Tag Archives: Occupy Wall Street

The Occupy movement at risk from violent protesters

In a previous post (Who Will occupy Whom? A Warning for OWS) I warned about threats to the occupy movement and suggested a general strategy for achieving popular empowerment, peace, justice, and personal freedom. That post was prompted by, and included, an insightful article by Richard K. Moore. This one is stimulated by an article by Chris Hedges that highlights a more immediate threat that has recently developed in Oakland and elsewhere. That threat appears in the form of violent mob action that goes under the rubric of The Black Bloc. According to Wikipedia, “The Black Bloc is sometimes incorrectly reported as being the name of a specific anarchist group. It is, rather, a tactic that may be adopted by groups of various motivations and methods.” Those methods include violent confrontation with authority and destruction of property, tactics that play right into the hands of domineering oligarchs intent of preserving their privilege and hold on power. No doubt, the actions of many Black Bloc protesters are motivated by their ardently held, though misguided, ideology, but it seems likely that there are among their leadership agents provocateur who are intent on helping to maintain the present power structure by discrediting any opposition to it.

The media have generally characterized these anarchist actions as being part of the Occupy movement, but as Chris Hedges points out in his article, The Cancer in Occupy, The Black Bloc is no friend to the Occupy movement which began as peaceful expressions of discontent with the status quo, and is hopefully maturing into a progressive movement toward popular empowerment. Hedges calls the Black Bloc anarchists “the cancer of the Occupy movement,” and I’m inclined to agree. One feature of the Black Bloc protesters, and the basis for the name, is that they dress in black clothing and use ski masks, scarves, sun glasses, and other means to obscure their faces. But anonymity and concealment are antithetical to civil society and are more likely to enable criminal and anti-social activity rather than protection for the legitimate assertion of people’s rights.

Any movement will eventually develop factions that diverge on the basis of philosophy, goals, strategies and tactics. The mainstream of the Occupy movement must find ways to distance itself from such groups and tactics because, as Hedges points out, “Once the Occupy movement is painted as a flag-burning, rock-throwing, angry mob we are finished. If we become isolated we can be crushed.” One way to preserve the legitimacy of the movement is to insist on openness and transparency. If that can be expressed strongly enough, it might preserve in the public mind the identity of Occupy as a benign and creative force.

I believe that the ends are inherent in the means and that, “we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12, KJV). The Occupy movement must move toward disciplined organization and employ tactics that are at once compassionate and effective, tactics that even progressives who work within the establishment can embrace. It must be a form of organization that relies not on power hierarchies, but on solidarity and consensus within small communities of peers organized into large networks than can enable concerted action.

The real threat to the powers that be, (and the most promising path toward our goals) is intelligent, non-violent, empowering actions that make them and their systems irrelevant.

The way forward, as I see it, is to assert our fundamental rights and to organize better ways of providing for our basic needs. Yes, there will be adverse consequences, but ultimately right will prevail. I am reminded of a scene from the film Gandhi, in which the mahatma leads a large number of people on a march to the sea—to make salt. Why was that a revolutionary act? Because the British government had a “legal” monopoly that forced people in India to buy their salt from that single source. What a patent absurdity, to tell people that they are prohibited from making their own salt. What a gross infringement of basic human rights!

But people everywhere today suffer under equally absurd “laws” that force people to rely upon banking cartels to provide government-approved forms of money to enable the exchange of the goods and services we all need. In some places, competing forms of currency and financing alternatives are prohibited outright, in others they are impeded by onerous taxation and reporting requirements. But ultimately, the people will reclaim the credit commons and free themselves from oppressive systems of money and finance. I urge you again to heed the prescriptions outlined in my book, The End of Money and the Future of Civilization.

Viva la revolución pacífica!

–t.h.g.

Class War, the Oligarch’s conspiracy, and the Occupy movement

Here is a remarkable statement by Paul B. Farrell that tells the unvarnished truth about the class war that is being waged against Americans. It is remarkable for two reasons, first, because Farrell has a background as a financial establishment insider–he was an investment banker with Morgan Stanley; executive vice president of the Financial News Network; executive vice president of Mercury Entertainment Corp; and associate editor of the Los Angeles Herald Examiner. Secondly, because this article appeared in MarketWatch, a mainstream news source controlled by Rupert Murdoch.

According to Wikipedia, MarketWatch “is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Dow Jones, which in turn is owned by News Corporation. MarketWatch is part of Dow Jones’ Consumer Media Group, along with The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, the WSJ.com and affiliated Internet properties. Through the Rupert Murdoch-controlled News Corp. ownership, MarketWatch is also affiliated with, among many other global media properties, the New York Post, The Times of London, Fox News Channel and multiple other 20th Century Fox spinoffs, and HarperCollins publishers.”

I urge everyone to read the entire article paying close attention to Farrell’s conclusion.—t.h.g.

Rich Class fighting 99%, winning big-time

Commentary: Reagan began class war in 1981, Buffett declared in 2006

By Paul B. Farrell, MarketWatch. Nov. 1, 2011, 10:22 a.m. EDT

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (MarketWatch) — Yes, “there is class warfare, all right,” declared Warren Buffett. “But it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

Yes, the Rich Class is at war with you, with the 99%, a war against America. This class war actually started a generation ago, in 1981 when Ronald Reagan became president. Since then, the Rich Class has been winners. Big-time. And the 99% are the losers. Real big-time.

I am going to keep reminding you over and over of this Rich Class declaration of war and how they’re defeating America.

Why more reminders? Because, except for Buffett, the vast majority of the Rich Class really are engaged in a massive cover-up, a widespread conspiracy that includes the Super Rich, Forbes 400 billionaires, Wall Street bank CEOs, all their high-paid Washington lobbyists, all the Congressional puppets they keep in office by spending hundreds of millions on campaign payola and all the conservative presidential candidates praying the same Rich Class dogma.

