Wall Street Spring :: Americans Demand Democracy

The homeless and the Hippies, the socialists and the students, the communists and the commoners – the Wall Street has been occupied for good by the countless human beings demanding dignity of life denied to them under American capitalism. Every disenfranchised minority is now decrying the citadel of private capital, greed and monstrosity. And contrary to White House assertions and corporate media verdicts, the defamed Wall Street has been denied a bail-out – by the people of the United States.

Braving the NYPD interventions and assaults, seeking solidarity with the otherwise indifferent bystanders, and hoping that the collective aspirations of the oppressed masses finally prevail, thousands of radicals are demanding the revolution – not in faraway Libya or Syria, but right here in the centerpiece of global imperialism, in the New York City. This is the Wall Street Spring – a significant demonstration of solidarity among anti-capitalists and class struggle prisoners!

Wall Street Spring is radical in manners that have shaken the foundation of mainstream media in this country. Both liberal and conservative media have cautiously covered this uprising, essentially because unlike in the past, this gathering is truly diverse, and phenomenally radical. The revolutionaries are not endorsing any simplistic political ploy by a liberal party to garner support through expressions of politically correct rhetoric. In fact, quite the contrary. A placard prominently reads – mocking the Democrats – “Job Creators, my ass”.

In many ways, “Occupy Wall Street” is reminiscent of the several marches across the country over the past decades. People from various sections of society have gathered to march against police brutality and societal inequality. And yet in significant ways, it is rather different. The goal today is not to reconcile following legislative changes, but to revolt to ensure a peoples’ democracy. The march is not silent. The march is not harmoniously conducted hand in hand with musical backgrounds. The march today is disparate, heterogeneous, expressive of collective anger and resentment against the status quo. More of an extension of the Black Panthers taking over college campuses with loudspeakers and radical agendas; than a pacified demonstration of hopeful placards. It is not a congregation to reconstruct the capitalistic society, it is one that speaks through the voice of the latest victim Troy Davis: “Dismantle this unjust system”.

“You Must be Asleep to Experience American Dream”

Long ago, Malcolm X announced how he was experiencing American Nightmare, not American Dream. For several decades his call for the people to literally “wake up” were ridiculed, suppressed and relegated to dustbins of history by the private media enterprises. From Hollywood flicks to CNN headlines, frivolous entertainments were repackaged as news for popular consumption. Big businesses through advertisements and various forms of sponsorships pushed their agendas for a ferociously vital American economy – an economy where capital would be privately held, with solitary aim for unlimited profits, and where the capital would invariably triumph over the labor.

For decades, the American Dream – a fictitious and opportunistic claim that anyone can selfishly prosper through individual efforts – has been demonstrated as the encompassing ideology of global capitalism. The phrase has gained approvals because it has gone unquestioned. Much like the accompanying rhetoric: Democracy.

The dream and the democracy – both are at stake this time. In the past, the masses demanded to restore them. This time, they are demanding to dismantle them. No wonder, the New York Times failed to deconstruct what is happening at the Wall Street. “Gunning for Wall Street, With Faulty Aim” read the headline on the Times. For decades the mainstream corporate media defined for the people what their aims should be in order that the status quo is duly maintained. And usually in the western world, the protests have invariably taken a reformist shape, because the goals are precisely laid out, the conversations are articulately arranged, and the legislative conclusions draw the final lines.

However, this time, it is different, to say the least. It is not just the Wall Street. It is Occupation United States. Similar “occupation” movements are taking over various cities in the country, almost in a way, that it is difficult to fathom the direction they shall take. Many critics of the Occupation are arguing that this movement shall fail because it does not have specific goals. For instance, the otherwise liberal Colbert Report ridiculed the occupation as a mindless gibberish because the humorist found the lack of an articulated goal to be quite unacceptable.

Unacceptable, it sure is. Protests, demonstrations, and marches have traditionally been easy to contain because they tend to address specific issues and have extremely limited sphere of influence. They usually do not address the system as such because strictly from a pragmatic standpoint, it delays the process of redressal. And from a political standpoint, an attack on the system is a call for dismantling and possibly, overthrowing of an existing political economy – something which is outrightly rejected by not just the ruling class members of politics and businesses, but also by a great number of citizens who live in class denial.

War Has Been Brought Home

Occupation movement this time around offers no immediate solution – nor does it harbor much hopes either. If the collective demand is to have Obama administration dissociate itself and the United States from Wall Street money, the collective intelligence says it is probably not possible. Demanding a solution from the very system that needs to be dismantled is a worthless endeavor. And no one knows this better than the radicals themselves. And yet, what is much more important is the historical knowledge that revolutions take place not through pessimistic withdrawals, but through constant engagement with all available avenues of protests until the status quo is reversed.

In our fast-paced, solution-oriented, just-do-it society, it is quite predictable that many intellectuals and journalists, politicians and diplomats shall continue to question the viability of movements that offer no concrete alternatives. But a reflective and critical study of revolutionary theories and unique histories of various progressive movements shall demonstrate that all that the masses need are a few sparks, and there is no telling what turns the events will take!

