This is mainly a thought experiment since as of today, the reality of the situation is that the capacity for a highly organized, militant (as in strategic and disciplined) Left has been purposely atrophied by the corporate state, working in concert with the political elites (establishments) of both major parties.
First, let me start with something real in order to set the stage for the discussion: Occupy Wall Street. That was real enough, right? It sprung up, and spread like wildfire across the country. And it did so for the right reasons, and with the right focus: to oppose an increasingly brutal, tyrannical and rapaciously greedy ruling class (top .01 % to 1 % of parasitic income takers).
The Occupy Wall Street movement accurately recognized all the key aspects of the corporate state that needed to be recognized: that both major political party establishments are in the pockets of corporatist cartels and their billionaire funders; that the U.S. corporate mainstream media is a powerful propaganda machine that works on behalf of the ruling class; that too-big-to-fail banks were criminal racketeering enterprises.
The more I think about what Occupy Wall Street was able to do, and how pure and accurate their understanding of the situation was, the more amazed I am.
However, I think that the decades-old campaign to defang, discredit, undermine, co-opt, intimidate, or otherwise render any type of progressive social justice movement totally ineffective and diffused, has been pretty successful--thus far.
Also, to this day I still don't think (many) people in the thus far scattered and disorganized progressive movement understand the true nature of what we are dealing with: a ruling class that because of a corporatist ethos that has developed over decades, which came about out of a confluence of interests, capable of imposing unspeakable and brutal oppression, exploitation, subjugation, and enslavement on the citizenry.
I'm talking really dystopian stuff. This people in power (the oligarchy), which is made up of the wealthy class, the Wall Street criminal racketeering cartel, the security/surveillance industrial complex, and the political establishment, really not give a shit if you die. That's not hyperbole. They really, really don't care. In fact, their neoliberal policies are designed to inflict horror on the most vulnerable people in society...
Think Greece, and Spain, and Portugal, and the U.K., and of course, the good-old USA, where these neoliberal ruling elites are systematically imposing "austerity" on the population.
The safety net is systematically destroyed; human and constitutional rights undermined; people are subjected to a massive, mind-numbing 24/7 propaganda campaign via the corporate mainstream media.
And what we are left with is a confused and demoralized population, with people turning on each other, instead of directing their ire, their focus on the easily-identifiable culprits of the oppression and tyranny.
And so, this ruthless ruling class doesn't care if you die because you don't have access to health care, or if you succumb to crime in one of our fast-expanding ghettos, or if an emboldened and vicious right wing armed to the teeth starts going after liberals, or if you instead choose to take your own life under the weight of induced hopelessness, or if you decide to do a suicide-by-cop, or if you just languish in a state of lethargy, and despair until your health crumbles.
Their motto? If you can't keep up with the ethos of the corporatist neoliberal regime, then fuck off and die! Very straight forward. Yes, it's kind of a Social Darwinism, where the Social Contract has been rescinded without you even being notified.
After attending many Occupy Wall Street rallies, and talking to many activists about these subjects, my impression is that people within the movement hadn't fully realized the true nature of the system; how truly evil and despotic it is.
Either way, by now most people within the movement are aware how the ruling elite was able to (temporarily) derail the Occupy Wall Street movement: massive anti-OWS propaganda across the entire country; maligning, infiltration, surveillance, coordination, intimidation, and brutality.
Fine, lessons learned... Time to get going again! Who's streets? Our streets!
The first thing to recognize is that nobody within the current (utterly corrupt) power structure is going to come to our aid. That we are going to have to push forward our own narrative base on social justice. A narrative that demands the end of legal bribery in politics/government, the break-up (and in some cases nationalization) of too-big-to fail banks, the stopping of the wholesale destruction of the natural environment, the widespread unionization of the labor force, the reconstitution of a proper regulatory framework to protect us against trusts, cartels, monopolies and oligopolies, and their depraved and rapacious greed, the holding of corporate criminals fully accountable, the clawing back of trillions of dollars of ill-gotten wealth by the ruling class (through very high tax rates for income takers in the 1%).
All we have to do is ORGANIZE! Reconstitute the Occupy Wall Street movement, and merge it with legitimate (i.e., no co-opted by the on-the-take liberal elite, or the Democratic party establishment) grassroots progressive groups around the country.
We need to help light up again the sparks of peaceful rebellion against this brutality.