Yes, Rich Class has been fighting a 30-year war to rule America

They’re fighting you, winning big-time, and you’re the loser. It’s just one generation since conservatives put Reagan in office: In those three short decades the income and wealth of the top 1% has tripled while the income of the bottom 99% of all Americans has stagnated or dropped.

Yes, they are at war with you, fighting to gain absolute power over America … and they will never stop their brutal attacks.

Buffett didn’t admit to this Declaration of Class War on America till five years ago. It happened in Omaha, Neb., in Buffett’s “unpretentious offices” back in 2006 during a New York Times interview with Ben Stein, a former Nixon speech writer. Here’s Ben describing the declaration of war:

”Buffett compiled a data sheet of the men and women who work in his office. He had each of them make a fraction; the numerator was how much they paid in federal income tax and in payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare, and the denominator was their taxable income. The people in his office were mostly secretaries and clerks, though not all.

”It turned out that Mr. Buffett, with immense income from dividends and capital gains, paid far, far less as a fraction of his income than the secretaries or the clerks or anyone else in his office. Further, in conversation it came up that Mr. Buffett doesn’t use any tax planning at all.

“He just pays as the Internal Revenue Code requires. ‘How can this be fair?’ he asked of how little he pays relative to his employees. ‘How can this be right?’ Even though I agreed with him, I warned that whenever someone tried to raise the issue, he or she was accused of fomenting class warfare.”

And to that comment by Stein, Buffett made his famous declaration of war: “There’s class warfare, all right,” Mr. Buffett said, “but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

In spite of that unequivocal declaration, Buffett’s Rich Class buddies still want you to believe that it’s the Occupiers, the lazy unemployed, the 99%, someone else, anyone other than their Rich Class that’s fomenting class warfare.

So you need occasional reminders, because the “Rich Class” has been spending mega-bucks for decades to shift responsibility. Fortunately today, folks like the Occupiers aren’t buying the con job.

Here’s a few:

Rich Class warriors: puppet-politicians in GOP-controlled Congress

We know the GOP is the Party of the Rich Class. But the Dems are co-conspirators fighting the class war as pawns of the wealthy. No wonder the Occupy Wall Street crowd focuses on the inequality gap between America’s top 1% and the 99% who’ve seen no income growth since the Reaganomics ideology took over American politics. Many are like House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan, clones of Ayn Rand’s narcissistic cult of selfish capitalism.

Listen, both parties are singing in harmony: “Yes, there’s class warfare. And yes, it’s our duty to fight for the richest class of capitalists who are making this war. We must help them win, get richer, squeeze more and more out of all Americans.”

Rich Class warriors: Federal Reserve-Wall Street bankers conspiracy

Yes, there are five banks in America that control about 90% of all the deposits … they control over 90% of America’s trading in the $650 trillion global derivatives casino … they control the Federal Reserve through directors and governors … their campaign payola and lobbyists virtually control the presidency, the Senate and Congress … they siphon huge bonuses from depositors, shareholders and pensioners alike:

“So yes, there is a class warfare running our banking system, every day. And yes, the CEOs in our rich class are leading that class war, and winning big. But more is never enough, so we want new ways to skim off profits, because we are invincible, too big and too greedy to fail.”

Rich Class warriors: Pentagon’s Perpetual War-Mongering Machine

The rich class loves war (war profiteering is a big business). Of course they often have to brainwash the 99% with fears like the mushroom-cloud lies Bush-Cheney used to get America into the $3 trillion Iraq War. Americans have a powerful love-hate relationship with war. Why else would we spend almost half our federal budget, several hundred billion dollars, on war every year?

“Yes, there’s class warfare, all right,” the former vice president might say as a one-time defense contractor CEO and oilman who continued profiting in office. He’d obviously admit: “Yes, we’re in a class war, and it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we proud that we kept winning that war while we was in office.”

Rich Class fighting to turn America back into Reagan’s ol’ Wild West

The list goes on: The Rich Class wants to time-travel America back to a lawless Old Wild West, back to a free-market Reaganomics anarchy where the top 1% trickle down leftovers to the 99% using this kind of self-destructive programs:

  • Privatize: Turn Social Security over to Wall Street bankers to run Main Street’s retirements into the dirt (worse than they did in 2008), a $20 trillion blunder that’s guaranteed to trigger total bankruptcy of the America economy.
  • Vouchers: Turn our educational and health-care systems into a voucher system so that private companies owned by the Rich Class can siphon off even bigger profits from every little trickle-down bone the wealthy toss to parents, the sick and elderly.
  • Regulations: They’ll also turn over environmental, drugs, food, banking and all other regulatory agencies back to be controlled by the very company executives they’re supposed to be regulating, just like Bush and Cheney did for eight years.
  • Tax-Free: Extend Bush tax cuts to Rich Class, eliminate estate taxes and give Corporate America another tax–free holiday to return huge foreign profits so they can deposit those profits direct into pockets of the Rich Class.

But, of course, there’s nothing new here. We just forget so easily, because it’s so bad. Which is why we’ll be reminding you often that the Rich Class has been fighting this war against you for 30 years, since Reagan.

And they’re so greedy they cannot stop fighting. So they will likely keep attacking the 99% for another decade, till the 2020 presidential elections, or more likely, till a catastrophic collapse of the economy coming soon.

Yes, folks, America really is under attack daily. We are fighting on the defense in an historic class warfare. Yes, the Rich Class really did start this war. And yes, they really are winning, big-time. And yes, they are addicted to winning at all costs, to get richer and richer just for the sake of getting richer and richer.

They have no conscience about the collateral damage done to the rest of Americans. They’ve lost their moral compass. In short, they will fight this war to the death, yours, theirs, even the death of America. Bet on it: Because more is never enough for America’s morally bankrupt Rich Class. [emphasis added-ed.]

Copyright © 2011 MarketWatch, Inc. All rights reserved.

