Black Activist Points Out Occupy Philly’s Racial Disconnect


Black activists within Occupy Philly have created a “People of Color Committee” last night, largely because of (surprise!) differing views on the movement.

Pan-African Channel Andrews, a Philly native who has been watching Occupy Philly from the outside while studying law at Barry University in Orlando, Fl., says the PCC was created, in part, because some organizers of Occupy Philly continue to buy “Mayor Nutter’s lies.” She says Nutter is taking advantage of the movement for his own political gain and that Occupy “need[s] to make demands to him and not just take pics with him.”

“Nutter is clearly using them…Nutter is the Wall Street of Philly. He’s done more damage to the people of Philly than Wall Street,” she says during a phone interview, adding that the racial disconnect extends beyond the Mayor’s office “pretending” to care about Occupiers. She points towards Occupy’s internal racial conflicts.

“For white people or middle class people, they’re just feeling the recession. It’s not because of the recession for us,” she says.

Andrews says that the PCC was inevitable after some supposed-Occupiers called Pan-Africans–who protested in support of Occupy–”Niggers” because they had a black-only meeting on Saturday.

“Blacks say, ‘Should we join this? Do we want to be identified by this?’ Blacks have been the 99 percent forever—since we’ve been in America. So we don’t identify with the same reasons. Solidarity is important, people should support each other. But it’s not just about class for us,” she says.

According to the blog, complex-brown:

“Saturday, two sisters were called Niggers by two of the volunteers at Occupy Philadelphia at the cell-phone charging stations. They were also told to go back to Africa, and that each white man should own a slave. When the sista’s called security, security asked them to leave the premises because they thought they were apart of the UHURU movement. Even if they were a part of that movement, they should not have been asked to leave. Especially without any mention of their verbal and spiritual abuse. So a small collective formed a drummer’s circle on Sunday and started a rally, only to be met with on-lookers who didn’t understand why there was a Pan-African flag at an “American” event. We were called racist…When we circled up to come up with a constructive way to address the people, we were constantly interrupted by white people who could not respect our safe space. These people said that it was a public space, and we couldn’t have a group that exc[l]uded them. Why is it when black people want to get together to work out our issues in our community we are called out? …We spoke out about RACISM IN THE 99 percent.”

Andrews says that when her black friends “were voicing their concerns, people were calling them racist,” and that the drum circle, which is now a daily ritual for Occupy Philadelphia, is a reflection of African culture.

The Occupy movement focuses more heavily on class than on race, a theme that the mainstream American media usually reverses when portraying social inequality.

Class will likely remain the common denominator in the Occupy movement, but ignoring the historical significance of race translates as a direct insult to non-whites.

Occupy Philly’s failure to address the concern is causing contention that has little to do with Occupy’s main goals of social inclusion and equality, although future social clashes could be avoided. The Occupy movements on Wall Street, in Philly and in most other cities lack any clear leader, and the division in Philly demonstrates what could become of an already complicated movement if a leader does not step up to unify Occupiers.

The idea of a single leader directly goes against the foundation of Occupy, which, above all else, is bound together the idea of a super-majority. It breathes by agreeing on a general consensus basis and shits on the idea of putting power in one person’s hands. But it’s current model creates a inevitable minority, and neglecting to put a singular face to the movement, especially in the midst of ambivalent internal issues, could foreshadow its possible demise.

photo: complex-brown

45 Responses to “ Black Activist Points Out Occupy Philly’s Racial Disconnect ”

  1. Kyle Loucks says:

    Like many Christians who do not associate with the Westboro Baptist Church, OccupyPhilly does not associate with the intolerant. There should be charges filed against the offenders.

    These types of accusations spread like wildfire through the media and can quickly crush a good part of the movement as a whole. OccupyPhilly is -not- racist. Racism is generally not tolerated. I’m sorry to those woman who were hated against. The things that were said and done were despicable. But they do -not- represent the 99%

    If you want some real racism, look at the 1%. Really. Racism

    A movement against a movement doesn’t do anything. It’s just fodder for the mainstream media to pick off on.

  2. debri says:

    As a white participant of #occupyphilly and someone who has seen more than enough ’stop and frisk’ operations on people of color in this city, I think actions like this are *absolutely* necessary, and are not a ‘movement against a movement.’ seeing this down there made me that much more proud to be part of #occupyphilly. If we’re going to chant about the 99%, we need to look at the issues affecting the bottom half of the 99%, not only those affecting the top half.

