This is a temperature check. I have general sense of what the response will be, but before I "test the waters" I will never really know for sure. So here goes...

I view the Occupy movement as a movement engaged in reestablishing social justice. We have lost a great deal of ground, seemingly an irredeemable amount of ground, to corporate and big money interests that have corrupted our governments, our economics, our politics, our judiciaries, our societies.

Occupy has spread like a wild fire because it is an idea whose time has come.

We are intent on regaining ground, occupying that ground, reestablishing and enhancing the institutions that once held and protected sacred rights, and not giving in inch until we have created a society in which economic and social justice, war, torture, resource colonization, environmental degradation can all be talked about and acted upon in real terms, without the spin of propaganda, the obfuscation of private agendas, the dishonesty and motivations that have powered the 1% in their appropriation of whatever they choose to take from our global society. A just society will call out injustices past, present, and future for what they are, to the best of its ability to make that judgment.

Occupy is identifying the root causes of corruption in our societies and acting to pull out by the roots that corruption. Our direct actions are directed toward the symptoms that this disease manifests. Our legislative actions are directed towards stemming the appropriation of more ground in our fight for justice and sound public policy while we work toward a better future. But all of our actions are directed toward what has been identified as the corruption of corporate and big money interests and the disease that has followed in their wake in the form of war, environmental degradation, economic and social injustice, inequality, beggaring one's neighbor in a mad rush to secure one's own security.

I firmly believe this, and this is why I am a part of the Occupy Movement.

I have also been a member of the 9/11 Truth movement since 2007 when I became aware of the deep inconsistencies in the official narrative of the events of that day. Think what you will of those events, that is your prerogative, but I am convinced the official narrative is false. But I also firmly believe these attacks were a SYMPTOM of the corruption in our society, not the root cause of that corruption. I firmly believe Occupy is identifying and acting against the root causes, while the Truth movement is calling attention to one of its perverse symptoms.

BUT, I am not here preaching on behalf of this movement. Quite the contrary.

I recently replied to a call by some in the truth movement to include as a grievance in the 99% Declaration a call for a new investigation into those attacks by saying, "Now is not the time." The powers that be have effectively made toxic any public conversation questioning the official narrative of those attacks and that toxicity would not be helpful to the Occupy Movement. I firmly believe this, as well.

I have argued from my background in chemistry for 9/11 truth here, here, and here, as well as in many other public forums, on radio, with my elected officials, in newspapers.

But, as I said, this is a temperature check on what Occupiers think about this blacklisted conversation. And how such blacklisted conversations relate to the Occupy Movement.

This is not an easy conversation to have, I know from long experience, strong opinions on all sides... so please, please, please be civil... I will not try to convince anyone of my opinions and I expect the same respect from anyone else choosing to comment. I only want to gauge how this group feels about this blacklisted conversation as it relates to the Occupy movement.

Views: 211

Tags: building, community, justice, social

Comment by Ben Roberts on March 3, 2012 at 3:08pm

Stephen:

I appreciate the offer.  I'm concerned that such conversations tend to become "wormholes" that take up lots of time and don't resolve things.  I have already done my own modest investigation into a number of the main assertions of "Truthers" (is that a term you use, by the way, or do you consider it pejorative?) and that has left me quite comfortable with the mainstream narrative.

I am tempted, by way of an exercise, to invite each of us to pick one argument we find particularly compelling and explore them together, with the sense that this is a good way to keep the discussion from becoming a bottomless pit.  If we're going to go to the trouble, I'm not sure why we should do that on a non-public thread, however.

I still think the more important conversation to have right now is the degree to which it matters that many of us hold such disparate beliefs about the way the world works, or perhaps how we can best work together given these differences.  And the differences span a wide terrain.  One might even include atheism vs. theism in this conversation, so we're not talking about something that is ultimately going to settled by a debate.

Comment by Ben Roberts on March 3, 2012 at 5:52pm

OK, I've gone and done it!  Inspired by this thread, we are moving the conversation into broader terrain via our forum and then continuing it on this Monday's Vital Conversation Cafe Call.