A Report on Popular Assemblies: Insights for the Occupy Movement

Tom Atlee alerted me to this report which I think provides some good insight into the popular movements that have been ongoing in Europe over the past few months. It may be helpful in determining how the Occupy movement might avoid losing momentum and move on with strength to the next level of planning and organizing. What comes after the protests and expressions of dissatisfaction? Is it really necessary to reach consensus in presenting demands and moving toward positive action? –t.h.g.

Occupy to Self Manage
By Michael Albert

http://interactivist.autonomedia.org/node/33609

I have yet to see my nearest large occupation, Boston, or the precursor of all U.S. occupations, Wall Street. Instead, I have been on the road for the past six weeks in Thesselonika and Athens Greece; Istanbul and Diyarbikar Turkey; Lexington, Kentucky; London, England; Dublin, Ireland; and in Barcelona, Madrid, and Valencia Spain.

In all these places, I talked with diverse individuals at many meetings and popular assemblies. I met people involved in occupations, as well as audiences assembled by my hosts to hear about participatory economics. Beyond addressing assigned topics, my own priority was to learn about local movements. I repeatedly asked what folks struggling for many months wished to say to other folks first embarking on similar paths.

Boredom, Disempowerment, and Consensus Obstruct Growth
In Greece and Spain, a single message predominated. It had nothing to do with analyses of capitalism or other analytic focuses. Instead, Greek and Spanish activists reported that they had massive assemblies in widespread cities and their occupations grew, grew, grew, so that assemblies were up to 12,000, 15,000 – and then they shrunk, shrunk, shrunk, so that assemblies are now not meeting, or are meeting in the hundreds, or less.

Yet I heard, time after time, that nothing had diminished regarding the population’s rejection of unfolding injustices. The people remain fed up in huge numbers and still turn out massively for demonstrations, marches, and strikes. So why were most people who were rallying and marching no longer assembling? The reply I heard at every stop was that the decline of the assemblies wasn’t due to repression, or to people being co-opted, or to people being tricked or saddened by media distortion or dismissal. In fact, the assemblies shrinking wasn’t due to anything anyone else did to the assemblies, or said about them, or didn’t do to them, or didn’t say about them, activists repeatedly reported. Instead, they told me, the problem emanated from within.

For example, Greek and Spanish activists said that at assemblies initially people spoke with incredible passion of their plights and desires. Their voices often broke. Their hands shook. Each time someone rose to speak, something real, passionate, and persistent happened. It was enchanting and exciting. People were learning not only new facts and interpretations – and, indeed, that kind of learning was relatively modest – they were also learning new confidence and new modes of engaging with others. But after days and then weeks, the flavor of the talks shifted. From being new folks speaking passionately and recounting their reasons for being present and their hopes for their future by delivering deeply felt and quite unique stories, the speakers shifted toward being more seasoned or habituated folks, who lectured attendees with prepackaged views. The lines of speakers became overwhelmingly male. Their deliveries became overwhelmingly rehearsed. Listening to robotic repetition and frequent predictable and almost text-like ranting got boring and alienating. Sometimes it was even demeaning.

At the same time, new people, who were still far more prevalent, didn’t know what to do while they were occupying. We could assemble, they reported. We could talk and engage with each other. We could listen to others and sometimes debate a bit – the Greek and Spanish Assemblers reported – but, how long could we do that and feel it was worth the time we had to spend away from our families, friends, and jobs, not to mention from rooms with a roof?

As they first formed, the assemblies were invigorating and uplifting. We were creating a new community, I was told. We were making new friends. We were hearing from new people. We were enjoying an environment where dissent was the norm. But as days passed, and then weeks, it got too familiar. And it wasn’t obvious to folks what more they could do. There weren’t tasks to undertake. We weren’t being born anymore, we were dying. It was hard. For many it was impossible to keep learning and keep contributing. There was a will, but there was not a way. Folks didn’t have meaningful things to do that made them feel part of a worthy project. We felt, in time, only part of a mass of people.

After a time, many asked, why should I stay and listen to boring talks? Why should I be hugely uncomfortable and cut off from family and work, if I have nothing to do that is constructive, nothing that is empowering, nothing that furthers worthy aims? And so people started to attend less, and then to leave.

Another factor that was initially exciting but later became tedious, was seeking consensus. At first it was novel. It implied trust, which felt good. It implied shared intentions, which felt inspiring. But after awhile, seeking consensus became tortured, a time waster, and its reason for being the only decision making approach became steadily less compelling.

Why can’t we arrive at decisions which some people do not like and don’t even want to participate in? Why can’t we arrive at decisions, and have a strong minority that dissents, and then respect that minority, and even have it pursue other possibilities to see their worth? Why do we allow some small group to cause discussions to continue without end, turning off many from relating when the small group has no legitimate claim to greater influence than anyone else – save that our mode of decision making gives them a veto?

Folks recounted all these dynamics very graphically and movingly. No one said that people stopped participating in assemblies because of fear or the cops or depression over the newspapers. No one said people left because they had developed doubts about protest or resistance, much less about the condition of society. Instead, everyone I spoke with, and it was a lot of very committed people, told me participants left due to lacking good reasons to stay. The bottom line was that the assemblies got tedious and, ironically, even disempowering. Folks wondered, why must I be here every day and every night? The thought nagged. It led to legions moving on.

Making the Very Good Even Better
What is the solution, I asked, in each new city, and we discussed possible answers. Occupy but better yet, self manage, I was told. The former option is basically passive – the latter is active and yields tasks and opportunities to contribute.

Grow in numbers and awareness, but those who become well learned must stay in touch with new people, and always remember that new people’s involvement matters most. Otherwise old timers are getting more knowledgeable but also more aloof, and new people will not stay.
Why not have classes for learning? Why not have activities for creating? Why not have actions for winning changes? Always speak to the new people. Always speak from experience, from events, not from preconceived lines. Always involve yourself and new people in tangible and worthy activity. Make the options evident and easy to become involved with.

Of course some things can’t be solved at occupations themselves. Sleeping out is a young person’s passion – but not an option for everyone. In Dublin, this was particularly evident. So, while sleeping in an occupied space makes sense for some young or homeless folks, why not proactively take for granted that many other folks, particularly with families, will not and cannot sleep under the stars? Why not have a program of activities that returns people to their home locales for organizing purposes each night, or even for all but the explicit time of assembly meetings, perhaps?

Ideas that resonated in the many discussions, and that activists involved felt needed preponderant support, included: once an occupation has a lot of people, have subgroups initiate other occupations in more places, all federated together and providing one another mutual aid. In the most local, neighborhood occupations, visit every home. Talk with every resident. Involve as many neighbors as possible. Determine real felt needs. If what is most upsetting neighbors is housing concerns, daycare issues, traffic patterns, mutual aid, loneliness, whatever, try to act to address the problems.

Have occupations self manage and create innovations artistically, socially, and politically. Have occupations occupy indoors, not just outside. It is a leap, perhaps, but not much of one. In Barcelona and Madrid – some have tentatively begun occupying abandoned apartments and other buildings, preparatory, I believe, to inviting the homeless to dwell in them, as well as to using them for meetings and the like. In Valencia I was at a very fledgling university occupation, begun, indeed, after a talk. But to occupy buildings, especially institutions like universities or media, isn’t just a matter of call it, or tweet it, and they will come. It is a matter of go get them, inform them, inspire them, enlist them, empower them, and they will come.

In Greece and Spain, and to an extent the other venues I visited too, violence was another focus. All who I talked with agreed it was a suicidal approach on two counts. First, violence is the state’s main strength. Shifting the terms of conflict toward violence shifts it precisely where the state and elites want it – toward their strength. Second, violence distorts the project. It makes it inaccessible for many. It makes bystanders critical. It diminishes outreach, and outreach is the basis of all gains.

I have been to Greece a number of times, and in earlier trips this view was quite weak among young Greeks, who were more typically ready and eager to rumble. But now the non violence stance has growing traction in Greece. In Spain, from the start, it was predominant and Spanish activists have successfully avoided giving the state an excuse for violence, thus causing every act of violence by the state to reverberate to its disadvantage.

Forget about violence and rioting, develop campaigns emanating from occupations, which means, said activists in Spain, developing demands to fight for. Indeed, over and over activists involved asked about demands that could unite constituencies and which could be fought for in creative and participatory ways so that victories were possible which would really matter to people’s lives and enthusiasm and spur further struggle. They felt that while the open ended character of dissent worked fantastically initially, and was warranted while waiting for enough outreach so demands would represent a real constituency’s views, not just those of a few leaders, over time, one needs focus.

Some suggestions for demands that arose were welcome. Others less so. For example, everyone liked demanding big cuts in military spending and reinstatement and enlargement of funds for social programs. But what folks really liked was when that demand was explored and enlarged to include transforming the purposes of military bases that would otherwise be shrunk or closed due to budget cutting to instead stay open and do worthy public works such as building low income housing, first for base residents who would need and appreciate it, and then for the homeless.

And regarding the homeless, a demand that hit home was freezing foreclosures, returning homes, distributing vacant homes, housing the homeless – including the idea of enacting occupations to undertake these results directly, a process that has begun in Barcelona and Madrid which also have robust movements to block foreclosures.

Another approach that seemed to gather considerable support was to demand full employment. But that wasn’t all. Recognizing the lack of current demand for produced goods people realized a sensible full employment demand would require also reducing the work week by 10 – 25 percent, depending on the country’s unemployment rate. Of course if most people saw their incomes decline by a corresponding amount, they would face catastrophe, and thus the reduced hours demand has to be combined with a demand that most people would incur no loss of income. (Living wage policies and redistributionist progressive taxation would also be part of the mix.) Full employment additionally strengthens working people because when they all have jobs, the threat of being fired declines to near irrelevance. Winning this demand also means workers enjoy more leisure and higher hourly wages for those in need. Additional costs would have to be born by owners, and if they don’t agree, that’s fine – workers might want to occupy those factories, and then move to self manage them.

Another popular notion was going after media. One option that resonated as a possible campaign goal, even while obviously falling short of total transformation (though certainly on the way toward it), was demanding one or more new sections of mainstream newspapers, or shows, or whatever which would be devoted to, for example, labor dissent, or feminism, or peace, or ecology, and so on. Crucially, these would not be managed in the usual corporate fashion, but, instead, via self management of their participants under the umbrella of major labor, women’s, peace, or ecology organizations, for example.

In these exchanges, activists were imagining a worldwide campaign against mainstream media, against military spending, for low income quality housing, and for full employment including accompanying income redistribution and increased leisure. They envisioned these campaigns unifying protest into resistance and then unifying resistance into creative self management, even as each occupation also related to its own local concerns.

Self Managements!
Occupations – or what might come to be known, in time, as self managements – would occur in local neighborhoods and federate up to cities and beyond, but also at the entrances to, and perhaps even inside, mainstream media, and at military recruiting stations and bases, at government ministries and branches, and finally, one can envision, even at factories and other workplaces. And in such endeavors not everyone would have to sleep outdoors but everyone would have to give some of their time, resources, insight, and energy to aid one or another campaign of the overall project.

The revolution, so to speak, is not immediately at hand. In my youth we bellowed – “We want the world and we want it now!” It was fine as a rousing chant. But we need to also understand that it takes time, it takes sustained effort, traversing not weeks or months, but years.
Indeed, even with the incredible speed and ingenuity of current outbreaks of activism, there are undeniably pessimistic scenarios in which occupations wind down and then demos happen for a time but manage to win only minor if any gains until movement morbidity sets in. This is what the Greeks and Spaniards are trying to avoid. It is why they are beginning new kinds of occupations aimed at media, housing, universities, and at the transformation of budgets, and soon, perhaps at hiring and firing. Projects that are designed to enhance and widen participation in ways leading to massive involvement of masses of people – all knowing what they want and how they can contribute to attaining it.

