Tuesday, October 18, 2011

OWS: Do They Know Their Own Strength?

Occupy Wall Street. What a great slogan! And now it's spreading throughout the world -- finally the long overdue uprising of the 99% over the tyranny of the 1% is beginning. And -- finally -- thanks to the drama of these potentially revolutionary events, the mainstream media has awakened, after a long slumber, to engage in meaningful discussion and debate over the pressing issue of inequality and its implications for the future of democracy. I haven't written about this striking development until now not because I don't think it important, but because I felt I had little of substance to add to what is already being written in so many venues everywhere one turns. At long last!

The reason I'm writing now is because an odd and troubling thought has occurred to me and I'm not sure what to make of it. The world is now wondering what the next step is going to be. Will the demonstrators finally be able to agree on a set of "demands"? Will they form a third party? Will they become a political pressure group along the lines of the Tea Party? Or will the whole thing simply evaporate once cold weather sets in?

And it's occurred to me that these demonstrators are right now in a unique position of strength that they may not recognize. They are, very surprisingly, in a position to do something truly revolutionary that would have an impact far beyond anything we've seen in Tunisia, Egypt or Libya. All over the world hordes of angry demonstrators are, literally, occupying important financial centers, hubs of power and influence that control the destiny of literally every person on Earth. Their presence in these particular locations has up to now been seen as largely symbolic. But it is also strategic. Because, thanks to the large numbers of participants, Occupy Wall Street could easily morph into SHUT DOWN Wall Street.

I hesitate to bring this up, because I have no idea what the consequences would be. But at the same time I feel it necessary to wake the protesters up to the real nature of their power, should they decide to wield it. If they choose to, these demonstrators could block entry to the doors of, for example, Chase Manhattan Bank, Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, even the stock exchange itself. Not to mention financial centers in every major city on Earth. And in so doing they have the potential to actually bring the financial system of the entire world to a grinding halt.

Think of it. The storming of the Bastille. The storming of the Winter Palace.  An event of comparable if not greater magnitude lies within the realm of possibility. Yet, unlike these bloody events, the shutdown of the financial system need not be accompanied by violence. (Not, at least, on the part of the demonstrators. What the police might do is another matter.)

Am I advocating such a move? Not really. Though often I write as though I know-it-all, actually I don't know all that much. The results of such an action would be unpredictable and could be disastrous. On the other hand, it could lead to a revolution of exactly the sort the world desperately needs. And anything less than this might ultimately lead nowhere, with all the energy and all the righteous indignation fizzling out in the face of the enormous economic and political power of the elites, who will fight to the last soldier, policeman and politician to hang on to their money and power.

I really don't know where I stand on this matter. But I do think it important that the new and very hopeful Occupy Wall Street movement understand that it's in a stronger position than it might think, and holds a very powerful bargaining chip against those who might think they can easily intimidate and disperse it.


  1. OWS should certainly stay where it is. The option of shutting down Wall Street is... important. I don't think it's time for it now, but if Wall Street doesn't shape up and start behaving itself better, eventually it *will* be time to shut it down.

  2. I too would like to see the protests continue. But I'm afraid that's unlikely once the really cold weather sets in. Not to mention heavy rains -- and snow. At best it could morph into a Tea Party-like pressure group or even a third party. But the powers that be are so entrenched, even among the Democratic party leadership, that I have my doubts that anything less than truly revolutionary action (as in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Syria) could make a significant difference.

    Because the OWS demonstrators have such unique locations, right smack in the belly of the financial beast, this gives them the unique opportunity to confront the beast and, at least temporarily, shut it down.

    Wall St. has already had many opportunities to shape up and behave better -- and clearly there's NO desire on their part to do so. Since they are so solidly entrenched, both economically and politically, in world governments, some sort of drastic measure may be the only alternative.

    Of course, as I've argued many times on this blog, it seems likely the system will collapse on its own, of its own weight. This is what I was counting on for a truly bloodless revolution. But the powers that be seem to have endless resources at their disposal for postponing the inevitable, just kicking that can down the road forever and ever. So at times I get impatient -- and come up with crazy ideas.

  3. U havent posted for awhile and I wonder if ur opinions on this subject of this "movement" have changed over the past few weeks? I am pessimistic, but I was that from the beginning.

    It has certainly been an eyeopener the tear gas and "rubber" bullets and pepper spray and police billy clubs to the ribs of protesters. And the countless arrests.

    I doubt this is all ever going anywhere. This is no armed insurrection, and Valley Forge is closing in, and the most northern camps are going to fold. I dont think good old Uncle Sam has had his real say yet. Unfortunately it might take a Kent State incident soon, to keep any of this going.

    Otherwise, the corporation people will just put down the people people, with more violence, more serious jail time, privately changing public properties to corporate ones, initiating legal tresspassing responses, etc.

    As to the main question U put out, no, I don't believe this movement realizes its power, but I think it all depends upon how many of the protesters are willing to face physical harm as well as more and harsher jail time, and how the movement centralizes. I have walked thru a couple of city "occupy" sites, and the innocence and good vibes R great, but they really need better sanitary attention. The 2 I walked thru just reeked of piss and shit smells, in that order.

