Tuesday, November 08, 2011

#OWS UPDATE: Occupy Movement : " Finding Freedom in Handcuffs " by Chris Hedges & Western Hypocrisy

Updated edited 10:13 PM November 8, 2011.
& Technical difficulties now resolved-
OWS - This is Just the Beginning

'Police brutality big problem in US, Riot Cops Looking For a Fight'

While the wealthy steal from the rest of society the military Machine which is their Praetorian guard keeps on bombing and killing to ensure their power and to increase their wealth. We are told that the natural resources don't belong to the citizens of any particular nation but rather to the Corporations and the wealthy elite.
These wealthy and powerful hypocrites bow their heads in prayer claiming God as they characterize God as on the side of the rich and powerful and not on the side of the 99%.
Why is it that these hypocrites such as Obama, Hilary Clinton, Biden or our PM Harper are never called upon for their hypocrisy and their dismissive attitude towards the central message of Jesus . These greedy soulless creatures merely use religion to benefit themselves to hide their greed and avarice and their lust for blood .
We can just easily make the same argument about the leaders and the elite in Muslim countries the elite are only concerned with amassing more wealth and power.
The Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) would be rather critical of those who amass wealth at the expense of their fellow citizens. Muhammad was very much concerned about the welfare of the poor, the orphans, the widows and insisted on the creation of a "Just Society". But like many of those who call themselves Christians many who call themselves Muslims cherry pick which parts of the teachings of either Prophet they will abide by -that is any teaching which is critical of their desires they will reject.
The religion they appeal to may differ from country to country but in the end they will twist that religion's message to suit their desires.

Isn't it hypocrisy for our society to teach the young that bullying is wrong and yet we support the US governments and its bullying of the rest of the world.
Isn't it hypocrisy to demonize some nation's leader such as Gaddafi for incarcerating dissidents and to abuse and torture priosners when all these injustices also take place in the name of America , Democracy and freedom.
Isn't it hypocrisy to condemn terrorism while we in the West terrorize the rest of the world's population as if it were our God given right.
Isn't it hypocrisy to tell nations they must respect the civil and human rights of citizens when in fact these rights are trampled upon by the USA and other Western Nations-ie the over militarized response to the Occupy Movement or the passage of draconian authoritarian laws such as the Patriot Act
Isn't it hypocrisy to incarcerate whistleblower Bradley Manning or to pursue locking up Julianne Assange of Wikileaks for revealing the truth while the US condemns Gaddafi or others for shutting down their critics and dissidents.
Isn't it hypocrisy to claim to be in favor of democracy and civil and human rights by giving moral and material support to ruthless brutal regimes such as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain , Yemen, Uzbekistan or Israel's Apartheid state where the people are gunned down for daring to protest and to speak out.
Isn't it hypocrisy to claim as President Obama does to be on the people's side and yet over and over again to side with the 1% against the 99%

After being arrested last week Chris Hedges has written a moving and passionate article praising the Occupy Movement . As he points out the elites the 1% in America and the West and elsewhere are trained and conditioned to believe that their desire for higher profits and more and more personal wealth are heartless automoton's who have no concern that their actions and the policies they insist governments follow leave millions dead from war and famine .For instance instead of puttin billions of dollars into easing the situation of the poor they prefer to go to war to extend their ownership and to increase their profits at the expense of the 99%

Chris Hedges argues that the Occupy Movement must move beyond its encampments and stage more marches and protest into other parts of each city or town and even into Suburbia and especially the richest neighborhoods. The protests and marches must also engage in various forms of peaceful Civil Disobedience shutting down streets and bridges for example from New York to Seattle to Oakland from Washington DC to Dallas Texas.To put it one way if our cause is just then we shouldn't back down and not be stifled in our right to peacefully protest and to speak out .

This essay by Chris Hedges is I think important and hopefully will reenvigotrate the struggle of the 99% against wars of choice such as that in Iraq, Afghanistan , Libya ,Pakistan and soon to be in Iran and Syria.
Why should millions die or be left maimed and mentally scarred by unnecessary wars fought to expand the American Empire or to increase the wealth of the elites who like the pirates they are strip the earth of all they can to increase their profits.

Finding Freedom in Handcuffs
by Chris Hedges
at Truthdig via Common Dreams .org, November 8, 2011

(Editor’s note: Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges, an activist, an author and a member of a reporting team that won a 2002 Pulitzer Prize, wrote this article after he was released from custody following his arrest last Thursday. He and about 15 other participants in the Occupy Wall Street movement were detained as they protested outside the global headquarters of Goldman Sachs in lower Manhattan.)

