Coming from Chile where, generally speaking, a spirit of questioning and expressions of doubt and criticism are much more common, I’ve always found the US to be a hostile place for speaking out of turn. I forget about the legacy of social movements, and these [vintage] photographs [from 1969] remind me that the country wasn’t always silent. And of course every day it becomes more likely that it isn’t going to stay silent either.
The Occupy movement — like so many movements around the world now — is using general assemblies as its form of protest and process. Its members are not facing the authorities, but each other, coming to know themselves, trying to give rise to the democracy they desire on a small scale rather than merely railing against its absence on a large scale.
How have they kept the masses down? Kept them hungry, scared, uneducated, and under the illusion they are well fed on gimmicks, brave in their patriotism, and complacent in their illusions. People act like that could never happen in today’s society. Propaganda, mass manipulation? Never! Not in AMERICA, the Land of the Free. But it has happened. History repeats itself, maybe not in the same way, but due to the same human flaws. Greed, ego, and need for power. Only this time we’ve been given the heartbreaking, illusory hope of an achievable American Dream. Who are those who succeed? Those who’ve worked hard and earned it! Okay, but tell me this, why is it someone who worked 70 hours a week running a mom and pop store just to make ends meet is less deserving than someone working on Wall Street? Just tell me WHY?
Can the same be said for all work place hierarchies? High school hierarchies? Those at the top are the most deserving? I’m not talking about high-paid professionals, scientists, doctors or economists. I’m talking about the people who gamble on the stock exchange. The people who run banks making MILLIONS every year. Please someone explain to me what God-rewarded values and hard work landed them that position in life. The only common thread I see is one of sociopathy and a willingness to climb and accumulate with no regard for others, going well beyond the point where many others would stop out of moral shame or guilt or legal bounds.
The system we all are born and bred to believe in is that hard work and toil will be rewarded as deserved. And hard work is spending hard hours of study culminating in scientific, technological or philosophic contributions to the progress of society. It means working hard building and creating your own ideas or your own homes. Protection of property means protect your right to toil and keep the fruits of that toil - your business you build, your harvest you sew, your house you build, your ideas and things you discover. The system as you imagine it is not meant to protect disinterested outsiders from camping outside your home or your small business and profiting off of bets against your failures.
Wake up America. This is not the dream. We got lost somewhere along the way and, yes, we also learnt a lot along the way - about civil rights and environmental sustainability. So let’s step forward instead of back. Let us learn from our mistakes and develop our progresses. Now is the time to find a new dream.
Occupy your country!