The revolutionists of history counted on a mobilized base of enlightened industrial workers. The building blocks of revolt, they believed, relied on the tool of the general strike, the ability of workers to cripple the mechanisms of production. Strikes could be sustained with the support of political parties, strike funds and union halls. Workers without these support mechanisms had to replicate the infrastructure of parties and unions if they wanted to put prolonged pressure on the bosses and the state. But now, with the decimation of the U.S. manufacturing base, along with the dismantling of our unions and opposition parties, we will have to search for different instruments of rebellion.The emphasis is mine
We must develop a revolutionary theory that is not reliant on the industrial or agrarian muscle of workers. Most manufacturing jobs have disappeared, and, of those that remain, few are unionized. Our family farms have been destroyed by agro-businesses. Monsanto and its Faustian counterparts on Wall Street rule. They are steadily poisoning our lives and rendering us powerless. The corporate leviathan, which is global, is freed from the constraints of a single nation-state or government. Corporations are beyond regulation or control. Politicians are too anemic, or more often too corrupt, to stand in the way of the accelerating corporate destruction. This makes our struggle different from revolutionary struggles in industrial societies in the past. Our revolt will look more like what erupted in the less industrialized Slavic republics, Russia, Spain and China and uprisings led by a disenfranchised rural and urban working class and peasantry in the liberation movements that swept through Africa and Latin America. The dispossessed working poor, along with unemployed college graduates and students, unemployed journalists, artists, lawyers and teachers, will form our movement. This is why the fight for a higher minimum wage is crucial to uniting service workers with the alienated college-educated sons and daughters of the old middle class. Bakunin, unlike Marx, considered déclassé intellectuals essential for successful revolt.
It is not the poor who make revolutions. It is those who conclude that they will not be able, as they once expected, to rise economically and socially. This consciousness is part of the self-knowledge of service workers and fast food workers. It is grasped by the swelling population of college graduates caught in a vise of low-paying jobs and obscene amounts of debt. These two groups, once united, will be our primary engines of revolt. Much of the urban poor has been crippled and in many cases broken by a rewriting of laws, especially drug laws, that has permitted courts, probation officers, parole boards and police to randomly seize poor people of color, especially African-American men, without just cause and lock them in cages for years. In many of our most impoverished urban centers—our internal colonies, as Malcolm X called them—mobilization, at least at first, will be difficult. The urban poor are already in chains. These chains are being readied for the rest of us. “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, beg in the streets or steal bread,” Anatole France commented acidly.
-- Chris Hedges / "The Sparks of Rebellion" / truthdig
It's time for us, you and I, to start "Doing Democracy."
Social movements involve a long-term struggle between the movement and the powerholders for the hearts, minds, and support of the majority of the population. Before social movements begin, most people are either unaware that a problem exists or don't believe that they can do anything about it. They believe the powerholder's societal myths and support the high-sounding official policies and practices, all of which seem to be consistent with the culture's deeply held held values and beliefs...Speaking of doing, I have a few initiatives I'm working on, including Market For The People. I'm also reaching out to activists and progressive groups with a very simple proposition: I'd like to encourage different groups to start coordinating actions on a regular basis for the foreseeable future.
The strategy of social movements, therefore, is to alert, educate, and win over an ever increasing majority of the public. First the public needs to be convinced that a critical social problem exists. Then it must be convinced that policies need to be changed. And then a majority of people must be mobilized into a force that eventually brings about an acceptable solution.
-- Bill Moyers
Here's the motivation behind this proposal... There are already multiple groups of activists doing great work on their own. But I think what's missing thus far is a coordinated attempt at bringing as many progressive/social justice groups together in unity and solidarity so they can build the POWER and STRENGTH necessary to bring down the corporate state. If one does a cursory study on the late 1800's, early 1900's progressive movement, one would see that it wasn't until multiple (diffused) groups joined forces that they were able to effect real change.
With that in mind, in addition to reaching out to multiple groups with this proposal, I'm also interested in forming a Daily Kos group in order to test this premise. The idea is very simple and straightforward... Let's agree on coordinating action once a month, starting on October 15th, and hen on the 15th of every month after that.
To participate in this (experiment) initiative, all you have to do is to agree on taking some sort of coordinated action on the 15th of every month, according to your own interests, passion, etc., whether it is related to LGBTQ, or climate change, DebtStrike, protests against the illegal and unconstitutional NSA spying, garnering support for a honest politician running for office, a strike by nurses, feeding the homeless, or stopping the corporatist Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.
As I keep thinking about this, I'll be sharing more ideas in future diaries and via my newsletter.
One thing is clear... Given the relentlessness with which the utterly corrupt ruling class is seeking to subjugate us, there is no other option than to rise in (peaceful, through constitutional and fully legal means) resistance and opposition.
If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning.The emphasis is mine
They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what a people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both.
The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress. Men may not get all they pay for in this world; but they must pay for all they get. If we ever get free from all the oppressions and wrongs heaped upon us, we must pay for their removal. We must do this by labor, by suffering, by sacrifice, and, if needs be, by our lives, and the lives of others.
- Frederick Douglass
Here's why we must rise up...
Note: None of my writing is meant to discourage people from fully engaging in the political process, or in following the mission of this site, which is to elect more and better Democrats. I argue that we must do both: fully engage in the political system, and in a genuine and independent progressive social justice movement.
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P.S. There is a small group of users who regularly engage in disruptive behavior in my diaries' discussion threads. I would like to ask people interested in serious discussion to avoid engaging these few folks in any way. They usually engage in insults, mockery, and fallacies intended to derail discussion, and post several messages each. I know this may be annoying to some readers and may prompt them to engage these folks. I highly recommend that they be ignored so we can focus on intelligent discussion.