Occupy Main Street

10.4.11


The stirrings of an anti-corporate-plutocracy movement in the US are making themselves known.

Protesters under the loose 'Occupy Wall Street' affiliation have been camped out in NYC's Financial District for more than two weeks now. This small group of activist individuals has finally broken through an initial mainstream-media blackout, and the word is spreading to offshoots across the country.

Is this the US's long-anticipated version of the 'Arab Spring'… an 'American Fall' (ahem) harnessing the same revolutionary spirit that's brought thousands of global citizens into their own streets throughout 2011, speaking up in demand of little more than their own fair shot at a comfortable life?

From the astrological perspective, the confluence of rebellious, insubordinate surges in different worldwide locations at this same critical moment—if not unified in cultural specificity, then surely in the crude anger directed toward agents of systemic greed that profit at the expense of the powerless—fits the times perfectly. Uranus squaring Pluto, still forming to its first exact peak (of seven!) in June 2012: the sharp clash between (a) radical forces of liberatory change and (b) shrewdly entrenched structures of authority. We're just getting started.

This is a basic conflict older than human history. The powerful exploit the less-powerful for their own gain. The longer it goes on, the more brazen the exploitation becomes, the greater the pressure of anger from the disenfranchised grows. Eventually, it always blows: uprisings, overthrows, attempts to redress the abuses and imbalances. Just how powerful are 'the powerful', once confronted head-on by the raw fury of their supposed underlings?

'Great Awakener' Uranus whips the anti-establishment populism into a frenzy in Aries, the fire-starter sign that ignites new cycles into being, fanning whatever flames are needed to burn yesterday's crusty carcasses away. This is the same fireball of angry discontent that fueled the rise of the Tea Party, another decentralized movement of disgruntled Americans which arose earlier during this outbreak of 'populist outrage' (first hitting my consciousness 2 years ago, during a Venus retrograde in Aries which I described as carrying 'prophetic whiffs' of this very theme).

Tea Partiers direct their anger mainly at the federal government, seen as corruptly bureaucratic and obstructionist… and if only the government would get out of the path of free enterprise (and other cherished but unclearly-defined 'freedoms'), we could go on our merry way pursuing the American Dream of self-created success. Those now Occupying Wall Street are obviously going after the financial institutions, seen as heartless thieves of the common citizens' wealth (and loophole-loving lawbreakers to boot)… and if only the government would step in and fairly regulate and tax them, we could go on our merry way pursuing the American Dream of collective affluence. Despite the sharp ideological contrast between the two, they are united in how pissed off they are at those who use their power, whether political or economic, to impose restrictions on the rest of us.

Notably, both the Tea Party and the Occupy Wall Street movements have also been bashed by their critics (of varying positions) for lacking a coherent, cohesive strain of arguments to articulate exactly what they hope to gain from their activism. Are we combating fascism, socialism, or government itself? Do we want more jobs, fairer taxation, a free pass on our underwater mortgages, or the abolition of the death penalty? Who should be held accountable, and for what? What are the actual demands?

The critics have a fair observation, to be sure, but what's behind their point? Perhaps, average angry citizens struggle to cohere around a concise central purpose because the causes of their discontent are, in fact, quite complex. Even the well-informed must perpetually stay on their toes, if they hope to garner comprehensive insight into this connect-the-dots game which implicates a symbiotic web of bankers, policymakers and press-agents scratching each other's backs with gold coins. So much interpenetrating rot is difficult to accurately diagnose at its root.

And frankly, Uranus in Aries as instigator of revolution doesn't give a shit about all that. Aries is not known as an intellectually sophisticated connoisseur of nuance. It simply gets agitated and lashes out. The terms of an Aries-fueled dispute are stark: You are keeping me from what I want; you must be defeated so I may get what I want. What happens after the battle is of no concern to the Aries warrior, as long as the battle is won. Is it any wonder this populist rage is so visceral, yet imprecise? That's also why it can be so effectively active—and yet so easy to hijack, in potentially dangerous directions.

