By Dennis Connors
In September 2011, a movement sprung up in New York City that shook the political discourse in the United States. This movement quickly spread to different cities around the US including Oakland, Chicago, Washington D.C., and our very own revolutionary home, Boston. The Occupy Movement called hundreds and even thousands of people to protest by not only marching around making sure they were making their voices heard, but by creating their own sustainable camps in each city by supplying food, education, and shelter to everyone that came their way.
These hundreds and thousands of people in each city just happened to be youth that did not agree with the trajectory of our country, especially its customs and policies, which they argued benefited the top 1% at the subjugation of the 99% in the economic battleground. This claim is backed up by reports stating that the 1% raked up around 20% of earnings in the year 2013.
Many critics of Occupy cite the movement’s reluctance towards a clear and singular direction as the reason for its ultimate non-existence only a few months after starting up. Time and time again through history, many youth-in-revolt wish to raise the society of its time to the ground, to start back at the beginning, claiming that they will eventually right all their fore-father’s wrongs. The United States itself was even founded in the spirit of leveling the status quo, and then only after the blank canvas was made was a concrete direction and new status quo implemented.
The spirit that is apparent in these revolutions are similar to that of Bazarov, a character in Fathers and Sons. He yearns to destroy the society that he lives in, one that is currently obsessed with a pseudo-aristocratic mindset and one which, in a few years’ time, is going to abolish serfdom in theory. However, just like the Occupiers you might have seen on your way to class or work, he doesn’t have a clear vision of the new order he wishes to replace it with.
The same critics of Occupy would chastise the Nihilists of late-nineteenth century Russia; however, I question their critiques. The cliche saying that the the grass is always greener on the other side underlies humanity’s struggle with never being completely satisfied. Is the want of constant revolution a negative aspect? The US government would even support Mao’s theory of Permanent Revolution. The Declaration of Independence sought to create a government which would be malleable and capable of constantly being revised, the Hindu Trimurti celebrated death, the ultimate destruction, as part of the cycle of life and rebirth, the earth needs to experience the harsh lifelessness of winter to experience a rebirth in the winter.
Bazarov brings a sense of destruction to his new-found sentiment of love, showing not just how fragile the human life is, but also how wonderful constant revolution is, both in systematic and personal contexts.
Talk to us about how you feel, during a talkback after the Saturday matinee!