Thursday, 1 December 2011

Article: OCCUPY - Then what?

Original Article written by EricAllenBell for Daily KOS - Wednesday 9, November 2011

In February of 2011 I wrote a very short article for called “Egypt is Just the Beginning” ( In it I said “LET'S GET TO WORK on removing the Plutocracy in this country. Let's take the power back from Wall Street, from the Military Industrial Complex. Let's be next to peacefully shift power from the privileged few to the restless many - the people who do all the work and deserve to have a government that reflects OUR interests instead of the piggish appetites of the power elite. Egypt is just the beginning.”

We just took a quantum leap forward by getting people organized and out on the streets. This is history in the making. This is an interruption from the regularly scheduled programming. But this is also disorienting and alarming so many people, who didn't see it coming, don't know what to make of it or don't know what it means. It's to be expected that the masses would have an initial knee-jerk reaction to the Occupation of Wall Street - or no reaction at all because they’re busy watching “Dancing With the Stars” and can’t kick the habit of feeding off the entertainment machine that has become America.

And many of us who are involved in this Occupation don't want to see it squandered, hijacked, sold out, fizzled out or forgotten. We know what we want. We know when we want it. And we realize that by a “reasonable” person’s standards, what we want is unreasonable. I write this article with the belief that we can be unreasonable together. History’s greatest achievements were fashioned and shaped by unreasonable people, with unreasonable ideas and unreasonable expectations. We just happen to have been born into a time when we are being invited to join their ranks. And in that spirit, I’d like to share a few ideas with you about how we can work together to revolutionize the world and leave it better than we found it…

When it comes to Occupy Wall Street, time is a critical factor. The longer we keep the pressure on, look for new and creative ways to keep getting the message out - and don't back down, eventually larger and larger segments of the population will begin to rethink some of their tightly-held beliefs about money, government, education, the media, and most importantly the environment. This will not happen overnight. In fact, many cold winter nights will be spent by those who have the courage, the time and the ability to sleep in tents, through a dark New York Winter, and maintain an occupation - to stay the course and not fade away.

Most people, once they make up their mind about something, once they reach a conclusion, they don't want to have to rethink it. It’s uncomfortable. And if there is one thing we Americans love more than Jesus, it’s our comfort. The great thinker, J. Krishnamurti once said that the nature of intelligence was inquiry. He went on to say that once inquiry ceases, once one becomes satisfied with their conclusions, intelligence ceases.

America is a lazy town. We must be patient but diligent. The longer we can keep the pressure on, the more dialogue occurs, the more we exchange ideas, the better chance we have of working together to solve problems that, only recently, the majority refused to believe even existed. We're not there yet. As a great Carpenter once said, “We’ve only just begun”.

The vast majority of America still does not know why we Occupy. They know nothing about the Federal Reserve System and the secrecy surrounding it. They don't know what the word "Plutocracy" means and many of them don't want to know. We've got a long road ahead of us and it is uncharted territory. If something as bold as this were uncomplicated, we'd have done it a long time ago.

So where do we go from here? We've occupied parks and cities and held a General Strike, won over some of the media, got some celebrity endorsements and even our own President mentioned it on the Jay Leno show, using the word “folks” in almost every sentence. After several journalists have been arrested, or hit with a baton or maced, much of the mainstream media is on our side. Imagine that. But most of those journalists do take orders from those who own media, which brings us back to that word that most people are too busy to look up: "Plutocracy". If only there was a dictionary online…

So what do we do now?

Step 1 - Keep the pressure on: OCCUPY TOGETHER. This means that those who can take to the streets - don't back down. If you are sitting on your couch watching the evening news and complaining because you saw someone with a pierced nose at an Occupation rally say something you don’t like, and you think that sends the wrong message, get our ass off the couch and find the nearest Occupy rally. If you can afford it, maybe bring some food with you or bottled water. And make sure you speak to the media while you're there. Let your voice be heard. It’s one thing to sit on the sidelines and yell “boo” and it’s quite another thing to suit up and get in the game. The People, united, embody the true meaning of the phrase “Too Big to Fail”. Occupy Together.

Step 2 - Take your own personal power back: OCCUPY WITHIN. This means that you have the courage to question your own conclusions. Many of us would like to believe that we already did that and have everything all figured out. But here I must agree with J. Krishnamurti, in that this is where intelligence hits a brick wall. You might think you “get it” and others “just don’t get it”. For example, someone just told me the other day that the solution was simple: Just get money out of politics. And they went on to say that how we do this is to make sure we have a Democrat as President so he can appoint more Liberal judges to the Supreme Court and overturn corporate person-hood. While this sounds like a simple enough idea, intoxicatingly simple, it only treats the symptom. It fails to even acknowledge the underlying problem. So what is the underlying problem? I would say it goes very, very deep. In short, up until now, human beings have had a tendency to solve our problems in a way that creates more problems. Our educational system has more to do with indoctrination, in other words teaching us what to think instead of teaching us how to think. It is very humbling and yet very courageous to even consider, that the way you have been thinking up until now is actually part of the problem . Is it possible that it's not all "them" or those people over there who have screwed everything up? Could it be that in fact we are the 100 Percent? To "Occupy Within" means to take personal responsibility, to take personal inventory, to reconsider everything we've been taught was real, to rethink our beliefs - especially our favorite beliefs that make us feel comfortable. It really is true that inward revolution creates outward revolution. And you don’t have to wait until payday to start, to wait until you feel inspired or are having a good hair day. Start to take back your personal power NOW. Have the courage to see where you have given it away. You gave it away - and you can take it back. When a person is undergoing an inward revolution, their thoughts, words and actions will be, by their very nature, revolutionary. Occupy Within.

