Sunday, October 09, 2011

The meaning of Liberty Plaza

David Seaton's News Links

Ten years ago we had:
Steve Jobs
Bob Hope
Johnny Cash
Now we've got:
No jobs
No hope
No cash

Many "mainstream media" commentators try to minimize the importance of the "Occupy Wall Street" movement because it has no "leaders" and no list of "concrete proposals". These comments show that those who make them do not understand what is going on in Liberty Plaza and the echoing "Occupy" movements around the country. 
They should read the joke that tops this page... it is all there. This joke could be the cry of a generation of young, educated, middle class Americans, just like "Hell no, we won't go!" was the cry of young, educated, middle class Americans during the war of Vietnam. It has as much pithy truth in it as Muhammad Ali's, "I ain't got no quarrel with no Vietcong". Young, middle class America feels itself under attack from the system and the system should fear for its safety.
Because nothing is more potentially "revolutionary" than a newly pauperized middle class. It can go to the left or it can go to the right, but history shows that it won't act like the proverbial mule in a hailstorm and "just stand there and take it".
This Wall Street movement is only an awakening. The practical result of it will come later... as it changes the way young people see themselves as a generation. How they coalesce around certain signs of identity. The way the react as they receive negative feedback from people who "don't get it"...

Just like the beginning of the student protests against the Vietnam war. Like during that war, the young, educated middle class is becoming disaffected with the system. The system is attacking their future as the Vietnam war once attacked their very lives.
This long "Great Recession" and growing inequality will logically deepen that disaffection and define a generation, as Vietnam did and change politics like Nam did... But it takes time. This is just the beginning, if the economy doesn't roar back, and it won't, than it will a gather energy and perhaps, like the days of Seattle before 9-11, or like Athens today, turn violent at its extremes.
This is a movement, in short, which symbolizes a political generation becoming conscious of itself as a generation: becoming conscious of the problems facing them. That is the important thing. 
At the moment it is all very general... as it should be... this is not the time for wonky discussions about "process". Becoming fully conscious of the implications of how American democracy has been corrupted... emptied out, by corporate power takes quite some time, as does communicating the full significance of these conclusion to others.... 
Because when enough people become truly conscious of this problem, the solutions to it will be quite simple and surprisingly easy to implement. In short this moment is all about building consciousness... not about "inside baseball" or "change we can believe in". DS


cmaukonen said...

Somebody once said that one of the most dangerous things is a pauperized middle class that feels it has nothing to lose.

David Seaton's Newslinks said...

Excelent comment!

David Seaton's Newslinks said...

By mistake I deleted the following excellent comment by "Stunted":
The chattering class wonders what the protesters are proposing as an alternative, in an attempt at belittling the Occupy Wall Street movement as doe-eyed idealists who don't live in the real world. What the protesters are doing is calling on the carpet the chatterers' definition of the real world. They are highlighting that world and simply saying we won't tolerate this any longer. It is not their job to pull a magic solution out of the hat; their job is to say no more to a system that has ground millions of lives to dust. As you state, solutions will come later.

At dinner with two old friends in France recently, I said democracy was seeming more and more to be just a sweet dream (doux reve). They both responded that democracy wasn't an ideal world to be pursued and attained; it was rather the means by which the beast is kept at bay in a ceaseless struggle where change for the "better" comes very slowly and at great cost. Occupy Wall Street is democracy in action. Nothing will change overnight. That's no reason to pack up the tents and go home. The point they are making is they have no home to go to. More power to them.