The Undeclared Class War We Never Wanted
Make no mistake: as 99%ers, we're deeply immersed in a class war we never picked. And in case you didn't notice, we're getting slaughtered.
Pick an issue--be it trade, police militarization and brutality, voting rights, climate action, a livable wage, an affordable education, accessible health care, freedom of speech and press, rule of law, accountable government, or global peace--and ordinary people's right to live decent, peaceful human lives is in desperate jeopardy. The global rich, under the guise of extreme free-market and trickle-down ideologies now exploded by top-notch economists, have radically increased their share of wealth at our expense; aided by insane Supreme Court decisions in these United States, they've used that wealth to buy government policies that in the short run benefit only themselves, and in the long run threaten to destroy human civilization itself in a maelstrom of endless war and climate apocalypse.
It's long past time to fight back in this war, a stealth war of conquest and colonization waged while we were asleep. It's long past time to wake up and raise our pitchforks.
The Pitchfork: Our Symbol of Peaceful Aggression
Let's be absolutely clear: we need a peaceful war, waged by street protest, civil disobedience--and above all, ORGANIZED electioneering. But we also need every bit of anger, outrage, and aggression -- constructively channeled--implied by our potent pitchfork symbol.
For those who missed the initial OpEdNews article sketching our new movement, it briefly explained why the pitchfork is our ideal symbol. Here, let's reiterate and expand upon that article's treatment. Simply put, the pitchfork is not ordinarily a weapon, but a tool of peaceful, honest laborers, seeking to earn a livelihood from the bounty of our common mother, the planet Earth. But sometimes, "in the course of human events" as our universally admired Declaration puts it, less-than-honest tyrants, with a greed far exceeding the peaceful prosperity any decent human being seeks, oppress those honest laborers beyond the tolerance even of souls essentially peacefully disposed. It's then--and only then--those peaceful souls, pushed to the breaking point NO free soul should endure, and using human creativity, repurpose their pitchforks as weapons. The pitchfork as weapon for people too devoted to peaceful sanity to even own guns, sword, or knifes--that's the nature of our movement.
Now granted, our American Revolution was a bloody, violent one--fought not primarily with pitchforks, but with guns that had too often been used to unjustly dispossess the Native Americans previously inhabiting these shores. And the enemy, not primarily domestic, was a distant British one forced at great expense to travel highly inconvenient distances and to use, like her American colonists, the laughably (though fortunately) primitive killing technologies of the time. Now, radically changed technologies mean both radically changed weapons and strategies, and we should be as grateful for the evolution in moral sensibility that grasps the huge injustice inflicted on Native peoples as we should be flabbergasted by humanity's vastly "evolved" power to kill. When our government--hostage to innately violent oligarch interests (for violence is always handmaiden to injustice)--literally possesses the weaponry to drive humanity extinct, no one can justly see in our adoption of the pitchfork as symbol a propensity toward violence. Rather, it signifies the courageous, endless willingness to fight back of essentially peaceful people pushed way too far. As we undeniably have been.
With purely s ymbolic pitchforks raised against our bought-off police state's endless arsenal of weaponry--from tasers to tear gas to sarin to nukes--we're hardly the ones who merit accusations of standing for violence. But what we do need to stand for is peaceful aggression, aggression supported by brains.
It's almost impossible to overemphasize that last sentence. When peaceful everyday people, dedicated only to decent life prospects for everyone, are getting slaughtered in setting the goals for our society, the time for passivity--indeed, even the time for mere assertiveness-- is long past. Political movements, by their very nature (as activist political philosopher Michael Walzer well notes), are the proper response to times when electoral politics are emphatically not delivering adequate results for most people. And above all, when elections are not delivering results for the best and sanest of ordinary people. Our movement must "get up in politicians' faces," even--perhaps especially--the ones supposedly on our side. We must be brainily aggressive in pursuit of what's sane.
Pascal's Brainy Advice for Our Madhouse World
Using our brains as weapons in our defensive war to restore sanity, we must seek insight from a diversity of sources. One surprising source is the versatile French genius Blaise Pascal--at once groundbreaking mathematician, scientist, philosopher, Christian apologist, and "small d" democrat well ahead of his times. Placed beside deist founder Thomas Paine, enemy of organized religion, as font of inspiration for our movement, Pascal makes strange bedfellows indeed. But perhaps exceeding even Paine, Pascal, over a century earlier, demolished the false faÃ§ade a merely fortunate, undeserving nobility used to hold ordinary people in ignorant bondage, artificially barring them from education into the full "grandeur and misery" of our human lot. In our universal, inevitable death, along with our physical and mental frailty, we share a common misery, whereas our godlike reasoning powers and capacity for selfless love, properly nurtured by a just society, grant us all potential access to a common grandeur.
But it's our ordinary, money- and power-dominated world--a world unjustly forbidding ordinary people their shot at a rich existence--that Pascal ruthlessly analyzes. And whether or not we share Pascal's religion--the equally democratic Thomas Paine emphatically didn't--our movement can benefit from Pascal's enduring analysis. For Pascal considered his radically undemocratic world an insane asylum. He viewed government as the imperfect, rule-making warden for that asylum. There's no more piercing analysis of our oligarch-dominated society--and I devoutly hope our Pitchfork Movement, in plotting its strategy, will exercise an astuteness as deep as Pascal's.
See, Pascal's analysis couldn't be more pertinent to our nation's Deep State, which should, as a specific, sinister embodiment of plutocratic evil, be just as much an enemy of our movement. The Deep State, representing entrenched, deep-pocketed interests, almost inevitably gets its way, no matter how insanely far its agenda is from human well-being--or from the publicly avowed principles of the politicians supporting it. What's particularly "batshit crazy" about the Deep State is the code of silence surrounding it. Even our best, normally democratic incumbent politicians--like Bernie Sanders, Liz Warren, or Alan Grayson--react with an uncharacteristic dead silence or deeply defensive hostility when confronted with their rationally inexplicable support for Deep State policies. Like deeply repressed neurotics on some Freudian couch.
Now, it's precisely because our new movement needs to win against desperate political odds--with "climate death" menacing civilization like some sword of Damocles--that we need, alongside our political aggressiveness--to be as ruthlessly realistic about the nature of our "mad, mad world" as the "brainiac" savant Pascal.
Placing "Pascal's Wager" on Inmate Warren