Faces appeared to me moments before the New York City police arrested us Thursday in front of Goldman Sachs. They were not the faces of the smug Goldman Sachs employees, who peered at us through the revolving glass doors and lobby windows, a pathetic collection of middle-aged fraternity and sorority members. They were not the faces of the blue-uniformed police with their dangling cords of white and black plastic handcuffs, or the thuggish Goldman Sachs security personnel, whose buzz cuts and dead eyes reminded me of the East German secret police, the Stasi. They were not the faces of the demonstrators around me, the ones with massive student debts and no jobs, the ones whose broken dreams weigh them down like a cross, the ones whose anger and betrayal triggered the street demonstrations and occupations for justice. They were not the faces of the onlookers—the construction workers, who seemed cheered by the march on Goldman Sachs, or the suited businessmen who did not. They were faraway faces.
They were the faces of children dying. They were tiny, confused, bewildered faces I had seen in the southern Sudan, Gaza and the slums of Brazzaville, Nairobi, Cairo and Delhi and the wars I covered. They were faces with large, glassy eyes, above bloated bellies. They were the small faces of children convulsed by the ravages of starvation and disease.

I carry these faces. They do not leave me. I look at my own children and cannot forget them, these other children who never had a chance. War brings with it a host of horrors, including famine, but the worst is always the human detritus that war and famine leave behind, the small, frail bodies whose tangled limbs and vacant eyes condemn us all. The wealthy and the powerful, the ones behind the glass at Goldman Sachs, laughed and snapped pictures of us as if we were a brief and odd lunchtime diversion from commodities trading, from hoarding and profit, from this collective sickness of money worship, as if we were creatures in a cage, which in fact we soon were.

A glass tower filled with people carefully selected for the polish and self-assurance that come with having been formed in institutions of privilege, whose primary attributes are a lack of consciousness, a penchant for deception and an incapacity for empathy or remorse. The curious onlookers behind the windows and we, arms locked in a circle on the concrete outside, did not speak the same language. Profit. Globalization. War. National security. These are the words they use to justify the snuffing out of tiny lives, acts of radical evil. Goldman Sachs’ commodities index is the most heavily traded in the world. Those who trade it have, by buying up and hoarding commodities futures, doubled and tripled the costs of wheat, rice and corn. Hundreds of millions of poor across the globe are going hungry to feed this mania for profit. The technical jargon, learned in business schools and on trading floors, effectively mask the reality of what is happening—murder. These are words designed to make systems operate, even systems of death, with a cold neutrality. Peace, love and all sane affirmative speech in temples like Goldman Sachs are, as W.H. Auden understood, “soiled, profaned, debased to a horrid mechanical screech.”

We seemed to have lost, at least until the advent of the Occupy Wall Street movement, not only all personal responsibility but all capacity for personal judgment. Corporate culture absolves all of responsibility. This is part of its appeal. It relieves all from moral choice. There is an unequivocal acceptance of ruling principles such as unregulated capitalism and globalization as a kind of natural law. The steady march of corporate capitalism requires a passive acceptance of new laws and demolished regulations, of bailouts in the trillions of dollars and the systematic looting of public funds, of lies and deceit. The corporate culture, epitomized by Goldman Sachs, has seeped into our classrooms, our newsrooms, our entertainment systems and our consciousness. This corporate culture has stripped us of the right to express ourselves outside of the narrowly accepted confines of the established political order. It has turned us into compliant consumers. We are forced to surrender our voice. These corporate machines, like fraternities and sororities, also haze new recruits in company rituals, force them to adopt an unrelenting cheerfulness, a childish optimism and obsequiousness to authority. These corporate rituals, bolstered by retreats and training seminars, by grueling days that sometimes end with initiates curled up under their desks to sleep, ensure that only the most morally supine remain. The strong and independent are weeded out early so only the unquestioning advance upward. Corporate culture serves a faceless system. It is, as Hannah Arendt writes, “the rule of nobody and for this very reason perhaps the least human and most cruel form of rulership.”