Comment by Stephen M. Demetriou on March 3, 2012 at 10:09pm

If, Ben, you think a private conversation with me about these things would amount to an unresolvable wormhole, I might think to say you are hardened in your position and are not open to hearing from a complete stranger what might potentially turn out to be new information or a new way of looking at the world. Seems that is what we are asking a lot of people to do with our public outreach for Occupy, accept a worldview that is perhaps different from what they have assumed it was... or are we simply the one's that have it right and others don't know what they are talking or thinking about? Doesn't seem like the best way to hear what folks issues are and help them connect the dots within the context of their thinking. In nearly all of my interactions with folks either on the fence about Occupy, or outright dismissive, I have had to fight a certain thickness in their hearing on the subject at hand. Working to achieve at the very least the beginnings of the ability to talk on a subject at least holds a hope of arriving at some agreement. When the beliefs are so hardened to prevent even conversation little can get done. Generally best to move on to the next person and leave those hardened in their beliefs to their beliefs.

Comment by Ben Roberts on March 4, 2012 at 10:48am

Stephen: I guess that depends what you mean by "hardened in your beliefs."  That has a pejorative ring to it, so my first reaction is to take offense, or perhaps to suggest that you sound pretty "hardened" as well.  So this illustrates one level of the challenge we face in these situations before we even get started on a dialogue--that the language we use as we speak about our beliefs and those of others already tends to set us against one another.  Are you open to the possibility that our conversation might become a "wormhole" for reasons other than my suffering from "thickness" in my hearing?

There are many things we might discuss, investigate, debate, plan, collaborate on, etc.  It is not clear to me that the events of 9-11 are at the top of that list, and I do not have unlimited time.  What interests me most in this moment is the degree to which such differences are or are not showing up in ways both obvious and subtle, and in an exploration of the possibility for moving forward without having to resolve them.

That said, I am still open to the idea that there might be some value to an exercise like the conversation I described above, especially if done in public.  Although I must say that your response to me only serves to highlight my concern that it would be quite challenging to do so.

Comment by Stephen M. Demetriou on March 4, 2012 at 11:17am

Well, of course, it is challenging. Many human interactions are challenging. To be perfectly frank your first post in this thread contained what I took to be pejorative framings -- the use of the word "truthers," and the dismissive statement about "bunk" theories. That immediately indicated to me a "settled" position (less pejorative than "hardened" I hope) that was potentially beyond the realm of civil conversation for you. Yeah, I'll say my first reaction also was one of offense. There most certainly are bunk theories circulating among "truthers," but mine are not bunk, and mine don't claim to have all the answers. They simply point, with good reason, to reasonable doubt.

But, like I said in the blog post I'm not here to convert you or anyone else to 9/11 truth. I think this conversation, as well some I have heard from young, enthusiastic occupiers holding forth on things they don't understand much about diminish the Occupy message that corporate domination of/collusion with our government is not in the people's best interest. The science of the unprecedented catastrophic destruction of two structurally intact buildings that fire officials in their best judgment thought safe enough to send hundreds of firefighters into, a judgment based on their collective experience of a couple hundred years and which they talk publicly about in the Oral History statements from over 500 firefighters, is what informs me. The science contained in the NIST NCSTAR 1 report, the USGS study, the RJLee environmental study for the Deutsche Bank, the comments by Worcester Poly tech experts, MIT profs, FEMA... That is a bit different than wild speculation by a young enthusiast about how the FED works, or unsubstantiated speculation that 19 rank amateurs could pull off what they are alleged to have pulled off without some sort of assistance. Of which there is considerable evidence already in the public record and reported by the Wall St journal and many other publications.

It is your prerogative to not want discuss this with me. I accept and respect that. But wholesale dismal as "bunk" is also an attitude that one must confront when talking about things Occupy with the skeptic. How to soften such attitudes is a big part of getting the Occupy message out. It will be done with fact and data for some, emotional appeal and empathy toward personal situations for others that a good listener is able to elicit, connect with, and help bring along into Occupy.

Sorry if I offended you. I simply meant to challenge your assumptions.

Comment by Stephen M. Demetriou on March 4, 2012 at 11:37am

You also said above, "I'd prefer to sidestep the whole debate and focus on common ground and moving forward."

On this I think we both can agree. However this is accomplished for each individual, I think this is what has to happen by necessity. There are many Ron Paul supporters that also support Occupy. I don't get in the weeds with them about Paul's positions that I don't agree with, but I welcome their support for Occupy.

