Occupy the 1%!

  39. A long series of small victories

-- November 14 2012 --

A long series of small victories 

A Movement only thrives when there are successes. Activists become disappointed when they are not inspired by a long series of victories.
The Women’s Liberation Movement has more than a century massive support. Not in the least because of the many small successes and victories. Women got higher positions, the dominant position of men in marriage was broken, women got the right to enter university, more women entered parliament, laws were changed, women became boss over their own stomach, women got more equality. The struggle is not over, there has not yet been even a female vice-president in the USA nor a female prime-minister in the Netherlands. The Movement continues to be active. Successes boost any movement.  

It is a victory when powerful people take different decisions as before the Movement to put pressure on them. It is also encouraging when powerful people explain in the media why they take decisions that obviously do not benefit all people (giving benefits to men over women). With powerful people I do not mean politicians who are used to tell lies to the media but mostly unknown members of the 1%. When the 1% feel the pressure of the Movement they want to defend themselves. 

Successes were rare in the first year of Occupy and the number of supporters in demonstrations and other mass actions went down. The enthusiasm was a little bit boosted by blocking foreclosures, helping poor people in neighbourhoods and after Sandy. The 99% find these activities sympathetic but will not join the Movement. The greatest attraction point of Occupy, taking the power and the money away from the 1%, had no successes.  

The 1% rules the world so a movement who wants to promote People’s Power should direct itself against the 1%. It is a victory when some of the 1% move out of their castles, travel in a cheaper way, do not go so often to their exclusive clubs, restaurants and hotels, change their elitist behaviour, change even their job. Or react in the media about the predicament that their life has become less agreeable because some people from down under creatively disturb their safe and cosy life. It is a victory when they take decisions that do not benefit in the first place their own group, decisions they should never have taken when their was no pressure on their private situation. It are the first signs that the 1% is annoyed, that they are not as certain and secure as before, that their power pyramid starts to crumble.  

One of the pressure methods is isolating a special 1% from their family, friends, acquaintances and associates. They will turn away from him when they fear that the pressure on him will also disturb their private life. By creatively disturbing his private life, he will live and learn to understand that his own life will be disturbed when he takes decisions that disturb the life of the 99%. Because other 1% are afraid to help him, he will search support in the media or take decisions in which the interest of the 1% becomes inferior to his own interest to get his cosy life back.  

Such actions take some time but soon activists will notice signs that the culprit is disturbed and they will have fun. The pressure builds up till suddenly the culprit comes in the open to defend his life. It is a small step in undermining the top of the power pyramid that keeps our society together. When after a long strike the wages of the workers increase a little, the power structure remains unchanged. Only when the power pyramid disintegrates we can take the road to a new Humane World in which not money but the well-being of all people is the pivotal point in all decisions. 

Joost van Steenis (downwithelite@gmail.com)

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