(5 pm. – promoted by DDadmin)
(Cross-posted from The Free Speech Zone)
For Europe, it was a year when the cash ran out in some countries. But one thing that wasn’t in short supply was the number of angry protestors. As governments severely cut back on budgets, hundreds of thousands of people lashed out in response. RT’s Laura Emmett wraps up what’s been a troubled year for Europe – and why people should brace themselves for 2011.
Well, all people except Americans who will continue to stay in their houses and blog about the injustices happening around them…..
So I was just minding my own business on the internet the other day when somebody threw me a link and told me to check it out. I instantly vomited when I saw the author was Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Treasury Secretary and co-founder of “Reaganomics”. I was told to wipe off the keyboard of my stomach chunks and actually READ the fucking thing. I did, and I couldn’t believe what I was reading:
2011 is shaping up as the terminal year for American democracy. The Republican Party has degenerated into a party of Brownshirts, and voter frustrations with the worsening economic crisis and military occupations gone awry are likely to bring Republicans to power in 2012. With them would come their doctrines of executive primacy over Congress, the judiciary, law, and the Constitution and America’s rightful hegemony over the world.
If not already obvious, 2010 has made clear that the US government does not care a whit for the opinions of citizens. The TSA is unequivocal that it will reach no accommodation with Americans other than the violations of their persons that it imposes by its unaccountable power. As for public opposition to war, the Associated Press reported on December 16 that “Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the U.S. can’t let public opinion sway its commitment to Afghanistan.” Gates stated bluntly what has been known for some time: the idea is passe that government in a democracy serves the will of the people. If this quaint notion is still found in civics books, it will soon be edited out.
This looked like something that would be written HERE! But I digress.
The bigger point here is when is America gonna “wake up” and have itself a few “European Street Parties” like we’ve seen so far during the imposing of austerity measures abroad?
Perhaps it’s time that I finally put my degree in Sociology to actual USE because lawd knows nobody is gonna PAY me for it anytime soon.
The Tradition of Human Progress
You see, every time I think I have an idea or a thought on society I know that perhaps somebody had thought it as well but I tend to think that I somehow have a take on it that is possibly unique given the fact I live in a more technologically advanced society than scholars of yesteryear.
Many people go through life thinking their ideas have been thought of by people smarter than them and therefore do nothing about a thought, others may downplay their thoughts but still express them, and some even think they’re the only one who thought of it so they don’t look to see if it had been thought up.
I’m not in any of these groups. I’m in the philosophy of “what I think is right because I have fact to back it up and i’m fucking awesome”, therefore, “if somebody thought of it before me then they’re fucking awesome too and proof that i’m right….and fucking awesome”. As you can imagine, my colleagues and professors find me to be rather “eccentric” but leave me alone. Mainly because they either find me to be a “genius” or the result of “too much drug use”, but i’m not cocky, always take time out to help others with their research, and show love and respect for every person in the room when class starts getting into debate mode.
This, to them, is “odd”. They’re thinking, “If he has the upper-hand and a monopoly on an up-and-coming genre in Sociology, why does he want us to get in on it? Doesn’t he know this is cutthroat academia?!”. Exactly. Progress can only be made if someone in a position of power USES that power not to further their own professional-life agendas, but rather makes a statement while in that position of why it is necessary for humanity to move forward as ONE so that we ALL can individually benefit from the progress that would come from it. Not only that, but it is inevitable:
In 1750, the Baron Anne Robert Jacques Turgot, the future minister of Louis XVI, then only twenty-three years of age, delivered two lectures at the Sorbonne that were, in Frank Manuel’s words, “the first important version in modern times of the ideology of progress.?” Contrasting the order of nature with its eternal sameness to the world of man, Turgot wrote: “The succession of men … presents a changing spectacle from century to century…. All ages are linked to each other by a series of causes and effects which binds the present state of the world with all those which have preceded it.” Language and writing were the vehicles by which men transmitted their culture so that “all detailed forms of knowledge constitute a common treasury, which one generation transmits to another like a legacy that is ever being augmented with the discoveries of each century, so that the human race appears . .. to be one immense whole which, like every individual, has its infancy and its progress.”?”
