Thursday, October 27, 2011

Overcoming Shame: The Rhythm and Resonance of Occupation

John Protevi
Louisiana State Univeristy

Deleuze and Guattari say in A Thousand Plateaus: "Ideology is a most execrable concept concealing all of the effectively operating social machines." I take that to mean that we have to thematize political affect to understand "effectively operating social machines." From this perspective, the real "German Ideology" is that ideas are where it's at, rather than affect. It's political affect that "makes men fight for their servitude as stubbornly as though it were their salvation."
Why won't "ideology" cut it? It doesn't work because it conceives of the problem in terms of "false consciousness," where that means "wrong ideas," and where "ideas" are individual and personal mental states whose semantic content has an existential posit as its core, with emotional content founded on that core, so that the same object could receive different emotional content if you were in a different mood. (There are lots of ways of thinking about cognition and emotion, without even bringing in the relations of this "analytic" vocabulary with that of the Husserlian noesis/noema scheme. Still, I hope this will suffice just to get some traction on the problem.)
Thus to take up the great poster, "Shit is fucked up and bullshit," the core act posits the existence of shit, and then we express our emotional state by predicating "fucked up and bullshit" of it, whereas we could have predicated "great and wonderful" if we were in a different mood. 
But that is "execrable" for Deleuze and Guattari, because it's far too cognitivist and subjectivist.
It's too cognitivist because it founds emotion on a core existence-positing act, and too subjectivist by taking emotion to be an "expression," something individual that is pushed outward, something centrifugal. For them, emotion is centripetal rather than centrifugal, or even better, emotion is for them the subjectivation, the crystallization, of affect. Now DG do have a corporeal / Spinozist notion of affect involved with the encounter of bodies, but they also have what we could call a "milieu," or "environmental" sense of affect. Here affect is "in the air," something like the mood of a party, which is not the mere aggregate of the subjective states of the party-goers. In this sense, affect is not emergent from pre-existing subjectivities; emotional subjectivities are crystallizations or residues of a collective affect.
To take a concrete example: what counts in the effective social machine demonizing welfare in the USA is the shame attached to receiving public aid without contributing to society with your tax dollars. It's shameful to have lost your job or your home; you're stupid, a loser to have been in a position to lose it, and you're a lazy, stupid loser if you haven't found another one, or if you never had one in the first place. You arrive at this American shame by aggregating individualized, subjectivized, packets of shame; you get shamed subjects as crystallization of the collective affect of shame in the American air.
And so you don't combat this shame by trying to change individual people's ideas, one by one, with information about unemployment trends; you combat it by showing your face, by embodying your lack of shame, by putting a face on unemployment or homelessness. You thus counteract the existing collective affect by creating a positive affect of, shall we say, joyful solidarity. Shame isolates (you hide your face); joyful solidarity comes from people coming together. It's joy released from the bondage of shame, to follow up on the Spinozist references.
Oakland Occupation Re-takes Snow Park, Holds Vote, Approves General Strike, Forces Mayor Kwan and Oakland PD to Back Down, Blares Michael Jackson's Thriller.
What's especially heartbreaking, then, about the We Are The 99% Tumblr site, is that so many people still have some shame, as they only peak out from behind their messages. Hence the importance of the Occupy meetings; shared physical presence, showing your whole face: these create the positive affect, the shamelessly joyful solidarity needed to overcome shame fully.*
Fighting the residual shame, the half-faces of private pictures sent to a website: that's what makes the collective occupation of space so important: bodies together, faces revealed, joyously.
This is a simple, powerful talk by Judith Butler at OWS, calling upon the classic "very well then, we demand the impossible" trope, and ending with the wonderful line, "we're standing here together, making democracy, enacting the phrase, 'We the People'."
And here's the text of a longer talk by Butler in Venice about constituting political space while acknowledging the material precarity of bodies, developed alongside a critical analysis of Arendt's notion of a political "space of appearance." The overall aim is set forth here, I believe:
a different social ontology would have to start from the presumption that there is a shared condition of precarity that situates our political lives.
A brief excerpt from the beginning of the talk sets out some of the main lines of thought: 
assembly and speech reconfigure the materiality of public space, and produce, or reproduce, the public character of that material environment. And when crowds move outside the square, to the side street or the back alley, to the neighborhoods where streets are not yet paved, then something more happens. At such a moment, politics is no longer defined as the exclusive business of public sphere distinct from a private one, but it crosses that line again and again, bringing attention to the way that politics is already in the home, or on the street, or in the neighborhood, or indeed in those virtual spaces that are unbound by the architecture of the public square....
