Occupy Wall Street, Another Futile Peasants’ Protest

Summary:  We learn little about the Occupy Wall Street protests from the news media, which cover it like an alien invasion (see Glenn Greenwald’s new article at Salon for examples).   No matter, as it’s a commonplace and easily understood phenomenon.   The masses (ie, peasants, peons, whatever) grow restive in an oligarchic society.  Protests are holidays in which they have fun and vent their frustration.  Like all mobs, they can spread or even metastasize – so the security services watch them, applying violent suppression as needed.

Operationally, attacking Wall Street looks logical.  The big banks are — and have always been — unpopular in America (back to the Founding, as seen in the failure of the First Bank and Second Bank of the United States).  The bank bailouts were the original motive force for the Tea Party Protests.  That provides a cautionary note, as the TP movement was quickly re-absorbed back into the Republican Party, even changing from a anti-bank to a pro-bank movement (Republicans in Congress are de facto tools of the banks, fighting the most obvious and necessary reforms).

More broadly, it is a protest movement.  Fighting demons appeals to Americans, but it tends to lead to a dead end.  Protesting about bad guys provides only a negative goal, useful only when part of a larger vision — and program.  Do the protestors have anything like that?  Not according to their key websites:  OccupyWallStreet, the NYC General Assembly, We are the 99 Percent, and the Adbusters call to Occupy Wall Street.

These are a combination of whining and street festivals, more akin to the Berkeley Free Speech movement than the devastatingly effective marches of the civil rights movement.  If these protests catch fire, they might resemble the massive race riots (1965-1972, now erased from memories of White Americans) – futile and destructive mobs which effectively ended the civil rights movement as a powerful and broad force in America.  It’s not enough to be against “enemies”, there must an effective analysis of causes and reforms.

The cause of our problems

It’s the Man in the Mirror.

I’m Gonna Make A Change
For Once In My Life
It’s Gonna Feel Real Good
Gonna Make A Difference
Gonna Make It Right…

I’m Starting With The Man In The Mirror
I’m Asking Him To Change His Ways
And No Message Could Have Been Any Clearer
If You Wanna Make The World A Better Place
Take A Look At Yourself, And Then Make A Change

As has been shown so many times on the FM website, our problems result not from political demons.  Our problem lies within, in our passivity, our willingness to be led.  So long as we are sheep, there will be shepherds and wolves.  That’s the great circle of life.

The government’s recent assassinations of US citizens reveals these qualities in ourselves.  We believe what we’re told, no matter that publicly available data contradicts this picture — no matter how often the government lies to us in the War on Terror — no matter how grossly these actions violate the Constitution and the long-held norms of US history.

Why are they futile

However scary to our rules, such protests are a standard and trivial feature of oligarchic societies.  Well-run oligarchies have massive internal security forces, so these protests do little but vent the peons frustration.  Our rulers are competent and aggressive, and their agents easily capable of handling anything from street festivals to riots.  As seen in this information, which oddly generates no signs of news coverage on Google News:  on the website of J P Morgan Chase:

JPMorgan Chase recently donated an unprecedented $4.6 million to the New York City Police Foundation. The gift was the largest in the history of the foundation and will enable the New York City Police Department to strengthen security in the Big Apple. The money will pay for 1,000 new patrol car laptops, as well as security monitoring software in the NYPD’s main data center.

New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly sent CEO and Chairman Jamie Dimon a note expressing “profound gratitude” for the company’s donation.

“These officers put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe,” Dimon said. “We’re incredibly proud to help them build this program and let them know how much we value their hard work.”

Buying loyalty of the police is a standard and essential step for plutocratic rulers, as we saw in late 19th century America.  It’s often necessary to use force to suppress local uprisings of various kinds — before they spread!

The way forward

Please read The first step on the road to America’s reform.

For more information

About Politics in America

  1. America’s elites reluctantly impose a client-patron system, 5 November 2008
  2. How to stage effective protests in the 21st century, 21 April 2009
  3. More people participating in politics: is this good for America?, 20 June 2010
  4. Our leaders have made a discovery of the sort that changes the destiny of nations, 1 September 2010
  5. Polarization and hot rhetoric conceal two similar political parties. Will we ever notice?, 29 October 2010
  6. We have the leaders we deserve. Visit McDonald’s to learn why., 30 October 2010

About the Tea Party Movement:

  1. Are the new “tea party” protests a grass roots rebellion or agitprop?, 1 March 2009
  2. Our ruling elites scamper and play while our world burns, 11 March 2009
  3. The weak link in America’s political regime, 16 September 2009
  4. More examples of Americans waking up – should we rejoice?, 10 October 2009
  5. Does the Tea Party movement remind you of the movie “Meet John Doe”?, 27 January 2010
  6. Listen to the crowds cheering Sarah Palin, hear the hammerblows of another nail in the Constitution’s coffin, 8 February 2010
  7. The Tea Party movement develops a platform. It’s the Underpants Gnomes Business Plan!, 8 March 2010
  8. About the Tea Party Movement: who they are and what they believe, 19 March 2010
  9. The Tea Party Movement disproves my recommendation for the path to reforming America, 20 April 2010
  10. At last we see a Tea Party political platform, 13 May 2010
  11. Kinsley – “My Country, Tis of Me – There’s nothing patriotic about the Tea Party Patriots”, 15 May 2010
  12. Why has wild man Mark Williams become a top leader of the Tea Party movement?, 13 June 2010
  13. More people participating in politics: is this good for America?, 20 June 2010
  14. Obama scores again against the Constitution. The Tea Party is right about the battle, but AWOL., 28 September 2010
  15. Today’s tea party propaganda: the wonderfulness of slavery, 8 July 2011

This post originally appeared at Fabius Maximus and is reproduced with permission.