There has never been anything, nor will there ever be anything, which so frightens those in power as a great demographic shift among the powerless.
Because the powerless, when they see themselves in the powerful, can delude themselves into thinking they share in the power. After all, they have the same interests, the same concerns, the same ideology. But when the powerless look up and see something that looks so unfamiliar, they begin to feel restless. They clamor for change. They know that these strangers, who purport to speak for them, in no way have their best interests at heart. Ultimately, they threaten the powerful — not overtly (necessarily), but covertly. Not with conflict and protest, with guns and violence, but with that most subversive act of all. With their vote. Continue reading →
My intention was to head to Boston today to Occupy our fair city of tea parties and revolution, but it is dreary and raining and I know, I know, I am lame and so not hardcore. I’ll embrace my role as an armchair activist.
Until I get off my tuchas (sp?), look what’s lacking at Occupies Maine and Baltimore.
I’ve made it now to four cities in my nomadic occupation. NYC was BIG. Crowded. What you’d expect of a popular resistance movement (so to speak) in the big apple. In comparison, DC was smaller, far more disorganized, and just seemed haphazard in general. Baltimore, though smaller by far than DC, seemed at least consistent within itself and like it had a core of dedicated participants. It was artistic, too. Being stations next to a three-masted sailboat didn’t hurt, either. I’m sitting in Philly now, at the edge of the demonstration in front of City Hall (15th and Market). Philly is big, with a large contingent of tents and even a family section. The participants seem more diverse; more average citizens than there were in New York, more spectators becoming participants and then disappearing again. There is still perplexity on the part of some spectators, but less shame and less anger than there was in New York.
I realized as I was driving by that I skipped Wilmington, though. Oops. Sorry, Delaware.
There is some impression from the media that the occupy wall street protestors are disorganized, are messy, are visionless, and are altogether insignificant.
But what kind of grassroots movement would it be if it wasn’t disorganized and messy, if it didn’t seem visionless at times, and how would they gain any credibility and any viable power without seeming insignificant?
On Wednesday, thousands of people marched from Zuccotti Park to Foley Square, where they were joined by thousands more. The first thousands were the hardcore overnighters, the day protestors, the after-school protestors, the after-work protestors, from all walks of life. Unemployed marched with employed. Minimum wage marched with highest tax bracket. Young with old. Educated with uneducated. Americans, and many who weren’t American, marched side by side, all races, all religions. Alaska, Wisconsin, Colorado, Maine, New Jersey, New York.
The second thousands were more of the same, and more: union workers. Teachers. Auto. Transit. Writers. The AFL-CIO and the SEIU and the TWU and the CWA and the UAW and the PSC and every other acronym you may or may not have heard of was out in full force.
When, in the tens of thousands, the anarchists march with the socialists march with the labor unions march with the capitalists who still think the system is broken, you can’t tell me this doesn’t mean something.