But in the case of public assemblies, we see quite clearly not only that there is a struggle over what will be public space, but a struggle as well over those basic ways in which we are, as bodies, supported in the world – a struggle against disenfranchisement, effacement, and abandonment.
Oakland Occupiers Trying to Help a Fellow Activist in a Wheelchair Escape the Tear Gas While the Oakland PD Fires Rubber Bullets and Lobs Flash Grenades in the Name of 'Breaking Up a Fire Hazard.'
I'd like to add something here about the way the human microphone works, quite literally, to amplify the constitution of political space by assembled bodies. The human microphone offers an entry into examining political affect in the enacting of the phrase "We the People" at OWS. It shows us how direct democracy is enacted by producing an intermodal resonance among the semantic, pragmatic, and affective dimensions of collective action.
For some time now I've been fascinated by William McNeill's Keeping Together in Time: Dance and Drill in Human History (Harvard, 1995). McNeill studies the political affect dimension of entrainment by collective bodily movement as in communal dance and military drill. J Scott Kelso has all sorts of small scale examples of entrainment, analyzed using dynamic systems modeling. A famous macro example is the Millenium Bridge episode. Colwyn Trevarthen has studied mother-infant inter-corporeal rhythms in terms of "primary intersubjectivity." I put a lot of this research together in an essay in Theory & Event.
The upshot of this research is that humans fall into collective rhythms easily and that such collective rhythms produce an affective experience, a feeling of being together, an eros or ecstasis if you want to use classical terms, the characteristic joy of being together felt in collective action.
So I wonder if the human microphone, an invention of the OWS assembly when NYC banned electric bullhorns, doesn't contribute a little to the joful collective affect of OWS. (Needless to say, the prospect that the human microphone might aid in the production of such collective joy frightens the right-wing commenters.) It's not quite a choir, but it's a chorus, and so the bodies of the chanters (their chests, guts, throats, eardrums) would be vibrating at something close to the same frequency, something close to being in phase. 
Now I'm not a reductionist; the semantic cannot be reduced to the corporeal; the message isn't dissolved into the medium. What interests me is how in the human microphone the message (enact the phrase "We the People") is resonant with and amplified by the medium (collective rhythm). In her Venice talk Butler analyzes the Tahrir Square chant translated as "peacefully, peacefully" in these terms: 
Secondly, when up against violent attack or extreme threats, many people chanted the word "silmiyya" which comes from the root verb (salima) which means to be safe and sound, unharmed, unimpaired, intact, safe, and secure; but also, to be unobjectionable, blameless, faultless; and yet also, to be certain, established, clearly proven[1]. The term comes from the noun "silm" which means "peace" but also, interchangeably and significantly, "the religion of Islam." One variant of the term is “Hubb as-silm” which is Arabic for "pacifism." Most usually, the chanting of “Silmiyya” comes across as a gentle exhortation: “peaceful, peaceful.” Although the revolution was for the most part non-violent, it was not necessarily led by a principled opposition to violence. Rather, the collective chant was a way of encouraging people to resist the mimetic pull of military aggression – and the aggression of the gangs – by keeping in mind the larger goal – radical democratic change. To be swept into a violent exchange of the moment was to lose the patience needed to realize the revolution. What interests me here is the chant, the way in which language worked not to incite an action, but to restrain one. A restraint in the name of an emerging community of equals whose primary way of doing politics would not be violence.
This is an insightful, eloquent analysis of the pragmatics and semantics of the chant. So it's not to undercut it that I call attention to the material dimension of the resonating bodies that accompany the semantic content and pragmatic implications of this chant. It's to point to the way in which an analysis of material rhythms reveals the political affect of joyous collectivity, and the inter-modal (semantic, pragmatic, affective) resonance such chanting produces.
So I'm going to propose that a full enactment of direct democracy means producing a body politic whose semantic ("we are the people, we are equal, free, and deserving of respect in our precarity and solidarity"), pragmatic (the act of respecting and supporting each other the assembly performs), and affective (the joy felt in collective action) registers resonate in spiraling, intermodal feedback.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Reinventing the dead: United 93

Steven Johnston
University of South Florida

September 11, 2011 marked the tenth anniversary of what has come to be known, both nationally and internationally, as 9/11. Lest anyone forget (not that this was possible, of course, in the United States), we were inundated with reminders in the months, weeks, and days leading up to the commemorative ceremonies that took place in New York City, Arlington, Virginia, and Shanksville, Pennsylvania. As with prior anniversaries, the proceedings unfolded as if they had not been elaborately planned and choreographed.

