Charter for Compassion

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Building Something More Useful For Us All

Thousands of people marching to the Port of Oakland in hopes of demonstrating to the world that we do not accept that this is the way we have to live our lives. This is the awesomeness of what happened on Wednesday. The violence and destructiveness that came mainly after all these people went home was committed by an immature minority, I think less than 100 people, a minority at odds with our cause. As Slavoj Zizek says, "Violence is the weapon of choice for the impotent: those who have little power often attempt to control or influence others by using violence. Violence rarely creates power. On the contrary, groups or individuals who use violence often find their actions diminish what little power they have. Groups that oppose governments often try to compensate for their perceived lack of power by using violence. Such violence simply reinforces state power. A terrorist who blows up a building or assassinates a politician gives the government the excuse it wants to crack down on individual liberties and expand its sphere of control." Living in End Times by Slavoj Žižek chapter: The Infinite Judgement of Democracy

Knowingly or unknowingly, the minority that went on a spree of destruction in downtown Oakland is against us. Our power lies in persuasion based on the truth that big money is destroying democracy, the political system that we hold dear, and that the more the money is concentrated in the 1%, the more our society is affected in numerous negative ways. 

The power of persuasion that I am talking about was revealed in the thousands, and those thousands were far more than most of the media or police wanted to admit (they could carry this off because they could focus the next day on the images of destruction).  Experiencing that crowd, one knew, We are the 99%! 

These petty thugs bent on their fetish of property destruction  all too quickly become the focus of the media and especially those purveyors of fear in the media, aka Fox and friends. What we needed the next day were the images of the thousands, instead what most people saw was the images of destruction that told them our movement is something to be afraid of and despised... even something they need to be protected from.

Building the power of the 99% is accomplished in the protracted reasoned persuasions of consensus democracy. Ultimately it creates wisdom, but is a long process. This is why I argue against this urge by some for Occupy Wall Street to define itself, to have a set of policies. Yes, people are impatient. Our generations have been brought up on the delusion of instant gratification. This urge to have our needs met instantly is part of the problem. It is what leads the thug to break the window.  The errors of our ways take time to discern.  Occupy Wall Street is an opening for the millions of people in America and beyond who long for something deeper. It is a critique of what is. I am encouraged by the idea that people like Slajov Zizek, and Nobel Prize winning economists are going to Occupy Wall Street and taking part in the conversations of where we go from here.  I am  more confident than I have been for a long time that we will overcome these mistakes and begin to build something better, something more useful for all of us.

1 comment:

  1. Whenever the mainstream media or establishment politicians want to take the Occupy movement to task for some acts of vandalism, I want to ask: what about the violence of illegal foreclosures that put families on to the streets? The violence of structural unemployment and Wall St gambling that has wiped out the wealth of tens of millions of people. Vandalizing a bank isn't a great tactic, but it pales in comparison to the real criminals that the mainstream doesn't want to touch.