By Ted Becker
I don’t know about you, but I get a huge kick out of watching and hearing the cluelessness of politicians, media pundits, self-styled “objective TV correspondents,” bankers, and assorted stuffed suits and dresses scoff at Occupation of Wall Street, or #OWS. Why, they’re “leaderless!” They don’t know what they want! They are all “against” something and are for nothing. Fools. A ragtag bunch. Nostalgia for the sixties. Hippie wannabes. Weirdos. Do nothings!
It’s wonderful to be invisible…to fly beneath the radar so effortlessly and know that you are inside something novel, different, and oh so right on. The thing that gets me is that when various participants in #OWS (whether casual and occasional walk-ons or original General Assembly members) are confronted by these comments, either directly or through a media fog, whoever is asked seems to reply perfectly, as though they were rehearsed by high paid political experts, which in this populist outburst, there are none.
They all speak, from the heart, on the narrative of “democracy,” which means: one person, one vote. Everyone can come and everyone can speak. All important policy and tactical matters are aired in public meetings, total transparency. The aim to reach consensus. There are no leaders, or everyone is a leader. They are thinking about what they want….but it will take time. There are no “leaders”, just meeting “facilitators.” Everyone must understand what is said, thus mass repetition of everything said by everyone is called “the people’s mike.” Below is a link to Democracy Now, where Amy Goodman is interviewing an original “Wall Street Occupier” who explains the democratic genetics of this growing movement:
What TMM (The Mainstream Media) can’t wrap their conditioned minds around is the egalitarianism of this movement. They are woefully stuck in looking for the top guns…or celebrities…or known politicians who come to the Occupation. Then they can interview them…as though they are really part of the movement. But as to the REAL essence of the movement, The General Assembly, it is hard to televise. Here is a good example of that:
So, the “consensus” was that Congressman and “Civil Rights Icon” John Lewis, who marched hand in hand with Martin Luther King, was disallowed from speaking to the General Assembly of Occupy Atlanta at a recent meeting, but only until they concluded their announced agenda. It’s an excellent early example of how this decentralized and truly democratic protest is working, which is extremely different from the “counterculture movement” of the 1960s-70s. The democratic medium is the democratic message.
DELIBERATING? THINKING? No wonder the media and politicians are baffled. They cover political debates and Congressional hearings. Where there is no deliberating or thinking going on there, just the making of the deal by elitist power brokers – The Oligarchist Parties.
The greatest political theorist and scientist of all times, Aristotle, described all the political systems in actual existence at and before his time. Aristotle defined democracy as the rule of the people. He also defined oligarchy as the rule of the few. By democracy he meant that all citizens were able to come to the general assembly, talk, listen to others, deliberate, and then vote for or against any proposal. By oligarchy, he meant all those other systems that were the rule of the few….who got to their power and authority because of money, birthright, fraud, lying, violence or some combination of all.
So, if a system is created whereby the people vote for “representatives” to vote on law for them, what is that? It is called many things. But one thing it cannot be is: democracy…as demonstrated by the General Assembly in Ancient Athens and by #OWS. If each person who attends the legislative session has equal rights to speak and be heard and an equal vote in the laws, that is democracy, pure and simple. But if for whatever reason, they delegate that power, or sell it, to another and the other “represents” a number of such citizens, that is the rule by the few: Oligarchy. If it’s hereditary, that is “aristocracy’ If it’s by election: that is “elected oligarchy.” It is not democracy. “Representative Democracy” is inconsistent by definition. Thus, it is an oxymoron.
The #OWSs seem to have an innate understanding of this. That is why they are driving the Power Elite crazy. The Power Boyz and Gurlz are living in a false consciousness of political and economic control, when, in reality, they are creating chaos. They cannot begin to understand the truth in the word democracy and what it entails.
And what is that? It is the total lack of a hierarchical structure, thus no “leaders.” Trying to come to a mutual agreement on how to proceed while respecting and trying to incorporate all dissident points of view is a democratic process that takes time—and makes for bad TV! It can be an untidy process, since it is not managed by Roberts Rules of Procedure, the lawyers best friend. Tasks are parceled out to those who volunteer. Here is Chris Hedges’ take on it. It’s very detailed about how this movement is feeling itself out—maturing.
It is well known that “democracy is self-organizing,” which means it emerges…slowly, and no one can plan it all out, since it is organic and grows as does a tree. Does anyone plan the girth or the place where the main branches diverge from the trunk, and where the limbs will sprout from the branches? No. They just grow as their DNA and environment wills. And each tree—even of the same species–will look different.
#OWS is a tree of democracy and individual liberty and equality. In the Fall of 2011 it is a mere sapling. But this tree, while maturing in 2012, is spewing forth many seeds that will thwart the efforts of anyone trying to chop it down, prune it, or contain it. It cannot be captured in a private space or by the present political structures, all inherently inorganic. This organ is inherently public and free to grow. All the present political and corporate structures are inherently private and hostile to individual liberty and equality.
That is why The American Corporate Oligarchy is so confused and frightened. A peaceful, slowly evolving American democratic resurgence in the age of the Internet is their worst nightmare. But it is my dream come true.