Saturday, December 31, 2011

Occupy Optics

Some very good things happened this year, thanks to a strange, leaderless, constantly morphing group of protestors. Who have only had the last three and a half months to make their mark!
And they ain't done yet.
Thank you Occupy Wall Street and all your permutations. You have made the issue of income inequality huge in our minds. The income inequality was there all along, but it took OWS to get us to notice it, to get us heated up about it.
Occupy has also brought the simple right to assemble peaceably into the spotlight. If cops in riot gear think they can bust up nonviolent groups of demonstrators for no good reason, we, the 99%, now have more work to do.
But the cops persist in busting up law-abiding gatherings with batons and pepper spray, putting the fat, stupid bastards in the news, and shining a favorable light on the people. Thanks, cops. It makes our work easier, even if it hurts for a while, and you are prancing imbeciles until you get put on administrative leave.
When OWS burst onto the news back in mid-September, I felt immediately we had a new form, a new context, a new theater. Camping all night in pup tents? Crazy optics. Embracing the homeless, feeding everybody? Angelic. Making rules up as you go along? (Human Mic, those hand wiggles for approval or disapproval at general assemblies.) Radical.
I've seen remarks from ordinary people, even people I know, who don't dig OWS. They have decided that THEY know how OWS should be run: Get a leader, get an agenda, focus on jobs.
Enlighten me, what butt-headed Tweeter thinks he or she should tell OWS what to do? Are they running secret underground railroads through their apartment that I don't know about? No, they are in constant search of lattes, mani-pedis and coiffeur blow-outs, which seriously cuts into their revolutionary credentials.
When OWS needs leadership, it will emerge from the movement. Agendas are already there, if invisible to the un-punk eye. And jobs? Really, Occupy has to say "We need jobs"? We ALL need jobs. It's practically a moot point.
I hope you are looking forward to the New Year. It's going to be important.
I hope it's great.


cookiecrumb said...


Patricia Lawler said...

I'm so glad to read this and thank you for writing it! I'm greatly encouraged by the Occupy movement and thankful to them for their efforts. Long overdue.

cookiecrumb said...

Patricia: Whoa! I'm so grateful for your remarks! Isn't it a turnon, this slightly unknown, so easily known, fissile, vibrating kind of movement? Brilliant. Best wishes to you in the new year, and come back. Let's talk.

breeamal said...

Thank you, that was a lovely observation and defense of the Occupy Movement. Times change, people change and the needs of the resistance to oppression and inequality change. To dismiss a movement because it doesn't look like every other movement is to ignore the ever unfolding history of humanity.

cookiecrumb said...

Breeamal: Yes! You get it so clearly. Your remark is a joy to read.
Thank you, I am flattered. Come back.
Happy New Year.

kudzu said...

Blessings on them all, the brave souls. They're evolving, and it's such a mystery to those who need to know the rules (and have rulers). Thanks for your New Year's Eve thoughts.

Ms Brown Mouse said...

*crosses fingers*
Hippo Gnu Deer xxxx

Chilebrown said...

Did this not happen in the 60's? The Free Speach Movement. What was the end results of that. Patchouli oil. Most of the protesters got a Job! Time will pass and history will repeat.

At least I have prime rib!!! You stinky unemployed, Occupy wanna be's, non Marin living Freaks!!!!!

cookiecrumb said...

Chilebrown: Oh, you old farty Republican. We could talk, but you don't want to listen. Still friends.

Zoomie said...

What you, Patricia and breeamal said. Right on!

cookiecrumb said...

Kudzu: Yeah, you got it. I say evolve. This is interesting.

Mouse: I saw a tape of tent-wearing protestors in Australia. It went badly, but so much for the good. (That's how I feel at my age, ever hopeful though beat up all my life.)

Zoomie: Let's get a little voice out of you, now. :)

Ms Brown Mouse said...

Our occupies were pretty small compared with the US. Sydney's in particular. Melbourne's went horribly wrong in the end :(

Kailyn said...

Thank you. Months ago I was chatting with a friend who asked, "What do they want? Who is their leader?" I told him that this was so much more organic. For me this was about people who were feeling disenfranchised finally having their voices and heard. More importantly it was about finding out that one is not alone in one's feelings of frustration. We have become fragmented, isolated. The Occupy movement has let us see that we're not alone.

One thing though. It's not about income. It's really about wealth. Two different things. Nine years ago when I was working on my credential, I took the required class about societal impact on education. We learned to stop talking about income and instead to talk about wealth. Wealth is where the power is, not income. I remember sitting there in classes and wondering why people weren't as angry as I was. Why were they so willing to accept the pablum? Makes me think of a favorite quote I often heard from my parents while growing up.

"The limits of tyrants are proscribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress." -- Frederick Douglass

I guess we've finally reached our limit.

Happy New Year to you and yours.

Zoomie said...

I bore the s**t out of my friends, ranting on about why campus police now have riot gear and how I believe there's no focus to the Occupy movement because there are so many ills in this country to protest, not just economic inequality but all kinds of issues including expensive "public" education, gang problems that never get any better (we kill far more kids in the inner cities of this country than ever died in Iraq and Afghanistan combined!), etc.

In the '50s, racial inequality was the overriding problem, very focused.

In the '60s, it was more focused because there was only one real problem - the VietNam war - but now the things that hold people back are numerous, hard to focus on just one thing, or just one leader, since the leaders all have different issues. But it adds up to the same thing - oppression of the many by the very wealthy few, who don't even seem to "get it."

But, Iike to keep the blog peaceful. ;-)

Little Pots & Pans Co. said...

Happy New Year, CC! Let's make 2012 full of good eats (high & low brow) and great rhetoric!
While I laud the OWS movement in general, my issue is their clear lack of message for change and the some of the underlying tone that anyone with money (or striving to make money) is the enemy. Change can be good, but what is it you want to be different?

Greg said...

Free speech is not always free. Hope in the new year.

cookiecrumb said...

Kailyn: Good observation on income vs. wealth. Still, if you make $10 an hour and your boss makes $10 a minute, it's a compelling metric for the average Joe.
Yes, Occupy is organic. Good description.
And I love your observation that we are not alone. Power to the people! