Occupy Wall Street or OWS is a response to the discomfiture that Americans feel on the aftermath of economic and financial debacles which led to the loss of money, homes and jobs of the ordinary Americans, I think… I’m not sure.
At its present status it may well just be an expression of disgust, helplessness, discomfort for the vagaries of life that visited them. Also, at this point in time there doesn’t seem to be any identifiable objectives advocated by the protestors. What one sees at Zuccotti Park is a mosaic of disconnected plaints and advocacies in an omnibus protest movement. One group would be crying for blood against corporate graft, CEO largesse, disenfranchisement of rights while others speak out for environment, toxic threats in food products and then groups that lambast government programs, spiritual healing, small enterprises and even a woman with a vagina hand puppet striking conversations with anyone caring to do so but advocating nothing…as if saying that all these are vagina talk. The protests, despite the seeming willy-nilly directions it is taking is becoming a burgeoning groundswell, a large amorphous mass, fearsome because of the magnitude it has taken and all the more threatening because of its ambiguity.
Critics have dismissed OWS as nuisance because of its lack of purpose…political purpose. This could be fomented by the left who delight in any display of anarchy in the democratic system; or the political opposition …something similar to the Tea Party movement which by now has been outstripped OWS. Plausible but within the realm of possibility.
People love to ascribe meaning to events going around us even if there seems to be no apparent ones. Some would liken it as meaningless theatrics…sort of a social theatre of the absurd, others legitimize it as valid protests to the sins of the corporate and financial worlds with Wall Street as its metonymy. Others, still said that it is a test of how effective the Egyptian model of protest is with the use of social networks and texting to rally the people which is somewhat similar to the EDSA 2 revolution where mobile phones played a vital role. But testing for what and for whom?
Is present day America responding like third world rabble? Is this what Thoreau referred to as men leading lives in quiet desperation? Is this the nation who once stood tall and proud in the community of nations? The representatives of 99% of America milled around Zuccotti square in wishful anticipation of a voice from the sky or perhaps something apocalyptic. One wonders whether this is symptomatic of the impending demise of the US…soon to become the late great American nation.
A friend from the US, Ed de Guzman, suggests that it may be a scheme from the left to foment unrest and to transform it into a class war. He says that the US is already in the brink of one. The elitist group of Corporate America and Wall Street who are the proponents of “making money out of money” a dubious productive endeavour whose true worth or no worth has been exposed by the recent debacles of the financial and economic world. Wealth generated by the system is merely notional and evanescent. In retrospect it does look criminal to put at risk society and nations in a la la land of promises fuelled by dreams concocted by those who plot the wholesale defrauding of people’s security and well being. It paved the way to the suffering of millions of people around the globe with the US taking the brunt of it. It is indeed in the category of a heinous crime, an unmitigated greed, a vile and abominable act that should be pulled and uprooted from where it grows and interred where it will never surface again to bedevil mankind.
He refers to the verse of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s Queen Mab which goes…
“Let the axe
Strike at the root, the poison-tree will fall;
And where its venomed exhalations spread
Ruin, and death, and woe, where millions lay
Quenching the serpent’s famine, and their bones
Bleaching unburied in the putrid blast,
A garden shall arise, in loveliness
Surpassing fabled Eden.”
He says further that it makes for interesting discussion when seen against what Steve Jobs, the recent deceased icon of the technological world had to say about a few men’s propensity for speaking out in outrage against the world that we have been crammed into without our consent. Steve Jobs said…
“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The trouble-makers. The round heads in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status-quo. .
You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them. But the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.
Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones,
we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
Seen from this light, the OWS incident may not be so nonsensical at all. There has to be change even if this is led by the anti-heroes aptly described by Steve Jobs. The misfits, the rebels and the trouble makers now find themselves as part of the oppressed and the victimized 99%. They no longer are the minority but they are the new leaders and heroes in a desolate landscape of desperate humans, a new breed of leaders who are not timid to complain and complain vehemently. They pick up the cudgels for the rest of shell shocked society who are frozen in disbelief that they have become so destitute. The misfits, the rebels and the crazies spearhead the OWS movement. It all sounds like anarchy and disorganized mayhem but it empathically makes the point that the present system must go and that a new order must surface from the debris that litters Zuccotti Park leading to a balanced commercial system, a responsible and risk averse safeguarding of people’s rights, liberties and privileges rather than disenfranchising and defrauding them of their provenance.
If change is actually achieved, the transition period seems worrisome as it is an aftermath of radical changes and would put societies and institutions in turmoil. Is it going to be a violent upheaval or a peaceful transition? Would new ideologies emerge, would the left assert itself and how much intervention from foreign powers will come about? I envision all sorts of scenarios… all of them make me shudder.
I reflect on what the woman who had a vagina hand puppet accosting people and striking conversations with them. It might be her way of saying “… hey guys, we’re all fucked up.”