It’s been a month now since some scruffy/hippie/anarchists pick-your-derogatory-term, went and camped out near Wall Street. For weeks the American press ignored them, then vilified and ridiculed them, and yet their numbers kept growing – in Zuccotti Park in NYC, and then like a fungus, materializing in cities and towns across the world, and then across the globe: 900 cities and towns, all sharing in the same diffuse and unrhetorical “there is something profoundly wrong about how the world is organized.” The powers that be – the politicians and their financial buddies, the giant corporations and their “news” media – simply had no idea what to do with them, except apply the Pravda-like practice of figuring if they didn’t report it, it didn’t exist. In a display of extraordinary stupidity and blindness, with the fresh examples of Tunisia and Egypt and the whole Arab spring, the honchos of America (and elsewhere) seemed blind-sided when thanks to the internet the news spread like wild-fire across the country and the globe. One would have thought they’d learned a thing or two by the most recent bits of history – the indignados of Spain, the strikes in Greece, the global signs of discontent from the middle-east to the middle-west. But no, our Masters of the Universe, and their hired political lackeys and pundits didn’t see, because, as ever, caught in the bubble of their own small 1% world, they didn’t imagine any world but their own: they could not conceive that the world was not all well and good, never mind the blatant evidence in their own statistics. Even though they had been explicitly involved in constructing that alternate universe of globalization, which translated as rampaging out-of-control capitalism – the one that made them filthy rich and left everyone else behind.
About three weeks ago, I got an e-mail from someone I did not know – Daniel Levine. He wrote about being in the OWS group, and I asked him to keep me informed on things, and I asked him who he was and to tell me something of himself. He replied, and said he’d keep me updated, and said he was 21, and thought if he hadn’t seen my 1987 film Plain Talk and Common Sense (uncommon senses) he might not have gone to join the Wall Street uprising. As someone who is somewhat cynical about the efficacy of so-called “political” film-making – of which I’ll have much more to say soon on the http://www.jonjost.wordpress.com blog – I was a bit skeptical, but it did move me to think that my work had, in any way, helped clarify and move someone to act. Likewise, with this blog, and other internet things which have absorbed much of my energies in the last decade and more, where I have consistently drawn into question our national religion of “Free Market Capitalism”, noted the depths of our corruption (not only financial, but far deeper and more profound, our ethics and morals as bent by the values of that capitalism) and the severe damages it inflicts upon our society. I would like to think perhaps all this energy did not go to waste, but was a tiny ripple in a larger social wave which was building all this time. I don’t think anyone is the sole holder of a thought, but that if one thinks something, millions of others must do likewise. Unlike many of my friends, who seemed terminally pessimistic about young Americans, I have always felt and said that I thought, at some time, somehow, things would finally erupt. And so it seems they have.
Where ever you are – in America or elsewhere in the world – I encourage you to go out and join your fellow humans and add your voice to this movement, whatever name one wishes to give it. We need to defeat the economic masters of this system, and their political and cultural minions, who have orchestrated the policies of the last decades and more, policies which have obviously failed the vast majority of humans while enriching and empowering a tiny sliver who seem utterly heedless of the circumstances of humanity. They seem to lust for wealth and power beyond rationality, and would, if left unchecked, render the world uninhabitable in their pursuit of it. Occupy Wall Street and all the other streets should be the beginning of a major revision in humanity’s understanding of its place on the globe and our relationships with one another – as individuals and as societies.