Turgot was convinced of the inevitability of progress. There could be no stop to the continuous enlargement of man’s intellectual inheritance, and although science, morality, technology, and the arts might each develop at a different pace, thus creating some unequal developments and temporary dislocations, science, and more particularly the mathematical sciences, would always be in the vanguard of progress. The march of science, and hence the forward thrust of mankind, could never be stopped.
– “Masters of Sociological Thought”
This “march of science” has led to the technological advances we see today and from the inception of the computer, to its connection to the Internet, and now its use to organize and communicate with ease around the world like never before in human history, we are starting to see a generation that grew up with this advanced technology as commonplace in their culture revisiting the old culture of social movements and grassroots organizing. A linkage if there ever was one.
We see Turgot’s view supported by other “intellectuals” of the era as well:
Marquis Jean-Antoine Nicolas Caritat de Condorcet, whose Esquisse d’un tableau historique des progres de l’esprit humain, written while he was hiding from Robespierre’s police, continued Turgot’s emphasis on the long historical chain of progress now culminating in modern rational man. “We pass by imperceptible gradations from the brute to the savage and from the savage to Euler and Newton.’?”
Like his predecessor, Condorcet believed that he could document the operation of progress in the past. Its projection into a future of infinite perfectibility was to him a foregone conclusion. Like Turgot, he saw in science and technology the means by which mankind had been propelled forward as well as the main engine of future advances. But while Turgot had still relied on the regular appearance of men of genius to spur the movement of progress, Condorcet thought that with enlightenment and state-supported mass instruction, the number of productive scientists could be deliberately increased, and hence the rate of progress could be enormously accelerated.
– “Masters of Sociological Thought”
So “state-supported” mass instruction wasn’t imposed but given the demands of businesses/the economy and the playing around done by millions who shared information on how to do things on a computer combined with the fact that the Millenial Generation has been given the technological advantage due to the older generations depending on US to be able to perform what THEY needed to be done on them and our mastering of these technologies being introduced to them at such an early age….well…Houston, we have a problem. An organic Enlightenment of the uses of powerful advanced technology that is within the means of the average person and can be utilized massively and more effectively then the “few” in government who seek to control their societies.
For the most part in our society, the youth and IT Professionals were treated basically like shit. A buncha “tech savvy youngins” that would be able to utilize the business plans of corporations through the use of computers and the Internet that they can pay way below what they’re worth in terms of their skills due to the fact there was a large surplus of a workforce to choose from.
In the 1990’s “we” seem to put up with it. The jobs paid well, you could make up shit like a mechanic could to a rich WASP, but then the tables turned. Outsourcing IT jobs became the norm and due to a global workforce of competition from Free Trade initiatives that “opened borders” for companies, even with 3 certifications in the tech field you were lucky to get an hourly wage position.
Then we saw politicians start getting into utilizing things like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube in order to campaign for seats in government. Things that all young kids, who you can take on as cheap interns or free volunteers, could effectively do. That’s what gave Obama the edge and his current position as President, the youth vote along with our ability to communicate a message more effectively through social media and the Internet.
In both cases, discontent became rampant. Former IT professionals leaking the ways their former employer can be infiltrated by hackers, the “back doors” that were left open, etc. While this technology oriented profession had trades and tools that were shared among a small group of their own ilk, they quickly found their way into Internet culture as reference for hacking into an ex-girlfriends email or even “punting” people from AOL chatrooms (a favorite of 13-18 year olds when AOL was king). It was from this blending of the two cultures that we have the progressive force we see organizing today.
Rise of The Progressive Cyborgs
While the history goes further back, I’ll start with the first HUGE display of power that came by utilizing the Internet and technology in order to fight authorities. After the World Social Forum in January 2003, it was decided that progressives would utilize the technology at their disposal in order to coordinate the largest demonstration in human history.
