Saturday, 15 October 2011

Occupy Wall Street movement and Weber's iron-cage

In my last blog entry I spoke a bit about the lop-sided nature of aboriginal-government relations. I watched an in-depth piece by Diane Sawyer called, "A Hidden America: Children of the Plains" about native American experience that I found extremely familiar and disheartening about the long, sorry history of neglect and abject proverty which is the lot of aboriginal peoples in North America (the pinnacle of the first world) and in the world in general.

As I've said, racism and prejudice are no longer socially acceptable but are still openly practiced as a matter of course by our institutions. One of the informants of Sawyer's interviews said that the native reservations are more regulated than nuclear power plants in the States, and I don't think that assessment is too far off the mark. Max Weber's iron cage (corporatism; rational-legalism), to which the world is just waking up as the spread of "Occupy Wall Street" movement shows, is something that cut its teeth on the lower classes and aboriginal groups along the same lines as the movie Gridlock'd starring Tupac Shakur and Tim Roth.

The movie Gridlock'd is about two heroin addicts, Spoon (Shakur) and Stretch (Roth), who trying to clean themselves up and get into rehab but the government bureaucracy spurns them in every turn (with all-too-familiar officious gusto) as they try and survive the day and avoid both the law and criminals long enough to get into a rehab program. Disregarding the pedantic, clueless critics' reviews (the same species that are trying to belittle "Occupy Wall Street") the movie speaks to anyone who's had the misfortune of having no choice but to deal with bureaucracy just to try and keep body and soul together.

I think the "Occupy Wall Street" movement is much older than the current and spreading protests would suggest: Gridlock'd; Les Miserables; Dickens' books; Thomas Paine; the fathers of the American Constitution; Buber's philosophy; Jesus; Kahlil Gibran, etc. etc. - the list is endless. But the one demand is still "to have one's humanity recognised"; to treat each each with human dignity and justice; to transcend spurious labels and "professional diagnoses" to see the human being underneath the prejudice.

Jay

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