This year Shanksville seemed to receive greater attention than it has in years past. Perhaps this was due to the significant progress made on the national memorial at the crash site. Perhaps it was due to the dominant patriotic narrative that has emerged surrounding United 93. Regardless, former Presidents Bill Clinton (video) and George W. Bush (video) delivered solemn yet stirring remarks to honor and salute the murdered passengers. The story they told: Like the first responders in New York, it was suggested, the passengers of United 93 took decisive action under extraordinary circumstances. Insofar as al Qaeda’s coordinated attacks on the United States amounted to a declaration of war, the passengers on United 93 staged an insurrection and converted a revolt into the first counterattack in the global war on terrorism. Though it cost them their lives, they were successful. The passengers of United 93, who morphed from hijack victims to citizens to patriots in the course of this flight, saved countless lives through their selfless actions. Their example endures as an inspiration to the rest of us, who must find a way to match their heroic service. The romance of this narrative is undeniable. It could even be argued that within its frame, the story has a happy ending: evil defeated, good triumphant and confirmed

The 9/11 Commission Report is the source for this patriotic legend. That it contains fictional elements will surprise no one. Did the passengers of United 93 actually save lives? Though treated as certainty, the evidence is ambiguous and inconclusive. There were fighters in the Washington area that might have shot it down or crashed into it kamikaze-styleMany want to deny this possibility because it seems to detract from the actions of the passengers of United 93. Either way, the hijackers apparently remained in control of the plane until it crashed and the cockpit recording suggests that they crashed it to prevent the passengers from assuming control. This was the hijackers’ backup plan. If the primary target (most likely the United States Capitol) could not be reached, the plane was to be crashed, which would still be counted a success. In short, the hijackers may have failed to reach their initial intended target, but they did not fail, not according to the terms they set for themselves.

From The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation
The dominant narrative that shapes the fate of United 93 disallows precisely such an account. The story that we (must) tell ourselves cannot countenance anything other than American agency in control of events, to say nothing of an American victory. The story of United 93 is thus a struggle over the terms of death. Murder must be made politically meaningful and the extraordinary actions of ordinary people lend themselves to creative recovery. They had to die and die willingly, for that is how they proved themselves (and the country) to be exceptional—ordinary no more but patriots for the ages. What does it mean, however, for the official narrative to claim that the passengers of United 93 sacrificed themselves to save others when they were going to die already and knew it? This is not a question to be asked, at least not on a patriotic memorial occasion. That’s not why the country was “celebrating” 9/11, to quote Rudy Giuliani.

Paul Greengrass’s United 93 (see the trailer here) might constitute a more fitting memorial to the passengers of United 93 precisely because it is not a patriotic rendering of events. The passengers, unnamed in the film, took action after they learned or realized three things: the World Trade Center had been attacked; the pilot and co-pilot were either seriously injured or dead, but certainly not flying the plane; and the plane had descended to such a low altitude that the hijackers had no intention of landing it. At this point, the passengers knew they had to act or die. In their midst was a trained pilot who, with assistance, might have been able to land the plane if the passengers could gain control of it (and ignoring for the moment the presence of fighter planes that might have downed it). Just minutes before United 93 crashed, the cockpit voice recorder registered the following words from one of the passengers: “In the cockpit. If we don’t, we’ll die.” In other words, the passengers of United 93 acted in the name of life—their lives, the lives of their loved ones, with whom many of the passengers were speaking during the last moments of the flight. They did not act for the country, but out of a spirit of resistance that characterizes life itself. This makes them no less remarkable or admirable; if anything it renders them more human. Why do we need to convert them into something other and supposedly greater than what they were? Doesn’t the country’s commitment to death (to killing and dying for it) normalize righteous anger, hate, enmity, and a false sense of innocence and exceptionalism? Doesn’t the country’s easy embrace of a horror story, in which sacrifice of life for country trumps the value of life itself, reflect and further an affective political orientation that resonates with the possible advent of fascism, a prospect recently explored by Bill Connolly? People should beware the kind of commemoration also known as the making of patriots.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Marxism as Spiritual Bypassing

