For these scattered OWS artifacts, I thank various friends and acquaintances on facebook, occupytogether, motherjones, alternet, press.tv, and my dear friend Rhonda.
First and foremost, we know something has gone off, way off. We’ve been “obedient” way too long. And while we learned from Martin Luther King and Gandhi and Howard Zinn that only non-violence will lead the way out of our man-made hell, as Howard Beale announces in the prophetic 1976 movie Network, in a memorable call and response with we the people, “we’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore!”
We’ve started to educate each other through flyers and posters. Only six weeks later, the national conversation has, decidedly, deepened, dropped below sound-bite dualistic politics to authentic, nitty-gritty, in your face reality.
Here’s two posters I hadn’t seen before. Wow, had no idea the CEO pay here is so much more concentrated than anywhere else. No wonder the 1% is ordering biometric door locks and bulletproof windows.
Meanwhile, Congress gets richer. From press.tv:
“Members of Congress appear to be getting wealthier at a faster pace than the rest of the nation, according to Roll Call, the newspaper of Capitol Hill.
“The report shows members of Congress had a collective net worth of more than USD 2 billion in 2010 – a nearly 25-percent increase since 2008.
“Nearly 90 percent of that increase is concentrated in the 50 richest members of Congress,” Roll Call said.”
Yesterday, the whole world watched us march to the port of Oakland and just about shut it down.
In my own local credit union yesterday, I had to wait in line a long time there were so many people! Way more than when I started the process of transferring my accounts from a bigger bank about ten days ago. Localize, localize! So much happening on every level, especially inside us. We are learning to occupy ourselves. To take back our lives from those to whom we handed over, little by little, like frogs in water slow heating to a boil, all allegiance and authority. “This is not a permitted picnic, this is an occupation,” said an earlier poster. Here’s a new one along the same lines:
Obedient? NOT! We are learning to take back our minds . . .
Even in the face of, or, more poignantly, face to face with, those who would riot in our name.
“In my dream, I walk down from my local apartment to an Occupy Movement site–with just maybe 20-30 people in the barricaded area. It was in front of an old civic building (I’m not sure what was inside). The Occupation had no tents, no kitchen…it was tiny. But constantly rotating people. Some of my old friends from forest activism days would rotate in and out. Many young people were there–but just as many of the forty and fifty-somethings. At the front of the crowd–nearest the civic building was a row of policemen–maybe six of them. I passed through the crowd and to a makeshift bench on the far side. Just after I did, the policeman that was nearest the entrance to the Occupy area began taking a sharpie and writing numbers on everyone’s arm. No one was allowed to enter without one. The policemen began giving orders and interpreting the rules. This could be done, this couldn’t be done. The crowd became more creative in order to lodge protest. My friend and fellow community organizer began subtly buckling on a harness and gathering some black nylon rope for a stunt. The mood in the crowd shifted there was an edge to the group and then a conscious decision by the crowd to embrace the situation, to rise above it and to respond with a higher wisdom. The policeman at the gateway became more nervous, more agitated. Those next to him were also on alert. But off to the far end was a policeman–no helmet, no riot gear. He had curly red-brown hair. He started talking to everyone. Just side conversations. But he shared that he’d been practicing tonglen (a Tibeten Buddhist meditation for compassion). He reached out to touch me–a reassuring gesture. In that moment, all I could mutter was that didn’t want to be touched. I couldn’t bear the thought of that odd juxtaposition. But then I realized I’d been wrong to react that way. I told the policeman that and he smiled. The whole crowd smiled.
“Shifting to a drowsy, waking state I realized: This movement is really about getting to know each other. What a wonderful opportunity for humans to show their best. What a great way to get people out of their homes, into reality, and talking to each other. The barriers aren’t just the physical ones. And love can come from anywhere.”
Or, as Chris Hedges put it, “The beginning is near. The beginning is here.”