The 1% and the 99%
A friend and I have been in e-mail exchange over a particular issue that irks me about the Occupy Wall Street movement and you [Ross] have used the same language in the Occupy World Street video.
It is the issue about the use of the 99% vs. the 1% language and image. I can look at this from multiple perspectives and can see that we do need to "name and shame" the 1%. I also can agree with your assessment in the video of their sole commitment to personal interest and protecting their wealth and power. I can see the boost it may give a large group of people globally to feel that they are the silent and increasingly not so silent majority.
I am also concerned with the fact that the 1% holds the access to mass manipulation via the media and still manages to tell a great many people what to think and strive for. They also hold access to military capability and surveillance to create even more totalitarian states.
AND, who are they? ... the 1%? , but human beings believing somehow that they are doing the right thing? The 99% should make it perfectly clear to them that they are mistaken in both means and ends. Nevertheless, are we not aiming to build a sustainable and just future for 100% of humanity and 100% of the community of life?
Think for a minute how the different memetic centres of gravity would hear the message/image of the 99% vs. the 1%? (sorry for the slip into Spiral Dynamics parlance) Is there not a danger of creating another round of them-versus-us thinking that has already created so much misery for our species? How can we communicate the need to extend an open path of reconciliation and collaboration to the 1% and not vilify and alienate all of them to a degree that things get even more violent?
I know many people in the activist movement who equate people with a lot of money with the 1%, and I have been fortunate enough to have met people with a lot of money who are the living proof of that not being the case. Your own path shows that someone who could have 'played hardball' as an international currency trader and amassed staggering amounts of money in pure self-interest, can also choose a path of being one of the most effective philanthropists I know and initiate and support projects and companies in 33 countries, building successes like GEN and GE.
Don't get me wrong, Ross. I know where you are coming from in using this language. I am only wondering whether the diversity of people that will receive the 1 vs. 99% message will hear it the same way. The schism is already there, and yes there are people among the 1% that seem like unlikely candidates for a change of heart, mind and consciousness, but I am still passionate about aiming for a path that includes the 100%. We are all in the same boat and it is taking on water fast! But making anybody walk the plank because they are not with us, so they must be against us, is a revolutionary rather than en evolutionary response. Revolutionary responses tend to be bloody and create strong back-lashes.
The Gaian League sounds great though and I look forward to reading more about it. I would be happy to hear some voices about the 99% versus 1% meme that is spreading for good and for worse possibly? Am I just stuck in my green-meme filters of "we must include everybody"? Is it yellow to say "yes, but not these idiots who are wrecking the planet and are responsible for the suffering of millions"? How would turquoise communicate a firm message that is confronting and reconciliating at the same time? I have no answers, just a persistent reaction of ill-ease when I hear the 99% vs. 1% meme without a both/and aim for the 100%.