, will require responsible and thoughtful leadership.

Yes, there will again be instances in which actions of civil disobedience should be employed to capture certain tactical goals.  I would rate the initial high-pitched cry of outrage through the illegal demonstrations on public property as an example of the efficacy of such actions.  But there must be an intelligent predicate for such moves.  In this case, there simply was no other way of breaking through the blather of nonsense which passes for news reporting and political debate nowadays to simply make the point that the status quo cannot hold.  Well done.

Now, peaceful as well as lawful actions must be the course to travel in laying out the road to a better day.  Only if these watchwords are kept to, will there be any hope of continuing to build public support.  As that support grows, it then makes more and more sense to directly challenge immoral and unjust legal burdens by calling for such protests as resisting foreclosures by staying put or refusing to pay usurious interest and bogus bank charges.  Such moves help point to the areas where legal changes need to be made.  But they must be folded into a wider strategy of large and lawful protest.  That is the track the train must roll on.  Lots of folks are waiting to get on board.

1 comment:

  1. Of course the status quo can and will hold, though. All it ever has to do is wait out the mood. I'll give Mitch this much. Unlike his counterparts in other cities, his strategy of just ignoring the occupy protest and then gently sweeping it away after the momentum had died was far more sensible than the poking it with sticks and tasers and the like we've seen elsewhere.

    The thing nobody seems to understand about cataclysm is it doesn't actually change the circumstances that brought it into being. Rather it reinforces the position of those responsible while conditioning the victims to acceptance of the consequences.

    Examples: 1)The Federal Flood that destroyed New Orleans didn't bring about any renewed movement to restore our wetlands to sustainability or to protect the city beyond the inadequate "100 year" threshold in place before the flood.

    Instead the experience merely lowered our expectations for the performance of our protection system as well as the emergency response when it inevitably fails. Status quo maintained and enhanced.

    2) The recent oil disaster hasn't led to a reevaluation of our Faustian bargain with the extractive industry that has poisoned our sea and ruined our coast, but instead has strengthened the perception of that industry as an essential and untouchable "job creator" Again status quo preserved an enhanced.

    3) The recent financial crisis has only led to an expansion of the influence, wealth and power of the great money trusts who survived it via trillions of dollars in government largesse and the guarantee that they'll always be thusly supported regardless of whatever risky or fraudulent behavior they engage in going forward.

    Those are just three examples taken from recent familiar events. For others see pretty much the history of everything.

    I know this is a cliche nowadays but Naomi Klein's well-coined term Shock Doctrine is apt. What can be done about it? I suspect not much. In the long view, the history of the world is basically a gross grinding injustice punctuated by spasms of horror to no particular purpose.

    This is not to say there isn't any value in documenting the atrocities or calling them out as they occur or even resisting them in whatever way is accessible. I mean, there's no reason not to do one's best to destroy what's destroying you, as a favorite phrase of mine goes.

    I just don't expect the destruction to automatically usher in a braver new world in its wake.