Occupy is Alive; So is History


Political leadership in the West has calcified atop a set of existing facts and trajectory that assure rebellion in one form or another until they are reconciled. In addition to the economic divides between wealth and poverty, employment and unemployment, opportunity and the lack of opportunity, there is a generational divide that has left youth around the world on the outside of economic life.

Left out of the economic statistics is that today’s youth face a fundamentally different circumstance than that of recent generations. The young bear a disproportionate burden in higher rates of unemployment, higher levels of debt and fewer opportunities. In a system where economic power equates with political power, economic exclusion leaves youth and much of the rest of the broader population outside of existing political processes.

Within the prevailing political economy the internal logic is to build systems of political and economic repression rather than to create political, economic and social justice. This can be seen in the level of debt students are expected bear, in increasingly intrusive surveillance, in the militarization of the police, in the unresponsive politics of the mainstream political parties and in the absence of any sustained effort to create jobs for youth and other unemployed.

These conditions were not created by the young or by the multitudes that are likewise on the outside of economic and mainstream political life. They result from decades of ideologically driven policies that assumed that the secular deity of markets removed the need for thought, knowledge, information, and any notion of public life. This ideology supports a predatory economic order that has had disastrous consequences for vast majorities in the West. And yet it still drives economic and political decisions today.

Absent rapid self-correction by political leadership, the conclusion can rightly be drawn that the existing order is incapable of self-correction. In fact, the predominant governing ideology sees unjust social divide as virtue, the driving force behind human achievement. That this is a fundamentally different theory of social life than recent generations themselves experienced seems to have little bearing on the sustained commitment to it. Ideological commitment in spite of evidence to the contrary indicates a calcified political order.

Occupy Wall Street arose from a confluence of conditions that are similar in some ways to broader social movements like the ‘Arab Spring’ and different in others. Economic inequality didn’t become a broad political issue until the lack of economic opportunity for wide swaths of global populations became fact. Enlightened self-interest on the part of economic elites would have them giving a little to keep a lot. That they are choosing the path of repression instead suggests that the political and social divide runs much deeper than a mere difference of opinion.

Current economic conditions provide factual bases for this divide. There are far more unemployed than there are jobs for them. The gentlest count based on government statistics has four unemployed for every one available job. Were every job to be filled, three quarters of those currently unemployed would still be unemployed with no jobs available for them. Most of the jobs that are available don’t pay a living wage and fewer offer benefits by the day. These are obstacles over which no amount of positive thinking, the apparent solution favored by those in power, will prevail.

I leave more of the specifics to others. The point is that while psychology and theories of cyclical social rest and turmoil might have some bearing, there are entirely practical reasons why rebellion is here to stay until these problems are resolved. What this rebellion will look like will be a function of material conditions as they develop and the systemic response to them. To date this response has been discouraging and events unfolding in Egypt add new degrees of pessimism. This written, rebellion is both necessary and life affirming

Last, in New York OWS member Mark Adams was sentenced to 45 days in jail for his participation in the effort to secure a new Occupation space from Trinity Church after Zuccotti Park was cleared. This sentence is a travesty and the charges are overblown and clearly designed to silence OWS. Sympathetic readers can support Mark directly and by participating in OWS activities wherever they are taking place.

Rob Urie is an artist and political economist in New York

November 26, 2015
Joseph Grosso
The Enduring Tragedy: Guatemala’s Bloody Farce
Ashley Nicole McCray – Lawrence Ware
Decolonizing the History of Thanksgiving
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
Imperial Myths: the Enduring Lie of the US’s Origin
Ralph Nader
The Joys of Solitude: a Thanksgiving!

Joseph G. Ramsey
Something to be Thankful For: Struggles, Seeds…and Surprises
Dan Glazebrook
Turkey Shoot: the Rage of the Impotent in Syria
Andrew Stewart
The Odious President Wilson
Colin Todhunter
Corporate Parasites And Economic Plunder: We Need A Genuine Green Revolution
Rajesh Makwana
Ten Billion Reasons to Demand System Change
Joyce Nelson
Turkey Moved the Border!
Richard Baum
Hillary Clinton’s Meager Proposal to Help Holders of Student Debt
November 25, 2015
Jeff Taylor
Bob Dylan and Christian Zionism
Dana E. Abizaid
Provoking Russia
Oliver Tickell
Syria’s Cauldron of Fire: a Downed Russian Jet and the Battle of Two Pipelines
Patrick Cockburn
Trigger Happy: Will Turkey’s Downing of Russian Jet Backfire on NATO?
Robert Fisk
The Soothsayers of Eternal War
Russell Mokhiber
The Coming Boycott of Nike
Ted Rall
Like Father Like Son: George W. Bush Was Bad, His Father May Have Been Worse
Matt Peppe
Bad Policy, Bad Ethics: U.S. Military Bases Abroad
Martha Rosenberg
Pfizer Too Big (and Slippery) to Fail
Yorgos Mitralias
Bernie Sanders, Mr. Voutsis and the Truth Commission on Greek Public Debt
Jorge Vilches
Too Big for Fed: Have Central Banks Lost Control?
Sam Husseini
Why Trump is Wrong About Waterboarding — It’s Probably Not What You Think
Binoy Kampmark
The Perils of Certainty: Obama and the Assad Regime
Roger Annis
State of Emergency in Crimea
Soud Sharabani
ISIS in Lebanon: An Interview with Andre Vltchek
Thomas Knapp
NATO: This Deal is a Turkey
November 24, 2015
Dave Lindorff
An Invisible US Hand Leading to War? Turkey’s Downing of a Russian Jet was an Act of Madness
Mike Whitney
Turkey Downs Russian Fighter to Draw NATO and US Deeper into Syrian Quagmire
Walter Clemens
Who Created This Monster?
Patrick Graham
Bombing ISIS Will Not Work
Lida Maxwell
Who Gets to Demand Safety?
Eric Draitser
Refugees as Weapons in a Propaganda War
David Rosen
Trump’s Enemies List: a Trial Balloon for More Repression?
Eric Mann
Playing Politics While the Planet Sizzles
Chris Gilbert
“Why Socialism?” Revisited: Reflections Inspired by Einstein’s Article
Charles Davis
NSA Spies on Venezuela’s Oil Company
Michael Barker
Democracy vs. Political Policing
Barry Lando
Shocked by Trump? Churchill Wanted to “Collar Them All”
Cal Winslow
When Workers Fight: the National Union of Healthcare Workers Wins Battle with Kaiser
Norman Pollack
Where Does It End?: Left Political Correctness
David Macaray
Companies Continue to Profit by Playing Dumb
Binoy Kampmark
Animals in Conflict: Diesel, Dobrynya and Sentimental Security
Dave Welsh
Defiant Haiti: “We Won’t Let You Steal These Elections!”
November 23, 2015
Vijay Prashad
The Doctrine of 9/11 Anti-Immigration