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"Occupy Empire" fighting to keep one version of the "American Dream"

Author 4064
Message Alan MacDonald
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 I am fairly familiar with the late 19th century US efforts of Mark Twain/Samuel Clemens, Samuel Gompers, John Dewey, et al in forming the "Anti-Imperialist League", which through the leverage of actually 'calling-out' the terms 'Empire/Imperialism' as what America was doing, had a very populist and progressive mass appeal then ---- which we lack today, because the 'term' Empire and/or Imperialism have become taboo words in the corporatist MSM.

I remain very convinced that if the defused message of the current Occupy movement did nothing except articulate a strong and clear statement that our country has been 'captured' and is now "Occupied" by a disguised Empire --- and if they did this aggressively by simply using the the name "Occupy Empire" --- that the elite corporatist media would not be able to avoid mentioning the term, "Occupy Empire", and that consequently the masses of honest, but ill-informed middle/working-class Americans would naturally think, "What Empire?"  Then ask themselves the key question, "Is our country really an Empire?  Is it acting like an Empire?" And thus become much more educated about this terrible situation in our country and that many Americans would answer their  own question, saying to themselves, "Well, Yes.  It sure does seem like an Empire, with all those foreign wars, and the looting on Wall Street, and the unresponsive government!"

And then a much more considerable portion of the average citizens would become aware and say to themselves, "My God, it sure does look and act like an Empire, in which I have ZERO power or even participation in democracy --- this friggin thing actually does seem to me to be much more like the kind of oppressive Empire that our forefathers confronted in 1776."

It might not be that all 99% of Americans would soon understand and recognize that they are living in a phony, unrepresentative, and undemocratic situation that acts more like an Empire than a democratic country, but I sure as hell think that far more Americans than those few early demonstrators active in Occupy today, would say, "Yes, this 'Occupy Empire' has a very valid point, and it's not just that they are complaining about being economically screwed themselves, but that these young Occupiers may well be warning us that we are all being economically AND politically screwed."  "Maybe I should get involved in protesting for my own economic and political rights myself, against this apparent Empire?"

I'm just sayin', ...  it might broaden the movement toward more of the 99% actually understanding and getting involved.

Even 25% would be HUGE!! --- and more than sufficient to start a non-violent Second American Revolution! A revolution "Against Empire", which, after all, is what the First American Revolution was against.

If we are talking about Empire, which I am, then the 1% who rule an Empire are exactly what the Occupy movement term 'the 1%' means to me and most Americans.

I would wholeheartedly agree that Occupy could and should raise alarm and banner, "Occupy Empire" to further broaden popular understanding and participation in this progressive action ---- just as the "Anti-Imperialist" league vastly broadened popular understanding and recognition that America in the robber-baron era was being Imperialist, or acting like an EMPIRE.

Yes, this would both broaden and clarify who is in the 1% and who is in the 99%, by allowing everyone to know that it's not just how much money people have, but EVEN MORE IMPORTANTLY who is an "Empire-thinker", and who is a "democracy-thinker".

In the First American Revolution "Against Empire" the distinction was not just who is rich, because they side with the British Empire, but more importantly, who is a patriot for democracy and self-government, and who is a royalist/loyalist to the EMPIRE.

Some have this all wrong, but it's partly just reflecting the fact that the Occupy movement, as currently constituted and discussed, has it wrong also.  The 1% is not strictly defined by who has all the money, but must be understood by all Americans more clearly as, "who are the 1% who believe in Empire?" (often because Empire serves their financial purposes), and "who are the 99% who believe in democracy?"

This is not just an issue of money ---- unless that's all you can think in terms of.

This is an issue of economic AND political freedom, democracy, equality, justice, liberty!!

The real definition of the 1%, and this MUST BE MADE CLEAR from the Occupy movement, is that the 1% are those who benefit financially from the 'occupying Empire' that now controls our country, and who also prefer to have the country be their Empire.  The 1% is both an economic/financial concept AND a political belief.

Naturally, the 99% is also an economic/financial and money issue, but even more importantly a political/patriotic and social belief in democracy.

When the current Occupy movement shouts out that it is really interested in "Occupying the Empire" to recover democracy, then all will be clear regarding which side of the line, patriot or Royalist, anybody stands on --- be it a wealthy democracy advocate like Sean Penn, or a moderate income Empire-enabler like Obama.

Likewise there are really two different concepts of "The American Dream".

The money based version of the American Dream, can be just an average American's or even an immigrant modest dream of a reasonable level of economic opportunity, freedom, and sufficient chance of success to own a home, raise kids, and live a decent life --- which is fine. But this money oriented version of the American Dream can also get very perverted very fast and become a predatory 'me first' at any cost, hustler's or grifter's version --- which Fitzgerald wrote fictionally of in the 20's in "Gatsby", and Morris Berman wrote non-fictionally of since 2006 in "Dark Ages America" and "Why America Failed; The Final Phase of Empire". This sociopathic version of the American Dream is also what we're seeing playing out right now in Corporate Board rooms, Wall Street, and shamefully in Washington addicted to money and legalized bribery leading to overspending on the Empire's war weapons and deceitful demands for austerity from we the people.

The contrasting socio-political and cultural version of the American Dream has always kept its dream more chaste and idealistic, and it's a vision that 99% of average American's will never give up on. That less pervert-able American Dream is still the original vision of incomparable and boundless beauty of nature and the belief in a rebirth and democratic self-government as its own reward. It's also reflected in Fitzgerald's "Gatsby" but as an unspoiled sense that we feel we are greater than we can know, when inspired by something we can not describe; "Most of the big shore places were closed now and there were hardly any lights except the shadowy, moving glow of a ferryboat across the Sound. And as the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away until gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors' eyes -- a fresh, green breast of the new world. Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby's house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder."

This is the essential American Dream that transcends the physical and the fiscal wealth of mere money, and reflects the natural wonder of the environment, fellowship, familiarity, and something that we can not know, but can not fail to feel, and which is connected with others we love for reasons we don't understand. Ands this pure American (and human) Dream can never fall to the lust of Empire.

[Fitzgerald, Francis Scott (2012-05-03). The Great Gatsby ( +Annotated, +Biography, +Actively table of contents ) (Kindle Locations 2292-2298). Francis Scott Fitzgerald. Kindle Edition. ]

Best luck and love to the "Occupy
Empire" educational and revolutionary movement.

Liberty, democracy, equality, & justice

Alan MacDonald
Sanford, Maine


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Retired Director of Product Strategy NEC now teaching HS part time.
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