Today was the first mass event for 2012 in the bay area. And it rained all day. But oddly enough, that didn’t keep the people away. From 6am to the parties that are still going as I write, hundreds of people kept showing up in waves to protest the immoral (and in many cases criminal) activity of the bankers and their mammoth corporations. The Oakland folk were billing it as a “carnival of resistance.”
The rain probably kept a lot of people away. But there were still so many familiar faces and many other new faces too. The atmosphere for those of us that have been occupying since day one felt a little like a reunion. The camps have all been dispersed and people haven’t had anywhere to gather for awhile.
This drought of peaceful assembly by people united in dissent was broken today. I don’t believe in coincidences and I don’t question the timing of the universe – so as it rained on us today the feeling was deeply cleansing (dare I say Uniting?).
I have fond memories of my childhood putting on a poncho with galoshes and splashing around in any puddle that I could find. The bigger the better. The floods in the spring of 1993 were a paradise. Today’s celebratory atmosphere was just what I needed to feel the bubbling emotions of inspiration again.
However, there are a number of issues that I have about the occupy movement in its present incarnation. The first, and in my opinion most significant, is that occupy lacks a serious environmental critique. Everything that I do is in the quest of sustainability for everyone that can achieve it. And I believe that capitalism and sustainability are incompatible. Until I can be persuaded otherwise; I will think that capitalism as a system is more destructive than productive. Capitalism deprives humanity of our connection to the earth and it instead makes us dependent on the machine.
No doubt that technology is amazing. But I think that it might be a bit too amazing and needs to be reigned in with some serious public dialogue instead of blind faith in the next iphone app. I don’t hear this kind of thinking in the occupy movement yet, but it seems to me like it should be the priority for public debate. But instead the movement is still angry about bank bailouts and home foreclosures. Not that there’s anything wrong with that!
So, instead of the media paying such scrupulous attention to the republican presidential primaries, I would like to see the occupy movement completely shift the consciousness to a debate about the quality of our environment. The economic crisis is unavoidably connected to our on-going and worsening environmental devastation.
The machine has gone unchecked for too long. Raging against it is all well and good, but there must come a time when its true value is thoroughly examined.
Thankfully, droughts end. Nothing can last forever – and that includes the 1% and their machines. I’m looking forward to the massive awakening that will happen this spring. My prayer is that this awakening will be the implementation of the very best that American values have to offer to the world.