Resistance is its own reward. For many people across the globe, conscious struggle against oppression provides the only means through which to maintain their sense of humanity. The recent pictures of thousands in the streets in Madrid, Athens, Montreal, and countless other places give joy to this old hippie! Here in the United States, the elites have lost credibility and moral authority, and regular folks all across the political spectrum openly express their contempt for big-money interests– along with the functionaries that do their bidding. Yet, to our amazement, the elites carry on with their corrupt shenanigans as if we were perfectly content with their “leadership.” Why do they seem to so brazenly ignore our protests and complaints?
The truth is that we in the raucous 99% are far from being ignored by the elites. On the contrary, vast amounts of time and money are daily being spent to listen to our conversations, to read our communications, and to infiltrate our social, political, and religious groups. Thus the powers that be are often able to divide and conquer us: through manipulating our real differences and creating phony crises and controversies to distract and divert us. Even so, certain abuses of the 1%, like their obscene profiting from the meltdown in the mortgage market, cannot be easily twisted to appear to be the fault of unions, feminists, lazy people of color, environmental extremists, illegal immigrants, or foreign terrorists. In such a case the 1% is compelled to put on an elaborate show of responding to the complaints of the 99% with special investigative commissions, cosmetic rule changes, smoke and mirrors. They know that many people will see through this, but they are willing to ride out the storm.
The struggle for existence is too draining to allow most people to focus their outrage for very long. New outrages committed by sexists and all kinds of bigots compel those under attack to seek elite champions who can protect them. Neo-liberal politicians eagerly change the subject, from the complicity of both major parties in massively redistributing wealth from the middle-class to the very wealthy, to the allegedly heroic struggles of wealthy and powerful Democrats in the endless culture wars. Those of us who have tried to Occupy Wall Street– for a year now– have no illusions that our efforts will be met with much immediate success. Yet many of us have been heartened to see that Americans largely share our disgust with the greed-heads, and that even in the face of serious state attempts to criminalize our protests throughout the country, some of our ideas are still provoking discussion.
People who have awakened to injustice do not quickly fall back asleep, and while arrests and intimidation can easily destroy an encampment, the mental revolt of people who think for themselves will never be crushed. I have deliberately avoided blogging too much in the past months, because I think that words spoken to fellow humans face-to-face are more powerful than electronic conversations. Yet this winter may be a good season to return to the keyboard, sharing through written words the observations of a wanderer who happens to be alive in very interesting times. I am grateful for the chance to share ideas and inspirations with the wonderful folks who comprise this FDL community, just as I am thankful for my good health– that will allow me to stand out in the cold tomorrow night, and in days to come, loudly protesting the wicked ways of Walmart!! Happy Thanksgiving all!!