Friday, October 14, 2011

Occupy This

Color me conflicted on the Occupy Wall Street movement/effort/open source protest.  Having gotten myself worked up about the banksters and the Congress they bought fair and square, I can relate to the emotion behind it.  They seem a bit amorphous to actually accomplish much in the way of changing bank, corporation or government behavior.  From the outside, it looks like a bunch of people standing around, saying they are angry at the system and want to engage in "resistance" to that system.

While I am skeptical of the ability of #ows to accomplish much in the way of reform, the more I consider it, perhaps that is not the function of this group/movement.  Perhaps, whether by plan or by the herding instinct that is the root of socionomics, #ows is one (of many) matches that may light a bonfire that could burn down 200 years worth of the development of the Central Bank/Nation-State/Corporate/Nanny-State model for governing societies and shaping world politics.

Aside from the Monty Python flashbacks I have when seeing some of the more fringe elements of this fringe movement, there is some real anger, real purpose and real grievances behind this - just as there was (and might still be in places) when the Tea Party movement sprang up.

Maybe #ows and, to a lesser extent now that it has been mostly co-opted, the Tea Party, are the early groups that will incite/act as an excuse for the entrenched elites to resort to force.  Resorting to force will only amplify the anger and, assuming our read on social mood is correct, that anger will spread deep and wide.  #ows and the Tea Party both showed the power of small groups to leverage modern technology to organize and spread a message.  John Robb has chronicled the rise of what he calls the Open Source Insurgency and has even codified the parameters that Open Source Insurgencies should follow if they want to succeed.  These groups have shown amazing abilities to thrive during the peaceful demonstration phase.  If the guns comes out and the tear gas flies, we will see how they adapt to the next phase.

Keep an eye on this effort and try to use news outlets not related to standard corporate media.  Their story on this is easy - whiny unemployed people who should get a job.  The reality is far more nuanced.  I personally suggest the following:

You are seeing the development of tactics that could very well prevail across the globe in the years to come as anger builds and needs an outlet.  Here's hoping it all stays peaceful.

1 comment:

g said...

I read Thomas Paine's "Common Sense" yesterday for no reason. It put OWS in a new perspective. the introduction was historical, and covered the events and social mood leading up to the publish of "Common Sense." Before the publish of Paines pamphlets, mood was generally for reconciliation with England, even as protests and movements sprung up in response to Englands attempt to settle the costs of empire on the backs of the colonies. Every time England reacted with greater force, the anger and resistance spread. then "Common Sense" is published, goes viral, and opinion swings towards independence. or at least the account suggest.

there was a discussion regarding public opinion of Democracy, and Americas lack of a feudal past. I found it all very interesting in the context of the evolving Global protest movement. of course the class differences between then and now were equally instructive. The funny thing is that Paine was calling for society to be organized along egalitarian lines as many thinker are now calling for. if history is a guide then we are still in the early stages.