How am I going to tie the Big Lebowski and OWS together?
Good question? How am I going to do that?
Well here goes! The Dude is laying in bed telling Maude Lebowski (Julianne Moore) about himself. He says he was one of the authors of ‘The Port Huron Statement’. Well, for those of you who did not pay attention in school (much like me) that is a real document my friends. One that if read today turns out to be pretty damn relative still. Thus I have decided to quote select portions of the document:
…..And if these anxieties produce a developed indifference to human affairs, do they not as well produce a yearning to believe there is an alternative to the present, that something can be done to change circumstances in the school, the workplaces, the bureaucracies, the government? It is to this latter yearning, at once the spark and engine of change, that we direct our present appeal. The search for truly democratic alternatives to the present and a commitment to social experimentation with them, is a worth and fulfilling human enterprise, one which moves us and, we hope, others today. On such a basis do we offer this document of our convictions and analysis: as an effort in understanding and changing the conditions of humanity in the late twentieth century, an effort rooted in the ancient, still unfulfilled conception of man attaining determining influence over his circumstances.”
Men have unrealized potential for self-cultivation, self-direction, self-understanding, and creativity. It is this potential that we regard as crucial and to which we appeal, not to the human potential for violence, unreason, and submission to authority. The goal of man and society should be human independence: a concern not with image of popularity but with finding a meaning in life that is personally authentic; a quality of mind not completely driven by a sense of powerlessness, nor one which unthinkingly adopts status values, nor one which represses all threats to its habits, but one which has full, spontaneous access to present and past experiences; one which easily unites the fragmented parts of personal history; one which openly faces problems which are troubling and unresolved; one with an intuitive awareness of possibilities, an active sense of curiosity, an ability and willingness to learn.
This kind of independence does not mean egotistic individualism—the object is not to have one’s way so much as it is to have a way that is one’s own. Nor do we deify man—we merely have faith in his potential.
Human relationships should involve fraternity and honesty. Human interdependence is contemporary fact; human brotherhood must be willed, however, as a condition of future survival and as the most appropriate form of social relations….
As a social system we seek the establishment of a democracy of individual participation, governed by two central aims: that the individual share in those social decisions determining the quality and direction of his life; that society be organized to encourage independence in men and provide the media for their common participation.
In a participatory democracy, the political life would be based on several root principles:
• that decision-making of basic social consequence be carried on by public groupings;
• that politics be seen positively, as the art of collectively creating an acceptable pattern of social relations….
Like the political and economic ones, major social institutions—cultural, educative, rehabilitative, and others—should be generally organized with the well-being and dignity of man as the essential measure of success.
In social change or interchange, we find violence to be abhorrent…. It is imperative that the means of violence be abolished and the institutions—local, national, international—that encourage non-violence as a condition of conflict be developed.
These are our central values, in skeletal form. It remains vital to understand their denial or attainment in the context of the modern world.
I urge everyone to read the whole thing. And sure, before you start throwing stones saying that it has no relevance today because African Americans have equal rights now or the symbols that are referenced are outdated, stop and realize, you could easily to swap those symbol references with current ones and update that statement about why all men are not created equal and “POOF” that document becomes a current statement for 2011.
Then you see OWS as the catalyst for a new age of Americans to take to the streets and demand that the right things be done ala the 60’s. As I recall those most popular movements and their protests were for African American Civil Rights, Women’s Liberation, against the Vietnam War, for Gay Rights and to protect the Environment. (Shit, looks like 50 years later we are still fighting almost all of the same fights, guess that’s what complacency gets ya, a hell of a lot of lost ground – but all of this is excellent fodder for additional posts!!).
So, let us recap, Civil Rights are basically our individual rights to live without infringement from Government & Private Organizations.
Now, I know no one would argue that the criminal behaviors and illegal schemes that have lead to the economic and financial meltdown not only in the US but Globally and have resulted in force US tax payer bailouts and have plunged the world into a depression are a primary source of the OWS protests. I will take that one step further, and add I would think I am not going too far out on a limb, to say that our Government and the Banking Industry were in collusion to steal billions of dollars from the American people with their “too big to fail” philosophy. Granted, the failure would have been catastrophic, however REGULATION (which apparently is the Holy Water and garlic to the Right Wing vampire) would have prevented that in the first place. But I digress. What they have done in essence is one fell swoop, neatly and cleanly eliminated the middle class and economically enslaved the 99%. Bottom line my friends, that is an infringement on our Civil Rights.
So, when you are asked, for all means and purposes, OWS is fighting for our Civil Rights in 2011 against Economic Enslavement.
Additionally, I found while watching the news this week that the words in the Port Huron Statement resonate, because we do not have a true participatory democracy in America. Day by day, week by week, we are being shown how little power “we the people” actually have and how much power the 1% truly wield.
Nothing demonstrates better how the 1% are using their power and influence than the efforts to prevent demonstrators from occupying the areas in the different cities via the police, the media’s tilted focus on a small handful of non-peaceful incidents and the different City Officials conducting midnight raids to clear out the encampments. It all smacks of corruption.
I think it is necessary to remind these folks that the 1st Amendment protects our rights, specifically freedom of assembly and the freedom of association.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
What is being said is that it’s time for the playing field to be leveled. There are so many issues to be dealt with, there is not a politician to be found that is trustworthy to lead us, the entire political system is broken, corruption runs rampant, priorities are totally askew, money is the only thing that speaks in our Government. Whoever can pay our elected officials the most is who is going to be running the country.
And this is why they don’t get it!! Absolute power corrupts absolutely. And that power has been bought and paid for with our tax dollars which have been GIVEN to the 1% on a silver platter.
So here are, we the people are downtrodden, we are trying to just survive these days!
Everywhere you turn the media sits there asking what does OWS stand for, what do they want? Right wing talking heads go on about OWS needing to organize and come back with an agenda. Our GOP led Congress in the meantime continues to sell us out.
The US Government and especially Congress need to WAKE-UP! This is the first REAL effort by the American people since the 60’s to assemble and affect change that is desperately needed in our country.
I pray to God that the more the 1% owned establishment pushes these brave men & women the more it enforces their resolve to stand strong, maintain their cool and stand in peaceful protest.
God, I wish I was younger and in better health. I would be out there with you. Know that I stand in solidarity with you brothers and sisters!
To quote Walter Sobchak (John Goodman) Hey, Wall Street “This is what happens when you fuck a stranger in the ass!”