Timothy Morton
  U.C. Davis

Having read the transcript of Žižek's talk at OWS several times, and having listened to it (stirring in the main), I think I discern the outlines of how he will, if true to form, eventually wash his hands of the affair. 
Just as the protesters in the UK recently were at some point accused of not being well organized enough, so will the OWS protesters fall afoul of a critique from Žižek. But who critiques the critiquer?
I think I can discern the form of Žižek's critique: it will be an accusation of narcissism. The seeds have already been planted:
There is a danger. Don’t fall in love with yourselves. We have a nice time here. But remember: carnivals come cheap. What matters is the day after. When we will have to return to normal life. Will there be any changes then...
Now before I talk about narcissism per se I want to talk about the accusation of narcissism, which I find identical to a certain Buddhist critique of a certain pathologized version of spirituality called “Western Buddhism”—now not only by Žižek, but also by many others. So it's a relevant detour.
The accusation is often made from the standpoint that seems to be “above” or “beyond” “mere” immersion in affect, which is judged beforehand as bad. Narcissism is said to be bad self-reflection, like a self-swallowing snake (Hegel's phobic image of the Buddhist meditator, ironically lifted from Hinduism).
What if we were to turn the tables a little here and do a Hegelian reading of the subject position from which the accusation is staged?
   In order to do this, I want to take another detour through a phenomenon well known to people who change their religion, for instance Christians who become Buddhists. The Buddhists who are psychotherapists or are in some kind of therapy are often accused of not being proper Buddhists. Since the self is an illusion, why care for it?
Well the technical answer is, that you make the accusation itself from the very point of view of a “self,” even though you say there is no self. This is similar to the eliminativist materialist position (which also uses Buddhism, viz. Metzinger). The assertion that there is no self is made by something that for all intents and purposes walks and quacks like a self. Metzinger would be annoyed if I pointed this out? I rest my case.
“Wherever you go, there you are” (Buckaroo Banzai, Husserlian philosopher of the 1980s).
Moreover it is the non-therapy Buddhists who are making a mistake. They are doing what is known as spiritual bypassing. This is when you have a lot of pain, and you just try to yank yourself out of it into some transcendental sphere, and think you've become a proper Buddhist. But eventually you have a lot of problems in your life, that are not solved by your self-yanking. So you may become disillusioned.
Becoming a Buddha definitely means transcending the human. But to know how to do that, you have to be a human first. My teacher Tsoknyi Rinpoche talks about the importance of attaining a “healthy human being level” before you jump. So while he pokes fun at what he calls the “California practitioner,” who has figured out how to have a good time as a human, it seems necessary that we pass through a Californian stage in the dialectic.
The accusation of narcissistic pleasure seeking comes from a place of wounded narcissism. The false jump into Buddhism seeks to skip the painful step of facing that wound.
Which brings me back to Žižek's accusation of narcissism. Is it perhaps the case that a certain kind of Marxist is guilty of doing exactly what the fundamentalist Buddhist is doing—jumping over a necessary dialectical step?
Might this be because in essence there is nothing wrong with narcissism? If I had a dollar for every time a narcissistically wounded person accused someone else of narcissism …
   Narcissism is just an ego-syntonic feedback to yourself. If this feedback gets disrupted or wounded, you can easily develop syndromes such as borderline personality disorder, psychopathic personality disorder, or yes, indeed, narcissistic personality disorder. There is a difference between a personality disorder and mere narcissism.
The Tibetan for narcissism is champa: it just means kindness and it starts with yourself. Monks are taught to give a ball to themselves by passing it from one hand to the other. Eventually they are ready to die for the other. Take it away Jacques Derrida:
There is not narcissism and non-narcissism. There are narcissisms that are more or less comprehensive, generous, open, extended. What is called non-narcissism is in general but the economy of a much more welcoming and hospitable narcissism. One that is much more open to the experience of the Other as Other. I believe that without a movement of narcissistic reappropriation, the relation to the Other would be absolutely destroyed, it would be destroyed in advance. The relation to the Other, even if it remains asymmetrical, open, without possible reappropriation, must trace a movement of reappropriation in the image of one's self for love to be possible. Love is narcissistic...
In a larger view, is this one significant reason why revolutions often fail—why they can devolve into endless cycles of recrimination and pathologization?
So let's cut the carnival some slack.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Great White Hope: The National Martin Luther King Memorial

