Analysis of a society with a problem: the Occupy Movements

Opinie, gepost door: nn op 02/02/2012 02:12:01

In Berlin around 5000 people protested near the Brandenburger Tor on October 15th 2011 and protesters are meeting everyday since. While Winter is getting colder and colder, I think its is time for a reconsideration of the direction Occupy should take, I feel a need to start a discussion on how to communicate a clearer message and formulate goals to achieve.

Change? But how? Below some considerations, starting with the 'creative class', that I see as the main actor of the 'Occupy Movement'.

A big and peaceful demonstration near the Reichstag in Berlin to protest against the saving of banks, the corruption, the so called 'financial crisis', the occupation of Libya by Nato troops, the cuts on social and cultural budgets while the armies in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya etc. keep on being financed etc. etc.

October 15th 2011 shows that people all over the world are protesting against current policies in the Western world and that there is a growing consciousness for a change on a global scale.

I think the creative class (that's consisting of people working professionally in creative sectors: Media specialists, university professors, artists, IT specialists, cooks etc. for more information read here), has to come up with a new life style model as an alternative to current multinational control mechanisms. That means trying to define new ways of living without losing the perspective of the whole. In our global society, economic, environmental and political relationships tend be interconnected. An easy solution might not be available. But a first step needs to be the concentration and determination to really change things, for us as western kids, starting in the so called 'developed world'. If we don't act, our societies will face huge internal and international conflicts based on lacking resources, accelerating migration processes and a ridiculous unequal division of wealth.

Governments as lackies
Current 'governments' tend to be the lackies or even puppets of these multinational organised interests, whether they are economical, political or military or a combination of these. Our democracies are not functioning, they are kidnapped by the 'party model', parties that are controlled by big business interests on a global scale. In the U.S.A. you have 2 (!), very similar, parties changing the seats now and then, but changing nothing fundamental, in Europe you have a more parties, but only 2 or 3 govern alternately. Also there that doesn't make much of a difference. The party system is one part of democracy though, new initiatives really taking more care of equal division of power and chances should pop up to prevent it to loose its credibility more and more.

"I prefer to regulate banks instead of passengers"

Political parties fail to articulate people's interests
So, as the so called instruments of democracy, parties don't seem to function properly, now that problems grow. The parties are subjected to an internal and external big struggle which mostly ends up in visionless compromises between dominant interests in society. The 'financial crisis' seems to accelerate deeper lying structural problems in our societies: unequal division of power, initiative, chances etc. combined with exploitation of labour on a growing scale by a handful of financial and multinational mastodonts. But resistance is growing and it seems it is not suppressable anymore by traditional ways of mass media manipulation and state force, as we have entered the digitalised world. The demonstrations, worldwide and on a scale probably only precedented by the anti Iraq war demos, show water is running over the side of the tub while the tap is still running.

The agendas of the multinational corporations
Let's look a bit deeper to the current multinational oil company dominated world. Their interest are protected by governmental armies (like NATO), paid for by tax payers money in the 'rich countries'. Eisenhower already called the intertwining of interests of multinationals with political and military establishments 'the greatest danger to democracy': the Miltary Industrial Complex.

Cutting budgets by governments in all other sectors not enhancing their interests and directing it to their own interests seems their primary goal. Getting huge tax cuts (and choosing the lowest corporation taxes offering countries as their headquarters) and as much as tax payers money to protect their interests in each individual country is their political goal in the developed nations. Getting access to the natural resources is their goal in the world but especially in 'the underdeveloped nations', for which they try to install puppet regimes that maintain their interests and their preferred social order.

Whether you like it or not, they are lobbying like crazy and are trying to force their agendas on the people. They want you to consume more in any way. The best for them is you work as 7 days a week, buy high end consumer goods and drive your car(s), because, don't forget, the car is not only a symbol, but a real connection to the interests of the current (oil) multinational wannebe bosses.

