Wednesday, October 5, 2011
99% of Us Awaken
Today, large crowds are gathering in Washington, D.C. and New York City and in cities across this nation. Our gathering in Minneapolis begins on Friday with an occupation of "Freedom Plaza", the plaza by the government buildings. This movement has struck a chord bigger than anything we've seen in recent times. The other day over 700 were arrested, yet still they show. Why? Years ago I studied the tenants of revolution. The lesson of history was this. Revolution succeeds when everything else has failed. Today we can vote for politicians, yet they continue to listen not to our interests, but those of big money. Our needs have become meaningless to the political folks, the system skewed to ensure power (and wealth) is focused in the hands of the upper 1 % of this nation. For the rest of us? Too bad. We've tried the normal processes, and none of them have worked. So now it is time to take to the streets.
Some people cringe when I use the word revolution, so an explanation is necessary here. Revolution does not have to be violent. Indeed in our recent history the most successful revolutions have been those that were non-violent. When the people share your goals, over time you will prevail. Think Gandhi or King. Or the Arab Spring. That does not mean there is no bloodshed either. We all recall the beatings and dog attacks against Dr. King. Power and those who would abuse it do not surrender easily. But given time and numbers, change comes despite the despots in Egypt or Wall Street.
Over the coming days, power will try to co-opt this movement. We must resist. Today I heard members of the media, after ignoring us for so long, actually claiming credit for our growth. I've received numerous fund raising letters from various political organizations trying to pretend to be behind the organization of these protests growing by the day. The truth is however, that the idea is larger than any of these johnny come lately's. Poor people and working middle class, democrats and republicans, old and young, there is a broader appeal to this call than anything we've seen in recent times. How many protests have I watched filled with a sea of the same old faces, mostly white. But I look at these crowds and I see the diversity of America. I have heard reporters insist there must be a manifesto, something concrete. Something perhaps they can rally around to control? No, the broader goals of removing money from politics and initiating a more fair society is sufficient. Then the trained politicos must earn their money or be bypassed forever, once again subject to the whim of the people, not a bunch of greedy, selfish, hedge fund operators and CEO's who are only concerned about their profit, not the good of the country.
So Friday, health willing, I plan to show up downtown. I'm just one person. One of the 99% of all of us who is fed up and wants my America back. Wall Street, you feel above it all right now. Perhaps the victim of hubris. Of course the inevitable outcome of hubris is the fall. Tragic but necessary. Let the revolution begin.