Saturday, March 17, 2018

We Might Be One More Occupy Movement Away From Breaking The Oligarchy

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With the repeal of Dodd-Frank-a decision that couldn’t have happened without seventeen senate Democrats-the American people have one more reason to want to destroy the political establishment. This comes after decades of slashed social benefits, tax increases onto the poor and middle class, shipped out jobs, destroyed worker benefits, privatizing of essential services, manufactured endless war, and legalized corporate crime as despotism has taken over society. So we already have more than enough reasons.

When will the turning over of the power structure come? The sociologist Peter Turchin expects the cycle of inequality and social unrest will reach a boiling point in or around 2020, when the population, according to his prediction, becomes too angry not to mobilize. “The presidential election which we have experienced, unfortunately, confirms this forecast,” wrote Turchin in a blog post right after the 2016 election. “We seem to be well on track for the 2020s instability peak. And although the election is over, the deep structural forces that brought us the current political crisis have not gone away. If anything, the negative trends seem to be accelerating.”
Turchin talks about this event with dread because he’s seen how revolutions have happened throughout history, and he knows violence is inevitable. The labor battles of the early 20th century and the social movements of the 60’s, which Turchin cites as precedents for his cyclical unrest theory, escalated to violent clashes many times. The incidents at the WTO and Occupy Wall Street protests have already shown this pattern repeating.
But the key part of these clashes is that they’ve largely been created by the authorities, not the protesters. Shootings of striking workers like the 1913 Ludlow Massacre, assaults on antiwar protesters like the 1970 Kent State shootings, and the unprovoked beatings and tear-gassings of Occupy protesters by police all show that the state will use violence both to control, and to manipulate, disobedient people. These attacks manipulate the activists by provoking violence from the angrier ones among them, which gives the state an easy way to respond with brutality and stigmatization.
When certain branches of AntiFa have embraced violence, even as just a self-described “last resort” to stopping far-right rallies, the establishment has been able to demonize all who oppose it as terrorists. The easing of police militarization barriers that happened last August, at around the time the corporate media was notably attacking AntiFa, showed how eager the ruling elite are to exploit any hint of violent opposition. Revolutionaries like Gandhi and King recognized similar lessons, and their nonviolent methods of resistance negated entire power systems.
As lower class populations around the world are moved to act against corporate power, the vast majority of what’s coming out of this is nonviolent. Jeremy Corbyn’s movement is rising in British politics relentlessly, and organizations like the Democratic Socialists of America (current membership at over 32,000) are puttingmore and more strain on the corporatocracy. The McCarthyite propaganda, anti-“fake news” censorship, and media distractions aren’t doing enough to stop this uprising; the people are determined to take back power, and it might only take another Occupy-like mass protest movement to activate enough people.
I urge people to do all they can to create this movement-participating in protests, organizing protests, and covering those protests through alternative media are the main actions I’d advise. But when our uprising intensifies, the oligarchy will go past calling us Russian agents. Police violence will no doubt be used, through what’s now a more militarized nationwide police force than ever. President Trump, who’s already turning police against us, could utilize Obama’s presidential authorizationfor sending in the military as a domestic police force. The political atmosphere, as Chris Hedges predicts about this coming social unrest, will get ugly.
“When it gets down to having to use violence, then you are playing the system’s game,” John Lennon said. “The establishment will irritate you – pull your beard, flick your face – to make you fight. Because once they’ve got you violent, then they know how to handle you. The only thing they don’t know how to handle is non-violence and humor.” This is what we’ll need to remember when the state starts to retaliate.

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