Sunday, November 6, 2011

It Can Work

A couple of days ago I wrote here about a study published by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology:

The Swiss Federal Institute Of Technology recently studied connections in ownership of 37 million companies and 47,000 global companies. They found that 147 companies controlled about forty percent of the world's wealth, 737 controlled 80 percent. They found that 5 companies controlled the 147 companies, the largest being Goldman Sachs, which has been repeatedly caught in large scale financial fraud and in effect looted the Federal Treasury.

My source was a Yahoo news post of the same day. Yesterday I went back to check my statistics, since I had written from memory, and discovered that Yahoo had edited their report. Mention of the 5 companies in control is gone, mention of Goldman Sachs is gone.

Occupy Wall Street early on reported that Yahoo was delaying or blocking emails containing the words of their name.

The press belittles the movement for refusing to chose leaders and declare specific demands. The protesters however aim higher, and are not afraid to openly declare their aim: the immediate and total reformation of democracy. The press consistently does not report that this is the open intention of the protesters. For weeks, on the right side of the Occupy Wall Street home page, in big letters, was written, "The Only Solution Is World Revolution." This was ignored, or treated as an expression of the protesters' political incompetence or naivete.

In fact, political theory supports the protesters, and they know it.

They know they are engaged in a war of publicity between the news media, which is now almost entirely corporate owned, and themselves.

There are two main factors in this war, quantity and quality of communication.

Quantity of news is overwhelmingly in favor of the group of companies that have control of the government. But quality is overwhelmingly in favor of the protesters.

In Oakland, the mayor sent the police to remove Occupy Oakland, authorized use of violence, then allowed the protesters to move back, gave city workers permission to take time off and participate in the general strike protesters had called in response to police violence, then authorized violence again by police against the protesters.

The opponents the young protesters face do not have a consistent social position at all, rather choose what appears most expedient at the time to protect their interests.

The protesters easily paint their enemy as a class of people, dishonest and disreputable, and themselves as a distinctly separate class. The protesters show themselves to be the aristocrats, the people who want society to be the best, and their enemies to be plutocrats, who want the wealthy to control everything.

In truth, the protesters do not live as aristocrats, and haven't the wealth to even if they wanted. They are the youth, the innocent playing at making an imitation of aristocracy.

According to Plato, imitation and art in general serve as reminders, opportunities for play. The arts provide a means to ease into concentration and generate possibilities of recovery. In a flourishing democracy this art of reminder is found in the manners of the people, their general outlook and expectations. That is enough to allow democratic institutions to function, not operated by aristocrats but supported by ideas of the best state, and prevent total capture by the wealthy.

The protesters aim to recreate public manners. They believe this will both allow them to win the battle of show making, and bring democracy back into the government. A government of new representatives will not necessarily fall back into the corruption of the old.

It is a realistic plan, conceived and put into effect by the innocent ranked in battle against the guilty. It can work.