A Capital Idea Part 89: This Could be the Best Revolution Ever
This is my special message to all the 99%er revolutionaries among us. I really believe this could be a positively transformational period in human history. It could be, but that depends -- on us. I suffer no delusion that 99% of the population is on our side, although it should be. However, I am sure that it is the large majority of us.
Who is not on our side? For one, and most importantly, the oligarchy and their massive wealth is not. For another, the banksters are not. We all know that Republican politicians are not on our side, and many Democratic ones are not either. The right-wing pundits are not, either, of course. And of course, there are the Archie Bunkers and ditto-heads of the world who act against their own self-interest. But all of these put together, probably amount to 20-25% of the American population.
Let me give you my perspective on what we are up against, that is, what these wealthy people who oppose the 99%ers really want and don't want of the American public.
Don't be delusional about these people. They don't want you to be rich -- they want little obedient wage slaves instead. As long as you are too busy trying to "make a living" to pay attention to politics or complain too much, the system they put into motion can keep churning along.
They don't want us to be educated, really -- they want us to know just enough to make good wage slaves. People such as myself are what they think of as anomalies, no matter how many of us there are. There must be institutions of higher education, so people such as myself slip through the cracks and get PH.Ds in what they refer to derogatorily with such language as "pinko commie liberal institutions" such as the University of California, where our advisors rage against the military industrial complex and the corruptness of the Republican party. I was supposed to hate affirmative action, and be a conservative champion of the power of the individual over collective action. I was supposed to love the private sector and hate big government, but something went wrong; actually, something went wrong with probably over 90% of us. I have yet to meet an openly conservative psychologist, despite the omni-present bald pate of Dr. Phil, Texas conservative clinical psychologist (or some such) on the television. What went wrong? We were educated! By the way, I think the same holds true for my two older PH.D brothers (a geneticist and a water quality specialist). No wonder these people want to privatize the educational system, make it the domain of the wealthy, and dictate its agenda and curriculum!
They don't want a low unemployment rate either. No, they want many of you to be unemployed and struggling to find work. Why? When their is a shortage of jobs, people get desperate for them, so they will work for just about any wage, no matter how low. What do they do about the unemployed? Social Darwinism, basically. If you are unemployed, so they say, you must be an Unworthy One. The rich deserve their wealth, they say; it is proof of their worthiness. The poor are like lost sheep which deserve nothing better than to be victims of the wolves of the world. Meanwhile, Republican politicians circle Obama like a school of sharks on the hunt.
They don't want you to vote either. They say they believe in democracy, and as proof, they are willing to export what they call "democracy" from the barrel of a gun. But they don't want democracy; they want an oligarchy of the wealthy. The less the people vote, the better for them. They assuage us with mindless entertainment -- sports for men, soap operas for women, idiotic sitcoms for both genders, etc. And they let us have computer games and other high tech toys, hoping to distract us from our growing problems.
What do they want? Well, that's easy -- money, power, prestige, comfort, security, self-esteem-- the more the better. How do they get what they want? By rigging the system so that a constant flow of money comes their way, and using that money to buy the rest, except for self-esteem, which cannot be bought. How do they get self-esteem? They rig their own personal belief systems to make their actions worthy of only the best among us. They believe in Social Darwinism, and place themselves at the top. They convince themselves that they are the "job creators" without which society cannot function. They even adjust their religious belief systems to reflect their privileged reality.
What do we want? We want economic fairness, an unrigged system, education for all, widely available employment, and true democracy in which money plays no part. In other words, we want all the things they don't, and I believe, we are going to get it, sooner or later.
How will we get there? By being persistent, by all pitching in and helping, and by all understanding the current situation and how we need to transform society.
In the previous two blog posts, I described the Social Contract and some ways to enforce it. This is my way of framing the new revolution. This revolution is about forming a new Social Contract and making sure that it cannot be undone by a small minority of greedy (in any way) individuals. I described how "the other side" -- namely the corporate oligarchs, many bankers, and many of those in government and the miliatary -- have broken the Social Contract. However, we, the 99%ers, have our own social obligations to fulfill if we are to form a new, much better Social Contract and succeed in making it a reality.
This must remain a peaceful movement, even if the opposition becomes violent. Never let them have the social ammunition to make the case that they have the higher moral ground.
This movement must be focused and disciplined, something which is often difficult for the young and angry to succeed at. We, especially those in the public eye, must be on our best behavior as much as possible. Have fun, but don't turn protests into parties! Don't take drugs, don't engage in sexual promiscuity, don't act like jerks, and don't blame clean living people such as me when people do so and we all suffer the consequences. This is a moral movement; thus, it must act morally.
This movement must not become a showcase for personalities. The cult of personality can be a dangerous thing. That is why it being a "leaderless movement," at least in the beginning, is a good thing. I believe that the movement will eventually need leaders, but based on rational reasons, not based on the "Need for Power" (as psychologist Henry Murray would call it).
We must be persistent, and not get discouraged when things don't go as we hope. Things we rarely go exactly as we hope, but as long as we make our point and keep moving forward, we will succeed.
We must all do what we can to help. This is not a movement merely of disgruntled, mostly out of work people protesting against corporate power. In fact, the seeds of this revolution were planted long ago, and all of us who are not on the side of the oligarchs, are revolutionaries. Make no mistake: There will ultimately be no such thing as neutral in this revolution. This is a populist revolution, with the large majority against a relatively small minority. All of us will take part in it. Those of us who are not out in the streets, may do as much or more for this movement in many cases, as those in the streets. Those who write, talk, or take action in favor of the 99%ers are all effective revolutionaries. Those who love humanity are 99%ers too, as are the people who buy Pizzas or Port-a-Potties for the protesters and otherwise support them. Holding protest signs and walking around in large city downtown financial and government centers is only the more out-in-the-open, attention catching side of the revolution. Ultimately, most of this revolution will take place at the ballot box, the Whitehouse.gov email box, and the halls of Congress and the White House, when we find representative who finally represent us! But those of us who do go out and protest, keep on protesting. We need you. You have gotten their attention. And if you support the revolution in some other way, keep on doing that as well. This generation has a chance to transform the world in a positive way, to advance human cultural evolution to a point where we at last, put the era of financial capitalism dominance behind us, but we must all participate. Don't ever think of political participation as merely an optional right. It is not only a right, but really, an obligation!
I have been hearing a relevant quote attributed to Ghandi recently in relation to the Occupy Wall Street movement. However, when I looked it up on the internet, I found that this quote was disputed, but there is a verified similar quote from a Union activist named Nicholas Klein in 1918. Here it is:
And, my friends, in this story you have a history of this entire movement. First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they attack you and want to burn you. And then they build monuments to you.
We have gotten past the "ignore" stage, and reached the stage of being ridiculed. Please be prepared for the real attacks on the movement and those involved in it, in the coming years. Be brave, but be careful and self-controlled.
Finally, we must understand the world pretty much as it is. Live life with an open mind, a rational mind, a caring mind. Believe in fairness and work for it, always. Most of all, live a life of good conscience. The growing revolution we now find ourselves in asks nothing less of us, and nothing more.