sfpml1

sfpml:

“SILENCE = DEBT” - A talk by Brian Holmes
Sunday, March 4, 2012
Occupy Chicago Headquarters
Student debt — which is now hitting the trillion dollar mark, even bigger than outstanding credit-card debt — is part of the fabric of false promises and hyper-individualized coercion that we call neoliberal governance. It hooks into a continuum that begins with payday loans, moves through the concealed robbery of the stock markets and ends in the Treasury’s extortion of trillions of dollars from the rest of the world to pay for bloody useless wars. The only way to achieve the cancellation of existing debts and the foundation of a new set of emancipatory social institutions is to overcome the fear of each debtor and generate the trust we need for massive resistance. One strategy (among others) is to open up the analysis of the debt-based economy through teach-ins that can be led by students, adjunct faculty or professors, whether inside or outside the university. These teach-ins could become an existential point of contact between isolated individuals in the knowledge-factories and the Occupy movement. The point is to transform the very meaning and purpose of education, and to start generating a new map of rights and responsibilities that can help us navigate beyond neoliberal governance.

mastreacheval

FINDING HUMANITY: THE PHILOSOPHY OF AN OCCUPIED PLANET

Freedom is near. The birth of the Occupy movement was both miraculous and inevitable. In the chaos of a crumbling empire, you and I found each other and discovered, to our surprise, that we were not alone in our understanding. What had always been my suffering and my awakening was now ours and we knew this immediately, implicitly. We slept in the rain and our voices rang together through the corridors of our city. Nothing had ever meant so much.

I say Occupy was inevitable because annihilation has never been the destiny of this country nor of this planet. The protestors in Tahrir Square, on Wall Street, and in front of St. Paul’s cathedral were the natural and inspired ascent of humanity’s survival instinct. However, despite our numbers and our dedication, the threats of economic collapse and environmental destruction continue to haunt the horizon. Criminality in government persists.  We stood up and spoke out but our mission is incomplete.

In the following pages, I’m going to attempt answers for two questions: how is Occupy different and how can it succeed?I am going to present a doctrine, but my aim is not to indoctrinate. Philosophy, seeking the Truth, is what led me to Occupy and this philosophy is my contribution. This is the truth about Occupy, as I see it. I present it for your consideration in the hope that you find in it something of value, something that will serve you. Though, my belief is that the application of these ideas could harness the Love and camaraderie of Occupy toward something magnificent. I should also add that regardless of the effect of my words, I am certain that with the united strength of an Occupied planet, we will avert extinction and discover Utopia

I

            It did not take long for the media’s denial of Occupy to be replaced by confusion. This confusion is encapsulated in the question, “What is your message and what are your demands?” We all had different answers to these questions. Elements of the corporate-controlled media treated this fact as a flaw and attempted to convince the public that this new crop of protestors were naïve and disorganized hippies. This spin hardly slowed us down, though the question became a meme among the public and within the movement. This is worth noting. The fact that the question resonates with people means there is something to it – it is not merely the concoction of the corporate media. I think a better formulation of that question is, “How is Occupy different?” Everyone senses that there is something new here and they are right.

Occupy is different because it represents the united opposition to tyranny in all its forms. All possible progressive goals – gender equality, racial equality, income equality – are united in Occupy. It is a banner that all activists can share. What unifies PETA is the shared conviction for the welfare of animals. What unifies Occupy is a shared conviction for the toppling of a tyrannical system in its entirety. This is why Occupy is different: it seeks to remove the root of injustice, rather than address isolated instances of injustice. Revolutions throughout history have brought down tyrants – but never tyranny itself.

However, with our current mindset, this ultimate revolution we seek is impossible. The truth is that tyranny is a concept and you cannot defeat a concept with action, you must defeat it with thought. You cannot move past a concept until you change your mind.

Tyranny is vanquished by the thought of Humanity. If we realize our Humanity, tyranny disappears. This begs the question, “What does it mean to be human?”

Human beings are physical and metaphysical, matter and mind. We have bodies we can see and thoughts we cannot. We have physical needs such as food, shelter, and medicine. We also have metaphysical needs like love, a sense of self, community, and education, to name but a few. Now, everyone understands that our system of government is not meeting the physical needs of the people. And this is an absurd understatement. Physical Tyranny exists anywhere humans are forced to fight for survival and anywhere they are destroyed. We see deprivation and destruction everywhere. We blame this on the individual tyrants – the corporate executive and the corrupt politician. It is true that individual humans are responsible for their actions. However, the single tyrant is not responsible for the whole of tyranny. What we fail to realize is that the many individuals who maintain and profit from this system of injustice, all of them, suffer with us under a tyranny greater than their own and more destructive than any war they may seek to wage. Humanity, 100% of it, is plagued by Metaphysical Tyranny.