    That's unfortunately not gonna win the hearts and minds and power of the 1 percent, nor the media coverage, all of which is corporate sponsored and censored, and most of those talking heads are and have been and will be part of the 1 percent.

    My last comment on this is that I find it really funny that the "left media" keeps expressing surprise at the harsh crackdowns and cracked heads. I mean, what did they think, they were living in a "free" country, or what? ;-P

  4. Dude, it's not a "free country." Hasn't been since, I guess, ever?

    It's a shame Ron Paul is so correct on the drug "war" and US military imperialism and costs of such in blood and money, yet so wrong on such things as killing social security and medicare and putting, ironically, US civil rights movements back many years. I guess he's the Republican version of Kucinich.

    This movement has already failed, as I write this amidst the glorious USA celebration known as "Thanksgifting" or "Black Friday" (amazed the wall streeters didn't get this day off), or the coming CYBER MONDAY!!! Which is OFFICIALLY the start of the corporate BLITZKREIG of the Xmas shopping days left, to the common folk. I suspect that rows of pacifist, interlocked armed protesters being pepper sprayed by California cops like they were spraying cans of RAID on these soon to be arrested commie rabble of discontent.

    I suspect that Philly and Chicago, Boston, and New York sects will die or have. LA and San Fran can probably keep something going, but the whole Starbucks/Neo-Lib movements in Portland and Seattle will disappear with the oncoming weather and ongoing Xmas blitz. The movement if it is to survives, needs to get some good, ex-Wall Street ad folks, perhaps a list of such could be gathered, starting with people losing their life savings or job, but regaining some kind of basic humanity and true-christian selflessness.

    I agree the movement needs a center, and a national presence, so I'd suggest mimicking the tea party movement of cracka's, and get some celebs or political activists or singers to start building something real, lasting and iconic. Unfortunately, most people do not get their information from the "new media" but from the major TV networks. The nightly news programs are all highly programmed and usually cover the exact same non-stories. Foxnews is unwatchable except 4 laffs. CNN tries for some "balanced" approach, but it is anything but, and MSNBC is just full of Obama fans. Like, it's all anti-republican party and candidate stuff. The latter will spend the whole night trying to tie the OWS movement into some sort of weird pro-Democratic party bullshit.

    Above all, this movement needs to have a sense of humor. About itself. Does anyone still demonstrating see the irony of trying to disrupt holiday shopping and stores and people, all the time not only interferring with American individual human rights (to shop), but then trying to plug some esoteric web page links. Which will never be seen by most of the 99 percent.

    Occupy MSNBC and Current TV, I say.

  5. this is a interestin artical and replys, so where is docg? What liberals will never understand is that the democrat party is not on there side. Its not enuff to put down Obama or the republickins, they are all nutz. We are spendin billions every week in Affganistan and there is no rationle for us being over there except to fight and die for some corrupt us puppet goverment like south Vietnam. And for wall street and the lamestream media. I served 2 tours in I-raq I have two college degrees and I cant find a job if it killed me. Hopefully future historyle sources will illumminate this countrys war crimes. I like Ron Paul like I dont care what people want to take drugs and stopping this warped american exceptualism, which is all just realized with war and blood and irratshunal non=sence. And all on the lower class's of worker bees up again the evil dooers up on good old wall street. But yah, then mr. paul says sometin completly loopy. I also agree this movment needs centraization. I voted for obama but I would never vote for him agin. I wish Demo party would present some reasonble alternative to obama or the lameass repulican eventual heartless nomine.

  6. This movement is over. It was silly to begin with. Most of the people involved have just been disgruntled democrats and liberals any way.

  7. Sorry to be so out of touch, folks. As usual I've been distracted. As to the status and importance of OWS, I think it's extremely important, though as I predicted, there seems to be an understandable cold weather slowdown.

    The real problem with OWS, as with any other conceivable "reform" movement, is that the oligarchs are firmly in control of the whole world and they are not about to give up either their billions or their power simply because large segments of the US population think they should.

    The Vietnam protest movement was much simpler, because all we were demanding was for the US to get out of Vietnam. Though even in this we failed -- the US got out only after we got whupped by the Vietcong. The only way for OWS to make a real impact, as far as I can see, is for it to do as I suggested in my post: literally shut down the financial system. I have second thoughts on that because as we've already seen, any attempt along such lines will force the powers that be into violent action.

    My hope as always is that the system will bring itself down with no need for any on the left (or right) to do anything at all. But the ability of the powers that be, in both the US and Europe, to keep that huge balloon afloat is truly amazing.

  8. "This movement is over. It was silly to begin with. Most of the people involved have just been disgruntled democrats and liberals any way."

    Don't underestimate us democrats and liberals. According to Answers.com (http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_many_registered_Democrats_are_there_in_the_US):

    "An estimated 201.5 million U.S. citizens age 18 or over will be
    eligible to vote Nov. 2, although many are not now registered. Of
    these, about 55 million are registered Republicans. About 72 million
    registered Democrats.
    About 42 million are registered as independents, under some other
    minor party or with a "No Party" designation.'"

    According to the above, there are 17 million more Dems than Reps. That's a sizeable majority. Read it and weep.

  9. You make a terrible shill for the democrat party.


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