This Is What Democracy Looks Like (Why Citizen Media Matters)

Rise Like Lions: OWS and the Seeds of Revolution (2011) is a film that documents Occupy Movements around the world and acknowledges the awakening of Earth’s long silent populace.

Humble and heroic, painful yet empowering, this film bears witness to the power of ordinary people armed only with  Truth. If you want to know what heroism looks like, look no further. (There is a scene at around the 1 hour, 23 minute mark that may be the single bravest act of courage ever filmed).

“Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number –
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you –
Ye are many – they are few.”

-Percy Bysshe Shelley

How does mainstream media fail to cover this? Are the crowds too small? The message too unimportant?

Or is it more likely that corporate-owned media suppresses coverage because it doesn’t want the “many” to understand that they are not alone.

One thing is clear; the beginning is near.

Corporate Fear Rules Small Minds

Occupy Koch Town protest Feb. 18, 2012I recently had the pleasure of attending Occupy Koch Town in Wichita, Kansas on February 18, 2012. The purpose of the event was to raise awareness about the disastrous effects large corporations are having upon our society, our government, our environment and our general well-being.

Organized largely through a Facebook post made 3 weeks previously, the event was essentially an open invitation for all concerned citizens to march in front of Koch Industries’ headquarters and the Wichita Chamber of Commerce. Anyone was allowed to attend, to have a voice and to play a part if they wanted to.

It worked. People from as far away as South Dakota were there. In fact, more than half of the attendees weren’t from Wichita at all. This is a good sign.

Here are a few photos of my fellow protesters taken by Kansas City photographer Jerry Schmidt to help document our peaceful protest:

I’ve attended about a dozen of these events around the Midwest and one of the things that stands out over-and-over is the unusually broad-based support they achieve. No matter who you are or where you come from, you’ll likely see folks that resemble your friends, family or neighbors; all peaceful citizens exercising their civic duty to redress grievances through peaceful protest.

Unlike what gets reported in the media, these protesters are bona fide “regular” Americans, not satanic anarchists trying to steal your soul and brainwash your babies.

Why do you think there’s such a huge disparity between what actually goes on at these rallies and what gets reported? Could it be that somebody has a special interest in keeping the public fearful and ignorant?

Consider this movie trailer from Citizens United depicting their version of what the Occupy Wall Street movement is really all about:

This is no joke. Citizens United has actually produced this movie and intends to circulate it within echo chamber media outlets like Fox News and other mis-information sources that spread fear and ignorance to an under-informed and obedient audience.

In a little over 2 minutes they identify a dozen boogeymen on which to attach their fear and hatred:

  • Political humorist, Bill Maher
  • Former Democratic Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi
  • Documentary filmmaker, Michael Moore
  • Democratic leader, Harry Reid
  • President Obama (black Satan)
  • Internet powerhouse Anonymous
  • Calling Tea Partiers “radical” or “a manufactured party”
  • Drug use
  • Violence
  • Rape
  • Anarchy
  • Militant or war-like tendencies

What’s wrong with these people? Are they so afraid that their ideas can’t stand scrutiny that they feel like they must create an alternative reality for themselves where truth, knowledge and progress are unnecessary and unwelcome?

Compare what is represented in that ominous trailer to this cell phone video clip from our Occupy Koch Town event:

Clearly, there’s a disconnect.

The sad part is that many of those Fox network watching sheeple will believe the garbage they’re fed and continue to support the very people who keep them down.

They’ll continue believing that right-wing nut jobs and corporate banksters are somehow protecting them from these “imaginary threats.”   As long as they obediently watch and obey, it will only encourage more corporate-sponsored fear.

After all, it’s what motivates the sheep.


If hope was a color
it would be brown
like the corrugated billboards
that occupy Zuccotti Park

if hope had an odor
it would smell like peppers
saturating the midnight air

if hope had a taste
it would taste like the milk
running from my eyes
and down my cheeks

if hope made a noise
we would hear bongos beating
behind the wail of the elderly
and the screams of the suppressed
that lay beaten in the street

if hope was a feeling
it would be the tightening
of plastic cable ties
around innocent wrists
and blows from batons
that rain down
upon the rib cages
of professors and students
who won’t bite their tongues
any longer

if hope had a heart
it would be enclosed
in the chest cavity
of an eagle soaring
above the smoke filled streets
lined with debt and unemployment

-Jake St. John 11/18/11

Jake St. John writes out of New London, CT, where he also coordinates poetry readings in and around the New England area. He is the co-editor of Flying Fish and the editor of Elephant.

Corporate Rule Is Not Inevitable

We have power7 signs the corporatocracy is losing its legitimacy … and 7 populist tools to help shut it down.

You may remember that there was a time when apartheid in South Africa seemed unstoppable.

Sure, there were international boycotts of South African businesses, banks, and tourist attractions. There were heroic activists in South Africa, who were going to prison and even dying for freedom. But the conventional wisdom remained that these were principled gestures with little chance of upending the entrenched system of white rule.

“Be patient,” activists were told. “Don’t expect too much against powerful interests with a lot of money invested in the status quo.”

With hindsight, though, apartheid’s fall appears inevitable: the legitimacy of the system had already crumbled. It was harming too many for the benefit of too few. South Africa’s freedom fighters would not be silenced, and the global movement supporting them was likewise tenacious and principled. Continue reading to identify the 7 signs →