  3. Larry W says:

    As a black guy who’s involved with multiple committee’s and has been there every day of the protest thus far, I haven’t had one problem with anyone down there, save a few with a homeless person here and there. Otherwise, everyone gets along and does their best to work together.

    The committee make no sense. The 99% is the 99%. Like the article says, “The Occupy movement focuses more heavily on class than on race, a theme that the mainstream American media usually reverses when portraying social inequality.”

    As an American, I’ve been in the 99% since I was born. Same with everyone else down there protesting. Making this about race, in any way, shape, or form, doesn’t make sense.

  4. Larry W says:

    Also, I want to post a link to the City Paper article about this as well. It expands a little more into what happened:

  5. Larry R says:

    Larry, The city paper article is misguided. “this movement is not divided. We just have our own agendas,” sounds pretty much like a division to me, which is what this article points out. both complicate the issue. its about race and class, and that’s ok.

  6. siochain says:

    Your information that you have printed in this story is 100% false – you should really check your facts before disseminating disinformation.
    I was part of the safety team that help diffuse the situation. One male was asked to leave the area as a result of the incident – he was the person involved in the confrontation with the young ladies in question, this male was a local resident from a shelter – in no way where any “occupy philadelphia” volunteers involved in this incident. The safety team aided difusing the situation including keeping the PPd out of the situation.
    Please at least be accurate in your analysis as it is really quite annoying to read this piece as it is so utterly inaccurate !!

  7. Megan says:

    Good for those showing the racism that exists in capitalism, sexual violence, and the entire country. Until we can tackle the issues of racism that permeate our entire culture and set Blacks and Latinos up for a life oh hardship and increased rates of imprisonment, we can not call ourselves a fair and just country.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Why must everything be about race. This movement started because of wall street greed and corruption. We have people of every color, religion, sexual orientation, nationality, political affiliation, and belief associated with us. We are the 99% white, black, hispanic, or asian it doesn’t matter. There is racism everywhere, we are not blind to it. Your need to be different from the rest of the organization and to voice your opinions about race instead of what the message of Occupy has been since its inception is a form of segregation. But it is not the caucasian who are segregating but yourselves. We have a forum set up in every occupy movement where the voices of the people are meant to be heard. This forum is for the 99% to organize their grievances for actionable change. Why must our platform that we have worked hard to not have corrupted have to bend to a group who is not in tune with the movement. The occupy movement has arranged this occupation as a way to show out discontent with the system of corruption that has engulfed our country. It is not about race but yet here we have a group who are making it about race. There is freedom of choice and speech at the movement but the occupy message is still the same WE ARE ALL THE 99%. I suggest to these people to put race aside. I can speak of personally hearing black people calling white people cracker, whitey and my personal favorite (which was said to me personally even though I wear a mask) CASPER. We just don’t complain about it. Yes the black community is just as if not more racist then any group in Philadelphia. We have solidarity with a single overall message that we will no longer let the banksters rob from us, we will no longer, allow the 1% to rule this country in a plutocracy. We want economic, and political reform. This is our message. As for those who want to make everything about race…get your own permits and start your own occupation BUT DO NOT BESMIRCH THE OCCUPY MOVEMENT. We are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us.


  10. Philly RN says:

    I find it hard to believe that these crunchy granola peaceniks used the N-word. I just don’t buy it.

    It’s so opposite my experience with liberals generally, and Philly lefties especially, that they would use the N-word unless they were mouthing out a rap tune.

    My question is why would this group allege such a thing, but for media coverage or the spotlight? It’s odd, because they’d get plenty of media attention if they just went there and participated.

  11. Philly RN says:

    Why would the group alleging use of the N-word simply assume that the guy charging his phone was with the movement? The homeless have cell phones too, and the homelss might not be folks who are mentally just fine and having a great day.

    That’s why it’s time to expect the group to get permits, pay the costs of this, and use real police to respond to incidents like this before this thing gets out of control and someone gets stabbed.

    Philly is a city. It’s got some unsafe people in it who have long records of doing unsafe things, and they are just walking around, not likely to be clean and sober. It’s time to stop being naive about this before Woodstock turns into Altamont.

