The last post was a bit controversial. I got a hair across my ass when I was watching the videos of the protesters that are being posted on YouTube. I was interested because I, like everyone else in the middle class, support the brutal financial rape of Bank of America as vengeance for their ongoing raping of their clients. And the same for every other major corporation that abuses its consumers. I want to see some white collar criminals go to jail for their crimes and evilness that have fucked over the country. I think the greedy patricians and oligarchs ought to pay for abusing me with their stupid ways.
And I was all set to go Occupy Baltimore, too, to express my disgust with the corporate hierarchs.
And then I saw a video of a guy holding up a cardboard sign that said "We are the 99%." And I got this vision of the whole entire world, and I remembered the Global Rich List calculator, and that I'm something like the 50,000,000th richest person on the planet, out of 7 billion. That puts me at about the top 7% of the planet, and the 99% bottom of the US at the same time.
And then I started seeing all the plastic bottles of water these guys were carrying around. And I saw they were organizing in Starbucks. And they were wearing all their obscure t-shirts they ordered online, wearing their designer hipster glasses, sporting carefully crafted couture. And I watched the folks who "know what's going on" saying that no one person stands for the movement, there is no one voice, what unites them is their disgust at the current situation. And then I saw someone saying to those considering joining the occupation to take the time to figure out what you believe, ten or fifteen minutes so that if you get interviewed, you don't look like an idiot on Fox News.
And it dawned on me that most of those folks showing up were idiots. They don't have any historical perspective, and they think any changes that they manage to get will be more than cosmetic. Hell, they don't even watch what is happening in Egypt right now, today. Hello new boss, same as the old boss. 1% controls the most, everyone else makes due with as much as they can scramble up and horde. It's the way of the world, and it always has been when more than a couple hundred or so humans are living in the same place.
A long time friend said I had the most cynical stoic perspective she'd ever seen in response to one of the comments along those lines I made on FaceBook. It's not, I don't think, because that's just how it is, was, and regardless of optimistic idealists' hopes and dreams, that's how it's going to remain forever.
Ok, maybe she's right.
But why does it have to be that way?
Because the way people do things in groups is fucked up.
When the revolutionaries, peaceful or bloodied have won, they divvy up the spoils of war along the lines that they all agree are right and fair for everyone, right? Ever? No. Even in a completely democratic process, there will be factions who walk away feeling dissatisfied. Look at Washington. People don't agree on things.
The idea that forming a group to do group activities to change the world will make it better is infantile, and stands bald faced against the solid evidence of history, and the evidence of the eyeballs in our heads right now. Right now goddamnit. Search Google News for what's going on with the Arab Spring. Today.
My Idea of a Solution
But there is an answer that will fix everything. If every one of those protesters out there in the street stopped making their event an occupation, and started making their lives a protest, things would change fundamentally.
If they unhooked their reliance on the system, and plugged it into themselves, and then started doing the real work of picking the right institutions to invest in, living ecologically sound lifestyles, destroying their reliance on the public energy grid, starting their own businesses, creating jobs themselves as they grew and profited, and voted sane, center-political candidates into office that would work together to get corporations taxed and regulated, small businesses subsidized, and the distribution of taxation fair, they would change the whole world.
When I start seeing them saying, "I got ripped off by corporate America because I trusted them and signed the contracts without reading the fine print or understanding the risks I was getting into, and I'm not going to do that ever again," then I'll have respect for this movement.
If they just tended their gardens, the problems they have would go away.
A group of enraged Bank of America people all went to BoA to close their accounts at once in a big protest, and they got arrested. Some people were like, "whoa, it's a crime to close your bank account, see how fucked up it is!" I see your point, you're right, but really what did you expect? An angry mob goes to the bank, the cops will be called.
If people would just calmly, quietly walk into their large banking institutions and close them down like sane adults, there wouldn't have been any uproar, the cops wouldn't have been called in, and the banks would be feeling a deep, cold dread that would spread to every corner of corporate business.
Put your money where your beliefs are. Find small local institutions, and put your money in them. Credit unions. Don't put it all in one place. Have some land somewhere, have something that produces something useful available.
If you must work with big corporations, read the fine print, shop around, and get screwed the least. It's complicated, it sucks, and that's life. It can't be simpler because there are too many of us involved now. That's the world you live in, and it's not going to change at the core, it will be complicated, and the rich will control the most and the poor will control the least. It doesn't matter if the outer form is capitalist, communist, or religious, democratic or tyrranical. Oligarchical patricians will still rule the world, and stack the deck in their favor. Gerrymandering, it's like that.
But this social outcry could do something positive, and I'd rather see people rioting in the streets than eating cheeseburgers while they watch Jersey Shore. I guess.
But really, they're doing it for the same reasons.