26. Only movements give change and revolutions. When the 99% do not move, nothing will change

Movements cannot be organised, they arise spontaneously caused by the accumulating dissatisfaction of the 99%. When movements are controlled by organisations they wither away. Movements have vague concepts based on great ideas and clear goals that unite the 99%. They have neither leaders nor members, only enthusiast people who find they belong to a nationwide or even worldwide movement willing to do something to realise the goals of the movement.

Sometimes movements change in mass uprisings but it are not yet revolutions. In uprisings the 99% are still protesting, in a revolution they directly attack the power of the leading class. Therefore new action methods must be used because all actions in past revolutions did not succeed in changing the power and money relations to create a world without a 1% in which all people have the same status.

The bad housing situation in The Netherlands during the seventies forced some people to squat some of the many houses that stood empty. Suddenly the Squatters Movement came into being. It was a real movement. Unknown common citizens said to squatters “Hey, near me a house stands empty, can you squat it?” In demonstrations protesters were warned by unknown lookers-on for undercover policemen. In the anti-establishment movements of the sixties many individuals let their hair grow and protested against the strict rules without any support of organisations. The general ideas of these movements activated many people. That hardly happened anymore after 1985. But it can occur again.

A small movement recently started in the north of The Netherlands. The extraction of gas deep under the villages causes earthquakes. People become more and more annoyed. Suddenly many people took to the streets, people who had never been political active before. Then it is possible to introduce new action methods that directly put pressure on leaders who care more for money than for the well-being of the 99%.

Movements are always spontaneously and ignited by a single spark that started the prairie fire. But the basic cause is accumulated dissatisfaction – not enough houses, discrimination of women, continuing small earthquakes, growing corruption, increasing number of lies of politicians etc. The accumulation of discontent takes many years. After the decolonisation in the sixties the first twenty years were filled by a (dwindling) hope on a better society. The next thirty years the situation did not improve for the masses while the top of society became richer and richer and more and more greedy and dictatorial. Then people started to move. Movements sprang up everywhere. Indonesia, Thailand, Brazil, Turkey, The Arab Spring, The Ukraine, Venezuela, Colombia, India, Pakistan, Bangla Desh, China, Greece, Spain, The Congo etc.

In the last fifty years I have been involved or have been present in many movements in Europe but also in countries as Indonesia, Thailand or Colombia. I have seen the fury of the masses and also the inspiration movements gave for a better future, a future that was destroyed by the greedy selfish top. Maybe it takes twenty or thirty years but then the masses break out. Then they are willing to fight, then they can learn how to attack the prime cause of all misery, the existence of a 1%, a bunch of greedy people who only care about their own future. These mass happenings are not caused by political organisations that strive to improve the situation of the people only a little bit. They are spontaneously caused by people who say “Enough is enough!” It is a wonderful time and leads to a better future when the energy of the masses is directly turned against the real culprits, the 1% and their political lackeys.

In movements, people move, they are freer, they reject the rules imposed on them by people high above them. Their behaviour becomes unpredictable, chaotic. It is part of the chaos that can lead to a revolution. Organisations are sitting ducks. Authorities can attack leaders and possessions. Movements don’t have leaders or possessions, they are elusive. There are no fixed points where security forces can attack. Actions are unpredictable. Disturbing the private living sphere of the 1% can happen anywhere. The 1% has become the sitting duck, the 99% have the initiative. The driving factor is the common goal, taking the money and power away from the 1% by controlling, vetoing and eventually punishing faulty leaders that violate the freedom, privacy and the well-being of the 99%.

Movements have no organisational structure, there are no rules, only ideas. Activists decide which actions should take place and which tactics may be used. Occupy withered away when self-appointed leaders demanded that the movement should be non-violent. Jean-Paul Marat said in the far past: “It was easy to distinguish sham magazines from the true “People’s Friend” because their authors always preached peace, tolerance, patience, submission to laws etc.”

