Saturday, October 15, 2011

Occupy [Insert City]: Global 'Spring' of Discontent or Universal Boredom Spawning Rebels without a Cause?

An iconic Time Magazine cover depicting the spirit of the Cold War in the 1980s
It was about 20 years ago that the Cold War officially ended. For those of you too young to remember the Cold War, all you have to know is that it made for some great James Bond films. On a more serious note,  I am sure there are history books out there with glossy chapters about how the epic Cold War ended with Western Democracy/capitalism victorious over the evil menace of Eastern Communism /Marxism. However, back in 1991, would anyone have predicted that two decades later, the mighty machine that is Capitalism would implode plunging the entire planet into an economic crisis of grave proportions? Moreover, would anyone have known that a global wave of socio-political discontent would lead people of all ages and walks of life registering their disaffection with Capitalism? 

I must admit it is hard to decide whether the Occupy Movement is a real expression of global popular anger and discontent spurred on by the World Economic Crisis and the Arab Spring or just a case of universal boredom spawning masses of rebels without a cause. The latter view comes from listening to interviews with some protesters at Occupy Wall Street many of whom articulated the fact that the protest had no clear-cut goal or targets. Is it all about bank bail-outs and corporate greed? 

Anyway, until this afternoon, I was under the impression that the Occupy [Insert City] protests were restricted to the US. This impression crumbled when I came across two notices.

Occupy Den Haag (The Hague) and Occupy Amsterdam:

This is our land.We occupy these our streets, we occupy them. We are here. We are increasing in number
A global movement has indeed been born and you can follow its activities at I am still yet to decide what it is really all about but the words of that popular Buffalo Springfield protest anthem  from the 1960s For What It's Worth are ringing in my ears:

"There's something happening here
What it is ain't exactly clear
There's a man with a gun over there
Telling me I got to beware
I think it's time we stop, children, what's that sound
Everybody look what's going down
There's battle lines being drawn
Nobody's right if everybody's wrong
Young people speaking their minds
Getting so much resistance from behind....."

- Buffalo Springfield's For What It's Worth (c) 1967


novisi said...

For me it's one word: grope!
for the lack of knowledge, the Bible says, people perish, and I say for the lack of knowledge people grope!

There's enough history in the world for all to know that economics is based on resources in the world and that most importantly these resources are finite and not infinite!

once these are well understood it should be clear that capitalism can only be fun seeking ideology that makes some enjoy at the expense of others but not any genuine framework to a whole advancement of the human population and the earth our dwelling place.

indeed, the present situation is one where those with guns and bullets are exploiting others for their gain. There's no fair trade even.

So people would grope! and for the lack of knowledge people would do something to express their frustrations at those at the helm of affairs!

some of these protests have shown genuine expressions while others like what we have witnessed in Libya are clearly orchestrations by some of these same capitalist imperial forces who think they can continue to manipulate others.

anyway, my one word ended in a long speech.
long live the quest to have knowledge!

Anonymous said...

not rebels, although rebelling. I just think it's people (save for the anarchists in Rome) venting their frustration with how govts have coddled the financial institutions since the global recession started. sorry, but any comparisons to the Libyan insurgency, or references to the bible, guns, and "capitalist imperialists" is as credible as those about 9-11 and new world order conspiracies.

Abena Serwaa said...

@Novisi : Grope? Interesting take Novisi! So you think the expressions in Libya were simply imperialist agitations and not over 40 years of pent-up frustration at a reactionary dictatorship that had clearly overstayed?

Abena Serwaa said...

@MadeinAccra/Mike I'm not a fan of conspiracy fact, I actually had to listen to two different 9-11 conspiracy-theorists who actually believes his own insane ramblings....sad.
Maybe conspiracy theories are symptomatic of something....I can't quite put a finger on it!