Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Stage in the Process

Washington, DC
The popular gatherings and protests in New York that have spread to other large cities can be seen as a part of a larger process of social change.  The direction of that change, however, is yet to be determined. 

What is clear is that people are upset at the preferential treatment given to corporations over hard working people whose taxes support public services and the salaries/benefits of public officials. People are angry that publicly elected politicians make decisions to use tax money to subsidize corporations.  People are frustrated that their elected officials support and protect the practices of corporations that throw people out of their houses, undermine the quality of human life in many ways, and demonize those who have the audacity to oppose mistreatment.  Poor and working people are demonized in the corporate run media when they speak up for what is right or against what is wrong; they are demonized for opposing corporate destruction of the environment for profit, when all they want is to have access to clean water (hydro fracking), live disease free (hydro fracking & incinerators) for themselves and their families; they are misrepresented as lazy good-for-nothings when they lose their jobs, cannot find another and are put out of their houses....examples abound.

And in a moment wherein computer automated technology continues to permanently displace people from the labor force, the number of people suffering in the United States will increase as members of the ruling class seek ever more brutal ways to extract profit, protect themselves and their property through the police/military and change laws (through their bankrolled politicians) that continue to criminalize poor and working people. 

Interestingly, the population that arguably has the most to fight about is missing in the media images of the protests.  Are we not there? Or not represented among the media images? Or could it be that black people cannot identify with what appears to be a white middle class movement? At what point will the bottom fall out for black folks in a way that makes clear the need to do something to change our collective reality?  The struggle around housing, jobs, access to water, etc. is one that we all can share here in the United States, regardless of race.  However, solving these economic problems does not automatically solve the problems of race that persist. And solving economic problems in the United States could contribute to the further destruction of populations and the environment in other parts of the world. 

So what does this mean for the popular protests happening in cities around the United States? It is important to recognize that change begins somewhere and that this popular response to shifting economic realities (e.g., loosing housing, can't find jobs, can't pay bills, etc.) will evolve. It will grow as more are permanently thrown out of work. The direction of the movement (to the right or left) and how it will impact the masses of people depend on the vision that emerges, as well as the plan/steps to make the vision a reality. 

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