This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only.
Last Fall New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, apparently fearing the early demise of New York’s number one tourist attraction and occasional pain-in-the-ass Occupy Wall Street, set up a series of meetings called “court dates” where we could come together to discuss politics and strategy and generally remember why we rebelled in the first place. With these government facilitated meetings scheduled to last for the foreseeable future, there should remain some residual dissent as the rest of America settles back into meditations on lesser evilism and the frothy mix of fecal matter and lubricant that sometimes results from anal intercourse (google: Santorum).
In one recent government inspired get-together the discussion turned to the upcoming presidential election, with the question put forward: is the goal of voting to microscopically slow the nation’s descent into a militarized, impoverished, plutocratic, terror state (Obama / Romney) or to hand it the quart of Scotch and bottle of Seconal it needs to choke on its own vomit (Santorum / Gingrich)? Your response to this conundrum is most likely a function of your perceived place in the social order. So the follow on question is: which strategy will cause the least harm to the most vulnerable while maximally facilitating the self-immolation of the beast?
The issue at present is this: the U.S. is a behemoth that is armed to the teeth and that has a developed infrastructure of social control. Nothing less than millions of people in the streets willing to bring the thing to the ground will force real change. So (1) where the fuck are you? and (2) passive strategies are an important part of any effort. You can continue to sit on your couch and still push the movement forward. You will eventually be replaced due to natural attrition by actual human beings and we’ll see where things stand then. But until then, you can do your bit to help those actually interested in living without that much effort on your part. Your help is appreciated.
Step one is to understand what America is in 2012. America is a global murder machine run as a business by a bureaucracy that kills without passion for the profit of a few plutocrats. National economic policies are designed to impoverish you as said plutocrats steal your pension, your house and your life and force you through debt penury to work for nothing for their benefit until you die. Enough plutocrat-empire insiders understand the political unsustainability of the current arrangement to have built a surveillance and social control infrastructure including a brutal, intrusive police force for political repression, and to have written laws that falsely accuse you of doing what they do (terrorism) for which you can be arrested without charges and without recourse and sent to an undisclosed location to be tortured until you die. Welcome to America.
But the plutocrats require basic cooperation, even if coerced, with the state-plutocrat apparatus for it to function for their benefit. So the first step to passive resistance is to stop cooperating. All U.S. military adventures are misdirections designed to murder innocent people so that plutocrats can steal their stuff. Don’t believe anything that you hear / read from the plutocrat-empire regarding purported military threats and don’t join the military unless you want to be thrown into the garbage just like the people that you are sent to murder. Stop buying anything but the bare essentials and then buy them used for cash outside of the credit and mainstream goods distribution systems. Stop watching television to clear your mind of plutocrat propaganda. Everything (everything) on television is empty, mindless propaganda selling you the idea that Glorious Leader is your friend and is on your side. Glorious Leader isn’t your friend and only wants for you to shut up and buy crap that you neither want nor need for his benefit. Meat is murder. End oppression where you find it, including on the dinner table.
With respect to the upcoming election, the question is more ethereal / aesthetic than you imagine. I point to the unimpeded growth and trajectory of the empire’s bureaucracy of destruction and despair from Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama to whichever pathetic stooge you delude yourself into believing you helped choose this season. The degree of perceived differentiation denotes your place in the social hierarchy. Obama’s public persona is slightly less grating than Bush Jr.s moronic belligerence. But if you are black or brown, poor or middle class, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist or any of a thousand other non-Christian religions the policies are not differentiable. With respect to “don’t ask, don’t tell:” great, now openly gay people can murder poor brown people so that plutocrats can steal their stuff. And how many of those poor brown people that you now get to murder were gay?
So New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg has arranged for some of us from Occupy Wall Street to continue meeting in government-owned facilities for the foreseeable future. Hopefully we the people can extend a similar opportunity to his banker and war criminal buddies in the not too distant future. My sense is that OWS will be back in force with warmer weather in the East. Regardless, without the numbers in the streets, and that is millions of people, we can’t change that much. So the invitation is extended. Passive resistance can be constructive if it is persistent and well conceived. Active resistance can change the world. See you in the Spring?
Rob Urie is an artist and political economist in New York.