There are, however, also optimistic scenarios in which occupations diversify and morph into self managing projects radiating out campaigns for change while also welcoming into sustained participation countless actors of all ages and orientations. In this picture, daily marches to support other campaigns in a city – like in New York currently – with growth in numbers and confidence, leads to empty buildings becoming residences and meeting places, to mainstream media businesses becoming targets for occupation, and likewise for universities, and other workplaces of all kinds. Simultaneously, local neighborhoods generate their own assemblies, again, like in New York, initiated by the residents who had been schooled in the earlier, larger, city-wide endeavors, and then local participants patiently and empathetically enter every house, every kitchen and living room, and elicit desires, and, in time, participation.

Paths Forward
Envisioning all this and much more, once people’s ambition is unleashed from the shackles of daily pessimism, was not hard for folks I talked with. The optimistic path is a scenario involving planting the seeds of the future in the present. It is a scenario that marshals energy and insights to building alternatives, but also winning gains now all fought for and implemented in ways that build desires and organization aimed at winning still more gains in the future.

We need a sense of proportion and pacing. The occupations now underway still involve only a small fraction, indeed a tiny fraction, of the people in pain and angry about it. To grow, the occupations need to very explicitly conceive themselves in ways that address immediate needs, are aimed at viable and worthy long term goals, and develop modes of participation that cause normal folks, enduring normal harsh conditions, to feel that giving their time makes good sense because it can eventually lead to a new social system with vastly better outcomes than those presently endured. Occupations that began in response to economic insanity need, as well, to broaden and adopt a more encompassing focus taking into account not only the economy, but also, and equally, matters of race, gender, age, ability, ecology, and war and peace. This is what makes a movement a threatening project able to induce capitulation from authorities afraid to make it grow even larger. It is what makes a movement worthy of winning, as well.

We need not only patience in the face of a long struggle, but also a sense of optimism and desire. The occupations are a start, a veritable firestorm of initiation, and they already have vastly wider support than their direct participation evidences. There is a possibility lurking in these events that is awesome in its potential implications. We should all be patient and keep our heads, yet we should all also realize that this may be a very special time, especially for young people, during which it is possible to make an indelible, enduring, and incredibly desirable mark on history.

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Who Will occupy Whom? A Warning for OWS

Where is the occupy movement headed? This is a question that needs to be a continuous part of our discussion. One observer that I regard as particularly astute is Richard K. Moore, visionary, activist, and author of Escaping the Matrix. Richard’s preoccupation is very similar to my own, i.e., to find answers to such fundamental questions as these: How does the world really work? What could a better world look like? How can we bring about the necessary transformation?

Here below is Richard’s very insightful  expression (slightly abridged) of what is likely to happen UNLESS the Occupy movement can be informed of truly transformative options, motivated to share, cooperate and organize to implement them, and empowered enough to carry through to full realization of what I’m calling the Butterfly society.

In my view, that will mean a massive devolution of power, and herein lies the importance of the transition, relocalization, decentralization, and community self-reliance initiatives. But a necessary part of that is also a shift in values and ideals that motivate people to change their orientation from pursuing their narrow self-interest to acting for the common good.

Richard’s scenario is a pessimistic one, but it seems all too plausible. As he points out, there is always the risk with any movement, that it will be manipulated and co-opted to serve the interests of some particular group, most notably the existing power hierarchy. This may be the case with the recent regime changes in North Africa and the Middle-east, particularly Libya, where the change was achieved only by the massive intervention of NATO in a civil war that was waged against the government of Muammar Gaddafi by some pretty dubious characters. Now I make no apology for Gaddafi, but the avowed purpose of the NATO intervention just does not hold up to any reasonably close scrutiny. What will be the ultimate outcomes there and in Tunisia and Egypt remains to be seen.

Alvin Toffler, in his book, The Third Wave observed that the power of the nation state is on the wane, that it is being assailed both from ABOVE and from BELOW. The New World Order of the global elite is the “from above” part of that picture. Over the years, we’ve gotten a pretty good glimpse of what that looks like—ever greater centralization of power and concentration of wealth, and control of the many by the few who view themselves as “special” and destined to rule over the world. Carroll Quigley’s book, Tragedy and Hope is perhaps the most useful source on this because it includes a description of HOW their plans are being carried out. That is by their control over the entire machinery of MONEY—credit, currencies and exchange mechanisms; banking and finance; and markets. (The blocking of funds transfers, as in the case of Wiki Leaks, is only small weaponry in this “money war.”).

In Quigley’s words:

”The powers of financial capitalism had a far-reaching plan, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole… Their secret is that they have annexed from governments, monarchies, and republics the power to create the world’s money…”

Popular demands for change will, at best, end up changing nothing, and, at worst, put the masses of people in even deeper bondage than before UNLESS, the people carry through with the more difficult tasks that I mentioned above. Changes in leadership will not suffice. Our problems are structural, and nothing short of a thoroughgoing restructuring will suffice.

I’ve added some emphasis (bold type) to Richard’s essay below as a way of alerting the reader to some of the points I consider to be especially pertinent. The most important parts are toward the end, so please read it in its entirety.

I’m hoping that this and my other posts on the OWS can stimulate more such visioning and scenario planning that can lead to effective strategies for preventing manipulation and cooptation, and lead us to a truly free and compassionate New Civilization..–t.h.g.

On 10/25/2011 6:12 AM, Richard Moore wrote:

My concern, when I examine any movement or initiative, is to understand what its outcomes are likely to be, all things considered. Where is the OWS movement headed? If it’s headed somewhere I want to go, then I’d be likely to support it, even if I was uncomfortable with some aspects of the movement. And vice versa.

The OWS movement is based on two things, a critique and a process. The critique is a radical anti-establishment perspective. The process is about direct democracy in large groups, based on consensus. OWS is succeeding very well in communicating and promulgating its radical perspective. And the success of the OWS process, in maintaining movement harmony and avoiding divisiveness, has been impressive.

