Monday, November 21, 2011

Occupy Your Mind

Thanks to Hecate, whose blog you should visit regularly, I read a particularly elegant and relevant response to the horrific pepper spraying of UC Davis students by campus police. Written by Michael Chorost for Psychology Today, the essay not only analyzes the incident which has rocked the University of California system, it also establishes the credentials of the Occupy movement.

This event is powerfully symbolic. It is about contempt from those in power and the wanton use of force against the powerless.

We have seen similar things over and over again in the past few years. We have seen it in banks lobbying for public handouts and then denying relief to millions of exploited homeowners. We have seen it in tax breaks and bonuses for the rich while millions of Americans are out of work. We have seen it in church and university officers abusing children and then covering it up. We have seen it in the censorship of climate science performed in the public interest. We have seen it in the absurd declaration that corporations are "people" and entitled to spend billions of dollars to elect representatives that they will then own. We have seen it everywhere we turn.

If I had to sum up the attitude of America's governing classes in one word, I would say: contempt.

We are seeing the beginning of a worldwide movement to fight for dignity and intelligent, collective governance. It is remarkable, the parallels between what we see in Tunisia, in Cairo, in Rome, in Zucotti Park, in Oakland, California, and now at UC Davis.
[Emphasis added]

Dr. Chorost even rebuts the demeaning critics of the Occupy movement who claim that they can't figure out just what the protesters want, that the movement lacks focus beyond sleeping out in public parks and college quads:

They want a fairer tax system. They want a sane energy policy that addresses climate change and searches for cleaner ways to power our civilization. They want a government that is not wholly owned by the rich. They want access to justice and education. They want a reasonable hope of getting and keeping a job that gives them a living wage and the ability to invest for the future.

They want a rational health care system that they can afford. They want government policy that is driven by thoughtful attention to rational research, not ideology. They want a transparent government that holds the powerful accountable. They want a government that understands the importance of investing now in human capital and infrastructure.

They want what 99% of the people want and what 1% of the people don't want us to have because it would cut into their wealth and power. These students and elders and workers are willing to march, and to sit in, and to use all of the non-violent tools at their disposal to accomplish those goals, knowing that the powers that be will using the traditional tools of violence to block them.

And in spite of, perhaps because of, those tools of violence the Occupy protesters are succeeding. They have changed the terms of the debate, they have challenged the press by providing their own coverage via cell phone cameras and the internet to the point that the traditional media is now providing more balanced and more complete coverage. Just as importantly, they have revealed the thuggery and mean-spiritedness of the powerful.

Dr. Chorost concludes his essay with a line that expresses some optimism:

I think we have just reached a turning point.

Good God, I hope so.

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Blogger OneSovereignCitizen said...

Your "Wordsmithery" Speaks Volumes for All with a Brain and Heart in Rhythm. Thank YOU.

6:39 AM  

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