2012-01-01 Cultivating coercion: Occupy 2012

Image"There is nothing more difficult to manage, or more doubtful of success, or more dangerous to handle than to take the lead in introducing a new order of things. For the innovator has enemies in all those who are doing well under the old order, and he has only lukewarm defenders in all those who would do well under the new order. ...

"It is necessary, however ... to determine whether these innovators are standing on their own or depend on others; that is, whether they have to beg or are able to use force in order to conduct their affairs. In the first case they always end up badly and do not accomplish anything, but when they depend on their own resources and are able to use force, then they are rarely in danger. From this comes the fact that all armed prophets have been victorious and the unarmed ones have come to ruin. For ... people are by nature fickle, and it is easy to persuade them of something, but difficult to keep them persuaded. And therefore, it is necessary to arrange things so that when they no longer believe, they can be made to believe by force."
-- Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince

Like a staggering senilic that fouls its own food, our leadership has declared war against its own people. In 2011 the U.S. green-lighted the indefinite detention and murder of citizens, without charge or trial. Local police departments have deployed Predator spy drones and other, highly-advanced military technology against law-abiding residents, while beating and pepper-spraying peaceful protestors. Even the once-mighty markets, like storm-shaken trees trashed in a maelstrom, crashed as the ruling classes systematically manipulated and mismanaged the economy, impoverishing millions and depriving them of the basic needs of shelter and clean food and water. All indicators point to a power-addled "me" generation that learned to worship perversion, and now seems intent on self-destructing in murderous sorrow.

These signs of a democracy in crisis also offer a new opportunity for a changing of the guard. But unless we learn the means of coercion, we will be continually enslaved by those already thus armed, ruled eternally by evil men and women who lust to wield the weapons of power against their people.

Indeed, the WikiLeaks project derived success in large part by the forceful use of data. From this war of information alliances were forged; citizen armies worldwide challenged, and fitfully ousted, vestiges of the decaying Age of Despots. Now we must marshal our resources and infiltrate the corridors of power, by selecting the most able leaders and employing all means at our disposal to install them in positions of influence -- within the fields of finance, governance, the media, military, arts, and education. We must occupy the elections, occupy the Nasdaq, occupy the Capitol and the courts, the inner circles, the airwaves and mainframes.

This generation's revolutionaries need no longer play the red-headed stepchild. Unless we stop acting the pauper and jettison the habit of begging for our keep, we will forever remain at the mercy of oppressors. We must now cultivate the power to coerce.