Sunlight Shining Through Cloud

Revolution 3

Posted on: October 5, 2011

I remember learning about The Boston Tea Party in grade-school American History class.  This was a protest against the reach of Britain into the lives and pockets of the colonists who then dumped three shiploads of tea into Boston Harbor rather than pay a tax on it.  This event was a precursor of the American Revolution, and of the tempestuous creation of government of, by and for the people.

The King referred to the colonists as “rebels” among other things.

Suns vainly will rise, showers vainly descend, if we are to drudge for what others shall spend.

The Liberty Song, John Dickinson of Delaware, 1768

I remember a time when a large number of Americans trusted their government; my parents among them. I also remember a time when a generation spoke ‘loud and proud’ against a government unworthy of trust.  That would be my generation, and I was among them.  Civil disobedience became the order of that day.  There were marches and protests and burnings and speeches all crying out for reform; for a government working for its people.

We were called “communists” among other things.

What we now know as the ‘Tea Party’ was born in 2006 of Libertarian ideology.  It died ingloriously on election day, 2008, and was immediately resurrected by the oil-billionaire Koch Brothers and others who’s intent seems only to be the stirring of hornets, fomenting of chaos, and weakening of government.  This artificial support lends itself to the term “astroturf.”

And the hornets are being called “neo-Klansmen” among other things.

There’s somthing happenin’ here; what it is ain’t exactly clear…

For What It’s Worth, Buffalo Springfield, 1967

I don’t know what to think about what’s been happening for the past few weeks. There are hundreds of protesters; sometimes thousands. They’re pitching tents in city parks and marching through New York’s Financial District.  They’re calling themselves the “99 percent” and “Occupy Wall Street”. Unions are adding to their number.  Environmental groups and others are considering their positions.

They’re demanding that government support education, infrastructure, and jobs; getting rid of corporate tax loopholes; strengthening democracy; fighting climate change. They want a lot.  But they lack a tidy, headline-making ‘hook.’

Other such efforts are being mounted in cities across the nation. How? Who’s in charge?

No one is in charge.  Their structure is not hierarchal. The “top” is flat: no leader; no spokesperson; no single theme.  They seem intent on maintaining the purity of individuality, even amongst the many; even if it means molasses-slow decision-making. They seem intent on building heft through the universality of their message(s). This is both “grassroots” and a true “movement,” having only spontaneous formation.

They are a growing bunch of disaffected people who want to make a statement. Or many statements. They see a government overtaken by special interests: all power accruing to the few; shrinking benefit to the many. They’re as angry with the president as they are with Congress.

This generation’s got no destination to hold.  Pick up the cry.

Volunteers, Jefferson Airplane, 1969

I worry that mal-intents will jump into the mix and turn thus-far-uncertain public sentiment against the movement. I worry that this nascent organization will collapse for lack of structure.  I worry that leadership will enter or emerge and give unwanted focus to those who are uncertain of the movement’s motives. I worry that civil disobedience — and the resulting damage and massive arrests — will be seen as merely rebellious. I worry that dressing like zombies will not be clearly understood as a message about corporate greed.

But if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao,
You ain’t gonna make it with anyone anyhow.

Revolution, The Beatles, 1969

I wonder if the movement will grow; or, even, if it should grow. I wonder which types of individuals will join; which groups. I wonder if my standing back is cowardice; if my joining would add only to futility; if it’s the only right thing to do.

These people are being called “dangerous” “anti-Capitalist” “anarchists.”

—–

If history teaches us anything, it is that we infrequently learn from it.  The colonists seeded the birth of a great nation, but it was a delivery of great agony. The Constitutional convention was highly contentious and produced a document with many flaws. Blame the Constitution for the protests of the 99%.

My generation did do some good; did affect some change to the betterment of most.  But we then became the people who ran things, ultimately, as badly as any before.  Blame us for the protests of the 99%.

The Tea Party-hijacked Republican Party is — right now — gerrymandering election districts to favor their will over the collective will of the people; to sway politics and policy for generations to come. Blame them for the protests of the 99%.

Whatever the causes, whichever the influences, the integrity of our nation’s future depends, I think, on the success of the 99%.

1 Response to "Revolution 3"

To be accurate, both sides of the political coin have done gerrymandering, lying, manipulation, bullying, misleading, deception, etc. You can’t just point and say because the Tea party voted in some people most recently they are responsible for the 99% (or more accurately the .6 percent).

Beyond that to say Koch Brothers started the tea party back up, are you going to say Soros is funding the progressives and the liberals too? He is just as much hijacking the American political left and the current policy of the U.S. via places like Center for American Progress, MoveON, etc.

The 99% are Anti-capitalism, some are anarchists, most seem to have no real understanding of the current system other than what they are fed. And again, they aren’t the 99%, they are the collective crying baby in the room with 600 people and everyone can hear them because of their high pitched screeching. I know quite a few in a few towns who are leading some of the OccupyWhatever. They are for the “fundamental transformation” of America and the overthrow of the republic via an internal change.

I’m quite sad to hear you have decided to help enable them and their sheep mentality. They are truly who have been hijacked and led to slaughter.

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