Our political class, and its courtiers on the airwaves, insists that if we refuse to comply, if we step outside of the Democratic Party, if we rebel, we will make things worse. This game of accepting the lesser evil enables the steady erosion of justice and corporate plundering. It enables corporations to harvest the nation and finally the global economy, reconfiguring the world into neofeudalism, one of masters and serfs. This game goes on until there is hardly any action carried out by the power elite that is not a crime. It goes on until corporate predators, who long ago decided the nation and the planet were not worth salvaging, seize the last drops of wealth. It goes on until moral acts, such as calling for those inside the corporate headquarters of Goldman Sachs to be tried, see you jailed, and the crimes of financial fraud and perjury are upheld as lawful and rewarded by the courts, the U.S. Treasury and the Congress. And all this is done so a handful of rapacious, immoral plutocrats like Lloyd Blankfein, the CEO of Goldman Sachs who sucks down about $250,000 a day and who lied to the U.S. Congress as well as his investors and the public, can use their dirty money to retreat into their own Forbidden City or Versailles while their underlings, basking in the arrogance of power, snap amusing photos of the rabble outside their gates being hauled away by the police and company goons.

It is vital that the occupation movements direct attention away from their encampments and tent cities, beset with the usual problems of hastily formed open societies where no one is turned away. Attention must be directed through street protests, civil disobedience and occupations toward the institutions that are carrying out the assaults against the 99 percent. Banks, insurance companies, courts where families are being foreclosed from their homes, city offices that put these homes up for auction, schools, libraries and firehouses that are being closed, and corporations such as General Electric that funnel taxpayer dollars into useless weapons systems and do not pay taxes, as well as propaganda outlets such as the New York Post and its evil twin, Fox News, which have unleashed a vicious propaganda war against us, all need to be targeted, shut down and occupied. Goldman Sachs is the poster child of all that is wrong with global capitalism, but there are many other companies whose degradation and destruction of human life are no less egregious.

It is always the respectable classes, the polished Ivy League graduates, the prep school boys and girls who grew up in Greenwich, Conn., or Short Hills, N.J., who are the most susceptible to evil. To be intelligent, as many are at least in a narrow, analytical way, is morally neutral. These respectable citizens are inculcated in their elitist enclaves with “values” and “norms,” including pious acts of charity used to justify their privilege, and a belief in the innate goodness of American power. They are trained to pay deference to systems of authority. They are taught to believe in their own goodness, unable to see or comprehend—and are perhaps indifferent to—the cruelty inflicted on others by the exclusive systems they serve. And as norms mutate and change, as the world is steadily transformed by corporate forces into one of a small cabal of predators and a vast herd of human prey, these elites seamlessly replace one set of “values” with another. These elites obey the rules. They make the system work. And they are rewarded for this. In return, they do not question.

Those who resist—the doubters, outcasts, renegades, skeptics and rebels—rarely come from the elite. They ask different questions. They seek something else—a life of meaning. They have grasped Immanuel Kant’s dictum, “If justice perishes, human life on Earth has lost its meaning.” And in their search they come to the conclusion that, as Socrates said, it is better to suffer wrong than to do wrong. This conclusion is rational, yet cannot be rationally defended. It makes a leap into the moral, which is beyond rational thought. It refuses to place a monetary value on human life. It acknowledges human life, indeed all life, as sacred. And this is why, as Arendt points out, the only morally reliable people when the chips are down are not those who say “this is wrong,” or “this should not be done,” but those who say “I can’t."

There are streaks in my lungs, traces of the tuberculosis that I picked up around hundreds of dying Sudanese during the famine I covered as a foreign correspondent. I was strong and privileged and fought off the disease. They were not and did not. The bodies, most of them children, were dumped into hastily dug mass graves. The scars I carry within me are the whispers of these dead. They are the faint marks of those who never had a chance to become men or women, to fall in love and have children of their own. I carried these scars to the doors of Goldman Sachs. I had returned to living. Those whose last breaths had marked my lungs had not. I placed myself at the feet of these commodity traders to call for justice because the dead, and those who are dying in slums and refugee camps across the planet, could not make this journey. I see their faces. They haunt me in the day and come to me in the dark. They force me to remember. They make me choose sides. As the metal handcuffs were fastened around my wrists I thought of them, as I often think of them, and I said to myself: “Free at last. Free at last. Thank God almighty I am free at last.”

© 2011 TruthDig.com

also see:
The Pressure Is On: Thousands Encircle White House, Tell Obama to Reject Keystone Pipeline by Mike Ludwig at Truthout, November 7, 2011

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