Powerful unions have joined with the protesters at Occupy Wall Street. The movement is exploding across the nation, taking root in major cities like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. The protests are a direct reaction to the inability of the government to fairly tax its people even in the face of a major worldwide financial catastrophe. With the shrill and irrational assertions of Republicans and their Tea Party people sounding like some sort of majority opinion, people are getting out in the streets to show what the real majority really thinks.
Django’s Ghost has posted a stirring and rather enthralling video compilation of the ongoing and exploding phenomenon known as Occupy Wall Street. The film is set to several rock & roll protest songs and it gets across the feelings of rising anger and the public’s growing awareness that it can in fact stop the corporate takeover of the United States.
The protesters seem to me to be a rather intelligent and well-behaved crowd. Some of the New York police however appear to be overeager. Cops always end up on the wrong side of these things. They never get it right. Many of them seem to be pretty easy-going, but there are always the brutes that come stomping in and make a mess of things.
I love the way the crowd is so heavily armed with photographic equipment. The protesters are their own journalists!
This movement is spreading quickly. It’s come to Los Angeles at City Hall and is springing up in other cities as well. People are angry about the corporate takeover of their country and their Supreme Court. Losing a President to corporate interests is one thing. That is rather expected. Obama jerked us all around and then turned into a cheeseball from General Motors. But when our Supreme Court gets bought out and turns into a boardroom… well, that is a terrifying problem. That is just about the end of the line. A democracy cannot survive the corruption of the judicial branch.
The Echo Park Film Center in Los Angeles is posting films made in its youth film class structured around the concept of work. The students made films about how they view jobs and work. It’s a great idea for a film class and throws the students into a very mature thought process. I really like this very fine film by Kathy Choi, Ce N’est Pas La Meme Chose (It Is Not The Same Thing). She lets a woman from France compare the working life there to the life in America. There are fascinating and sharp observations made about how the French worker simply wants to be efficient and get the job done within the regular day contrasted with how the American worker is expected to show a willingness to stay longer and ‘look’ more busy or dedicated.
Having closely observed American corporate office life I can attest to the phenomenon that is the actual ruling principal behind the entire American economy: at all costs one must always look busy.
The sad fact of our current jobless recovery is that an enormous percentage – probably in the 50% range – of all corporate American jobs are totally and completely unnecessary and should not exist. In other words, those jobs should not come back because they are fake. They are occupied by people spending the vast majority of their time looking busy, talking busy, pretending, and doing next to nothing.
The French view which holds a job to be something limited and something to do efficiently and well, while not allowing it to overwhelm one’s life strikes me as a very mature and reasonable view.
This little film is exceedingly good and reminds me of Godard.
The Century of the Self is a 2002 British documentary by Adam Curtis that explains how the psychological theories of Sigmund Freud were used by those in power to control the dangerous masses in democratic countries. Many of the most basic ideas behind American marketing and public relations during the 20th century, including the focus group, were invented by Freud’s nephew, Edward Bernays. The American economy was converted into a consumer economy that relied upon people wanting things and feeling a need for things that were designed to increase the feeling of want.
The idea underlying this entire documentary, its fundamental observation is simply that in a democracy nearly the entire population is made up of stupid cow-like people who can be very easily controlled into thinking of themselves as unique individuals who are making their own decisions. The fact is that people, for the most part, are cannon fodder. They are willing to throw their sons and daughters into the meat grinder of war for the pretense of defending an economic structure completely dependent upon people earnestly believing that they really really need the new version of the iPhone. The mind control has worked. You can tell from the lines in front of the Best Buy at midnight waiting for the new Xbox. If you find yourself standing in line to buy the first new iPhone, you are simply mindless meat strung between bones without the slightest capacity for self-direction. You are one of the people in the crowd being laughed at by the guy in the window at the top of the skyscraper.
But it gets even worse. If you are making a call on your iPhone you are very likely the same mindless meat as the person waiting in line to buy the phone. Phone calls don’t exist anymore. They are now just pools of water where you throw your quarters and make a wish.
The series consists of four episodes. Each episode is presented in six parts on YouTube. You can find all the related parts if you click through to YouTube.
I found this Amnesty International video over at Silliman’s Blog today. It’s about the power of words to help defend freedom of expression around the world. I’m all for that. But can you take me seriously as a wealthy member of the Western world’s corporate structure? The Amnesty video mentions a journalist jailed for ten years in China simply for sending an email. So let’s stop and think for a bit about this ‘freedom of expression.’ Take China as an example. The Chinese are essentially slave labor for the entire Western world. They make our shirts, pants, toys, radios, shoes, dinnerware, jackets, telephones, etc. They produce almost every single solid object you will touch during your day. Everything. They take their instructions from our corporations and they build these things for pennies a day. They are slaves. No doubt about it. Their government is simply middle-management working for us. So, while we may pretend to be interested in freedom of expression, we most certainly do not want our slaves talking freely. Slaves who can speak their minds will gain their freedom and their hourly wages will increase. They will no longer be our cheap labor – our slaves. They will become expensive free thinkers just like us. Our corporations and our politicians do not want freedom of expression for China under any circumstances whatsoever. Morgan Freeman’s blazer was quite possibly made by a Chinese slave making 30 cents an hour. When the Chinese decide that they want to fight for their freedom, they will be fighting us. The world will change when the Chinese people shoot their leaders and lift their wages. You think you’ve seen a global economic crash? Just wait until our corporations can’t pay for their slaves in China anymore. The bottom line has not changed for at least three hundred years: the world economy cannot function without slavery.
So the Amnesty video asks us for our words to help in the cause of freedom. I’ve just written some.