Char Roone Miller
George Mason University

The U.S. census recently reported that the income gap between the richest and the poorest in the United States has doubled since 1968 (from a ratio of 7.69 to 1 to 14.5-to-1 in 2010), the United States is currently active in not one but three major wars, and there are more black men in American prisons today than there were slaves in 1850.  You don’t need a crystal ball, or a giant granite one, to know Martin Luther King’s response to this condition.

In spite of the justifiable and touching power the new Martin Luther King Memorial on the National Mall in D.C. takes from our nostalgia for the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, it fails to move us any closer to understanding or realizing how a living monument to King's dream requires our resistance to militaristic and economic forms of oppression.  The Memorial whitewashes any sense of King as activist, disrupter of power structures, and critic of economic systems.  It hides the struggle demanded by King.

A figural 30 ft-tall sculpture of MLK emerges partially formed from a block of granite, called The Stone of Hope, which appears to be the middle third of a giant boulder, sliced out and pushed from between the other two slabs of rock—The Mountain of Despair—towards the tidal basin on the National Mall.  The colossal white granite memorial, located at the cartoonish address of 1964 Independence Ave., SW DC, sternly faces the Jefferson Memorial, with its back towards the Lincoln.

None of the fourteen quotations carved into the wide marble wall that arcs around and behind the statue of King refers directly to King's work against economic injustice.  One quotation, from his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, does suggest the audacity of his desire that all people receive three meals a day.  Unfortunately, this phrase becomes a touching platitude when removed from demands for state action or public policy.  The architect carved two additional quotations onto the sides of the statue of King, including one that has provoked significant criticism in which King appears to be describing himself as a “drum major for justice.” 

King’s original quotation suggested that he didn’t mind being deprecated in the service of the cause even if critics wanted to call him a “drum major for justice.”  Exactly the meaning suggested by the redaction; Maya Angelou said that edit made King look like an "arrogant twit."  The Foundation missed the point, but, worse, they missed an opportunity and wasted valuable space with a clichéd phrase, when King authored so many pithy statements of purpose.  King's remarks, for example, concerning the seat of the national government are remarkably appropriate for display in Washington DC:  “We will place the problems of the poor at the seat of government of the wealthiest nation in the history of mankind.”  The statements displayed on the memorial fail to provide much meaning to King’s vision, even as they strategically lack any reference to his economic demands.

This shouldn’t be too surprising.  In spite of their repeated attempts to destroy organized labor, suppress wages, and general success at shifting wealth to the very rich, major corporations paid for this memorial.  Coke, Ford, Target, ExxonMobil, BP, FannieMae, JPMorgan Chase @ Co., NFL, McDonalds, and Lehman Brothers all donated to the Memorial and are listed on the major contributors page.  General Motors donated $10 million.   Wall-Mart gave $1 million. The Foundation proudly proclaims the faith these major donors have in King’s dream.  “By their generous support,” the website proclaims, “they’ve demonstrated something truly remarkable.  They’ve shown the breadth of support that exists for Dr. King’s vision, from the man on the street to boardrooms on the fiftieth floor.”

Those boardrooms, high above the people occupying the street, did not offer large donations in order to memorialize the fact that King was assassinated in 1968 while in Memphis supporting striking sanitation workers; that just days after her husband’s murder Coretta Scott King and 42,000 people peacefully marched through Memphis to demand that the Mayor of Memphis recognize the sanitation worker’s union; that at the time of his assassination King was hard at work on the Poor People’s Campaign.   Neither Walmart nor Target, companies that have dedicated massive financial resources to fighting labor unions, could be expected to memorialize King’s vision for the power of organized labor.  Certainly not Coke, with its history of fighting unions in Guatemala and accusations that the company has used prison labor in China, and its probable complicity in the death of union organizers in Columbia.  These donors, I claim, paid for a Memorial that would help us forget that the revolution, as Gil Scott-Heron sang, "does not go better with Coke."  They got what they paid for; the Memorial does not offer any sense of the stern criticism King would certainly direct toward the labor practices of many of these companies.  The problem is not that they gave money for the Memorial, it’s that the Memorial fails to display the conflict those donations have with King’s labor advocacy. “We call our demonstration a campaign for jobs and income,” King wrote, “because we feel that the economic question is the most crucial that black people, and poor people generally, are confronting.” (A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King Jr., Pages 67-69Simply allowing the Memorial to deliver King’s message concerning the importance of organized labor on a monument paid for by labor busters would offer a better representation of the struggle that King advocated.