The success of the process offers hope that a better society is possible, based on direct democracy. Through participation in Occupations, that hope is reinforced by direct experience of ‘how things might be’. The enthusiasm of the Occupiers is communicated effectively to followers of the movement, and it’s a contagious enthusiasm. The hope becomes almost a confidence that a better world is coming, and the Occupations become almost proofs-of-concept of the new-world principles.

There is a direct relationship between the hope the movement generates, and the radicalness of the OWS perspective. People normally have a resistance to totally rejecting the current system. When I’ve offered those kind of radical critiques in my postings, many of you have objected to my over-negativity. The OWS perspective, and the hard-hitting viral OWS videos, make my negativity look like child’s play, but people can respond to the perspective, because there is also a branch of hope on offer. If one is in a lifeboat, one can stop pretending the ship isn’t sinking.

And the ship is sinking. The system, as we’ve known it, is totally corrupt and is in a process of collapse. The OWS radical perspective is right on the mark. As people suffer under debt burdens and austerity, they resonate on a personal level with these radical truths. And when they see the enthusiasm and hope generated by the movement, they are drawn to it. If they actually participate in an Occupation, or experience it vicariously on YouTube, they tend to become enthusiastic, promoting the movement in their own networks. It’s not surprising the movement has grown so quickly and on such a large global canvas.

There seems to be nothing standing in the way of the movement growing to its own natural maximum extent. The victory against eviction by Bloomberg stands as a kind precedent, that the on-the-ground Occupiers can expect to be reasonably tolerated by the powers that be. In some cases municipalities are officially endorsing their own local Occupations.

This is all leading up to a kind of Global Tahrir-Square Moment: everyone, so to speak, in the streets, everyone wanting radical regime change, and a sense of inevitable success in the air. In Egypt, the original Tahrir Square, the ‘success’ was the ouster of Mubarak, and the outcome was a military regime whose fundamental orientation is probably not much different from that of Mubarak. 

The OWS movement is more sophisticated than that, and has avoided being limited by specific demands. Nonetheless, this later Tahrir Square scenario is highly vulnerable to co-option. The OWS process keeps people harmonized and motivated, while specifically avoiding anything that smacks of organization-building or goal setting. The focus is on demonizing the existing regime, and on encouraging the expectation that change is inevitable: just keep doing what you’re doing.

The hope of movement participants is that out of this scenario a viable direct-democracy process will emerge. The fact, however, is that the movement has grown exponentially in the horizontal direction – greater numbers and more locations – while remaining relatively static as regards its process. The process has been mainly about managing the Occupations and promulgating the movement. It has not been about developing a consciousness about how a direct-democracy / anarchist process can deal with the practical issues faced by a global society in crisis.

So when we reach our Global Tahrir-Square Moment we will be in a volatile situation. We’ll have all that global energy expecting the regime to fall, and no more real direction or vision than in the original Egyptian Tahrir Square. It’s basically a crowd waiting for something to happen.

Meanwhile there is the current regime itself. Is it asleep to all these happenings? Why is the mainstream media being so supportive? Why hasn’t the movement been suppressed in the way the anti-globalization movement was suppressed? Why aren’t there any black-block infiltrators, providing an excuse for suppression, as there was with the anti-globalization movement. Could it be because the regime is not upset with where the movement is heading?

Consider these quotations, which reflect something about how the current masters of the universe think about regime change:

“We shall have World Government whether or not we like it. The only question is whether World Government will be achieved by Conquest or Consent” – Paul Warburg, author of the Federal Reserve Act, speaking before the US Senate

“Today Americans would be outraged if U.N. troops entered Los Angeles to restore order; tomorrow they will be grateful. This is especially true if they were told there was an outside threat from beyond, whether real or promulgated, that threatened our very existence. It is then that all peoples of the world will plead with world leaders to deliver them from this evil. The one thing every man fears is the unknown. When presented with this scenario, individual rights will be willingly relinquished for the guarantee of their well being granted to them by their world government.” – Henry Kissinger speaking at Evian, France, May 21, 1992 Bilderburgers meeting.

“We are on the verge of a global transformation. All we need is the right major crisis and the nations will accept the New World Order.” – David Rockefeller

The people at the top of the current regime want regime change. They want to eliminate those messy nations that interfere with their direct control of global affairs. How convenient it is that the demonization material from OWS focuses on nations, their political corruption, their exploitive corporations, their deadly wars, and their greedy banks. The revelations of evil stop short of talking about the regime’s own plans for regime change. From the OWS perspective, the old regime is incapable of adapting and will simply crumble under the weight of the global movement.

In my article about elite plans, cited at the top of this posting, I suggested that a new regime – a new global government – will need to have its own mythology, and that part of that mythology will need to be a thorough demonization of the old regime. The primary concrete output of the OWS movement thus far is precisely such a demonization, very persuasive, and with high production values. When the old regime is swept away, it will be clear to everyone that the people themselves demanded it. The new regime, whatever it is, will have a strong claim to democratic legitimacy.

Everything about the OWS movement, whether by design or accident, is playing directly into the hands of those who have long been yearning to create a one-world government. Notice, in Rockefeller’s quote above, that his concern is about nations accepting a global government, rather than being concerned with the people themselves accepting it. Meanwhile Kissinger talks about UN troops being called in to restore order. And both talk about the importance of an appropriate crisis, to help usher in the new regime. One can’t anticipate a particular scenario from such statements, but they give us a sense of the ‘range of options’, that are ‘on the table’, as regards bringing about the regime’s own plans for regime change.