Comment by Pat on March 5, 2012 at 3:16pm

I am aware of my primal fear that, if I were to have a conversation with someone with "rational" information about the 911 events, I may be inclined to share a "disparaged theory" with a minority of "belittled citizens".  I feel somewhat threatened by the possibility of those labels being applied to me, resulting in personal isolation.

As you said, Stephen, "Distilling things down to a purer substance is a challenge."  That is a challenge I could savor, even as I began to hear my internal excuses for not engaging: don't have the time, don't feel a commitment, etc.  Yet, I welcome information gleaned from discussions among people with the interest in the subject, and with the willingness and the ability to hear each other, conduct investigative journalism, and present their findings with the honesty that identifies the verifiable information, the unproven threads that could be followed, and exposes "bunk."  I remember how long it took the Washington Post to put the Watergate puzzle together - and that field of suspects seems much narrower than the field of conspirators in the 911 controversy.  

I understand Ben's reluctance to pursue this one-on-one with you, personally - he is dependable and extremely busy with many commitments that provide opportunities for multitudes of people like you and me.  And I appreciate your willingness to spark a discussion, in a separate format, to dispense and discuss what you have discovered about this, one aspect, of your broader political activism.

Comment by Stephen M. Demetriou on March 5, 2012 at 3:35pm

It seems, Pat, you may already be in danger of being "infected." I haven't suffered much in the way of personal isolation, but I am circumspect in the forums in which I discuss these things. I am not an active proselytizer. Although I did write about these things in a newspaper I used to write a column for, later ran for town council, and still garnered a 1/3 of the 6000 votes in my district. That is about the same percentage nationwide that have in polls expressed doubts about the official narrative. I am much more the proselytizer when it comes to Occupy, and I think the challenge here might be even larger. It is just that this idea seems to have come to fruition, while 9/11 truth fell under the necessity of demonization and marginalization because of the program I suspect it was all a part of... a march to war and all the attendant profits that are being made from the security state that has proliferated in the wake of those events. Profits over people.

Comment by Jitendra Darling on March 5, 2012 at 9:13pm

I'm not averse to the 9/11 conversation, yet, I'm ordinarily circumspect as to with whom I engage it with.  The same with other topics under the radar of consensus, i.e. - Federal Reserve, sovereignty, jurisdiction of law and currency, etc.  Topics that connote a less than forthright group of special interests, would set us, if true, in the midst of a Bond-esque script.  For many, this is best left to imagine such outlandishness on a screen than real life. 

Beyond the difficulty of finding a ground for mutually objective conversations on these topics, it's too easy to get lost in the forest of obfuscation and divergence.  By engaging these edgy topics, we risk losing what common ground we may have with otherwise, alliances for constructive change.  The potential danger, however, in constantly dodging conspiratorial elephants in the room, is you may sacrifice understanding of the root cause of a malady. 

It's akin to mainstream research seeking cures for cancer while ignoring the tons of chemicals with which we infuse our food, water and air, all the while behaving as if baffled as to why cancer is escalating.  Would it not further exacerbate the challenge to mention cures that are "allegedly" suppressed?

In a short space I've already said too much.  But then, relative to our call this morning re: The Challenge of Divergent Worldviews, inspired by this very thread, this can be a stepping stone toward understanding how, and to what degree, fundamental global systemic change is possible amid significant paradigmic disparity. 

The trick is to be able to dance in and out of scales of perspective, personal and trans-personal.  We address with vigor, that which we have a heart to change, reform or transform on one hand, while remembering to access that place where it's all a play of consciousness with everyone playing their rightful role in a grand production that is driven from depths we acknowledge via our deeper non-consensus perceptions of reality, aka spiritual vision or awakening.  We choose which realm we give weight to. 

We struggle when we polarize to one side or the other, as with most things in life. The balance is where we get along, but it's not in the middle.  It's position is ever changing, like dancing on a wave.

Comment by Stephen M. Demetriou on March 5, 2012 at 9:37pm

Nicely put, thank you, Jitendra.

On the issue of chemicals, food, and cancer I have a blog post with a short video I found, very succinct. sdemetri.wordpress.com

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