Corporations were not the only donors, nor were they the only donors with labor policies in serious conflict with King's struggle.  The Memorial, as many have remarked, was created in China.   The Chinese government, probably the largest single donor to the memorial, gave the foundation $25 million--the U.S. government only gave $10 million in matching funds.  The Foundation naively denies that the Chinese donation influenced their decision to create the memorial in China.  Union representatives in the United States protested the contract with China and eventually received a promise from Johnson that union labor would be used to assemble the monument in the United States.  Then in September of last year, the union discovered that the Foundation had reneged on this written promise and that unpaid workers from China were working on the Memorial.  Harry S. Johnson, president and CEO of the Memorial Foundation, evoked a hypocritical claim to racial harmony to hide the issue of economic exploitation. On September 8, the Foundation asserted:  “While 95% of the work is being done by American workers, we strongly believe that we should not exclude anyone from working on this project simply because of their religious beliefs, social background or country of origin.”

The Foundation consistently gestured toward pluralism and artistic integrity to make the exploitative dimension of their economic choices disappear.  According to Ed Jackson Jr., the Executive Architect on the project: “The granite for King's statue was chosen because when lit at night, it lends a brownish tone to King's likeness. The stone, however, only exists in China.” though, he added, “some wanted it to come from the United States.”  All the white marble on the National Mall, whether from China, Italy or New Hampshire, gets darker when the sun goes down.  Jackson’s ridiculous claim about the color of the statue raises another, more obvious, question:  why not use black granite? Martin Luther King was Black. 

Birmingham, Alabama King Memorial
The Foundation’s decision to represent Dr. King in white granite treats the color of his skin as a peripheral issue, when in fact it made King who he was.  King certainly looked to a time when people no longer made judgments of value based on the color of skin but in the United States white has never been the neutral absence of color. That the Foundation chose white as an abstracted representation of King continues, regrettably, the social positioning of whiteness as neutral, which requires the production of other colors as derivative or deviant.

The assertion, given broad currency in the 1960s, that “black is beautiful” highlights a politics of aesthetic taste. The color and shape of the statue of King appears as a visual and sensual event. The body with its attractions (of color, shape, size, strength, weakness, etc.) functions as a political trigger for desire and emulation.  Plenty of our responses to the appearance of the human body are beyond and before our understanding of actions, arguments, and behaviors. Such responses are an important part of our political life.  Monuments operate in this field.  King’s physical appearance moves us; King deserved a monument that would move us. 
Binghamton, New York King Memorial
To build a colossal statue to King on the Mall is to represent him in many of the terms that have solidified white male privilege (with its connections to national and imperial forms of domination). The representation of emperors, kings, and presidents in sculptural form often presented the leader as transcending the limits of the body.  It is undoubtedly an important moment when the body of the son of a Black preacher, himself the son of a sharecropper, appears as a giant white god. 

It is inescapably necessary to represent King in earlier categories of power and value but the valuable struggle comes in using that positioning to undercut the borrowed hierarchy. Borrow the trappings of power but only to transform the terms of success. Take some money from Coke but spend that money to support the Columbian food workers union, SINALTRAINAL.  This Memorial fails because it never displays the struggle necessary for political life.  King’s life was a life of this struggle.

King's arrest for 'loitering,' 1958
It’s exciting to see Martin Luther King Jr. occupying such select space on the National Mall but we can’t afford to loose his critiques of the forms of value and prestige that the Mall and its Memorials represent.  Lehman Brothers and Coke may have paid for this Memorial but the real monument to King are the activists occupying Wall Street and DC in an attempt to transform notions of privilege and power through conflict and struggle.