As I am want to do I wrote a novel on reddit, under a users suggestion I’m moving it here for blog type purposes
Some of the wisest words I ever heard were “The purpose of an activity, is the activity”. Its a very powerful phrase when you apply it to where you put your energy. Its something to remind you when they start talking about censoring the internet to keep people away from bad things for example. The purpose of censorship is censorship. If you believe censorship is bad then you can never use the activity as an end to a mean.
Its a razor that can be applied to any action or attempted action. Occupy itself falls under it. The purpose of occupying a space is to be there and simply occupy it. We can understand well what that accomplishes and what that doesn’t. I’m certainly not so naive as to say occupying public property has no effect. In this case the activity of occupation causes the sensation of being a spectacle. Before a bunch of people simply existed in a park for a cause people talked about inequality much less, we had fewer terms for these things in the common speech. Now simply because the activity of occupation actually was effective we have more awareness. Because occupying a space is something that people notice and thus the activity is aligned with the desired outcome.
However what we don’t have is an activity that moves equality forward. There are several reasons for this. Individual humans have never been so worthless. Think about how many of us there are vs how many it takes to produce. There is no inherent economic value to a person anymore. Not substantially at least. For a period of human history it was a thing to collect people because even against their will they had a lot of value. You rounded people up to add to your nation or religions numbers. Since the industrial revolution the value of human labor has been plummeting. Since the computer revolution human thought has been losing value as well. You used to be able to be paid for calculating things, you were actually called a “computer” because you computed. Being a software developer and having done automation I feel fairly educated on just how fucking worthless humans are going to be in a few years. I mean I can make a robot that does stroke research. That should terrify you because I was born a poor redneck that had a fucking outhouse on their home property. Sure it was out of use but my god. I’m not even 30 either, that is the pace of change and the state of education. You can be born into corn and make robots. So I don’t even know where kids born today will be with the pace of computing. Not just that but getting clever with it. I digress, the point is humans have 1 remaining economic usefulness.
We are the major consumers, people are the ones that buy things still. Even though it is pretty irrelevant how we come about our money. You need to find someone who you can tell the right lies to in order to get paid to consume. The psychology of it all smoothed out so you land in debt before your realize that you aren’t winning the game, you aren’t losing either. There are just a bunch of people running around pretty unsure of what they are doing but damnit they are gonna do it better than anyone else so they can live the sweet life. The existing status quo lumbering on just because it has so much momentum.
We only have economic value in our ability to consume correct? With current technology and knowledge we absolutely do not require the overhead of the current economic system. People speculating on crops that decide who starves where. Even though there is enough food for everyone the mechanisms of the economy do not allow it to reach the mouths of all of the hungry people. This is not due to anything other than the current economic involves “The invisible hand of the market” which is to say the whims of supply and demand. That shit comes from Adam Smith who died in 1790. The best example in the entire fucking universe of good economic design is life itself. That’s what ecology is, how organisms exchange units of energy. Its not different in any way abstractly from what we do. However we have not studied it a lot. Adam Smith died nearly a life time before Darwins Origin of the Species came out (1859). Which as we know revolutionized the way we look at life and led directly to our understanding of ecology. Through the lens of science we can now look at better examples of economic exchange. Showing that the invisible hand of the market is not that competent. That left to “natural” devices systems can centralize until they collapse. The collapse comes not because the organism destroys itself, instead the collapse comes when the entire rules of existing suddenly change and the old organisms cannot continue reproducing. Almost always this is in a state of stability and stagnation. Therefore the pattern to look for in bad economic design is the tendency to centralize. (Centralize may as well be the opposite of diversify)
In our current economy most organisms just consume. Sure we “produce” but most people are not doing things in the grand scheme of things that increase diversity. Instead more and more we have to assist in centralization. So we are essentially consuming resources and lowering diversity in the process.
We can no longer strike to get what we want. Humans have no economic power in their labor or their thought. We can’t fight either. When humans gained the ability to destroy each other it ruled real fighting out. No nation is ever again going to do classic terrain taking warfare. Its too dangerous because escalation is destruction. So even if occupy wanted to say raise an army (terrible idea) it would never work either. Not because people aren’t afraid to die but you just can’t convince people to go and kill as easily as in the past. (The Crusades are a great example of murder and conviction). So its really a good thing imo that warfare is off the table as a possibility of change. Social awareness is just that… social awareness. So standing around in a park will certainly get you noticed. But so what? How does that actually change anything? We don’t need more awareness. We need to limit power while empowering everyone.
I used to work maintaining debt collection software. I also worked for the insurance industry and even under former finance minister Jim Flaherty. I’m not just against corporate and government practices because its in vogue. I voted for Stephen Harper in 2006 for goodness sakes. I really bought conservative ideas. I actually had easy time finding work in 2008 (debt collection software) and still have one of the human skills that are relevant (for now). I’ve come to all of this because as a software developer my job is abstract system analysis. I can’t help but do social debugging.
I’ve been thinking about it since occupy and I think I have an idea of something we could do to collectively still have power. It wouldn’t be something you could attack because it wouldn’t really exist. It wouldn’t be something you could disband because it would have no central organization. It wouldn’t be about revoking labor or threatening violence. Those are also useless. Instead it would rely on the one thing we all seem to have no problems with: debt.
It works on the principal that the economy is simply a relic of our ancestors that has now been appropriated by clever people to use for their own massive massive gain. It does not in fact do what it says on the tin. Dead dove do eat. The one thing we have left is our ability or lack there of to consume. The corporations and global finance sector all are fed by the economy. The economy is like the water cycle, moving around in a pattern keeping things going. It doesn’t work anymore for most and I honestly believe the ensuing “drought” is killing people. Every problem I analyze the biggest issue comes down to powerful companies maintaining the status quo.
So if the economy only serves the elite then why bother with it at all? What if we blew up the current economic model so spectacularly that it couldn’t function anymore? We can’t stop the corporations but we still can hold debt. Companies currently are banking on this to continue the shell game. We might not be dealt very good cards but we can force the game. Since 2008 the response to the economic crisis has been to go back to school. In this time tuition has skyrocketed as a response to the even greater influx of money. Student debt is now massive. We can never hope to stop everyone from buying things, or from not going to work. But what if we convinced everyone to stop paying their loans? The beauty of it is that we wouldn’t need everyone. Just enough, maybe 15% of current loan holders agree on a date. Knowing full well that there will be a fucking reaction but thats the point, there is no way with all of the other problems going on that they could respond. A mass debt strike.
Like a giant tied up in its own red tape. All we need to do is get it to try and swat at us and it will all come tumbling down. By organizing a mass default we end the economy and save lives. It breaks the status quo and that is the biggest problem right now.
Maybe its not a good idea and reoccupying could be a thing. But if the purpose of the activity is the activity then organizing a mass non paying seems like a great way to stop a bunch of thieves from taking money.