I've heard the question "What was the point of Occupy?" posed countless times in the last year or so, and I have an answer. It's not just a matter of class warfare between Main Street and Wall Street. It's deeper than that. It's a battle of Digital vs Analog; New Money vs Old Money.
Over the last decade, events have been unfolding that are signaling an apocalypse, but not in the way we've been taught to think about it. The Mayan calendar ends because it's as far as the analog world can go. The Digital Age is upon us, and it's time we exercised the power we all wield with our digital devices to complete the cycle by taking back the power we deserve.
In order to truly appreciate what I'm saying, understand that money and power don't actually exist in the natural world. Economics is an imaginary math no different than music. Government is a belief just like religion. So right now the muscle in the physical world is controlled by those most skilled in economics and government, i.e. the banksters and politicians. If society were a high school, the jocks are in control. The question is: Who truly holds more power over you? If you were trapped on a deserted island, would you rather have your debit card or a satellite-enabled iPhone? More people worldwide associate themselves as an Android or Apple user than any other belief system. I bet you talk more about your smart phone or tablet than anything else in your life. The Digital Age is truly upon us, and it's time we embrace it.
Allow me to explain:
It's important to understand the word apocalypse means un-covering, or transparency. I'm a firm believer in transparency, and my adventures in whistleblowing with Anonymous have taken me behind many curtains. It was sitting behind these curtains that I put the pieces together and realized it.
Americans like to be the center of every theory, so let's take a look at how the money and power in the U.S. is distributed:
On the East Coast, we have the Wall Street tycoons... the federal government... the old politics... the old money... the old way...
On the West Coast, it's the young money (not to be confused with YMYCMB, young moolah, baaaby): Microsoft... Google... Facebook... Apple... The Digital Tycoons...
What I'm getting at is that Occupy is going about things the wrong way. Why butt heads with the banks and governments on their battlefield? We've seen the pleas of the huddled masses falling upon deaf ears in the analog world... but the digital tycoons have always had our backs. Why doesn't everyone gather outside of the tech companies and protest instead?
Remember when Wikipedia shut down to stop the government from destroying the internet? They're just a non-profit. What if we all stood outside the offices of Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and Google and chanted for change? What if we asked the young billionaires in charge to stand up to the old money and old governments and start taking the power? What if every time Bank of America charged a fee, Google removed them from the grid and put them in timeout for the day to teach them a lesson? What if every time a police officer or soldier killed an innocent civilian anywhere in the world, Facebook made the offender's personal information public, and Microsoft livestreamed their every movement? What if we didn't need leaders? What if everything truly was transparent for everyone?
What if the whole of the truly worldwide web decided what should happen in the real world?
What if this digital world we created with our minds replaced the old imaginary ways of doing things? What if we didn't need regional economies or governments, but instead we united in the digital realm to control the analog world? What if Silicon Valley became the new Washington DC?
The Digital Realm is not only a resource; it's a resource that everyone has equal access to. If you're homeless, you likely don't have access to money, but you have access to the Digital realm. The tycoons of this realm are people like me and you. They're not the old money stuck in their old ways. They're not the Wall Street and DC jocks that laugh at your problems. They have enough money and power to change the world, and they haven't been rich long enough to be out of touch yet. We have the power to sway them to our side. If the banks and governments won't listen to us, why don't we get a bigger stick?
Here's a brief summary of key battles in the Digital vs Analog War:
Remember when MCI and all the baby Bell's were relevant? Twenty years ago, everyone had a house phone, and they needed it for dial-up internet. Twenty years ago, if you were using a pay phone you were call. Now homeless people don't even bother checking pay phones for change. These days everyone has a smartphone or tablet. Anyone can connect to everyone instantaneously. Digital communications have flatlined any all analog competitors. The money and power from related industries have all gone digital.
Although also being the final nail in the communications category as well, Steve Jobs most decisive battle for the digital apocalypse was in obliterating the art and entertainment industries. Even media and cable giants are crumbling. Newspapers, books, music, visual art, cameras, film; digital rules them all. While there are still purists (even I like the touch and smell of a good hardback book once in a while), the money and power in any liberal arts industry you can name have gone to the digital world. There's not even an argument against that. End of story.
There's a lot of money in retail. Walmart has managed to hold out, but Amazon has all but obliterated everyone else. Brick and mortar retail is a dinosaur. With working conditions in corporate retail being as minimally above slavery as laws allow, even Walmart may be on its way out. This would be fantastic for our living conditions, because mom and pop small businesses could have a shot in the retail world again. Working in retail could be fun again, and innovation would move more rapidly once Walmart goes down.
This one's a little more difficult to call a winner, but advances in microprocessors and mini hard drives are ushering in a new age in ways you may not have considered. Real estate online is a valuable commodity. The more of the mental realm we can fit into a smaller space within the physical realm, the less physical space we really need. Gigabytes are more important than acres, especially since we can build up.
Digital dominated every other category because they appealed to us, the people. They made our lives easier. We don't understand money though. It's dictated by the financial industry.
The final nail for this industry has yet to be driven because in order to do it, we'd have to take the money from the people that invented it. They're the only people alive who are experts in the imaginary math we call finances. They saw the Digital Age coming, and they built defenses against it. They imagined more money. They artificially inflated their pockets to keep their profits from going to their digital successors. Only time will tell how this one ends.
So in the war between digital and analog power...what side of the matrix are you on?
About the Author: Brian Penny is a former business analyst at Bank of America turned whistleblower who spent the last two years helping regulators and attorneys uncover the largest bank and insurance fraud in history. He documents his experiences working with Anonymous and fighting the banks on his blog .