Saturday, October 15, 2011

Occupy The World Day Ruminations on the Concept of Ownership

Today, Occupy Wall Street goes global. Simultaneous demonstrations are planned to take to the streets in over 82 countries and more than 951 cities around the world. Here's to the 99%!

I remember reading once how the first written letter came to be. Way back in the mists of time, in Sumeria or some place, it became the first and most important letter in the alphabet because it was the pictogram for the most important thing in ancient life: the cow. Later, the cow icon got reused by the Greeks and Romans for their alphabets and it's still with us in ours: the letter 'A' - one big ol' cow head with horns and all... (albeit, upside down).

Then there's your front yard. You know why you have that patch of grass growing in front of your house? It's not just a place for overflow parking or developing new strains of crabgrass. It symbolizes your very own little field, your own bit of ownership. Like the arcane origins of our letter shapes, the front yard is an idea dating back to old-timey days when rulers derived power from owning all the arable land. But luckier serfs got to have a front yard and send a message to the world saying "hey, I'm no slave... I got land too." It was a pretty egalitarian, pro-proto-middle class idea.

So there's just two random examples of how post-Bronze-age society (i.e., what we call modern civilization) has always expressed itself through an inclusive acknowledgment of the importance of the middle class. At the base of everything, there's always been an accessible, not exclusive, concept of ownership that says we all get to play and you can tell how well we're doing by how many of us do well. But not so much now. The current crop of class warriors on the right - from 999 Cain to Mittens Romney - are literally working to upend 8,000 years of civilization. They'll tell you how 'Merica's problems are all the fault of the poor. We're f*cked by the socialist conspiracy they heard about from Rush Limbaugh that boosts the undeserving poor by "redistributing" the rich guy's money and authority downhill. Inclusion? Not on their watch.

Take the c*ntservatives explanation for what caused the 2008 crash. That was nothing to do with the unfettered greed of crooks on Wall Street... No. It was Barney Frank and Freddy Mac who caused it by encouraging little guys to get homes they were just too poor and stupid to hold onto. How dare, say they, a working chump own stuff. That's not their idea of civilization.


Broadening ownership is what's defined civilization for millennia. Ever since the cow-head letter 'A', ever since us 99%er peasants started calling our little fields front yards. The "right" really are seeking to overturn what's existed since Bronze age hunter gatherers first settled down. Man, there's reactionary. But that's f*cking ridiculous.


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