Al Jazeera’s editorial is hopeful. I’ve seen absolutely nothing in the movement that merits congratulations.
Spring is here, and as the weather turns warmer, and the bluebirds start flying, the streets fill up with more people as some of the mental darkness associated with the cold of winter passes. It’s the season of renewal the poets have always sung about. This year, it is also the activists who are cheering here in New York as Occupy Wall Street marks an anniversary, the sixth month since the movement burst onto the scene and changed the global conversation about the economy, by injecting the reality of deepening economic inequality into the political debate.
To be sure, there was lots of hubbub and lots of publicity but absolutely nothing has changed. And do you know why? Because the overcoming of inequality isn’t accomplished by the quest for wealth. Inequality is overcome when those ‘above’ reach down not when those ‘below’ reach up.
Spring may well bring protesters into tents but it won’t change the way Washington does it’s greedy business and it won’t change the way big finance rips off the little guy. Revolution is always the purview of the wealthy. The Founding Fathers of the United States were all very rich men. And they rebelled against Britain- you guessed it- when their own pocketbooks were affected negatively.
The Arab Spring which fueled the Birkenstock wearing iPad using lower middle class and upper lower class Americans to take to parks (what a stupid place to stage a protest) in hopes of a better tomorrow have all ended in the reestablishment of regimes little different from those they replaces. Egypt? A Military junta now rules and, to be frank, minorities like Christians are far worse off and the average citizen is no better off. Bahrain? Crushed by American indifference because we love our military bases there. Saudi Arabia? It never even got off the ground thanks to the Crown’s big purse. Libya? A country in the backwater. Syria? Death. And the list goes on.
No, change doesn’t come from below. Not real change. Real change comes from above. Get used to it. It’s the way it has always been and always will be.
Occupiers can get in the headlines, but they can’t get in anything else – including meaningfulness.