Grass Roots organisations initiated by the creative class have to gain political power

On an individual level you can already see, thinking people try to live an as peaceful and as healthy as possible life. Objects like for example cars don't belong in that philosophy. I don't even mention the aggregational development that the earth oil resources seem to run out in 30 years (although this gets postponed a bit with the finding of new fields) and that the wars for oil get more and more violent and maskless. Is it only greed or aren't we capable anymore to see 'we', the end consumers and designers of the future, are able to change this path to the abyss?

We have to take action now, organise ourselves and develop a vision. The momentum is there, but is there yet a vision which leaps beyound the old ideological divisions of capitalism, communism etc.? These models both have had their prison camps, their gulags, their Guantanamos, their Afghanistan invasions combined with a huge mass media effort to control the minds of the people not to question these horrible scenarios. Their ideal world is protecting multinational interests, full of prison camps for dissenters or real opponents willing to fight, because the system doesn't offer them a way to really particpate, and a mass of consumers who don't take political or artistic action. The 'Occupy Wall Street' movement that inspires the world now is a new chapter in a growing revolt against this international dehumanising and exploitative system.

The alternative 'offers' of the multinational corporations.
Of course the multinational industries and the governments will ignore this in essence and come with 'alternatives'. Advised by a whole army of PR agencies, they only tend to communicate messages first tested in focus groups and other methods of opinion research. That means communicating a message that will make the masses cool down in the end, without comprimising too much. For our energy resources, as the oil prices will rise because of smaller resources and growing global conflicts, we can think about some scenario's in the the short time that lays ahead. Now that we are facing financial bankruptcy, also the oil industries and the related car industries will have to face the consequences.

Let's look at some scenarios.

Let's call the current situation Stadium 1: financial disorder with bankruptcy for individuals and the weakest companies in the sector, cuts in budgets by governments for education, social projects that still can take care of cohesion to set financial resources free for financial and other multinational institutions, mass unemployment etc. in the 'developed nations', growing exploitation approaching slavery in 'third world countries' who produce almost all our luxury consumer goods that we are supposed to buy. It's very double, we need our phones and laptops to communicate but are contributing to the international exploitation by our own consumer patterns. We can change this, if we give the poor people in the world their share. Not invade a country for their oil, for example, but pay them by working for ourself. The focus needs to be on production to create wealth not on military invasions to 'create' wealth for yourself. The USA for example can be considered almost as a permanent war economy nowadays. In the 'developed countries', income distribution should be fairer, we can still use state power to get the money where it is and control the militaristic 'freeriders' but we have to focus on developing new technologies and ways of production which are sustainable (see E.F. Schumacher for example), like solar technology. ( For example: Laptops and phones running on solar technology will probably appear in the near future).

There might be, as an intermezzo, a Stadium 2, in which a socalled 'elite' will appear, after more and more people are forced to leave expensive consumer goods like cars behind. I take the car as an example of a luxury consumer good. The 'haves' who like to see themselves as an elite, will be able to pay the more and more expensive 'luxury life style' of which cars are a part (although 'leasing' tends to postpone this situation, offering cheaper alternatives to the poorer car driving fellows, as you don't need to own a car anymore yourself, but 'buy by the hour') and push the poor or environmental conscious souls into the metro and other means of transport. The numbers of the poorer and environmental more conscious classes tend to grow by the day and will lead to a crying out more and more for a healthy surrounding, with healthy food, air and drinking water and...public transport systems. The oil industries will oppose any substantial investments in public transport as it is undermining their strategies, although it's in the interest of a healthy (city) life.

In the meantime, many cars keep on moving, as they did 20 years ago. More and more cars are stumbling on each other in the urban areas in the world, leading to more and more traffic jams. Even this phenomenon works against cars more and more as there is no more space and people get nervous breakdowns in traffic jams, no to talk about the traumatic 'by effects' of killing somebody while driving a car. Also this might lead to stadium 2, where a smaller 'wannabe-elite' is still able to drive cars and try to create private highways (Stadium 3), with further threats to the health of metropolis people.