A Movement for a Humane World has room for all 99%, be it street fighters of the Black Bloc, supporters of the Tea Party, football hooligans or people who live in old people’s homes, it is not right or left, it is an autonomous experience of the masses. Everyone can do something on his own way and in his own time to promote the idea that all people have the same status. Actions should concentrate on making the world of the 1% uninhabitable, making their life so chaotic that they can no longer use their power over the 99%. They need order, the people some chaos.

Movements are volatile, people move and should not occupy squares, amass possessions or have paid leaders. Movements are offensive, organisations must defend the organisation and its possessions. Organisations differ essentially from movements, they are dependent on the money paradigm having paid leaders, employees and possessions and a power structure that resembles the elitist power pyramid, powerful people at the top and foot soldiers down under. They are easy targets for the opponent. They do not comply with the same status paradigm. They have partial demands within the existing society about which they discuss with the top of society. Maybe they alleviate the inferior position of the 99% a little but they do not challenge why the 99% are in a bad situation. Some people advanced soon after the start of Occupy partial political demands. They wanted only small changes and changed the Movement Occupy in the Organisation Occupy. It had no success, the 99% withdrew from Occupy.

We do not need leaders who negotiate with leaders of society. In the words of Marat “we must not be involved in the process of making decisions ……….. we only punish the perpetrators of crimes against public and individual freedom or safety”. Movements only control, veto and punish faulty and corrupt leaders. That are already elements that we need in a future society. Small Autonomous Groups of interested and involved citizens put pressure on leaders at the top of the power pyramid. The new society does not have a power pyramid.

Another kind of society cannot be negotiated. Then faulty leaders remain on top, old powers have still the possibility to regain their power. That is not possible when the 99% have learned how to take the power and money away from any 1%. It is a protracted struggle that ends when the 1% has lost their privileged position, lost their surplus of money and power.

When there are no negotiations we do not need one-sided media. We must force leaders to behave differently and then the media may decide if they want to write about that change. Media are owned by the 1% and because the arrows of the 99% are directed at people at the top, you cannot expect that media write favourably about such a struggle.

Movements should never cooperate with organisations that curtail the initiative and creativity of active citizens to boost the organisation. The Dutch Provo Movement in the sixties withered away when some people participated in elections by using the name provo. The same will happen with the Pirates Movement and other movements that still trust the parliamentary structure. Taking part in elections kills the initiative of individual followers, redirect most energy to a goal that has very restricted results. Individual independence necessary for a Humane World is destroyed by changing movements in organisations.

Only a movement in which people independently decide how to be active can lead to a revolution and to a completely different kind of society.

Joost van Steenis


About Joost van Steenis

My latest book "How to make Revolution, developing the Fourth People's Power", can be downloaded for free from my site http://members.chello.nl/jsteenis. It contains new ideas how to take the money and power away from the most powerful people, the elite. It strives to get a new society in which not money is the pivotal point of all discussions but the idea that all people have the same status. New action means are introduced to reach this paradigm shift (a revolution) that concentrate on direct actions in the living sphere of the elite.
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6 Responses to 26. Only movements give change and revolutions. When the 99% do not move, nothing will change

  1. K.G.Kruger says:

    Thank you for your answers to my question. I now understand the religion situation much better than before and I intend to take your very wise advice.

    Are the attendees at the yearly “Bilderberger Meetings” conclaves a good way to identify the 1%?

    • Dear Kruger,

      The Bilderberg conference is an instrument to exercise power for the 1% and it is not necessary that all attendees belong to the 1% but they are all of course very close to the 1%. Who belongs to the 1% is not exactly to describe but there are many indications. William G. Domhoff in his book Who rules America describes it fairly well. I give you a quote: “Underlying the American upper class are a set of social institutions which are the backbone – private schools, elite universities, the “right” fraternities and sororities, gentlemen’s clubs, debutante balls, summer resorts, charitable and cultural organisations and such recreational activities as foxhunts, polo matches and yachting” I use the theory of the three F”s. Finance, Function and Family. A 1% has a vast capital at his disposal, he has a function in which he can participate in decision-taking and he has family members who are in comparable [position so he can receive trusted information nobody else has. I described that in my article “Who are the 1%? Finance, Function and Family” https://downwithelite.wordpress.com/2012/04/24/who-are-the-1-finance-function-and-family/

      And of course they can be pinpointed by looking where they spend their money, on very expensive items including houses, art, boats, lots of servants etc.

