I went down to Victoria Square to show my support for the 'Occupy Montreal' protest on Saturday. It's nice to be around people who actually care about the world they live in. The spirit to protest has hopefully picked itself up from many of it's growing pains suffered during the rebellious 1960's, dusted itself off, and now undergone a metamorphosis in this second decade of the 21st century; Now it's 'give peace a chance 2.0', providing a hope that we are not yet 'done' as a species.
|"Does your wife, you know...'Occupy Wall Street?"|
I'm not writing this perched atop my self-righteous 'soap-box', I must admit, it's only the second demonstration I've ever taken part in, I always viewed protesting to be useless guilt appeasing 'groupthink'. My view had always been that a divestment from the elements of society and culture one objects to is a more effective means of communicating discontent and affecting 'change'.
But the tables have now turned on that much beloved aforementioned generation of Hippy protesters, many of whom chose to abandon their 'youthful idealism' for the immediate gratification of their newfound 'materialist idealism'. There are many leftover from that generation who never did 'sell out' and I salute them, but others unfortunately succumbed to the pressures and 'immediate gratification' of shifting their ideals and allegiances ;) They moved from one of protest, 'free love', and 'social justice' (and all the fringe benefits of peer acceptance) to a derivative of social justice called 'liberalism' which of course always remained subordinate to the construction of their personal financial empires (and all the fringe benefits of it's peer acceptance).
This new protest movement will gain momentum though, to the point where it will appear to define this generation over the narcissistic one which preceded them, and if I believed we had the resource capacity to endlessly repeat social cycles, I would say that most of those who will latch on to this movement would one day become like the calcified individuals who abandoned their 60's idealism for buckets of leveraged cash.
We all know how history does not repeat itself, but rhymes, and this movement, although similar to the protest movements of the sixties, actually has identified the root problem behind the dysfunction, which is banking (the debt based pyramid scheme thereof) the influence within politics of lobbyists, and the 'eternal' racket of corporate sponsored warfare (a.k.a. The Military Industrial Complex).
In the sixties, as a small boy, I had as much contempt as a five year old could possibly have for 'Hippies', I saw their vices, yet was too young to see the systemic injustices driving their rage by the imbalances of human greed and frailty. For this reason, I couldn't comprehend why these 'pot smoking', 'acid dropping', 'long haired freeloaders' were so pissed off, or how anyone could hope to engage a civilization by simply 'turning on, tuning in, and dropping out'.
The unfortunate consequences of being young and idealistic, is not to have had enough life experience to truly understand what levels of subterfuge other humans will stoop to in order to gain control over others, and also to what degree weaker humans can be manipulated. Many of these protesters are wise, considering their acknowledgement of their refusal to incorporate leaders in their movement. Perhaps many of them learned this apophatically through the coercive techniques used by Security at the anti-globalist G-20 and G-8 demonstrations, or by simply taking Sun-Tzu's advice and choosing to remain formless.
The calcified Grandmas and Grandpas who must be looking on with disgust, squander their acquired wisdom, by apologizing for, and actually defending the status quo. They find comfort with beliefs that the system we have set in place is the best we have at the present moment, so let's not rock the boat too much! It's an easy position to assume if one has a yearly income which well exceeds the national average, and which compared to most of the world, All of us here in the west fall into that category. From the perspective of someone working at a 'call centre' or 'sweat shop' in Asia, the recent spirit of protest in developed countries might appear to be nothing more than a pathetic 'mea-culpa' propagated by 'spoiled westerners' sensing the collapse of their idealistic globalist financial system. "Where were you before everything turned to shit?" they may just be asking.
Right now, Egypt is going through hell. After rising up to excise their malignant 'Mubarak tumour', the rapid rate at which this transformation has happened has created a power vacuum, and Egyptians are currently experiencing the horrific blowback from this political paradigm shift. One could argue how any radical transformation of our current system would not engender as bad a result as what's happened in Egypt, because our desperation is quiet and not as palpable here in the first world. Should our system fail us or change due to a 'sudden revolution', we would probably experience a 'grace period' until either our patience and/or economic conditions begin to rapidly deteriorate, and at that point, the opportunists will most certainly come marching in with their 'solutions', however extreme they may be. There was once great hope in Russia, after the Bolshevik revolution, with the Romanov's gone, and the experiment of Communism in it's infancy, delusion and hope at that time reigned supreme, until…
Although we have a very different culture than that of Egypt, or 20th century Russia, these differences are merely window dressing compared the similarities which bind us... the fact that we are all human beings, forever wanting freedom from external control, yet all too often react violently to injustices by ruthlessly scapegoating other ethnicities perceived to be the 'enemy', all the while consumed by the psychosis brought on by the abdication of personal responsibility, one where we elect 'leaders' and their political parties who in turn volunteer to do the dirty work of parental governance, so that the rest of us can go about 'living our lives' and 'having fun'.
We here in the west have accomplished much greatness, and yet also have mastered the art of global injustice to 'near perfection'. When one considers that half the world's population lives on less than two dollars a day, we must face the fact that our guilt driven foreign aid dollars are just not making the cut. Our government's have happily supported 'evil regimes' when it was 'in their interest to do so', only to destroy them with propaganda and military intervention once the offenders outlived their usefulness.