Capitalistic America today appears to be insurmountable. It appears so, because it is depicted as thus through textbooks and newspapers, amidst televised programs and blockbusters. The deep vulnerabilities and classic contradictions of capitalism are deliberately omitted in an effort to celebrate the manufactured notions of freedom and democracy in the western world. But as humanity continues to evolve, and as consciousness of the masses across various oppressed social locations continues to be raised, the protocols are bound to shatter. The people will emerge as the leaders themselves. And their collective aspirations – to inhale the air that celebrates human dignity, free from greed of private accumulations – are bound to prevail. Its just a matter of time. And, that clock is ticking today at the Wall Street.

(Saswat Pattanayak, 2011)


Media Lies and Libyan Lives

Although corporate western media have been reporting more than 50,000 dead in Libya – from the assaults of Gaddafi’s army – the reality is not even more than a couple of hundred bodies have been found so far.

And what is more ironic is that over 49,800 bodies are missing, right under NATO supervision.

This leads to critical questions:

a) If 50,000 were actually killed, where are the bodies?

b) Who must be held responsible for the missing bodies, considering that Gaddafi regime has nothing to do with post-mortem or morgues?

c) If indeed less than 200 were allegedly killed by Gaddafi regime, and that the 50,000 number is fictitious, who are responsible for such gimmick?

If the reported number of dead in Libya appears to be hundreds of times more than the actual dead, there should be nothing surprising about it. For decades now, western corporate media have been feeding the masses with blatant lies and sheer propaganda in the name of free press and balanced journalism. In due course of repeated slogans heralding principles of journalism, truth and objectivity, people have unquestioningly accepted the news reports – at least the ones related to proclamations made by their democratically elected governments. In trusting their governments, the voters trust their own intelligence. And when the media emerge as the platform for governmental misinformation disseminations, the most among the audience have no recourse other than to trust the mainstream media.

Such deceptive reporting(s) of exaggerated deaths have been done countless times in the past in the capitalistic regimes in an effort to spread fear, suspicion and hatred among the peoples towards the kinds of societies the ruling classes of Euro-American descent oppose. It happened while deaths were reported from Uganda during early 1970’s for instance when the media reported the number of dead to be over a million and years later it was revised to appear as a hundred thousand. Similar revisions were made during reporting on Cambodia of mid-1970’s. Such media reports gained historic admissibilities when the reporting of so-called Great Purge in Soviet Union was done. Initially it was reported that during late 1930’s, over 50% of Red Army officers were purged, and after several years, the number in the western media was reduced to 3%. In China under Mao, it was reported that at least 45 million deaths occurred between 1958 and 1962. And later the number was amended to become 20 million.

What’s interesting in the reporting of western press is that not only do they exclusively invent the numbers of deaths, but they also exclusively invent the corrections in the initially reported deaths. In case of Soviet Union, when the Civil Wars were being organized by the western military forces to annihilate Communism, the numbers of deaths caused by the Party were inflated to exhibit its barbarity. The moment Soviet Union was asked for critical interventions to contain Hitler’s quest over the First World, and millions of Soviet citizens died in the Second World War while resisting Nazi advances, the numbers of dead were drastically reduced by the western press. It served two purposes: firstly, the dead dissidents were reduced by number so that Stalin would be more acceptable to the United States to justify the Coalition Forces; secondly, the Red Army and working class Soviet people who sacrificed their lives in the War against Hitler were also reduced in number so that the role of the Soviet State would not be allowed to overshadow the roles of Britain and the US in the Second World War triumph.

In the instance of China, the Great Leap Forward was the biggest catastrophe in human history, until of course the arrival of Richard Nixon in Beijing in 1972. Suddenly the official numbers counted by the western media fell down by several millions overnight. And the Great Leap Forward was declared as having laid the foundation for the progress in China, considering that the China after Mao was to be wooed into becoming the largest business partner with the United States.

For those in the “Free World” that claim human lives are valuable and Communist and Islamic regimes do not value human lives must also be knowing that reducing the numbers of dead by millions starkly exemplifies the extent to which the slain people really count in the eyes of the evaluators. What about the missing millions of bodies? Do they matter? Where are the graves?

Cold War history has been so colored by western media propaganda that it has ceased to be Cold. As an unintended ramification and possible consequence of the old habits of generating fear psychoses and war justifications, the numbers continue to get inflated even today. In the case of Libya, before the issue is relegated to dustbins of history and before Gaddafi is eternally depicted as the dictator he was not, it is crucial to seek for answers regarding the number of actual deaths. Not just that, it is crucial to reflect upon the New York Times confessions:

“Much of the official death toll is based on the theory that there were 30,000 prisoners before the fall of the Qaddafi government, when prisons were all opened, and only 9,000 were found alive. The problem is, no one actually knows how many prisoners there were, and no one actually counted how many were released.”

So a regime which is being declared to be the cruelest in modern times used to have a merely 30,000 prisoners (political and criminal taken together, that is) during the great Misrule! Moreover, this number is actually an imaginary one, since only 9,000 prisoners were found in the prisons when the gates were opened! An entire country with 9,000 prisoners – must actually have been a mighty great nation.

Unlike the United States and the United Kingdom where prison-military-industrial-complex drives the economics, Libya was actually a free country before the “rebels” were armed and funded to take over and destroy the most secular of African nations.

Realities are strange reminders. They appear arbitrarily and knock our consciousness once in a while. The need is to wake up, when reality visits us. In undoing Libya, we would not have destroyed Gaddafi. We would have undone our potential quests to smell the realities.

(Saswat Pattanayak, 2011)