      Friendly greetings, Joost van Steenis

  2. kgkruger2010 says:

    What role does religion play in all of this? Religion has always been a controlling force in societies ever since the Roman Empire and perhaps the religious dimension should be addressed and factored into the overall problem. Don’t the 1% use religions to controll the masses?

    • I agree with you that religion plays a role in controlling or better said dividing the 99%. In this way the leaders – who are less religious then it seems superficially – give part of the masses a goal. The Christians in Moslem countries, the Moslems in Christian countries, Catholics against Protestants in northern Ireland but also in the past, the Dutch revolution (1568-1648) was also partly based on religion (protestants against the catholic Spain). Bush who was elected partly by fundamentalist Christians was in his presidency much less fundamentalist then was expected before. But it is not different from other focus points as racism or ethnic past as happens at the moment in The Ukraine. People who like to have a different world should stay far away from these focus points and propagate another focus point, the 1%. Only when this powerful group has disappeared it is possible to solve differences because of religion, race or ethnic or other differences inside the 99%. The use of anti-Jewish feelings by Hitler is also an example.
      I think we should not talk much about religion or other dividing issues under the 99% but concentrate on the 1% and their money and power. One of the advantages of Autonomous Clubs is that they are small entities so that religious or other differences cannot become important. When we work with big organisations they can be undermined by these differences. In Holland we now have one trade union but in the near past we had catholic, protestant and non-religious trade-unions, a clear example of a division inside the 99%.

      We should stay far away from these unsolvable divisions and have one focus [point. That is also included in my idea to use as slogan “Spending 200.000 euro in one year should be the limit” No religion or ethnic ideas but only concentrating on money in a world that is ruled by money (and peole who have too much money).

    • Hello, Not only religion but also ethnic differences and race differences divide the 99% and is indeed used by the rulers to split up the 99%. We should not get involved in these very old problems because there is no solution in the present society.
      In Holland in the past religion played an important role in the freedom war by protestant leaders against catholic Spain from 1568-1648) though the majority of the country was still catholic. The divisions in the labour movement in Holland in catholic, protestant and non-religious trade-unions was in the course of years solved and now we have mostly trade-unions that are non-religious. But everywhere on the world religion plays a role and is used by leaders to give the 99% a focus point while they are themselves outside these differences.

      What we need is a clear focus point to solve what I call the most important contradiction between the 1% and the 99% and leave all other contradictions aside to be solved in the future. That includes also the left-right contradiction.
      My idea of Autonomous Clubs agrees with this because it are small entities in which these differences that are used by the 1% to keep power are not important. And different Autonomous Clubs do not have much contact with each other. The slogan (as a kind of focus pint for actions that “Spending 200.000 euro in 0one year should be the limit” also does go around the differences between religions are other dividing issues.

      But the lost important focus point should become the 1%. That unites the masses and stay away from all other splitting issues. That we have seen in Egypt. Mubarak was the focus point (not enough, it should be all 1%) and secular and religious masses fought together. But when Mubarak was arrested, the divisions between religious and non-religious people came again to the fore and clearly used by the secular military to regain power. In the Ukraine ethnic differences are important and society does not change fundamentally when these focus-points are used in the struggle.

      In my country religion is not as important as before – it withered away- but now it is again introduced because many Moslems entered the countries and this division is splitting the people also because the Muslims are of different colour (Moroccans in first place, so racism is a factor). And all attention for the greedy very rich is on a low level. The world is built on money but the powerful use all kinds of methods to split up the 99% and so hide the money factor for the masses. And in the top religion plays a much less important role than in the masses. Bush was elected with the support of fundamentalist Christians but during his presidency he hardly used religion.
      So I think we should only concentrate us on the 1% and their power and money and leave all splitting problems to be solved after we have solved the principal contradiction between the 1% and the 99%.

    • Sorry, made some mistake and I gave you two answers with of course the same idea.

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