Forum Post: THE GREAT IDEA: Walmart strikers, occupiers, WTO protesters & civil rights marchers are part of a long proud tradition
Posted 6 months ago on Nov. 18, 2012, 8:38 a.m. EST by therising
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Dostoevsky's words below about the disease that grips the 1% and the effort of others to promote community is as relevant today as it was when he wrote it -- let's keep the great idea alive!
Think about the Walton family (who hold as much wealth as the poorest 40% of U.S. citizens combined) and think about the brave souls on the Walmart picket lines as you read this:
"Today, everyone asserts his own personality and strives to live a full life as an individual. But these efforts lead not to a full life but to suicide, because instead of realizing his personality, man only slips into total isolation. For in our age, man has been broken up into self-contained individuals, each of whom retreats into his lair, trying to stay away from the rest, hiding himself and his belongings from the rest of mankind, and finally isolating himself from people and people from him.
And while he accumulates material wealth in his isolation, he thinks with satisfaction how mighty and secure he has become, because he is mad and cannot see that the more goods he accumulates, the deeper he sinks into suicidal impotence. The reason for this is that he has become accustomed to relying only on himself; he has split off from the whole and become an isolated unit; he has trained his soul not to rely on human help, not to believe in man and mankind, and only to worry that the wealth and privileges he has accumulated may get lost.
Everywhere men today are turning scornfully away from the truth that the security of the individual cannot be achieved by his isolated efforts but only by mankind as a whole.
BUT AN END to this fearful isolation is bound to come and all men will understand how unnatural it was for them to have isolated themselves from one another. This will be the spirit of the new era and people will look in amazement at the past when they sat in darkness and refused to see the light. . . . . . Until that day, we must keep hope alive, and now and then a man must set an example, even if only an isolated one, by trying to lift his soul out of its isolation and offering it up in an act of brotherly communion, even if he is taken for one of God's fools.
This is necessary to keep the great idea alive." [end of Dostoevsky quote]
Seems like momentum is picking up again. This strike is a very big deal.
I have to laugh when I hear cynics occasionally ask "What the hell did Occupy achieve?" TO THOSE CYNICS, I say "Ha. First of all, Occupy isn't past tense. It's still very much with us. Just because the volcano isn't currently erupting in your neck of the woods doesn't mean there aren't millions of tons of glowing magma just beneath the surface of the earth. Right underneath you man... Shhhh... If you listen close, you can hear it bubbling and feel it rumbling.
Secondly, to those cycnics, I'd say: "Do you really think one of the largest corporations in the world would be shaking in its boots right now if millions of people around the world hadn't voiced solidarity with Occupy in the last 14 months? When people speak up, others feel safe speaking up. This is no small thing. In fact, it is the very thing the 1% are most afraid of: citizens around the world feeling their oats, feeling a sense of community with one another, feeling solidarity. People are waking up and realizing they don't have to be afraid to speak up. Others hear that and realize they feel the same way...and this helps them feel the confidence to raise their voice too. This growing energy has the power to decimate the calculated divisions that have kept the 99% powerless for so long.
Once we realize that we are the 99%, once we realize that what we have in common is far more powerful than that which divides us, we'll be able to make decisions from a position of unified power rather than make demands from a position of divided weakness.