  12. Astro says:

    “Why must everything be about race?” Because it actually is about race pretty often. Its not like discussions about racism precede the actual racism or like its created out of thin air. No. Racism actually happened first and actually continues to happen, and THEN people point it out. And as soon as they do, its called complaining or pulling a card. Isnt this whole movement a complaint about individual issues and agendas with a common thread of classism? Why cant POC complain specifically about their issues of racism and classism and how they are connected to this movement without being called angry, divisive, or antithetical to the movement? If there isnt one singular message, leader, or agenda, what is the harm of pointing out what is clearly an interconnected phenomenon of the very issues which the movement seeks to expose and eventual remedy? Theres a contradiction there. A dangerous contradiction that ultimately weakens the basis of this movement and reaffirms the privilege and rights that non-whites enjoy at the expense of POC. When whites complain openly and publicly, its right. When POC do it, its wrong.

  13. Astro says:

    *I meant to say, that whites enjoy at the expense of POC

  14. Chepe says:

    People need to study their intersectionality. You can’t fight class exploitation (capitalism), white supremacy or sexism without fight the other two as well. You can’t separate them which were born through and through. They’re just different organs of the same system.

  15. steve franks says:

    Always the victim

  16. steve franks says:

    Now who are the racist occupy philly liberals not the Tea part since Hermain Cain has gained ground notice how the liberals stop with the racist terms now its in-compassionate for not giving free money to : Illegals for education

    Blacks dont make yourselves to always be the victims you separate yourself and then get upset that you are treated separate mmmmmmm?

  17. Ray says:

    From the get go, I want to put out that I’m a supporter of the Occupy movements both here in Philly & around the country. I’m not an occupier myself, but rather, a visitor who likes to stop in and see how things are handling there. I also go to take photos to document the signs, the people, the layout, etc. I don’t really talk to anyone there but I hang out and just watch what’s happening around me.

    That said, I saw the link to this article on Twitter and started reading. To be completely honest, the moment I got to the description of what happened, I immediately puckered my face in disbelief. From what I have seen there from Day 1 and Day 6, it is nothing but a rainbow of friendly, happy, thoughtful and intelligent people from all walks of life, as well as all colors of life.

    At first, I thought maybe this was a provacateur event but then I read a comment above from Siochain which stated that they are a member of the safety team that diffused the situation mentioned in the article. It doesn’t sound like the author of this article, Matthew Petrillo , has followed up with this person yet but I would highly recommend that they do.

    However, I also want to note Philly RN’s comment about these “crunchy granola peaceniks” who allegedly said this and the reaction the comment elicited. Gotta admit – if these are just “dirty, crusty, fleabagger, pot smoking hippies who just want to crush the system,” like some are calling them, I too find the allegation of what was said, “by actual protesters” of #OccupyPhiladelphia highly questionable.

    Then I read Steve Franks jump on the bandwagon to springboard the “See? Tea Party isn’t racist, it’s those racist liberal Occupy Philly people!!11!!1!!!!1″

    To address Steve directly: if you expect to come on here and make those types of allegations, especially here in Philadelphia, you better have something a whole lot better than your opinion to back it up with, pal. I don’t have to leave my web browser to find verifiable examples, one after another after another, of Tea Party members holding racist & xenophobic signs, making racist & xenophobic comments on video, sending racist & xenophobic emails, pictures, cartoons & jokes around via email, blogs & Facebook. For a couple years now too.

    To emphasize how important it is, I’m going to ask again that Matthew Petrillo, who authored this article, somehow get in touch with whomever said they were on the team that broke everything up and get their side of the story as well.

    There is nothing than those who oppose the Occupy movement want to see more than it’s utter and complete failure and to see it’s reputation collapse. That much is evident by comments like the one left by Steve Franks, an obvious troll.

    And lastly, whatever Channel Andrews thinks of the Occupy movement at City Hall, that much aside, they too should get in touch with the commenter above who relayed their take on the situation as there might be something this person isn’t aware of or missed as well.

    Otherwise, in my opinion, just from reading the text of the article and keeping an open mind (which is why I prefaced this with the fact I do support this movement, I’m not afraid to say that) he too, like Steve Franks, sounds like someone with an axe to grind against the movement itself.

    Racism of any kind is unacceptable, whether by the Tea Party or by Occupy Philadelphia protesters. However, until I actually see a racist sign, image, video, email, blog/Facebook post or personally hear something as vile as that come out of an Occupiers mouth, I’m going to take this article with a very large grain of salt.