Far surpassing the brutality and wide-sweeping vision of any human tyrant is the Metaphysical Tyrant: Doubt. Doubt is “the state of uncertainty with regard to the truth or reality of anything,” (Oxford English Dictionary). The media landscape is so convoluted and our educational institutions so dysfunctional, that Doubt exists at the center of our lives. It occupies the place in our consciousness meant for Truth. Instead of filtering our experience through our understanding of Truth, thereby gaining knowledge, we filter experience through Doubt, and gain only facts and uncertainty. Furthermore, when you have doubt concerning a metaphysical need, then it is impossible that that need is being met. To meet a metaphysical need is to know that it is met. When we fall in Love and suddenly a void within us is filled with light, we have moved from Doubt as to the reality of Love to certainty. When that Love comes into Doubt, we suffer. In our state of Metaphysical Tyranny, Doubt reigns supreme over our most important thoughts. Even when we glimpse our life’s purpose, our true Love, or our God, Doubt shuts are eyes and turns us away.

When your Humanity is in Doubt, when you do not identify as a human but solely as a man, woman, dictator, or anything else, then you are capable of inhumane, even horrific, action. If the police officer, as he raises his night stick to strike a protestor, were to be freed of Doubt and suddenly, fully appreciate the Truth that he and the protestor are both Human, the protestor would be unharmed. Similarly, if Barack Obama were to preface all of his action with full consciousness of his Humanity, he might be a very different president. But most importantly, if each of us were to remember, at all times, that we are Human, then ruthless competition would give way to joyful cooperation. We know this from Occupy.

Metaphysical Tyranny (Doubt) is the necessary condition for Physical Tyranny (Institutionalized Inequality). Confusion of fundamental truths is the cause for the chaos in our politics, in our economics, and in our personal lives. The tyrannical individuals who own and operate the control system understand this. A brief investigation of the Think Tank network of the elite will show you how Humanity’s Doubt has been systematically reinforced for decades in order to stave off Revolution. However, organizations like the Tavistock Institute, the Rand Corporation, and the Rockefeller Foundation did not invent metaphysical Doubt, they merely exploit it. It is absolutely essential to remember that flawed thinking is our only enemy – we have no enemies among our fellow Humans. Rahm Emmanuel is a human, and if he identified as a human, rather than as a king, he would not engage in oppression. We are all equally guilty of falling prey to Doubt.

Knowing the nature of Doubt is the key to Occupy’s success. An old paradigm is falling and a new one is emerging. Occupy is on the cusp of this emergence. For Occupy to be truly effective, Occupiers need to let go of the language of the old paradigm. And that language is duality. Us vs. Them. With a message of dualism (99% vs. 1%), our energy and our usefulness are cut in half. The concept of 99% contains all that is good in Occupy. The concept of the 1% contains all that is old in Occupy, that which must change. We are loving towards the 99% and hateful towards the 1%. We chant, “Feed the Poor, Tax the Rich,” and the implication is that we don’t care whether the rich are fed. You might say, “They can feed themselves.” And this is true, except this is also exactly what they say about you.

Occupy does not need to incite anger against the criminal factions of our society, that is accomplished by the crimes themselves. The anger in Occupy, which is both natural and useful, could be channeled into a campaign for independent audits of our elected and non-elected government officials, as well as an audit of all variety of financial institutions. This could then become the campaign for the indictment of criminals. When we paint with such a wide brush, decent humans in the business, financial, and government sectors are potentially alienated and thus remain silent. This is a tremendous loss, for these are the very people who must carry out essential reform.

A new paradigm requires a new language. And in place of duality, we have unity. We are united as a race of Humans. I’d like to complete the definition of Human: Humans are creatures of the Earth with bodies and minds. Our bodies have needs, our minds have needs, and the Earth has needs. To be Human is to fully appreciate this. To be humane or to exhibit humanity means to champion the equal satisfaction of the needs of all humans and the planet on which we live.

What is our message? What are our demands? We are all human beings living on one planet, and our needs and the needs of the planet must be met.

Furthermore, we can elaborate our needs as both physical and metaphysical. Here I would propose a new metaphysical need: freedom. Freedom from indoctrination, so that we may prevent the return of crippling Doubt and assure that each human being is free to pursue happiness in health of body and mind. This message of Humanity is unified and positive. It completely disregards the hopelessly confused current political discourse of our time. In our thoughts and our actions, we can champion Humanity, the Earth, and all life on Earth. Never before has a revolutionary movement included all living beings among its ranks.

Our efforts up until this point have gotten the world’s attention. We currently live in a wasteland, a Desert of Doubt. If Occupy becomes a fountain of the Truth of our shared Humanity, our possibilities are limitless. We can make this a reality by holding onto that connection we made last fall – that Occupiers around the world continue to make – when we discovered each other’s Humanity and thus discovered a new world. Because that’s how it feels when you know Humanity – that you are exactly where you are supposed to be.

-Chicago Occupier

March 6, 2012



youthiswasted

youthiswasted:

On top of cold weather and logistical pains, “Occupy” protesters in Chicago last week dealt with a thoughtless stunt by the traders working at the Chicago Board of Trade, who threw hundreds of photocopies sheets of paper upon the protesters (note that the protesters cleaned up the papers, as they have been keeping all of the camps clean). Those xeroxed copies were McDonald’s job applications.