Taken altogether, I see the following as the ‘most likely outcome scenario’. The OWS movement will continue to grow, generating a general consensus that the existing system is illegitimate and failing. The ‘establishment’ – that is the police and the national governments – will continue to show themselves to be incapable of responding to the aspirations of the movement. In some cases, as we’ve seen in Greece, there will be violence. In other cases, things will stay peaceful. Meanwhile economic conditions will continue to rapidly deteriorate, nations will go bankrupt, and basic infrastructures will be threatened with breakdown. So we’ll have lots of people in the streets demanding regime change, conditions getting desperate, and governments unable to resolve the situation.

This scenario fits the definition of a ‘failed state’, a society that has become ‘ungovernable’. We’ve been conditioned over the past few years to accept the notion of a ‘failed state’, and to expect some kind of ‘humanitarian intervention’ as a ‘solution’. This is the formula that is likely to be employed to usher in a global takeover. Just as our corrupt leaders gave in to the banks when bailouts were demanded, so will our corrupt leaders ‘invite’ outside intervention, when they are told to do so by the same folks who told them to go along with the banks.

Outside intervention is not necessarily about UN troops on street corners, although that might be likely where violence has erupted, and the UN would then be seen as a ‘neutral buffer’ between the people and the hostile security forces of the state. Intervention is also about yielding sovereignty, of one kind or another, to global entities. Permitting external troops on your soil is one kind of yielding sovereignty. Submitting to some new financial regime, controlled globally, would be another form of yielding sovereignty. Agreeing to conform – on penalty of severe sanctions – to some global charter or constitution, would be another form of yielding sovereignty.

Behind the scenes, there will be an architecture for a global governance system, and you can be sure that despite what promises might be made, or whatever democratic-input mechanisms are established, this architecture will guarantee the continued dominance, openly or covertly, of the current masters of the universe. Lots of intermediate heads may roll; those are all expendable, and their demise will be counted as ‘victories’ for the movement, ‘proving’ that the movement is creating the changes that are occurring.

In the public arena, a ‘solution paradigm’ will emerge, and it will seem to be a product of the OWC process. We can expect breakthroughs in communication, where OWC leaders (non leaders?) are invited to participate in some kind of dialog with ‘important world leaders’, discussing the ‘great problems facing us all’.A vision of a participative global society will be developed, and it will be presented as an outcome of the OWC process, in collaboration with those enlightened ‘important world leaders’.

You may wonder how I come up with these scenarios, and whether there is any way to determine whether they have any validity. I come up with these scenarios by looking at things from the point of view of the masters of the universe, taking into account the means at their disposal, their typical modus operandi, their candidly stated goals, and the current actions they are taking or not taking.

By both their actions and their inactions – expressed as favorable media and a lack of suppression – they are encouraging the OWS phenomenon. By disempowering nations via austerity measures and privatization they are ensuring that nations will not be able to respond to the aspirations of OWS. A crisis is thereby created that is crying out for a solution. It’s the classic paradigm of manipulated change: failed system, crisis, handy solution being offered – by those who have the power to implement it. 

And the masters of the universe do indeed have the power to offer a solution. As I suggested above, that solution is likely to be perceived as a vision of a participative global society, emerging out of the OWC process. But when push comes to shove, and it’s time to dot the i’s and cross the t’s, it will be the behind-the-scenes architecture that actually gets implemented. It’s like with the American Revolution, where the Declaration of Independence promised everything, but when the Constitution came along lots of the promises had gone missing. And somehow the old colonial elites continued to run things.

In the case of the Constitution, it was necessary to tack on the Bill of Rights, before the people would accept it. In the case of the charter of the new global government, given the OWC link, it will be necessary to include what we might call a Rights of Participation – some mechanism of direct popular input to governance, most likely modeled on the OWS process.

We end up with a situation where the masters of the universe establish their long-desired global governance system, where sellout national leaders relinquish sovereignty on cue as requested, and where we the people are left with a process that some of us participate in, and which the new regime has promised to ‘listen to’. We can expect some immediate and significant benefits to be doled out, involving the forgiveness of debts, the establishment of a new financial system, and some kind of revival of economic activity and employment.

In this way OWC will perceive that it ‘has achieved victory’, and people will leave the streets and enthusiastically seek to play their roles in the promising new system ‘they have created’ – and which is already showing concrete, positive results. OWC then no longer exists as a massive grassroots uprising, and anyone who takes to the streets after that will be seen as a counter-revolutionary, someone who ‘wants to destroy’ what ‘OWC has created’, namely, the ‘enlightened new global regime’. With an apparently credible claim to democratic mandate, the new regime will not tolerate opposition outside the framework of the designated participatory process.

The details in these scenarios have obviously been speculative. They are ‘one possible way things might unfold’, that I offer as a ‘plausible possibility’, given the power relationship between the masters of the universe and OWS movement, and given each of their methods and goals. I put in details so that we (both reader and writer) can think in concrete terms about what these power relationships might lead to in various situations, and at various stages as things unfold.

I think it is clear that the masters of the universe have a global architecture in the wings, and we can already see lots of it already operating in the various global institutions that have been set up, none of them so far interested in grassroots input. I also think it is clear that the rapid growth of the OWS movement, combined with the principled lack of attention to articulating a practical future vision, is speeding the movement to a situation where it will be highly vulnerable to co-option: a situation where the offering of significant carrots, in terms of material benefits and participatory opportunities, will be eagerly embraced by the masses in the streets, when we reach our Global Tahrir-Square Moment.

To the extent these basic perspectives are valid – what seem to me to be ‘clear observations’ – I have a hard time imagining a realistic scenario that has any final outcome other than the very one desired by the masters of the universe.

If anyone out there would like to articulate a more positive scenario, and say why it is plausible, I’d be very happy to see it. I’d be quite pleased if my current conclusions turn out to be wildly pessimistic. But so far, unfortunately, the evidence seems to suggest the contrary.

rkm

rkm@quaylargo.com

rkm website: http://cyberjournal.org

Previous posting:

dialog, ‘Occupy Wall Street’, misc

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/cyberjournal/message/499

Related article:

The Elite      Plan for a New World Social Order

http://www.newdawnmagazine.com/articles/the-elite-plan-for-a-new-world-social-order

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What’s the “Occupy” movement all about?—Part 4

Nobody can speak for a movement that is as inclusive and diverse as the Occupy Wall Street movement. We each speak for ourselves, but out of that can come shared values and ideals and, eventually, coherent action that will result in significant improvement in the situation for everyone.

