Communicator (communicator) wrote,

Not just you

I like bradhicks' posts. He doesn't post very often, and I don't always agree with him, but he's always thought-provoking. I've really changed my mind about the bronze-to-iron-age transition from some impassioned posts on the subject he made a couple of years ago. He was pretty interesting on the dotcom boom too.

His most recent post is about the causes of the Occupy Wall Street movement, and its international spin-offs. He sketches the progression from Manning to Wikileaks to Anonymous to the Arab Spring. His argument is that people embedded in oppressive systems often feel themselves to be isolated, when really there are lots of other people who feel just as they do.
Despots all over the world have always told their subjects, "Everybody else in the country agrees with us, the despots. You're the only one who has a problem with it. Well, you and (some much hated minority group). Which just goes to show, there's something wrong with you." In places where the despots have control over the media (which is most places there are despots), they get away with this, because for all most people know, the despot-controlled media is telling the truth about that. Maybe they and their friends really are the only ones who have a problem with it; how could they prove otherwise?

The release of diplomatic memos onto the Internet made people in Arabic countries realise that many of their countrymen were as fed up as they were. Thus empowered and encouraged they were more confident about rebelling.

bradhicks does not mention feminism but I think that is another example. Women who were unhappy in the traditional female role were told they were peculiar: 'Nobody else has a problem'. But when all the isolated women, each thinking they were bad or sick, got brave enough to tell each other how unhappy they were, there was a massive cultural impact.

Similarly with anti-capitalism. bradhicks - speaking from an American perspective.
Millions of Americans have been told by the corporate media, ever since the 1980s, that nobody ... but you has a problem with winner-take-all lasseiz fair oligopoly capitalism... You and al Qaeda and the illegal immigrants and the thieving welfare bums and the dirty hippies and the anti-Christian communists. So what's wrong with you that you agree with those people?

His argument is that, just as in the Arabic world, people have started to realise that they are not insane or bad, but that many other perfectly nice ordinary people feel the same as them. The result is the current anti-capitalist protest movement.

It's not a done deal of course. A lot of the gains of feminism have been lost, and young girls are once again being told they are sick and dirty if they don't conform; critics of right wing ideology may be successfully labelled as insane and evil. But feminism and anti-capitalism are movements which will grow again, even if completely expunged. The protest is like the natural fertility of the soil, which renews itself.
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