The conduct from the Chicago traders is ignorant, tasteless, and callous. It speaks volumes about the conservative mindset towards the protests, and to maintaining the status quo. (The repeated refrain from the manufactured-to-look-like-grassroots “we are the 53% movement” was that they worked minimum wage jobs but miraculously had no debt).

It should be noted that when, in April of 2011, McDonald’s announced plans to hire 50,000 new employees in a single day, the company received over one million applications for those positions. At the time, there were over 13.9 million people unemployed in the United States. That figure is expected to be higher today.  

truthcontrol
Top Foreclosure Firm Threw Homeless-Themed Halloween Bash

If you’re one of the nation’s top “foreclosure mill” law  firms—representing Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells  Fargo in their attempts to foreclose on homes and evict homeowners—what  better way to celebrate Halloween than by throwing a party where  everyone comes as a dirty, homeless victim of your practice?
The New York Times’ Joe Nocera was sent a series of photos from a Halloween party thrown last year by the firm  of Steven J. Baum—the “merciless” foreclosure mill, subject of a Justice  Department investigation, and defendant in at least two class-action  lawsuits over its shady foreclosure practices. In one photo, two women  with fake dirt on their faces hold a sign that says “3rd party squatter.  I lost my home and was never served!!”; in another, a woman holding a  beer bottle in a paper bag pushes a shopping cart with a sign saying  “will work for food.” They’re pretty horrible! Like, “would offend the  richest, whitest frat at the most conservative university in the south”  horrible. You can see the rest of the photographs here.
But, oh, it’s just Halloween, right? Usually Baum employees are kind  and empathetic to the people whose lives they’re ruining, aren’t they?  Well… no. The anonymous woman who sent the photos to Nocera says that they’re emblematic of the culture at Baum:
In an e-mail, she said that she wanted me to see them because they  showed an appalling lack of compassion toward the homeowners -  invariably poor and down on their luck - that the Baum firm had brought  foreclosure proceedings against.
When we spoke later, she added that the snapshots are an accurate  representation of the firm’s mind-set. “There is this really cavalier  attitude,” she said. “It doesn’t matter that people are going to lose  their homes.” Nor does the firm try to help people get mortgage  modifications; the pressure, always, is to foreclose.
The firm, when contacted by Nocera, called the photos “another attempt by The New York Times to attack our firm and our work.” Well… yeah. Because your firm is horrible and your work sucks.
[NYT]

Top Foreclosure Firm Threw Homeless-Themed Halloween Bash

If you’re one of the nation’s top “foreclosure mill” law firms—representing Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo in their attempts to foreclose on homes and evict homeowners—what better way to celebrate Halloween than by throwing a party where everyone comes as a dirty, homeless victim of your practice?

The New York Times’ Joe Nocera was sent a series of photos from a Halloween party thrown last year by the firm of Steven J. Baum—the “merciless” foreclosure mill, subject of a Justice Department investigation, and defendant in at least two class-action lawsuits over its shady foreclosure practices. In one photo, two women with fake dirt on their faces hold a sign that says “3rd party squatter. I lost my home and was never served!!”; in another, a woman holding a beer bottle in a paper bag pushes a shopping cart with a sign saying “will work for food.” They’re pretty horrible! Like, “would offend the richest, whitest frat at the most conservative university in the south” horrible. You can see the rest of the photographs here.

But, oh, it’s just Halloween, right? Usually Baum employees are kind and empathetic to the people whose lives they’re ruining, aren’t they? Well… no. The anonymous woman who sent the photos to Nocera says that they’re emblematic of the culture at Baum:

In an e-mail, she said that she wanted me to see them because they showed an appalling lack of compassion toward the homeowners - invariably poor and down on their luck - that the Baum firm had brought foreclosure proceedings against.

When we spoke later, she added that the snapshots are an accurate representation of the firm’s mind-set. “There is this really cavalier attitude,” she said. “It doesn’t matter that people are going to lose their homes.” Nor does the firm try to help people get mortgage modifications; the pressure, always, is to foreclose.

The firm, when contacted by Nocera, called the photos “another attempt by The New York Times to attack our firm and our work.” Well… yeah. Because your firm is horrible and your work sucks.

[NYT]

occupyphilly

youthiswasted:

From Occupy Chicago:  ”They still haven’t released the nurses who were arrested last night.”  You may recall the human chain around the medical tent. 

“One of the holding cells with about 30 men had no working sink. Their requests were ignored for 5 to 6 hours….An epileptic girl needed her meds. We yelled for an hour before anyone came and then they ignored for another hour….”

We yelled for about sixteen hours to make a phonecall before they finally let some of us…This protester asked different police officers 86 times politely to make a phone call. Ignored all night.”

“Most of those of us who were in jail were not even allowed a phone call even though we asked for one repeatedly. Two of the people who did get a phone call report that the bondsmen were playing videogames instead of working on our paperwork.”

“None of the men were given toilet paper for the past twenty hours.”

The cynical side of me suggests that the police departments will be comparing notes to find ways to demoralize the arrested protesters, and to scare them from returning to the protests. What we have seen in Chicago, I would expect to see in other cities.