What a day…
I didn’t get much sleep last night. Getting up early is certainly not my first choice of lifestyle, but this day had me out of bed at 6:30am. I spent a little time reading and then headed out for breakfast. Bagel and Coffee. I continued with my reading material; Nietzsche’s “Geneology of Morals.”
I think Nietzsche gets a bad wrap too often.
After breakfast I had a meeting in the federal building of Oakland with one of Congresswoman Barbera Lee’s congressional aides. I took this picture in the lobby waiting to go through the security line. The words on the clock say “Stormy” “Changing” and “Fair.” The clock’s hand was frozen in time at 25 past “changing” and 5 till “fair.”
As I took the picture, the security guard informed me that “I couldn’t do that.” Too late! And then he said “It never changes.” I thought that was pretty funny. It’s always changing but never stops changing.
My meeting with the congressional aide was quite good. We had a “no nonsense” type conversation with one another. She seemed a bit younger than I was and definitely had her heart in the right place. She essentially told me that she couldn’t speak for Barbera Lee, yet she believed that I was doing a good thing with the revolt. She also explained to me how much Barbera Lee seems limited by our status quo system. Of course, I believe that the system inherently limits us all.
After our meeting I headed to my work at Mission Bay Community Church to get a bit of piano practice in. I also needed to pick up my drum which is a necessity for the revolt.
Before practicing, I checked my email and discovered that moveon.org was trying to organize a last minute event defending the American dream – and it said that Robert Reich was going to speak! Here’s a quick copy paste:
Defend the Dream Action
San Francisco Civic Center Plaza, #1 Dr Carlton B Goodlett (Polk & Grove) (Map)
San Francisco, CA 94104
Tuesday, March 15th, 5:30 PM
Let’s keep the momentum going! Please sign up for this gathering right away!
Message from your host, David S.: ROBERT REICH, Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration and professor at University of California at Berkeley will speak at our rally.
Join us in this historic event, as we continue the people’s fight to Defend the American Dream. We must STOP the massive redistribution of wealth to the Top 2% fat cats that fund the Right-wing War on the Middle Class.
We are all Wisconsin. Even with hundreds of thousands of people in the streets, Gov. Walker isn’t backing down from his vicious attacks on workers’ rights. The attacks are spreading
to other states, and Republicans in Washington are even threatening to shut down the government in order to ram through vicious cuts to vital services.
That sounded all well and good to me! I told myself that if I had a good crowd growing by 4 o’clock, then I would send some of my friends down to their moveon.org event and begin coordinating together. It is really my hope to meet Robert Reich soon and get a little perspective from him.
I think moveon.org has done some good things, but they haven’t responded to any of my emails yet and we have a very one-sided relationship since I feel like they just ask me for money all the time. And I get the idea that they are not reading this blog since they are scheduling events at the same time as me. Moveon.org! Let’s coordinate together for the April 15th event.
With the hope of the possibility of meeting Prof. Reich, I jumped into my piano practice. It is truly always easier to play when inspired. I didn’t force it at all.
After practicing I began to make my way down to the staging area for the revolt: The intersection of Montgomery and Post. I was acting out of a state of hopeful optimism about the possibilities of today.
And then it began to rain.
Rain for San Franciscans is like a blizzard for Iowans. Nobody goes out, or certainly doesn’t stay out long. Thankfully I’m still made of some rugged midwestern spirit and the rain doesn’t really bother me.
We need the rain!
As I began my way down Market St, I figured that it would be fun to go into the banks and put them all on notice about the revolution. So for every bank I passed, I went in with my megaphone and made the following announcement.
“Bank patrons and employees: I’m here to tell you that there will be a non-violent revolt against the rich at 4pm today in the financial district. This is a revolt for true equality, real freedom and a sustainable civilization. It is not a revolt against rich people, but instead a revolt against the rich mentality and the corporate capitalist psychosis of maximizing profits at whatever exploitative cost to our relationships and environment.”
In every bank I was slowly surrounded by bank employees. As soon as I stopped talking they always asked me to leave. So I did.
Eventually I got to the intersection of Montgomery and Post – across the street is a gothic sort of Wells Fargo building, equipped with pillars and everything. The buildings are designed to be imposing. It is rather insidious if you stop and think about it.
I entered the building – this was the biggest of the banks I entered – I started delivering my public service announcement. Immediately a security guard rushed over to me and tried to cover my megaphone with his hand. I continued to speak. Each word spoken aggravated the guard more and he began to gently push me. I stood my ground. Eventually I put the megaphone down and talked to the guard himself. He had no explanation for expelling me when I told him that I was a Wells Fargo customer myself and I had a check to deposit since it was the 15th. All of which is factual.
But he still kicked me out while another employee called the cops on me.
What they didn’t realize was that I had called the cops two and a half months ago. The difference being that when I called them, I had to wade through a river of red tape in order to finally have a face to face meeting with one. Yet when Wells Fargo calls the cops, they show up instantly.
I hope you understand how misplaced the values in this country are.
After I talked with the cops for a bit, I went down the road to try to find a bit of water. I could have stood on the sidewalk and drank the rain. It was coming down hard.
But instead I went into some frozen yogurt place to see if they would fill one of my water bottles. They did, so kudos to them. As I went outside I saw a young musician walking by with a guitar. I called out to him and we talked for a bit. He became excited about the revolt and I asked him to come play some songs for it.
I made my way back to the staging area and began to play the drum I had brought with me. Shortly after, my new musician friend found me and I gave him the drum as I jumped on the megaphone. I talked for a bit. Then he played a song. And we went on like that for a good thirty minutes. Sopping wet. His name is Johnny Lawrie, and he played some Dylan songs and some originals. He was a pretty good singer/songwriter. Here he is:
As Johnny was playing, there were a couple of girls from Wisconsin that stopped and listened to what was going on. I started talking to them and was excited to learn that one of the girls had been thrown out of the Capitol building Madison when they closed it last week. Small world!
A news crew was there. I’m not sure which station. They didn’t talk to me. They just sat in their dry van the whole time.
Eventually two of my bandmates showed up. And then another colleague from my school showed up. There was also some guy who saw my ad in SF Weekly who brought some friends and this sign with him:
On the flip side of his sign he had something in a language I didn’t recognize. I asked him what his sign said, but I couldn’t quite understand his response. It sounded like he said something about aliens, but I could have been mistaken since I had a tough time deciphering his accent. I’m not sure what he was all about, but his voice and right to demonstrate is just as equal as mine. Regardless of that guy’s personal experiences, I think it’s kind of cool to be associated with the aliens! As long as we don’t go down the scientology road…
We were a wet, pathetic crew that didn’t get to a critical mass. But everything has to start somehow.
So, I’d say the first revolt was a cold, wet, success. I’m disappointed with the turnout, but not dwelling on it. I definitely raised some eyebrows and touched a few nerves. I was only disgusted when some bourgeois fool walked by us and said “Eat the poor.”
I was inspired by the space we were in and am already planning on how we can put it to good use for the next revolt on April 15th.
I’m also considering giving the name of this campaign a mild change.
What do you, dear reader, think about “Revolt Against The Corporations?” It loses the alliteration. But in a sense, it is a bit more accurate and in-line with my goal. And since I don’t believe that corporations are really people (despite the Supreme Court’s stance), it makes the campaign less divisive. Anyway, I’d appreciate any help that you can offer in organizing for next month’s revolt: Tax day.