At another level, another consequence of the wars for oil and other resources will lead to evergrowing 'streams of immigrants' trying to get their share and at least to get away from the slum life and conflicts in the non-Western areas. Their numbers force the 'developed nations' to think out strategies to keep them away or use them as cheap surplus labour forces. After militarily controlling these areas full of oil and other wells for the sustaining of the 'wealth of developed nations', Stadium 4 might be the financing and building of infrastructural projects in these formerly underdeveloped areas first to keep on the seemingly perpetual growth of multinational owned and managed productions, and, second, as a very nice by-product, to keep the masses out of the wealthy areas of the world, combined with a strong border police forces. This stadium we are approaching fastly.

Stadium 5 is an intensivation of an already ongoing process of mass media brain washing in the developed nations with strategies like creating 'non events' like' celebrity lifes' and the connection of fashion, life style products and, yes, cars (so, the 'celebretization' of images, of which cars tend to form a part); 'war victories' and 'terrorist enemies' to gain access to natural resources like oil wells (partly to be sold by car usage promotion) and , of course, an ongoing and intensified continuous stream of car commercials (on- and offline, print etc.), among others. The problem of these 'manufacturers of consent' (the privatized PR agencies and TV companies) is that with the fragmentation of media usage, especially among the creative classes, their 'mind reach' is getting less and less in this kakophonie, resulting in the creative and other classes living in a kind of ideological and partly (car) consumerist vacuum.

But, and then we would reach Stadium 6, the creative classes, become the inventors and managers of new technologies, media and centrally uncontrollable informations systems and streams, developing similarly to neuro-network developmental models. This stadium is yet to come, but probably close at hand. We see the results already on a global scale, as the creative classes tend to be dispersed over urban areas all over the world. That doesn't mean these classes have clearly defined political and economical goals, yet. At Stadium 7, there will be initiatives to bundle alternative technological, economical and political developments out of reach of centralised datamining and political control (like the internet still is, monitorable by the Googles and their state companions of this day). This will create a void of ideological and information space, as the reach, the size and educational level of creative classes tend to imcrement exponentially through the globalized communities with access to these new technologies.

The car era and its economic and political model will be seen more and more as belonging to the old industrial era as it is already even cheaper to produce new urbanistic fomrs of public transport to make people move from A to B and back again. It might even be the case, which i think very probable, that the future societies don't supply a fixed living spot, but make it flexible. Of course we need a lot of (genetical?) modification for this, modification of the human mind to be able to live in an ever changing habitat and to grow over from territorial instincts that seems still to belong to the stone age. These instincts make our epoch so dangerous as these tend to be still uncontrolled and are only limited manipulable by simple mass media message controlling and outdated legal systems and (hierarchical) decision making social models.

The signs seem to be clearer and clearer: everywhere the masses rise and political systems without a real poeple's support, of which dictatorial regimes but also 'democratic mask systems' are an example, are tumbling more and more. The information age is not yet there for everyone, most people still live in an overinformation age, partly because of an unsteered advertising world and even partly manufactured by a conscious political and economical strategy. But people tend to get more and more tech savvy, though, even in areas not tuned into latest technological developments, the creative classes at first. We talk here about something in which technology is more than just a nice toy but growing to being a means to an end: we talk about social technology by trained and just gifted social engineers that will think of alternative models to organize work, living and travelling, models of which I think the creative class will be challenged to develop first in contrast to the more static economic models in urban societies.

Welcome to the era of the future and say goodbye to that of the past, it is going to be structural and it's going to be exciting, but not one without philosophical and technological battles. The creative classes will, especially when they get more politically active and try to win over other still political passive groups of people, so as they get politically and economically more organized, gain more influence in these developments, developments towards a more sustainable and clean urban life, a life with a 'happier' humanity. It's not too late to change the 'race to the bottom'...

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