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Forum Post: Acting from a Positon of Strength

Posted 1 year ago on June 29, 2012, 3:14 p.m. EST by docgee (11)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Occupy Wall St. has done a great job of mobilizing support worldwide, especially among the young, and making the world aware of the debilitating effects of inequality on the social fabric. Unfortunately, the powers that be (i.e., the oligarchs, plutocrats and the politicians controlled by them) are not about to relinquish any fraction of their power simply because a bunch of latter day "hippies" is upset.

I learned myself, from bitter experience during the 60's and 70's, that you can shame, blame and embarrass the ruling class as much as you like, but that in itself will not have much of an effect on their actions.

If the impetus behind OWS seems now to be a bit stalled, it may well be due to the sad reality that the 1% see no reason to either share any of their wealth or give up any of their power, even in the face of massive protests and embarrassing media exposure. Nor is it likely that more aggressive, or even violent actions will make any real difference. Despite the fact that they are hugely outnumbered by the 99%, their power, economic, political, and military, is far greater than that of all of us combined -- many times over, in fact.

Was it Sun Tzu who wrote, in The Art of War, "never attack from a position of weakness"? From years of bitter experience I know that to be true. Which does not mean I lost my battles. Only that I chose them carefully, and learned to act only from a position of strength.

So. The question now is: how would it be possible for the 99% to act from a position of strength rather than weakness? My answer: there is only one force in the world, as far as I can tell, powerful enough to stand up against the forces of greed, manipulation and exploitation, and that is, very simply, the workers. The workers of the world, to coin a phrase. Workers are the ultimate source of the wealth accumulated by the oligarchy and also its secret vulnerability. It's only vulnerability, as far as I can see.

The workers of the world are a sleeping giant, though this is something they seem blissfully unaware of, so we rarely hear from them these days. They have been all too ready to accept the line handed out to them, as today in Europe, that the so-called "economic crisis" is largely their fault. They borrowed too much, demanded too many benefits, high wages, pensions, their unions made too many demands.

So now they are being called on to save "the world as we know it" by accepting "austerity," a euphemism for crushing exploitation. And this is true also not only for Europe but the entire world, the Americas, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, everywhere. The world over, workers are being duped into competing with one another for crumbs.

If these workers could manage to organize, just as the great labor unions organized early in the 20th Century, they would be capable of acting from a position of strength that could rock the world -- and in fact save the powers that be from themselves, since as should be clear, despite all their frantic efforts, their precious "economy" is on a downward spiral into the pit.

Here's what I wrote the other day on my blog, and I'm hoping some people reading here will take it to heart and respond:

"I think a general one-day work stoppage could be very effective, especially if it were international. Certainly a general "day of rest" honored by a significant portion of the European workforce might make a very effective start, a shot across the bow. I'd like to say we could include American workers, but the full brunt of the crisis is not yet being felt as acutely in the USA as it is elsewhere, so there might not be much of a response. And Chinese workers might be too easily intimidated to respond, I'm not sure.The one-day stoppage could then be followed by longer stoppages, with the ultimate threat of a complete shutdown by all workers everywhere.

In the past, it might take months or years to organize actions of this sort, but the Internet makes it possible to organize very quickly, within a week or so I would think, given an efficient organizational base. Who would do the organizing? Well, OWS may have fizzled, but the people behind it are still around. And judging from their success in organizing all those rather spectacular actions last year, I would think these folks would be ideal. Assuming they are motivated to take this sort of action. I wonder . . ."




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[-] 2 points by PeterKropotkin (1050) from Oakland, CA 1 year ago

Good post and a good idea. Very hard to pull off but something to think about.