But catch this—Fox News was out doing man-in-the street interviews about the Occupy Wall Street movement when they happened upon Jesse LaGreca who turned out to be a knowledgeable and articulate unofficial working class spokesperson. Fox never aired the interview but it has found its way onto the internet and is causing quite a stir. Here it is:

And watch this follow-up interview with Jesse on KIRO-FM:

Occupy Together and Bring in the Butterfly Society

Things are happening so fast now that it is impossible for me to keep up with even a small part of it. Fortunately there are a few of us who are tied into many information sources and are able to follow some of the main currents. Tom Atlee is one of those. Here below is part of his latest, which comes from his newsletter and website. I encourage you to visit his site and follow the many source links provided there.

As I’ve said before, my own view is that society is going through a metamorphic change. The new emerging Butterfly Society will look nothing like the disintegrating caterpillar society. Perhaps the Occupy movement is a manifestation of that process by which the previously dormant “imaginal cells” become active and begin to form the organs of the Imago (the butterfly). The transition will challenge our adaptability, our strength, our courage, and our imaginations. Let us resolve to make it an opportunity to bring out the best that is in us.

From Tom Atlee: http://tom-atlee.posterous.com/occupy-the-future-together; Short URL:  http://bit.ly/noDVm7

Dear friends,

Things are still wildly bubbling in and around the Occupy movement, which is still radically expanding and evolving.  Despite many growing pains, the co-creative, committed engagement of the participants is inspiring.  So many among them are using the disturbances in and around them as a motivation for personal growth and collective innovation.

Occupy Together is, as they say, a phenomenon.  It is such a passionate, complex, self-organizing initiative that even chaos and complexity theories have a hard time adequately explaining it.  It is ALIVE!

The word “occupy” – as a connotation-rich idea or meme – is itself a fascinating part of the movement’s impact.  It invites everyone who wants a new and better world, to claim a space where they can work together to co-create that world.  So far, that space is usually a public park.  But that’s expanding and morphing:  More people are talking about occupying a school, a workplace, a bank, a heart, a profession, an industry, a government office, the airwaves, our minds – any “place” where some piece of the new world needs to evolve and replicate itself to become the actual New World.  And the word “occupy” suggests commitment to that place, persistence in it, putting down some roots, claiming and owning and taking responsibility for holding it and making it good.  That’s why, as Chris Hedges notes in the video below, that when one occupier is removed, ten more show up.  That’s why I hear someone has bought or rented a large indoor space near OWS for use by the protesters during the winter.  We all know that this is our new world these folks are holding space for and carving out under rain and billy clubs.  They are working on our behalf and so many of us naturally feel called to work on theirs.  We kinda know we’re all in the same boat now.

In communities of practice that use Open Space and World Cafe, facilitators speak of “holding space for conversations that matter”, and of the importance of having a clear intention or focus or powerful questions into and around which such conversation can flow as it makes its way to its not-yet-seen sea – the future outcome that is “wanting to emerge” in and from the group’s passionate explorations.  They speak of self-organization being driven by “passion and responsibility”.  I see OWS and its kindred occupations providing a passionate focus that resonates with millions of people of all types, in all sectors and strata of society, and holding space for a whole-society conversation about what’s going on in our world, about where we’re headed, about where we want to go.  It doesn’t matter who we are or what our place is in the society.  OWS asks us to look around us, see what needs to be done, and to occupy the space needed to make it happen.  “Take responsibility for what you love.”  A far better future is waiting for us to occupy it.

I hope you find the many articles and videos below as inspiring, fascinating and useful as I’ve found them.

Blessings on the Journey.

Coheartedly,

Tom

What’s the “Occupy” movement all about?—Part 2

Here is an article I came across that provides some further insights about the current mood of the people and the Occupy movement.—t.h.g.

The Re-Greening of Our Hearts (Part 1)

By Jack Adam Weber – Guest Writer for Wake Up World. 14th October 2011

Here we are in the thick of Occupy Wall Street, with the movement and its message spreading worldwide, loud and clear: No more collusion by government and Big Business. No more tax cuts for the already rich and dirty. No more destruction of our planet for the bad habit of bullying-billionaire-ism, an epidemic disease attacking the weak of heart and low morale.

In the first weeks of the ongoing Fukushima disaster I read too many editorials describing the choice between a nuclear or more sustainable future as hinging on the monetary cost to multinational companies, government, and taxpayers. Does it also make you squirm in your skin to hear our world fixated on economic gain at any cost, with the real possibility of environmental collapse as well as species and human extinction from toxic waste streams given secondary concern? Do you care more about remaining “competitive” in the international marketplace above the survival and health of your children and family?

I have reached my limit of political puppet talk to distract attention from and justify the destruction of life on Earth. I could give a crap about the International Marketplace, whatever it is. Come to think of it, I think we should downsize the mythic International Marketplace by 90% (I’d still like to have curry powder to cook with) and replace it with hundreds of regional festivals where we all camp out and envision a new, locally-based future. Camp Headquarters will be biking distance from your home!

We need a new paradigm for living and doing business on Earth, not just an adjustment of the current system. We need a modus operandi that is eco-centric not solely human-centric. This orientation forms the crux of Deep Ecology, which perceives nature as sacred, not primarily a commodity for human progress and development. By granting Nature a right to live and thrive, we grant the same to humanity. We can no longer pretend as though nature is forever indispensable [sic.] and able to re-grow itself no matter the pace at which we use it up. Or that some fantastic messianic miracle of technology is going to save us and regenerate what we have denigrated. Even if there were such a technology, what kind of world would remain in the aftermath?

More…