Sunday, October 9, 2011

Red Ink

Slavoj Žižek spoke at Wall Street today.  Occupy Wall Street carries a video and full transcript here.  In this excerpt, the crowd repeats his lines like poetry back to the speaker and out to other listeners:

They tell you we are dreamers
The true dreamers are those who think
Things can go on indefinitely the way that they are
We are not dreamers
We are awakening
From a dream that is turning into a nightmare
We are not destroying anything
We are only witnessing how the system in destroying itself
We all know the classic scenes from cartoons
The cart reaches a precipice
But it goes on walking
Ignoring the fact that there is nothing beneath
Only when it looks down and notices it
It falls down
This is what we are doing here
We are telling the guys on wall street
“hey! Look down!”
(Cheers, hollers of enthusiasm)
In april 2011
The Chinese government prohibited
On t.v., on films, and in novels
All stories that contained alternate reality or time travel
This is a good sign for China!
It means that people still dream about alternatives!
So you have to prohibit these dreams
Here we don’t think about prohibition
Because the ruling system has even repressed our capacity to dream!
Look at the movies that we see all the time
It’s easy to imagine the end of the world
An asteroid destroying all life as we know
But you cannot imagine the end of capitalism
So what are we doing here?
Let me tell you a wonderful old joke from communist times
A guy was sent from east Germany to work in Siberia
He knew his mail would be read by censors
So he told his friends
Let’s establish a code
If a letter you get from me is written in blue ink, it is true
If it is written in red ink, it is false
After a month, his friends get a letter
Everything is in blue
Everything is wonderful here
Stores are full of good food
Movie theaters show good films from the west
Apartments are large and luxurious
The only thing you cannot buy
Is red ink!
This is how
We have all the freedoms we want
But what we are missing is red ink!
The language to articulate our non-freedom
The way we are taught to talk about freedom
War and terror and so one
Falsifies freedom
And that is what you are doing here
You are giving us all red ink!
There is a danger
Don’t fall in love with yourselves
We have a nice time here
But remember
Carnivals come cheap
What matters is the day after
When we will have to return to normal life
Will there be any changes then?
I don’t want you to remember these days
You know like oh we were young it was beautiful
Remember that our basic message is
We are allowed to think about alternatives!
The taboo is broken!
We do not live in the best possible world!

Slavoj Žižek speaks to Occupy Wall Street

You can hear this same speaker - audience response calming the crowd at the web viral police brutality incident  recently updated with extended video coverage at commondreams.  In the extended minutes,  while the policeman is beating people, and the crowd screams and reacts, someone proclaims, "We are a peaceful demonstration!"  Suddenly, it seems, everyone stops and starts reciting his lines back (i.e. "We are a peaceful demonstration!") - and any sense of impending violence immediately de-escalates at that point (thanks to the protesters).  The police themselves are filmed simply standing on the outside of the group, enclosing them, while this horrific incident takes place.

There's a wonderful photograph of an enormous peaceful crowd overflowing at Foley Square at that same link.

Courtesy of Common Dreams

William Rivers Pitt at truthout adds another line to Mahatma Gandhi's famous quote.

A transcript of Naomi Klein on Wall Street Friday October 7th.

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