Where's the Revolution? - by Mark E. Smith
The Occupy Wall Street movement has spread to many major cities. But no matter how big it gets, it is a protest, like Tahrir Square in Cairo, not a revolution like those in Cuba, Venezuela, and pre-NATO Libya. The Occupy protesters are demanding that the government listen to them; they are not demanding a new government. They are demanding that the system be responsive to the 99% instead of only to the 1%, but they are not demanding a new system. Worse, some of those now getting maced, beaten, and arrested for protesting Obama's fiscal policies, will vote for him in 2012 because they'll believe that the other candidates are more evil than Obama.
Even the best and the brightest among the protesters, those who know US history like Michael Moore and Medea Benjamin, don't understand that our Constitution is a counterrevolutionary document that established a plutocracy rather than a democracy or a republic http://fubarandgrill.org/node/1085 and stubbornly cling to the false beliefs that protests brought about civil rights or ended wars. We have fewer civil rights and more people of color needlessly imprisoned in the US than before the '60s, and the Viet Nam war ended only because the Vietnamese won, overran Saigon, and kicked us out, not because of protests.
When protests get too big to handle, oppressive governments make a few concessions to convince people that they've won and should go home, and once the energy has been drained from the movement, the concessions are rolled back and government becomes even more oppressive than it was before. SCAF, the ruling military council in Egypt, is more oppressive than Mubarak was. The US has more wars now than we did under Nixon and Johnson. Nixon and Johnson never dreamed of anything as oppressive as the world's biggest prison population, Homeland Security, the Patriot Act, five simultaneous wars of aggression based on lies, torture as US policy, and extrajudicial killings. The only thing that massive protests brought about in Egypt and the United States has been greater oppression.
For five years now I've been advocating election boycotts, but very few people listen. Instead they continue to vote to legitimize the government, and then they protest it. Why protest a government that you have already legitimized and authorized to suppress civil dissent? Why can't people see how self-defeating that is? http://fubarandgrill.org/node/1172
The protesters do have a unifying demand, that government represent the 99% instead of just the wealthy 1%. But how many understand that only a socialist government could do that, and that our plutocracy, as established by the Constitution, was deliberately designed to do the opposite?
Government programs like COINTELPRO have eliminated this country's potential leaders. Those who weren't murdered or forced into exile, languish on death row or have been discredited and marginalized. Those who survived are the second-rate, the ones who call for temporary reforms instead of revolution, the ones who prefer to work within or protest the system rather than overthrow it.
Our problem in the United States isn't a particular administration or its policies, but a Constitution written to ensure that the rich would always rule. And unless we have a real revolution that ousts our oligarchy and replaces it with a revolutionary government and a Constitution that vests power in the hands of the people rather than in the hands of the rich, it doesn't matter how many people protest, nothing is going to change.
Yes, I support Occupy Wall Street, just as I supported Tahrir. But I don't look to it for change. Protests don't make things better, they make things worse. What we need in order to bring about change is a revolution, and it can be a non-violent revolution like an election boycott that takes legitimacy away from the government and restores power to the people. As long as even half the people in the US are willing to delegate their power to a government they know will not represent them, nothing is going to change.
In October the protests will spread to Washington, D.C. Some of the organizers there, like S. Brian Willson, advocate noncompliance by means of forming alternative local economies (urban gardens, collectives), not paying taxes (which is easily and legally done if you don't earn enough money to be required to file), and not voting. But the majority just want Washington to listen to them. And unless they happen to have a few million dollars for campaign donations, they can protest 'til the cows come home, but Washington's only reaction will be to increase Homeland Security's crowd control budget.
Many of my friends and many people I respect and admire will be at the protests. I will not. Now that the US military has several batallions devoted to the dominance of cyberspace, the phrase "keyboard warrior" isn't as disrespectful as it used to be, so I'll be right here at my keyboard, helping to raise awareness and social consciousness, helping to raise bail money, and helping in any other way that I can, but at age 71, I will not expend my last life's blood on a protest--give me a revolution or count me out. I don't want the government to listen to me. It can't lead, it can't follow, so it is time for the US oligarchy to get the fuck out of the way and let power be restored to the people, where it should have been vested in the first place.
Even protesters say that, "the people united, will never be divided." It is time that the people understood what they're chanting and unite to change the system, instead of wasting time and energy trying to get an undemocratic form of government to respond to the will of the people. It cannot and will not--that's why it has to go.
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