Socrates: "A life not reflected upon is not worth living." — in Plato, Apology 38a. (Also translated, "The unexamined life is not worth living.")
...The machinations of the 1 percent are what have largely brought us to the brink of social and ecological demise, so the primary thinking goes. The ruling class has consolidated their power, skewed the benefits toward themselves, passed the burdens onto the rest of us, and continually demonstrated the illegitimacy and inherent tyranny of their reign every time force has been used on peaceful demonstrators. They have done this and are still doing it, and we must confront their wanton ways with diligence and imagination.
There are key truths and critical insights to be found in this narrative, and its teachings have served to galvanize interest and mobilize people around the world. Still, there is a piece of the puzzle missing, one that is harder to own up to and that blurs the lines of culpability in a manner that is inconvenient for the impetus to organize against entrenched power. When we begin to peel back the layers, however, it becomes apparent that they did not take power so much as we gave it to them — and it has largely been our complicity with the forces of our own oppression that has led us here....Read the rest at New Clear Vision
by Randall Amster
Instead of protesting against abominable wars, let us also stop paying for them. Rather than complaining about corporations, usurious banks, and the indentured servitude of the student loan system, we can desist from paying into their coffers. Beyond pointing the finger at bought-off politicos, there is the option of refraining from participation in their sham elections. If we do not like business as usual, let us skip the charade of fighting city hall and occupy it as shelter instead. This is the essential core of the embedded symbolism in the protest encampments, and it follows in a long line of nonviolent civil disobedience from Jesus Christ and Henry David Thoreau to Dorothy Day and Mohandas Gandhi. It is an active principle, and the locus of its engagement is everywhere.
The key is not to bear this weight of noncompliance alone, but to do so in concert and in numbers sufficient to undermine the system’s capacity to continue in its present form. We recognize that the boundaries of the law do not map directly to the dictates of morality, and that much of the legal architecture in our midst is specifically designed to protect wealth and preserve inequality. Still, we also see that laws and norms in some instances can reflect the societal wisdom of the ages, and thus we do not transgress them out of self-indulgence but rather as our solemn duty as agents of promoting a just, equitable, and sustainable world.
Indeed, as Gandhi urged, noncooperation is merely a first step. The ensuing (and more challenging) phase of sustained resistance is the cultivation of constructive alternatives with which we can wholeheartedly cooperate and lend support. For too long we have had our survival pitted against our values, being coerced to participate in oppression and degradation as a condition of mere existence. We have been carefully cultivated to embrace the consensus reality plied by plutocrats, at best maintaining a schizophrenic false consciousness and at worst being consumed by the beast’s ravages. Lacking genuine meaning in our lives, we opt for artificial replacements on sale literally everywhere. We have looked into the void, recoiled in horror, and drowned our sorrows in commercial palliatives.
Now is the time to commit ourselves to finding other methods of coping, ones that challenge authority and reclaim autonomy.BTW, in case you weren't there, this was also the underlying message back in the Sixties and Seventies protests, building on the Civil Rights Movement.
The closing words of the article echo the sentiment of the generation that brought about the countercultural revolution that changed the US and world socially, politically, and economically. Amstger concludes with, "This is our generational task, our shared responsibility, and our best hope for salvation. Let us meet it willingly, together." [emphasis added]
They get it. This is about generational change.
See also After the Encampments
by Micah White at Adbusters