  18. Neil says:

    Not that this applies here, I didn’t witness it –

    United we stand, divide us and….. Send in a couple of people with intent to divide and they can do more harm than the visible cops. Lets study the history of movements.

  19. Henry says:

    Hey Matt, so there’s all these people over at city hall you could have talked to for this story but your quoted source is someone in Florida who has not spent a minute at the occupation? That’s some first rate journalism there, dude.

  20. Bella Ma says:

    “Steve Franks” though I do not know you, your comments have made your ignorance public knowledge. The fact is that black people are still separate from other americans when you look at the median household values and graduation rates and such FACTUAL STATISTICS.It is not so much black people who chose to separate themselves but decades of enslavement and segregation, economic and otherwise, that created this. It is normal and healthy for black people to come together to redress these issues the same way it is for women to want to caucus together to address things specific to themselves. And to anonymous: this will not be a post-racial society until a black baby and a white baby born the same time in this country, have the same statistical odds of living free.

  21. RBG Girl says:

    After rereading this article and the comments that followed fort the last few days it seems that many of you believe that this type of event could not happen at Occupy Philly. The reality is these type of events happen everday and everywhere, what makes Occupy Philly in different? I don’t think these girls lied that a white man called them a nigger in fact I know they didn’t lie, I was there when the situation was being investigated. heard with my own ears a young white “security” male with light brown/blonde hair ask them to leave and the two young ladies became upset!

    Furthermore, I agree with their signs and people who have honest intentions of over turning this government should look at the realities of this government. During this whole economic crisis, Black and Latinos have been damaged greatly, there was no great movement to unite with these oppressed people. Instead they were blamed for “lack of education”. If white people are truly honest about overturning capitalism then they must accept these facts! The 99% movement is only big now because of all the white faces that are present! Black people have been marching for jobs and better schools for years!! I don’t support a movement that can’t support the facts!

  22. Henry says:

    Really, this story is garbage bordering on journalistic malpractice. You quote one source whose account is nothing but hearsay. You cut and paste from one anonymous blog post. And then you proceed to editorialize on the basis of facts not established by your reporting (or lack thereof). You make several claims a reader has no way of verifying due to the one sided perspective you provide.

    I mean, this isn’t even “he said, she said” journalism. It’s just “she said”: stenography for someone with an axe to grind against people who are their ostensible allies. The whole thing reeks of dirty tricks disinformation meant to create division where people are seeking to build unity around multiple struggles. The real story is that people of many races, ages, creeds, and outlooks have joined together to express outrage at the injustice in our economy.

    Maybe you should look into PR or advertising, because you’re obviously not cut out to be a reporter.

  23. MST says:

    Gee, I thought that only the dreaded “teabaggers” were racist!

    The only thing Occupy Philly has done so far is make the area around City Hall look like a third world shantytown and run up thousands of dollars in police overtime. How is that helping the “99 percent” in a city that is basically broke? Thanks a lot, folks.

    It’s sooo much fun watching you left-wing nutbags fight amongst each other. Carry on.

  24. [...] Already, there have been fissures exposed: a New York SlutWalker’s sign with a racist slur; the Black Out! at Occupy Philadelphia; and a walk-out protesting the exclusion of Rep. John Lewis from speaking at Occupy [...]

  25. firefighter says:

    Good Lord! Some people always have to have attention focused on themselves. Such a shame.

  26. sweetfunkystuff says:

    @ Philly RN: “Why would the group alleging use of the N-word simply assume that the guy charging his phone was with the movement?” ——— Are you serious? The alleged incident occurred at a cell-phone charging station that was presumably being used by Occupy Philadelphia participants, so what reason would these women have for assuming (actually, presuming) that the alleged racist (actually, alleged racists, as the article mentions two people) was homeless?

    Oh, yeah, because you say so. Because God forbid that white liberals have to deal with the possibility that even they or their cohorts aren’t totally unblemished by the stain of racism that pervades the society in which they were raised, educated, and socialized. (Hint: They’re not. And I’ve been dealing intimately with white liberals for a long, long time, so I know whereof I speak. And any honest white liberal will admit that what I say is true. You’ve heard the one about “Would you want your sister to marry one?” haven’t you?)