Those on the political right have begun tossing around the phrase 'class warfare' in an attempt to undercut moves made by President Obama to increase taxes on the wealthy, as if accusing their adversary of incendiary pot-stirring will shame him into backing down. (Discussions of the present deployment of this term at HuffingtonPost.com and Forbes.com.) The thinking behind this talking-point evidently hinges on the assumption the average American will have a knee-jerk negative reaction to such a Marxist-sounding description, in seeming violation of the US's central 'all men are created equal' myth of universal liberty.

Yet, while the 'warfare' part of the phrase perhaps overstates the current status of the progressive movement, it certainly isn't incorrect to say we're now reaching a critical crisis in tensions between the economic classes. Billionaire (and spokesman for the less-miserly wealthy) Warren Buffett agrees with the talking-point assessment: 'Actually, there's been class warfare going on for the last 20 years, and my class [the rich] has won. We're the ones that have gotten our tax rates reduced dramatically.' Though a small civic park near Wall Street has been taken over by a band of committed activists, in fact it's 'Main Street USA' in its myriad local manifestations that has been 'occupied' by wealthy plutocrats: local businesses slain by chain-stores, the neighborhood banker devoured by faceless faraway middle-managers, roads and bridges left to crumble while municipal funds pour into private redevelopment projects, schools and hospitals and prisons absorbed by for-profit ventures. Who is at war against whom, anyway?

As the current power-players lurch for a better grip on their shaky thrones, as symbolized by Pluto's travels through Capricorn, their tactics become more desperate… including using the media propaganda machine to twist the rhetoric upside-down, to accuse the victims of being perpetrators in the crimes against them. In any unequal power dynamic, however, it is flatly inconceivable for those on the weaker side to perpetrate much of anything. Meanwhile, those who hold the reins will always have a more limited understanding of the collective reality, due to how the privilege of their life-situation erases certain experiences from their view—which explains why it's so easy for them to buy their own myths (since they have the purchasing power, after all), and not to see the limits in their thinking.

This is a classic historical-materialism reading of society, and a necessary knowledge-tool for deconstructing the plutocrats' clever arguments, thrown up to defend the sanctity of a system that's served them (and only them) pretty well… and, while they're at it, to divide the populace along racial, religious and cultural lines, and to distract us with the Casey Anthonys and Amanda Knoxs of relative unimportance. Pluto in Capricorn raises, out from the shadows, the uncomfortable reality of how collective resources are strategically spent to preserve the interests of the few: media airtime granted only to approved 'news', campaign ads bought in shady anonymity, lobbyists padding lawmakers' pockets, policy essentially paid for by the highest bidder. The intensifications and exacerbations furthered by Pluto's merciless fingering make this long-in-effect dynamic more widely understood, increasingly impossible to ignore.

And when Uranus-in-Aries's short-fused ire at being restrained confronts Pluto-in-Capricorn's iron grip…? As I said: We're just getting started.

On Sep 17, the first day of the Occupy Wall Street protest, Venus at 3 degrees Libra was just setting off the T-square to Uranus and Pluto I wrote about in this article. Venus is said to rule not only our interpersonal relations but also money (which is nothing more than an agreed-upon mode for conveying relative value)… and from her poignant placement on such a momentous occasion, she addresses the social contract which underlies our collective agreement to play by certain rules, in order to work together functionally as a society. Venus is typically very happy in Libra, as long as everyone is getting a fair shake. In squaring Pluto, alas, she must confront how unfair certain 'agreements' have become—and in opposing Uranus, her patience gives way to a 'what about me?' immediacy that's chomping to rattle the cage.

Worth noting, in closing: At the birth of the US on Jul 4 1776, Venus and Jupiter were conjunct between 3 and 6 degrees Cancer, a position also currently forming a T-square with Uranus and Pluto. This story's still developing, my fellow citizens…

Occupy Wall Street rediscovers the radical imagination (The Guardian UK)
Occupy Wall Street:—Not Just Another Protest Movement from the Loony Left (FOXNews.com)
We Are the 99 Percent
Occupy Together (unofficial hub for nationwide Occupy groups)