We are the 99% - A Reflective Reminder
I was reminded in a recent Xmas correspondence that the seasons have their transformational effects on us (5 Transformations); as I get older my weaker body and its kaya-consciousness has to be more in harmony with the seasons. My ego has been drawn to the disappointment of Corbyn, and I reflect on a decade where early on there was such hope when we were united behind “We are the 99%”. This spontaneous outpouring of consciousness brought me back into the world of activism, and eventually led to the understanding of pathtivism that there must be a requirement of complete engagement even though that leads to complete disenchantment in activism; this is a prerequisite for knowing that the only way forward is the path.
This year felt like a culmination of my searching as pathtivism consolidated in the Manual, the Treatise and Manual are best considered together as they build up to pathtivism. The third part of my spiritual trilogy – the Pathtivist trilogy – is the Companion. Fortunately a student of Zandtaomed appeared out of the internet, and as my work with her developed so has the Companion. Learning to follow the path comes in many forms, I am happy that with the trilogy I can now offer a way for someone to do that with me. Whilst the Companion will always be amended as any work as a Companion Elder will add to the way I help implement pathtivism through meditation (esp. as I build up appropriate resources – not necessarily creating them), there does feel a sense of completion. I could present many arguments as to why I am Buddhist, but the institutions of Buddhism, and perhaps even those institutions around Buddhadasa, might criticise because I have not followed the usual monastic route. I now don’t have to defend my Buddhism or the path I have followed, I just say I am a pathtivist and this is how I can help you follow your path. That feels a complete position. As an aside to this sense of completion I am wondering if Wai Zandtao Scifi might be more prominent now.
Complacency is always an issue when you present such a summative position. I have much to learn. Every which way I turn, eventually I learn the Buddha has been there and gone far beyond. This is such a strength to know. As new steps unfold on my path, I will always have a reference. But pathtivism is not about cloisters, it is about my path, how I have arrived on my path, and in terms of completeness how I can help someone else start on their path. It is practical and not cloisters. It is a personal approach that does not involve being monastic because not all paths have to put on robes – although for many that is probably the easiest way to get somewhere. It is perfectly natural for the path to move in and out of connections with institutions and creeds, because those creeds were originally someone’s path and the institutions that built around those creed-paths at least had the intention of helping people start their paths. But throughout the world there are individuals whose path does not take them that way, and throughout the world there is a consciousness amongst a few seekers that the practice of spiritual teaching has not applied the teachings fully in terms of shadow and completeness. Such institutional criticisms are not simply ego, western ego, western miseducation but unfortunately amongst some of the westerners with this awareness there is a scenario of throwing the spiritual baby out with the bath water. There is no doubt in my mind that Buddhism does provide the groundwork for anyone starting on the path, it is just a case for each individual to find a way of understanding this, how to make it personally palatable, and how to avoid being dragged into interminable intellectualisations about a path whose essence for the Buddha was to move beyond intellect. But of course it is not just Buddhism that can show the path, that is the wonder of the path there are so many ways to follow.
But the path comes from nature and is nature’s instructions for us all to live a better life for ourselves and how collectively our paths can make a better world. A world of monasteries would be a world of theory, is that feasible? The path is concerned with practice, theory applied in practice. Individually if our path does not make us better we are not following it, collectively if the world is defiled then we know the paths are not being followed sufficiently. But theory and practice is understanding about the path and how to apply it, it is never a set of teachings to be discussed endlessly, to be quoted endlessly, or to be given lip-service on a Sunday or Friday. It is about practice every second of every minute of every day of every year, and that is a huge task as conditioning in all its forms is always placing its defilements in the way as can be seen by the defiled world of greed, delusion and aversion that we live in.
This practice brings about a consciousness in every second of every minute of every day of every year of daily life, and in Buddhism this is called mindfulness. This mindfulness brings complete engagement 24/7, and with this complete engagement comes the decisions as to conscious activism given the understanding of complete disenchantment necessary to cope with activism as politics etc.
That brings me back to “We are the 99%” as for me this was a spontaneous outburst of spiritual, human and class consciousness. Built up over the years I saw Occupy (Wall Street) as a culmination of forces that maybe began in Horizontalidad, and definitely had roots in the Arab Spring and movements in Spain. In the US Occupy, particularly OWS, brought together all ages, spirituality and meditators, political hacks of all ages and the foreclosed and students in debt. This 99%-consciousness involved all except the Wall Street bankers and the accumulation they represent. And they asked that the system be changed. This 99%-consciousness was simply the class consciousness that Marx recognised although times have changed and we are not talking of factory-owners but the 1% who are the backbone of the finance system and corporations. It recognised that the 1% are the source of all our problems whether we considered Mother Earth, wars or wage-slavery, the source was recognised as the 1%. This source was not simply recognised through political rhetoric but brought together spirituality, creativity as well as the understanding that comes from clear political analysis. That is a level of consciousness and unity that had never been seen since the 60s yet it was in a sense better than the 60s because whilst the 60s fought the war and demanded an opening of minds Occupy’s consciousness came from Unity and recognised that the source of problems was finance accumulation – 1%. It was so clear.
And the clarity of this 99%-consciousness was its downfall, and very quickly within 3 months the US police were militarised and the Occupy encampments across the US were demolished – ending the Occupy movement across the world. But it did not end the Occupy consciousness, something that can never be destroyed, spontaneously the people came together and were united.
In these times of financed division we must not forget that consciousness, it was there and we came together. The amount of finance that has gone into dividing the 99% since Occupy is an indicator for me as to how much Occupy frightened the 1%. For the first time the 1% were NAMED as the source of planetary destruction, war and wage-slavery. This source was the 1%, not governments, ideals, political systems but the 1% - the 1% were NAMED.
A few years earlier Hillary Clinton, I think it was in a talk to the cfr spoke of a pressing need to control the internet. The internet has the potential to inform, activists such as myself held out great hopes as this communication developed. This is why this leading puppet spoke of the need to control it. Basically she was telling the 1% through the cfr that they needed to invest in controlling the internet. Occupy was their wake-up call as the 99% used the internet to mobilise and come together. From then on investment flooded the internet. Dark Money has promoted the right wing, the Big Tent has ensured that the Democrats comply with bipartisan neoliberalism, and from the Unity of the 99% we now have unprecedented division. And the 1% are raking it in.
What is significant about the unity of Occupy was that there were no liberal divisions – no identity politics. The interests of the LBGTQ communities, gender and race were all promoted within the 99%. The interests of Mother Earth were promoted for all the 99%. There was no factional division, no either/or, the 99% were asking that all the system needed change. Activists were not pitched against each other, they were pitched against the 1%, because the interests of all the 99% were recognised as everyone’s interests. For the 1% this had to be divided.
Significant in building Occupy was the internet, and significant in destroying that unity has been the investment in the internet that Hillary had called for. Human downgrading (as coined by CHT) is the process that has been financed since Occupy. Appealing to the worst aspects of human ego (especially in white men) divisions over race and gender have dominated political agendas since Occupy. Cambridge Analytica were exposed in manipulating elections but this financial manipulation is only the tip of the iceberg of internet manipulation as CHT discuss. Now the internet divides instead of being the source of unity that led to Occupy.
With Corbyn the UK people had a statesman whose compassion brought policies for all the people of the UK. After years of working in grassroots politics steering a course through division and manipulation he became a Labour leader of integrity. Initially when voted in 1%-puppets in Labour got in his way, but the leadership vote made him more solid. But then in a general election it was made sure that such principled compassionate positions that target the 1% do not make the national agenda again. As with Occupy he got hammered.
Unfortunately he got hammered mainly by the time that had introduced Brexit. Cameron was the first Tory prime minister since Blair had promoted EU business interests. Slowly under US guidance Cameron moved to a referendum that led to Brexit in 2016. Under Bojo’s Hard Brexit I fear for a future of asset-stripping from US and EU corporate raiders. I hear of the UK as a tax haven for banking and insurance. What will remain of the NHS, an NHS which has been gradually destroyed instead of being a beacon of a compassionate society. I fear greatly for the British grandchildren who will have less and less a basis in manufacturing, a destructive process that was started under Thatcher. Personally I only hope that they leave my pensions alone so that I can live out my days in relative comfort. But I fear.
I am now far away from the political arena both in terms of distance and energy, but have no doubts at all that pathtivism can add to the movement – the practice. I know the movement will never become path-only, an ideal I would like but not one I would attempt to implement or even suggest be implemented. Following the spiritual path always has been the way for society to progress in harmony with nature but it is so easy to let ego pull you aside. As an activist this ego does not only pull you aside in political terms (as might have happened with Marianne Williamson?), but simply the very involvement in activism might be governed by your ego. From the outside this can never be judged so we have to promote the path to know that nature is controlling ego. It horrifies me to see the amount of time and money wasted in the US elections, time and money that activists could have used to enhance compassion in the community. This election theatre is so clearly now a diversion promoted by the division the 1% created when supporting the Trump-puppet. Hopefully the egos sucked into this debacle will learn to withdraw back into the community where their energy belongs.
We are the 99% could be a cry that comes from every path as we reflect on the dangers investment brings into the next decade. The paths of ALL (including the 1%) would bring harmony to nature if we decide to follow them.