  27. Jamie says:

    I really wish Philly Weekly would actual verify their stories before publishing. Did the reporter talk to ANYONE there? Obviously NOT. This is based on random anonymous post on the internet which is just a complete lie. My only question- was this rumor started by the cops or just by an asshole?

  28. Jamie says:

    It’s not a question of COULD this have happened. IT DIDN’T HAPPEN. THIS NEWS STORY IS COMPLETELY BULLSHIT!!!!!!!!!!!!

  29. The Questioner says:

    It’s not a question of COULD this have happened. IT DIDN’T HAPPEN. THIS NEWS STORY IS COMPLETELY BULLSHIT!!!!!!!!!!!!

    How do you know? You weren’t there either way, so how do you get to make judgments about whether these women are telling the truth or not?

    I’m shaking my head at the denials of racism in Occupy Philly. No white person in the movement could ever possibly harass people of color ever? Really? Did all of you seem to forget that you live in a racist city, in a racist country? I mean—Philadelphia of all places—a textbook example of institutional racism, where the intersections of white flight and institutional poverty meet. I don’t care how many protests you go to or how many CEOs you yell at, you can’t undo whole lifetimes of white supremacist socialization overnight.

    And seriously—with the levels of denial and hostility to criticism I see on this thread, it’s obvious that some of you aren’t ready to do battle with the One Percent. Because at the end of the day, racism and sexism are the fuel that keep corporate and government kleptocracy alive. Point-blank, if you’re not ready to fight racism, you’re not ready to fight Wall Street. Period.

  30. Henry says:

    My guess is that the people in this thread yelling: “Racists among the occupiers! OMG!”, and the people writing: “Racists among the occupiers! LOL!” are one and the same: sock puppets for Wall Street and right wing trolls trying to split this powerful movement.

    The honest responses here are those from the occupiers and their supporters writing “Racism among the occupiers? WTF?!”, because that’s not what their experience has been, nor is it what is in their hearts.

    You want to attack racism effectively? Join the movement for economic justice for EVERYONE.

    J.P.Morgan once bragged that he was rich enough to hire one half of the working class to attack the other half. Don’t believe for a minute that things like that aren’t still happening today.

    The antidote to that is what is going on around the country at these events: direct, participatory democracy. Watch this video and then try to tell me this movement is full of racists:

  31. Henry says:

    Questioner, you write: “Point-blank, if you’re not ready to fight racism, you’re not ready to fight Wall Street.”

    We are ready to fight racism, and we are ready to fight Wall Street. Let’s do this thing! Together.

  32. Jamie says:

    This is not a statement that there is no racism, but that the events didn’t happen anyway near as described. If the reporter had actually investigated this story, then I wouldn’t have to point this out.

  33. Nina a says:

    The comments on this article highlights why we need a separate movement. White folk think we arecomplaining, playing the victim, etc. Our issues are not legitimate to them.We must make our needs are heard for once.

  34. Henry says:

    I don’t deny that racism exists in everyone, and, worse, that structural racism guarantees that black and latino people get a raw deal in America. In fact, I believe a strong case can be made for the payment of reparations to American Indians and African Americans for the enormous injustices they have suffered at the hands of the United States. Am I really the person you want to split with over the issue of racism?

    My objections to this story are from the perspective of someone seeking to know more about the struggles of all people who are struggling. But this story does not quote a single person on the record who was a party to these alleged events. It’s based on hearsay and anonymous blog posts. And it seems to be written with an editorial slant not supported by the reporting but loaded with potential to split this movement. Which is just what the powerful interests we oppose would like.

  35. hilary says:

    I hate that whenever something like this happens or supposedly happens in a liberal bastion people instantly question that something like that could happen amongst “us”. “Why is it always about race?” “Why are you being divisive in our movement?” Well the truth of the matter is that we live in a place where racism is still present. The majority of people may not go around shouting the n word but there are systematic processes in place that disenfranchise people of color in this country. IT is always about race because for people of color in America it is a constant movement and struggle against institutional racism to live in healthy communities and have access to the fundamentals of life. Just because you have been down to the protest and not experienced this doesn’t mean that it is not possible that it happened. We are all products of a racist system and even though white folks ( for clarification i am white) can be well intentioned we can not 100% say that we are not racist because we internalize all that is around us. By acting like people are being divisive or burdensome because they want people to check their actions and admit that there is racism in the 99% you are subjugating and belittling the experiences of people of color within this movement. When people ask you to check racism defensiveness is not a productive action. All of us are capable of being racist without even realizing it. If we want a country free a racism, classism and greed we must be able to admit that we are not perfect and check ourselves when called out. Pretending that you are incapable of racism simply because you are a liberal blocks the potential for actual anti- racist movements.

