Sunday, October 02, 2011

Occupy Wall Street and the Radical Imagination

Their protest may be angry but unfocused. They have been ignored by the MSM. Brutalized by the police, and arrested in massive numbers.

 But slowly but surely Occupy Wall Street is rediscovering the radical imagination.

We are watching the beginnings of the defiant self-assertion of a new generation of Americans, a generation who are looking forward to finishing their education with no jobs, no future, but still saddled with enormous and unforgivable debt. Most, I found, were of working-class or otherwise modest backgrounds, kids who did exactly what they were told they should: studied, got into college, and are now not just being punished for it, but humiliated – faced with a life of being treated as deadbeats, moral reprobates.

Is it really surprising they would like to have a word with the financial magnates who stole their future?

And who would be surprised if it happened here? Where the fat cats and the union-busting Harper Cons are trying to turn young Canadians into slaves.

The CEOs have decided. The value of young people is lower than the value of people from my generation. You don’t deserve the same salary, even if you are better educated. You don’t deserve the same vacation time or health benefits. And you certainly don’t deserve to have the same kind of secure retirement. It’s just not in the business plan.

With the same predictable result.

When the history is finally written, though, it's likely all of this tumult – beginning with the Arab Spring – will be remembered as the opening salvo in a wave of negotiations over the dissolution of the American Empire. Thirty years of relentless prioritising of propaganda over substance, and snuffing out anything that might look like a political basis for opposition, might make the prospects for the young protesters look bleak; and it's clear that the rich are determined to seize as large a share of the spoils as remain, tossing a whole generation of young people to the wolves in order to do so. But history is not on their side.

Hey. I don't know where this movement is going.

But I do know it's spreading. And that nobody should be surprised that it's happening. Only that it took so long.

A line is being drawn. The savage beast is being challenged...

And unless that beast is tamed. Or brought to its knees.

The writing is on the wall...

Hang on to your tuques people.

The world it is a changing.

And as the song says eh?

They will not force us
They will stop degrading us
They will not control us
We will be victorious...

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