18. The pyramid of power and money. Power and money for the 1%, the 99% subordinate and considered inferior

“To be at once exceedingly wealthy and good is impossible” (Plato). Rich people have power, powerful people have money. Poor people are powerless, powerless people have no money. That is the consequence of a society in which money dominates all decisions. The 99% should develop an own power.

Humanity is not based on the idea that all people have the same status but people are arranged in layers, the most powerful and rich at the top and the poor and powerless masses at the bottom. Orders are issued from top to bottom while money is going up to the top. The organisation of humans in our society can be characterised by a pyramid.

The whole world is organised in a pyramidal way. Even the smallest organisations have a president and a direction who seem to have  a higher status than ordinary members. Only in big leaderless movements you can see a glimpse of a future society in which all people have the same status. The 1% at the top find themselves superior and consider people at lower levels as inferior. There is no fundamental difference between the present society and the old slave society. The few at the top live safe, comfortable, privileged and extravagant while the many at the basis have to fight for their existence. Many are not sure to have the next day enough food to survive. Inequality rules and nobody at the top even thinks of giving some of their affluence to the basis. On the contrary, the money stream goes from bottom to top, not the other way around.

In the mafia the pyramidal structure is obvious. Some godfathers at the top, then the lieutenants and the lower capos and at the bottom the many mafiosi who carry out the most risky tasks. The godfathers do not decide about all activities but determine the general line, keep order and interfere when something goes wrong, when the stream of money to the top is slowing down or has to be intensified. Lieutenants have freedom to act but for the intervention of the very top. In their activities they always think about what the godfathers should do and like. Ideas from the bottom about the safety of the rank and file are disregarded.

The big society is organised in the same way. Generals do not die on the battle field, only soldiers and occasionally lower officers die. Lieutenants, the political servants, decide what is the best decision by thinking in the first place about the well-being of the 1%. Just as in the mafia, the godfathers of the big society are not elected. In the top of the pyramid there are no elections and no democracy. There the great lines are determined and there decisions are taken to interfere when necessary to maintain the prominent and lucrative position of the 1%.

Problems at the top are solved quickly and peacefully at the cost of the incomes of the people down under. The Trias Politica, the judicature, the executive and legislature are controlled by the top but too costly to use for the 99%. Problems at the bottom are not important. When the 99% have not enough to eat, have no jobs, no education, nor houses or health care it is said that it is their own fault. But they have to remain within the boundaries of the law, people at the bottom are punished fast, severe and often violently when they violate the law. Crimes at the top are treated leniently. Stealing one bread is worse than stealing millions as bankers do.

Many people admire the Egyptian pyramids but these pyramidal structures were only built to honour the pharaohs, their money and their power. Many common people died in building these structures, pyramids should be coloured red. Also huge cathedrals are admired though they were only built to show the 99% the wealth and power of the religious 1%. The same can be said of the sky scrapers of corporations and banks. On top level are the offices of CEO’s and owners, it are modern pyramids. But the highest trees have the greatest fall. As we say in my language, high trees catch a lot of wind. We only have to provide the wind and the high trees fall down.

We should strive for a society without a power pyramid, a society in which nobody is secured of a privileged life at the cost of other people. To get another society we should destroy the power pyramid.

How can a pyramid be destroyed, how is a pyramid built and how is it kept together. A pyramid is vast at the bottom, small at the top. Except for accumulating power and money, the top must hold the ends together of the beams that give the pyramid its structure. When they fail to do that one of the beams can fall down and then another and another and suddenly the whole structure succumbs. The pyramid falls apart and all people are on the same level. The revolution has overturned the unequal situation. For the first time in history all people have the same status. And the 99% know that when they have once destroyed a pyramid they can resist anyone or any group that tries to build a new pyramid.

In a revolt the power pyramid is not destroyed and the future society is like the old one. Only a revolution destroys the power pyramid. The top cannot hold the pyramid together when they have become the prime target. All fighting on lower levels is senseless when the big structure remains intact. Control and money remain in the hands of the 1%. The revolts in Egypt and elsewhere have shown that when necessary the 1% retake power that they seemed to have lost after a revolt. In Egypt Morsi got some power but only after a year the undisturbed 1% appointed another leader to pacify the 99%. The money stream to the top of the pyramid continued to exist. People at the bottom of the pyramid hardly got any benefit from the revolt. And if there was some benefits, it can always been taken away by the undisturbed power of the 1% at the top of the pyramid.

Only by undermining the power structure of the pyramid, by caring that the 1% cannot hold this structure together we get a Humane World.

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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