Friday, September 30, 2011

Occupy Wall Street; Arab spring comes to America

No it doesn't.

There is a popular misconception that there has been something called an "Arab Spring." It allegedly began in Tunisia, spread to Egypt, and is now playing itself out in Libya and Syria. Let's have a close look at this "Arab Spring."

In Tunisia, our boy suprised the world by high-tailing it out of the country the moment serious street protests began. Since then, the only freedom the Tunisian people have gained is the freedom to illegally migrate to Europe in greater numbers than before. The Tunisian elite remains the Tunisian elite, and they remain our allies. No spring has sprung in Tunisia.

In Egypt, the army has ruled the country since 1952. The army continues to rule today. They plucked a lame-duck figure-head out of the front office and put him on trial. Nothing has changed. No sign of spring in Egypt.

In Libya we were able to get ahead of the "spring" before it even had a chance to spring. Our racist anti-democratic rebels would be a non-entity without the thousands of NATO bombs that have facilitated their "success", such as it is. The Bruce County Farmers Co-op could take over Canada in three months if we had unlimited NATO air support. Springtime never hit Libya at all.

The Syrian spring might have got some traction if we'd given it a fraction of the support we gave Libya. But no, too much springtime in Syria might offend our friends in Israel, so we'll let that one slide. Interesting side-bar to that story: civilians from our "liberated" Iraq are still heading over the Syrian border as I write this, looking for a little peace and quiet. The lesson there is that when we "liberate" people they're screwed.

So any invocation of Arab Spring in the discussion about the Wall Street protests is simply misplaced. Which is not to say we don't await our own spring. But we're not waiting for the Arab Spring. What we need is the American Spring.

In my lifetime the relative standard of living of the American working class has done nothing but decline. One administration after another, both Republican and Democrat, has entrenched the advantages of the one percent at the expense of the vast majority. The Tea Party is a misguided manifestation of America's frustration with this reality. But the Tea Party is simply the latest divide-and-conquer tool of the one percenters who finance it.

I don't care if America is ever again "the greatest." But I would dearly like to see an America that says no to stupid wars, that says yes to quality education for all of her people, that provides quality health care to everyone regardless of their means. I want to see an America that gives her people, the ninety-nine percent, some hope that the 2050's will be at least as good as the 1950's.

Bring on the American Spring.

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