Everybody, but everybody, wants to get in on the Occupy Wall Street act. Since the leaderless, focusless band of creative protestors began getting media coverage, all manner of commentators have commentated. Multitudes claim to know what OWS really is or really ought to be. Political people who may have something or nothing in common with the vague aims of OWS or the vague band of jugglers, gypsies, drummers, retro-hippies, sincere-if-ignorant fogheads, and genuinely angry activists are cautiously trying to bend OWS to their own purposes.
The third-biggest bonehead ever to win a Nobel Prize, Paul Krugman, demonstrates what an old fogey and conventional thinker he is by urging OWS to coalesce around (his) establishment goals. Oh yeah. Infrastructure investment! That’s worth taking to the streets for.
Democrat party leaders cautiously circle OWS, wondering if they can co-opt it as their R-comrades so quickly and successfully co-opted the Tea Party. When Obama so much as makes a wussy comment in favor of OWS, TV mavens say he wants an Arab spring (never mind that the Arab spring was all about toppling … oops, people like Obama). And R leaders screech that The Big O is supporting mob rule.
The OWS is a bunch of teenage tyrants!. No! The OWS is full of freedom-fighters! Yes, they’re freedom-fighters, but they’re misguided. Let me show the way!
Some of the commenting is enlightening. A lot just takes up space. We comment because we comment in this 24/7 (god, I hate that term) newsworld.
The Christian Science Monitor speculates that newcomers are hijacking the movement. There’s truth in that, as even some of our own hope to influence the OWS in a more informed, freedomista direction. (Good luck, guys!)
Even the Tea Party itself, in its R-approved corporatized form, gets in on the act, sniffing that those people — you know, those grubby sorta-kinda-anarchists in the streets — are nothing like us.
The Monitor retorts: Oh yes, they are.
Meanwhile, Wall Streeters (or at least their Chicago analogs) shout FU! (Um, guys, you might want to watch your step there. That’s the sort of response that historically gets rich-folk guillotined.)
You know things have gone from the sublime to the truly ridiculous when even I get a demand (thoroughly tongue-in-cheek, I devoutly hope) to quit blogging about sick dogs and take up the leadership flag now that OWS shows that the “it” moment is here.
Um … yeah.
Enough, already. Enough, enough, enough!
I’m not against Occupy Wall Street. Nor am I for it. It’s interesting theater. It’s good comment-fodder. It’s certainly a sign that otherwise unemployed people are fed up and furious. It’s an encouraging sign that many are beginning to grasp that politics as usual is a game ordinary folk can’t win. It’s a discouraging sign (per interviews with some of the participants) that even fed-up folk still imagine that government can or will save them from banksters. OMG, will some people never get it?
Yes, OWS makes a good show. And depending on how things go, it might even result in some action from government. Though anyone who expects that action to be good is smoking something better than I’ve ever had.
There’s a persistent myth — myth so potent it’s become accepted history — that the street protests of the 1960s ended the Vietnam war. See? people say, If we just take to the streets in big enough numbers, they’ll have to listen to us!
Actual history shows otherwise. The first demonstrations against the Vietnam war began in late 1963 or early 1964. By 1966 peaceful protests and marches were drawing hundreds of thousands of ardent, earnest participants (I was cutting high school classes to be one of them). The protests reached their height — and turned wilder — between 1968 and 1971.
And when did the fedgov finally wend its leisurely way out of Vietnam? Sometime between 1973 and 1975, depending on whether you count from the gradual withdrawal of troops or the undignified skedaddle of U.S. ambassador Graham Martin just ahead of the victorious North Vietnamese forces.
That’s 10 years. Or more. Can anybody really believe that street protests “ended the Vietnam war”? Not really. And OWS isn’t going to “reform” Wall Street, either. Or accomplish anything else its naive participants hope.
It may and probably will result in police crackdowns, new laws against protest, new surveillance programs, and other forms of suppression. It may result in a host of new laws that pretend to be for “the people” while just doing the usual thing that laws do — put more money and power in the pockets of those who already have enough money and power to buy the laws they like. It may, if it continues to grow, become a memorable cultural phenomenon that someday people will look back on with awe, nostalgia, fondness, or rage.
But change anything for the better? Well, good luck with that.
Would it be fun to join the party (provided some thug doesn’t walk up and pepper-spray you in the face without provocation)? Sure. Would it feel good to shout out, “Hey! I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any more — and I’ve got friends!”? Sure. It it exciting and meaningful to see Americans get so angry they roar in protest? Absolutely.
But you want real change? Real freedom from those who would impoverish and abuse you for their own benefit? Well, if you’ve been reading my stuff for very long or thinking for yourself since you escaped the government propaganda camps, you know exactly where to find it. If you don’t, then here’s the Big Clue:
YOU are the one thing that government and their Siamese twins in the financial world can’t manipulate, can’t “reform,” can’t control. Your independent mind and your intelligent desire to live separately from their concepts are the most powerful freaking weapons in the whole wide world.
Can government and their incestuous siblings in power really, truly eff up your world? Oh my. It’s the one thing they’re absolutely great at. We always have to work around the damnable things they do, and it gets harder by the day.
But that won’t change if we do them the honor of throwing ourselves at them in protest. That just tells them we believe in their authority.
You want a real freedom revolution? Then go inside your own head and demand that you free you. Heavens, the influence you can have there! The change you can spark! It’s awesome.
You can just go in there and tell your ownself what it needs to do to be more free — and it happens. No v*ting, no protesting, no petitioning, no lawmaking required.
Do the details get complicated? Of course. That’s the nature of the real world. Will outside influences always try to keep you from thinking and living free? Yes. Does individual freedom (as opposed to the eternally elusive ideal of political freedom) require hard, sometimes frustrating, work? Do
bears sh*t in the woods politicians sh*t on reality?
Yes, what’s ahead of us is difficult. But it’s difficult no matter what we do — whether we hang our heads and comply, whether we v*te, whether we protest in the streets — or whether we build a homestead, build our skills, build a Good Bad Attitude and establish a freedom bulkhead in an unfree world.
The question is, are you going to give your mind and your life to outsiders, hoping those outsiders — who fundamentally don’t give a damn whether you live or die — will eventually change in your favor? Or are you going to give your mind and your life to you, your ownself — to do with as you think best?