A month later, we see February 15th, 2003, a protest of over 10 million people worldwide to try and prevent the invasion of Iraq by the U.S. Even I was a part of that, due to my internet skills and Indymedia contributions, in New York:
This was the start of mass global mobilization, however the cause that rallied folks changed from anti-war to anti-austerity measures.
A new youth revolt began due to the economic collapse of 2008 and the “austerity measures” imposed by world governments at the behest of International corporate-governmental organizations. Although the corporations were the reason for the first failure of global capitalism, they were going to force the citizens of nations around the world to take “cuts” to their income and pay more for services, some of them which were provided for free before the collapse. The first to feel the cuts were Greece, and here’s how they dealt with the news when it was first learned by them in early December of 2008:
These protests may have been the beginning, but the rest of the world knew they were going to be given austerity measures as well, so the Internet was used to help coordinate not only more protests in Greece, but all over Europe:
Outraged protesters in Spain, Denmark and Italy smashed shop windows, pelted police with bottles and attacked banks, in an alarming indication that the unrest that has gripped Greece for most of the past week could spill over into the rest of Europe.
In France, cars and a garbage can were set alight outside the Greek Consulate in Bordeaux yesterday, and protesters scrawled graffiti warning of a looming “insurrection.” More demonstrations had been set for today in Italy, France and Germany.
At least some of the protests appear to have been organized over the Internet, showing how quickly a message can be spread, particularly among tech-savvy youth.
Several Greek websites offer protesters real-time information on the location of clashes, where demonstrators are heading and how riot police are deployed around the city. Protest marches are arranged and announced on the sites, while word is also sent out via text messages on mobile phones.
Personally the “Protest marches are arranged and announced on the sites, while word is also sent out via text messages on mobile phones.” part makes me laugh. The reason being that in Miami in November 2003, when we were protesting against the FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas) meetings that would of locked the entire Western Hemisphere into a free trade agreement, we came up with the idea (although others might have used it before us) to link the Indymedia news feeds of police movement and protest activities to a mass text messaging application that sent out the updates instantly to the cellphones of head organizers and leaders of Affinity Groups in the Black Bloc. This kind of coordination via the use of our mobile technology and the Internet allowed for this to happen:
Yup, breaching security despite the largest police force ever deployed at a protest. Any way you slice it, Technology + People = Unstoppable Force.
Knowing this, a social/cultural movement formed that found itself organizing into a political movement in the sense of gaining legitimacy in world politics, this is political movement is known as the Pirate Party. From 2004 to now they have realized the power that the Internet allows for people to communicate and organize against oppressive regimes as well as keep our society to be more open and transparent. As was overwhelmingly proven with the releases of information about the world’s governments doings from the organization Wikileaks. The Pirate Party believes the Internet to be a right protected under the same reasoning as the United State’s First Amendment of our Constitution. They are active in over 44 nations and are continually fighting to keep the Internet free from Government and Corporate censorship because of their belief that the Internet empowers people, improves democracy, and will create freer societies throughout the world. To take away access and control of the Internet by the people, in their view, is to censor or even silence the voice of all humans in this Digital Age where our primary means of communication with one another happens through this medium.
