The more things change, the more they stay the same. Credit the saying to Alphonse Karr’s Les Guêpes (The Wasps), 1849. He probably got it from Shakespeare, who in turn most likely paraphrased it from Ecclesiastes 1:9 in the Bible.
“The thing that hath been, is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.”
As youth born into the post-World War-II generation acted out the ideals of American democracy that they’d been taught, ideals that their fathers and mothers had fought and sacrificed for, they helped create the civil rights and antiwar movements of the ‘60s.
At that time we had rock ‘n roll (“nigra music”), dope (“We don’t smoke marijuana in Muscogee”) and free-love (“hippie flower children”) as issues that they focused on. Or tried.
I vividly recall how they provoked attacks by construction workers and proto-fascist biker gangs simply for long hair. “The more things change…”
No doubt the Sans Culottes of the French Revolution were not to the liking of the aristocracy and its bourgeois partners. It was a means to denounce the “unwashed rabble.”
Well, now it’s time for another generation to carry the torch. And the same ol’ tired propaganda is being dusted off by the current crop of corporate-conservative media jackals.
The conservatives had their chance…they blew it. Having sold their lives to personal profit and individual privilege, they can’t imagine a social existence. Their highest sense of morality for their children is their own reflected image in Paris Hilton.
Was it worth it? What do they leave behind? A hand and a step into a better future for all, or buried in a mountain of your own excrement and a curse from their own progeny?
The youth are pretty clear about what they want, but they also have a good handle on what they don’t want. Ultimately, there is a moral logic to their social evolution.
Conservatives are only able to assess events in personal, individual terms, like young children…terms bereft of any real social consciousness. Pathetic Gordon Gekkos on the wall of history.
Those on Wall Street who taunt the protesters with glasses of champagne or put cheap signs in their stock brokerage windows are the pathetic zombies that the protesters properly mock.
They don’t even realize that they are hardly the 1%–not even close. They’re playing three-card monte and don’t realize that, ultimately, they’re the game.
Where and how far it’ll go, and what alternatives become viable is the $64 question. Or in the case of the 1%, many times $64 billion.
Once the objective conditions are ripe for the development of the next stage in any movement, the spark to ignite that protest can come from anywhere…even—usually–a seemingly insignificant event.
In North Africa and the Middle East, it was the self-immolation of a street vendor in Tunisia. In the US, a Canadian magazine, Adbusters, published a poster in its July issue calling for a tent-city Wall Street Occupation with a central demand to emerge.
That demand has emerged: “We are the 99%!” That one expression encapsulates the many emerging forces of international youth, unions, teachers, community groups and many others calling for jobs, corporate money out of politics and corporate taxing, and truth-in-media. How clear can it get?
Like Malcolm and Martin in the ’60s who came to recognize that class politics and economics by far encompassed all the other issues, this movement is starting with that reality.
Far from listing all of the current events, check it out for yourselves. Provided here are the most up-to-date links.
This revolution WILL be televised. The profiteers simply won’t be able to help themselves; they wallow in their own sty.