A good example of what I'm talking about is this recent campaign to discredit Iran, by claiming it's highly skilled Quds forces masterminded an extremely sloppy assassination plot to kill the Saudi ambassador to the UN (how Iran could possibly benefit from this assassination, or by provoking the ire of the west, is one tall tale I'd love to hear).
It's well documented how Western leaders have been beating the drums of war with Iran for a long time, Spreading paranoia about Iran's plans to build a nuclear bomb. Also by jumping on any thing M. Ahmadinejad says and twisting it any-which-way in order to vilify him. History is replete with false flag events used as a pretext for war. The last notable one being the 'weapon's of mass destruction' fallacy used to jumpstart the war against Iraq.
What is so appalling is that whenever it suits the agenda of our well funded 'leaders', they choose to abandon 'due-process' by employing extremist policies of 'shooting first and asking questions later'. This recent crisis is an issue to be resolved solely between the Saudi's and the Iranians, without the involvement of the current US administration. It must be brought before an international court in the Hague, so it can be determined who is responsible for doing what, and THEN, and only then, can countries like the United States usher a correct political response. This hasty desire for America to execute 'justice' has to make any thinking person suspicious, especially given the specious evidence presented in this latest plot. If the Corporatist/Globalist powers driving foreign policy chose to escalate this nonsense to one of military conflict, I believe global consciousness is now such, as to effectively put a PERMANENT END to this hijacking of the common good, ending the capacity of those waging war and more importantly those within the power structure lying just below the surface of it's visible components. to them I say "Check Mate!"
Our Protesters however, see through all this bullshit, now infused with the true democratic and patriotic spirit of action, one which has been born out of the sober realization of the impotency of ones 'vote'.
At the protest itself, I could see some radicals were indeed present and who were using this opportunity to rally and hopefully guide the faithful into believing how only a Socialist, Nationalist, or Anarchist response is needed to combat our current pernicious form of capitalism, when the truth is, we don't even have capitalism to begin with. When profits are privatized and losses are socialized, all we have is what Benito Mussolini once described as: 'Corporatism'.
All that has ever been needed is a moderate, highly regulated, global capitalism, one of small business and small government, one where actual laws prohibit the raping of resources from less developed countries, and one where a small but thrifty government can regulate these monstrosities, in order to prevent the 'positive feedback loop' generated by large banks and corporations... in other words, to help prevent their rapacious greed from driving civilization off a fucking cliff. We the people have been all too happy to cooperate with this madness through both the consumption of this nonsense, and general passivity. Remember, all this must be kept in mind before passing any kind of ultimate judgement.
Those who 'protest of the protesters' will miss out on all the fun, like the Grinch who stole christmas, cynically deriding the protesters imperative for systemic change. The large Banks have failed due to the caloussness of their own greed, and have tried to persuade and frighten us, with help from our elected officials, with catchphrases like 'too big to fail', or that somehow we would be incapable of functioning in a world without them 'doing God's work'. Yes, without them, the 'system' would collapse. A 'system' which allows the very few to take a greater portion of the 'resource pie' and carve it up into little bits like the eucharist at sunday mass, whilst expecting the rest of us to be grateful to them for doing so.
The people and the protesters are standing up and calling bullshit! And although we don't need a revolution overnight, there is a definitely a sense of urgency. If we're lucky, we have perhaps about one generation to get from where we are now, to where we need to be, so that our little vessel called civilization doesn't get sucked into the 'event horizon', which is the logical extension of our current far-right political/economic methodology, and the inevitability of a totalitarian, oligarchically controlled, neo-feudal police state. (don't laugh, now or then!)
These protests are hopefully a 'gentle nudge' in the other direction. By the simple act of fostering a culture of defiance, there is no need yet to have a clear agenda as to where we need to go. At the moment, we must stop the ship and reverse course immediately, once that is accomplished we can only then set out on a new course!
One young man at the protest had a cardboard sign around his neck asking the rhetorical question "How rich is too rich?" a good question. Like any sociopath, someone is too rich, when they lose the ability to empathize with, understand the needs of, and are clueless as to the day to day obstacles faced by those less fortunate than they are,. Remember, there is no such thing as rich without poor, if the rich fail to make accommodations for the basic human needs of those who earn less than they do (that is food, shelter and the ability to keep ALL the fruits of their hard labour), it will soon be over for us as an evolving species. Revenue sharing need not be confined solely to professional sports; I'm not talking 'socialism' so much as it is simply a responsible form of 'capitalism'.
It's important for the Oligarchs to remember too, that although providing 'soul destroying' jobs at low wages may offer employment, it does little to enrich the quality of anyone's lives, or the development and flourishing of 'human potential' within any given society. Without the infusion of proper inspiration, those ineffective 'individuals' rejecting these jobs are all too often viewed by elitists and those who stroke them as being lazy, whilst these same supremacists ironically bathe in the 'unearned riches' of their abstract financial 'investments'.
Radical but manageable change is needed over time, and the time to begin has begun. The protesters will be inheriting the consequences of the narcissism of my generation, We can only hope they will not judge us too harshly, despite the global and environmental circumstances which may dictate otherwise.
Protesting, therefore, is the left arm of defiance, and a systematic divestment from that within our society which has control over us, is the right arm. It will ultimately boil down to the individual choices we must be conscious of when employing our one and only true power to 'vote', the money we chose to 'spend'.
Dirty CT October 2011