I just read a very thoughtful and nuanced blog post by John Michael Greer in which he criticizes (in passing) the rhetoric of Occupy Wallstreet. 


According to JMG, the simplistic model of an empire that consists of a one percent elite who prey upon a ninety nine percent class of the oppressed has no referent in reality. In reality, empires use the differential distribution of imperial benefits and burdens to keep everyone working to support the imperial system that supports them and to point their criticism not at the imperial system, but at players and subsystems within the larger system that benefit somebody else. 

His thought and writing on this is so lucid that I'm tempted to cut and paste a block quote, but I won't do that just yet, as I'd really like to get a few folks to read the entire post rather than reacting to my brief sketch and a snippet. 

"We are the 99 percent," found traction in the public conversation. As a meme, it's a bona fide success, but as a conceptual tool or as a base upon which to build a more elaborate mental framework, is it really useful? 

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Comment by David Eggleton on March 10, 2012 at 4:30pm

"'We are the 99 percent'... as a conceptual tool or as a base upon which to build a more elaborate mental framework, is it really useful?"

I think not.  It is, indeed, simplistic.  It seems to presume widespread agreement on fairness.

Thanks for urging a full serving of JMG's thoughts.

Comment by Jitendra Darling on March 12, 2012 at 1:14am

Cogent article by JMG.  The 99% slogan has been a great attention getter and has had an impact on the global narrative, but it's function ceases at being symbolic.  

In fact, I would go so far as to say it is in some real ways detrimental to the constituency it proclaims to represent.  The 99% slogan, as it's echoed in the streets, fundamentally abdicates responsibility and bleeds power from the movement.  

Sure, much of the systems' ability to drive imbalance is designed in the shadows and behind closed doors, but most of those doors are shut because very few have demanded they be left open.  Even now.  I question whether there is yet the majority mobilized and caring enough to unseat those of the ilk that just outlawed Latin American studies in the entire state of Arizona, etc...  

I thought JMG very concisely outlined how power elite employ progressively lower tier members of a system to reinforce and perpetuate the power structures.  As pointed out in the article, complicity runs deep, with competition and protectionism in every socioeconomic stratum.  

Comment by David Eggleton on March 13, 2012 at 1:14pm

"In reality, empires use the differential distribution of imperial benefits and burdens to keep everyone working to support the imperial system that supports them and to point their criticism not at the imperial system, but at players and subsystems within the larger system that benefit somebody else."

So we'll generate solidarity another way and move from "It's not fair.  We deserve and demand more" to "We're going for a quality of life we can make.  You can have your standard of living,"

Comment by lemme howdt on March 13, 2012 at 1:35pm

I see my comment should have been placed here - I question the assumption that we should base society on economics.  The whole system turns into a dog-eat-dog battle to the lowest common denominator.  Perhaps the new society should be based on symmetry or sacred geometry - not a linear counting system that leads to concepts of more bigger better best as the desired outcomes.

I would start with a new definition of work.  Physics defines work as an expenditure of energy - the compensation derived from work should not be the subsistence that keeps us alive.  If we delink the need to work from the ability to live, then the people working will actually be trying to accomplish something rather than churning the economy to keep themselves alive.  We have high unemployment because the industry does not require a labor force.  So why force labor?

We need to occupy! equity - by releasing some basic assumption that appear to be nonsense.  Like we need a lawyer to understand the law.  Just the word understand implies that we stand under or are obligated to carry out the law.  Natural Law differs quite a bit from human law.  Our courts no longer deserve our attention, they are beyond a fix - we need a new way = or should i say, a new weigh.  How we evaluate is the key to achieving the goals of the occupy! movement.

Thanks for the outlet - these guys here, Ben and Jittendra have earned our support.  Namaste'

Comment by Jitendra Darling on March 13, 2012 at 2:19pm

I agree wholeheartedly lemme.  Invert the equation.  Recalibrate present admiralty/maritime courts to uphold Law of the Land.  Society grounded in Common Law spawns an economy grounded in human value.  Human dignity restored.  This is more an evolutionary pathway than a systemic implementation.

Comment by Fern Moncrief on March 13, 2012 at 11:56pm

I am grateful that this conversation is here. It seems to me that we need to question everything we undertake; does it fit a new evolutionary model? Because if it doesn't we are at great risk of just playing into the matrix already in place. How do we know when we are creating/working within/ allowing an evolutionary model? 

Comment by David Eggleton on March 14, 2012 at 12:33am

Hi Fern.  Here's my answer to your question.  If it seems incomplete or convoluted, please ask me to improve it.

Comment by Jonathan Feldman on March 18, 2012 at 8:19am

There are other slogans and ideas. It's just a matter of organizing around them. 

Comment by Fern Moncrief on March 20, 2012 at 10:54pm

ok ,so I am just going to jump in here. I have been otherwise occupied (no pun intended) and have lost a grip on my train of thought here. I also appreciate everyone's input.   I am finding C.A.'s input a little hard to follow. I understand the need to listen to the intellect (although I would say "to the fullness of the feminine experience") of women, the quote by Donna Haraway leaves me confused as to what is being said exactly. So as David E offered; if the information seems convoluted I might ask for improvement.  

The question I have for this moment is: have any of you seen the movie Thrive? I would appreciate some discussion around the information presented in this movie as I think it might be instructive/useful to how we perceive ourselves and the Occupy movement.  (Thrivemovement.com)

Also, I think that it is vital that our slogans and ideas are dynamic, evolving, vividly alive and empowering to the people that they represent.


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