While I fully endorse the efforts and actions of the Occupy Wall Street protests, now emerging internationally, there are concerns which need to be addressed and kept in mind as the movement moves forward…
The process through which a potentially powerful movement may be co-opted and controlled is slight and subtle. If Occupy Wall Street hopes to strive for the 99%, it must not submit to the 1%, in any capacity.
The Occupy movement must prevent what happened to the Tea Party movement to happen to it. Whatever ideological stance you may have, the Tea Party movement started as a grass roots movement, largely a result of anti-Federal Reserve protests. They were quickly co-opted with philanthropic money and political party endorsements.
For the Occupy Movement to build up and become a true force for change, it must avoid and reject the organizational and financial ‘contributions’ of institutions: be they political parties, non-profits, or philanthropic foundations. The efforts are subtle, but effective: they seek to organize, professionalize, and institutionalize a movement, push forward the issues they desire, which render the movement useless for true liberation, as these are among the very institutions the movement should be geared against.
This is not simply about “Wall Street,” this is about POWER. Those who have power, and those who don’t. When those who have power offer a hand in your struggle, their other hand holds a dagger. Remain grassroots, remain decentralized, remain outside and away from party politics, remain away from financial dependence. Freedom is not merely in the aim, it’s in the action.
The true struggle is not left versus right, democrat versus republican, liberal versus conservative, or libertarian versus socialist. The true struggle is that of people against the institution: the State, the banks, the central banking system, the corporation, the international financial institutions, the military, the political parties, the mainstream media, philanthropic foundations, think tanks, university, education, psychiatry, the legal system, the church, et. al.
The transfer of power from one institution to another does not solve the crisis of our ‘institutional society,’ whereby a few have come to dominate so much, to concentrate so much power at the expense of everyone else having so little. True liberation will result only from opposition to ‘the institution’ as an entity. Placating power from one institution to another renders resistance ineffective. The power structures must be discredited, and power must be distributed to the people, through voluntary associations, communal groupings, and people-powered (and people-funded!) initiatives. [read more]
The U.S. Electric Grid vs Extreme Weather: Hurricane Irene has shown us how well disaster prep can work in densely populated areas like the East Coast. There were a minimal number of deaths from the storm directly, but 4 million are/were without power.
That’s because of the way our power grid is interconnected, with hundreds of thousands of miles of high-voltage wires, and millions of miles of distribution lines.
Because of today’s connected grid, utilities are able to supply electricity to large areas with fewer power plants. Further, these connections make it easier for operators to balance supply and demand in the case of unexpected outages. But, this grid has also created a lot of expensive infrastructure that is susceptible to damage in extreme weather events.
In 2008, between $500 and $600 million was spent in region surrounding New Orleans, Louisiana after Hurricane Gustav damaged local electrical facilities. Four years earlier, Hurricane Ivan caused power outages from Venezuela to Canada – resulting in another huge price tag. It is reasonable to expect that, out of the $7 billion in estimated damages from Irene, a significant percentage of this total will be spent on bringing power back to the communities hit by the storm.