Step 3 - Empower the Collective Consciousness: EDUCATE. Now that the genie is out of the bottle, use social media, use the phone, use the lunch table at work, use whatever means are at your disposal to educate. Most people still think we have a two-party system. They don't know what "Corporatism" means and they sort of don't want to know. Although it is widely agreed upon by now that our government is corrupt, most people still believe that the government is going to solve our problems. And if we rebuild it, it might play a very important role in solving our problems - one day. But today the government belongs to the ruling power elite. They paid for it after all. This is another painful truth. Naturally, the Republicans want to blame the Democrats and the Democrats want to blame the Republicans. The religious establishment want to blame the Devil, and the Devil did not return my calls in time for the printing of this article, but his office did release a brief statement saying that he did not exist. Meanwhile, the Plutocrats and the Oligarchs are laughing at how we took the bait, how we walked right into their "Divide and Conquer" trap. Good Cop (D) versus Bad Cop (R). LOL - Yes, they are laughing all the way to the bank, which you bailed out by the way, and they own. If you really want to avoid seeing some really painful data, whatever you do, don't click this link here. I mean it, do not click this link:

Okay, don't shoot the messenger. I told you not to click it. The fact is, we cannot transmit something we do not have. Each of us must educate ourselves before we can begin to educate others. This is a harder nut to crack in many ways than understanding the Viet Nam war and trying to explain that to your neighbor - and it was designed to be that way. How do you tell Frank at the gas station about Fractional Reserve Banking? (No offense, Frank. I'm still trying to figure it out). We know lobbyists have bought most of our politicians and we can talk about that. We can Educate. And this brings me to the next step...

Step 4 - Share information: DIALOGUE. Twitter alone will give you tons of information in just a matter of seconds. Twitter is easier to use than most TV remote controls. You just enter a hashtag (that is this symbol here "#") for what you want to follow. For instance, if I enter #OccupyWallStreet I will see an activity stream, much like Facebook, where people share links. These are often links that show, for example which candidate was backed by Wall Street in the last Presidential election (ouch, I know) and what they got in return (remember, facing the truth takes humility and guts, and I hope you didn’t click that link back there at Step 3, that I told you not to click). Some of these Twitter links will take you to widely respected sources of information on how the rich are doing better than ever, how poverty is spiking like crazy, how foreclosures are up, how the middle class is shrinking, which corporations are paying no taxes at all - while receiving huge tax "refunds" at the same time. You will even find links that demonstrate how Wall Street is doing better under this President than under the past several Presidents that went before him. Or, you could decide to recoil, to cower in the comfort of your own cozy partisan belief system and avoid going down the rabbit hole altogther. While others are doing the work, you could sit back in your comfortable chair, turn on the Corporate News Network, watch their spin on the Occupation and become a critic, telling anyone who will listen to you how those people out there are doing it all wrong. What they ought to do is... Well, you get the idea. If revolution were easy, everyone would be doing it. And that is why we must stay in Dialogue.

Step 5 - Leave a better world for future generations: CHANGE: And here is where we reach what Al Gore called "An Inconvenient Truth". The unfortunate fact here, the one that scares the majority into paralysis, is the fact that the way in which we are currently living is simply unsustainable. This is now truer than ever - at the most basic level - and that is our fragile environment. If the Universe had social workers, one of them would come and take Planet Earth away from us for abusing her so badly. It’s a strange thing, I just said its "our environment" as if it belongs to us when really we belong to it. For now we are its caretakers, but we won’t be for long, if we continue as we have been. If we do not take the power back from the psychotic, greedy, fraction of one percent, who have convinced themselves they can do no wrong, who have for thousands of years enslaved people, caused wars, caused famines, mismanaged resources, brainwashed the masses and are hellbent on destroying the Earth, then we will, by our own inaction, laziness and cowardice, leave apocalyptic conditions for our grandchildren and their children until there are no more children born into this world. One day the intelligence of this planet might just heal itself, by removing this parasitic life form that is smart enough to build a nuclear bomb and just stupid enough to use it. We just absolutely must Change.

So, after going through steps 1 through 4 thoroughly and with a vengeance - as if our lives depended on it (and they do) it is my view that this will make the execution of Step 5 rather self-evident. And here's where it gets interesting... Left-brain people tend to think that in order to accomplish anything you need a plan with clear measurable objectives and a realistic blueprint for getting there. And the left-brain folks are half right. Right-brain people tend to follow their intuition. They are out protesting in the streets not because of any one particular issue but because they feel captured by an underlying sentiment. To the Right-brained individual, "the process is the product". Be true to the process and this will be reflected in the quality of the finished masterpiece. And the Right-brained folks are half right too. But in order to sustain a radical revolution, both inward and outward, it will require both hemispheres of the brain, both sides of the aisle, the mind and the heart, the artists and the accountants, the “us” and the “them”, confronting our worst fears and allowing ourselves together to believe again, in our greatest hopes.


Eric Allen Bell

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