  36. Jazmine says:

    There has been documented video of racism at a few different occupy events. I saw one of some man yelling the N-word. This is not surprising as Leftist ideas are often very racist and the worst kind because they hide under the mask of anti-racism. Look it up: Welfare creates dependency and destroys the black community, the minimum wage keeps many blacks out of the work force, excessive requirements for licenses or permits disproportionately harm the black entrepreneurs, planned parenthood was founded on the idea of eliminating black population growth and today continues it’s task. The Left wants to keep the black people down. That way they can’t find solutions on their own and they have to rely on the government, the ones in power. Look it up: Read The State Against Blacks.

  37. hilary says:

    henry: my point is that it doesn’t really matter if this exact incident happened or not because undoubtedly there are/will be acts of racism within the movement if we are not careful to be checking ourselves against the very things we purport to be acting against and actively moving forward. You needn’t hypothesize about agent provocateurs or the fact that this article will split the movement. If we aren’t checking ourselves it will split itself.

  38. Erica says:

    This is an inflammatory writing, not serious journalism, nor a community paper. Though it was not written anonymously, it has a divisive, troll-like tone. I ask that PW take more responsibility.

  39. Henry says:

    @Hilary: “…it doesn’t really matter if this exact incident happened or not…”

    Seriously? Of course it does. Otherwise what’s the story? “People on the internet say there’s racists at Occupy Philadelphia”? Racism is a serious charge. If you make it you ought to be able to prove it. If you just simply generalize that, well, ‘it doesn’t matter what happened but white liberals are all a bunch of racists’ you’re doing the bidding of the right in two ways: echoing obvious right wing talking points and belittling the reality of racism.

    Y’all are trolling.

  40. Haha says:

    Dont let them (the 15 corporatists) try and split you (Back, White, Asian, Latino, whatever). Keep up the fight!

  41. A. Reginald Eaves says:

    this is info we all should have, thanks

  42. Ed says:

    Why don’t you folks get off of the Philosophical kick and go down to Washington, DC to protest? Don’t you all understand that you are doing exactly what the corrupt “privileged class” Politicians want (both parties!). Keep the populace divided so that THEY can control you. WAKE UP!! VOTE THE BUMS OUT. They’re just taking advantage of all of us, regardless of social status, wealth, color, etc.

    This is what these bums and the all of the new Socialists (e.g. Van Jones and his ilk) have been dreaming about for decades. Just take it from the people who have made something of themselves and give it to those that want it for nothing.

    You’ll reap what you sow, unfortunately. You’re all being used.

  43. EHC says:

    I don’t really follow the Occupy Movement, but it seems that if they take a social/economic protest and turn it into a racial issue, that would be going backwards politically. They are not standing together if one group is segregating itself and promoting the interests of their group specifically (no matter if that group is based on race, nationality, religion, or whatever). Doesn’t racial division play into the hands of the people they are supposed to be protesting against?

  44. Kris says:

    Not to point out the obvious(people from philly always seem slow), but holding a meeting in which people can only participate if they are X race, is in of itself racist. So, those PAN Africans or whatever, got angry for being called out on their racism.

    That sheer level of anti-white and anti-male bigotry espoused by the occupiers is why that movement died a brutal death and never had a chance of growing. It is the built in kill switch of any leftist grass roots movement that isn’t controlled by a billionaire.

  45. sea says:

    The aim of the High is to remain where they are. The aim of the Middle is to change places with the High. The aim of the Low, when they have an aim — for it is an abiding characteristic of the Low that they are too much crushed by drudgery to be more than intermittently conscious of anything outside their daily lives — is to abolish all distinctions and create a society in which all men shall be equal. Thus throughout history a struggle which is the same in its main outlines recurs over and over again. For long periods the High seem to be securely in power, but sooner or later there always comes a moment when they lose either their belief in themselves or their capacity to govern efficiently, or both. They are then overthrown by the Middle, who enlist the Low on their side by pretending to them that they are fighting for liberty and justice. As soon as they have reached their objective, the Middle thrust the Low back into their old position of servitude, and themselves become the High.

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