This is proven very recently by the organizing and development of a more youth-oriented revolt taking place alongside the austerity measures being fought by people and workers around the world and that is the fight for free education and the abolishing of tuition as a barrier of entry into our colleges and universities:
This i’m using as an example of the most EXTREME case of how volatile the situation of the tuition issue is in Europe, in this case it was London. The takeover of Tory HQ in the aftermath of passed legislation that tripled tuition for students caused a revolt the likes of which London hadn’t seen since the Poll Tax riots. Out of this came a 15 year old icon of the movement that announced to the world (although perhaps not knowing he would be) the ferocity of the fight that would come even from the youngest in the population and who are more than likely to not lose momentum seeing how their future is the one they’re fighting for:
The student movement has gone International seeing how many students are seeing their ability to pay for college to get the necessary credentials for a higher paying job go down the tubes with each tuition hike that’s enacted as a result of the austerity measures. The heads of the student movements have formed a formal organization called the International Student Movement in response to the autonomous movements being formed on campuses around the world using Facebook as a means of first starting up. Now with the use of YouTube they have organized AND shown others the results of the spontaneous “Global Wave of Action”‘s that have been called since the formation of the group with much success even though there was few if any formal meetings of the leaders in person:
This is interesting because now people don’t even need to meet in person to organize activities effectively. They can use the Internet and the most intimate encounter between leaders is a phone conference or a video conference. If not for the utilizing of social media sites, video production technology and the sites to upload to, as well as phone (not “new” but still useful) and video conferencing, these movements would not have progressed as fast as they have.
The technology we have is fast, easy, and as productive as anything that world governments have to organize themselves for their interests and activities. For quite possibly the first time in human history the average person has the same technology at their disposal as the authorities that govern them which, when you factor in the OUR numbers as people vs. that of the authorities, gives us even footing as well as the upper-hand. So my question to Americans is, what the fuck are you waiting for?!
World Citizens Detonated, American Explosion Imminent
Look, let’s face facts here.
Between Wikileaks releases confirming things about the wars and our government you already felt were true, but now have confirmation of being true, what is it gonna take for you people to lose your shit?!
We, your kids, voted for the guy that said he’d help us get a mop and bucket as well as for the party he said would help clean the mess at the highest levels. We both see now that they’re lying sacks of shit more concerned with pleasing their campaign contributors while spitting a verbal liberal stance to appease the majority that voted them in but doing NOTHING that they say they were going to do. They turn to you and say “it’s hard! Congress….well….you don’t know what it’s like or how it works!” or they scapegoat saying “well the GOP is stubborn and won’t move so we can’t get the votes” as if they forgot they had a filibuster proof majority to shove through anything they wanted if the Democrats stuck to their ranks throughout.
And you know what? The people at the Daily Kos are right in one respect, “well vote Republican, see where THAT gets ya Obama hater!”. Yeah, the GOP are not the answer and I know a third-party gets laughed at but we CAN vote one in. Now yes, am I a member of a third-party? Yes, the Pirate Party. However I’m not saying to even vote for MY party, mainly because we’re still organizing it up, but we HAVE teamed up with other third-parties like the Green Party. In New York, we helped to secure the Green Party for 4 years on the ballot utilizing our social media skills and constituency. That was in less than a year of existing. We just used Facebook, twitter, emails, and website forums.
But it ain’t gonna be enough.
What we need is street tactics that let the authorities know that we, the people, have the power and they better start using the power we gave them to make life better for ALL of us or face an angry mob.
So it seems that planned protests with permits are somewhat of a hassle, I propose instead to utilize Flash Mobs as a substitute for a formal protest event. This scares the authorities because the ability for people to organize en masse spontaneously means they can’t combat it since they never have enough time to mobilize police to squash the protest. Also, these protests never last long and fit in with the schedule of the average “bogged down” American who never has time for anything.
While formal protests will be organized anyway, and I suggest more to be organized and to attend them, the formal protests need to be “European” in style. That is, more vigilant than your average American protest of signs and chanting. Many times protest organizers like to concede to the will of the police beyond what they should and the protest because a demonstration in “forced herding” by police more than a demonstration against non-righteous powers and their actions. The people to be blamed are the protest organizers that worry too much about pleasing the police and public officials than they do the actual movement.
Your government is illegally extraditing and torturing foreign citizens, the world is with you if you decide to cause a “ruckus” here in the states. All I ask is that while you organize more vigilantly and become more militant in your protesting after we’ve all been evicted from our homes and denied access to education and bare necessities, that you keep in mind that the protest should have a message that if they don’t want any more trouble in the streets, they’ll meet with the legal-political arms of your movement, and that they be your local third-party that takes no money from corporate interests to gain seats in government.