The past few weeks have been a time for me to stand aside from the occupy movement a little bit and re-evaluate my role and which direction people seem to be going as a whole.
The failure of the January 28th building occupation came as little surprise to me. I knew they didn’t have the community support necessary to pull it off. What’s worse is that the secrecy (or security?) that went in to the planning of the building occupation was completely pointless since the location got out into the public sphere anyway. The secrecy of it also alienated a lot of people who liked the idea, but valued transparency more.
Yesterday, there was a small group of Oakland residents that gathered in front of city hall to demand that occupy oakland stand down (some said arrest them, others said kill them…).
And so the movement seems to be effectively divided. The 1% must be reveling in their victory right now. Speaking of the 1%: It seems like the evidence would point to the following fact: There is a bell curve that has developed with the 1% elite financial powers on one side, and the 1% of occupiers on the other side, with 98% of the American public caught in the middle.
And now it is as if the old “left” and “right” divides have emerged with a new twist. This is tragic, since the only way we can accomplish the goal of sustainability is for a unified people to completely transform society.
I used to argue that taking money out of our cultural equation was the solution to it all. Lots of people liked this idea in theory but couldn’t possibly imagine how it would function in practice. This is either due to my inability to articulate it, or because I was simply wrong. Either way, I’m at peace with the fact that people feel like they need money in their lives. Though I refuse to put any faith in it.
Now, I think that there are some perfectly other valid solutions: Decolonizing is one. Anarchy is another. But how to make these appealing enough to the 98% of people that are still on the fence concerning which direction to go?
Of course this not just an American thing either. There are occupations around the world rooting for us all to do the right thing. And if I were to include the rest of the population of the world in that bell curve we would see it skew towards the occupiers. This might be what Martin Luther King Jr meant when he said: “Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.”
Unfortunately, I have the feeling that violence will continue to plague this movement. The police will continue with their brutality, and it is probably only a matter of time until some disgruntled occupier snaps. God have mercy on us all if/when that happens.
I’m still not sure where I fit into all of this anymore. I’ve been trying to reach out and talk up the movement to as many different people as possible. I’ve always maintained that the movement is non-violent. But the more that the police crack down on peaceful protesters, the more likely it seems that people are going to want to fight back. Violence is always an abstraction until it happens to you or someone you love. Once the abstraction is broken, reality bites hard and it seems to be the way of nature for people to bite back. And so the cycle of violence is perpetuated. I maintain that there is a high road to take, but that can only be done together as a unified people. Right now the 98% are content to watch the representatives of the 2% beat each other up.
In the meantime, the economic crisis will continue to worsen. The price of oil will continue to rise. Our rivers and fields will continue to be polluted and our forests clear cut and our mountain tops blown to bits. All because the machine of capitalism demands it. The time is coming soon for Americans everywhere to figure out which direction they want to go.
So here are some questions that I have for anyone willing to think about them:
Do you really want to be at war with Iran?
Are you fine with the political game being completely rigged?
Have you started to come to terms with the continued destruction of our natural world?
Are you comfortable in your home with the TV or do you yearn for real community?
There is some sort of cultural storm coming. I don’t know what it will be or when it will happen, but I can’t shake the feeling that something huge is coming.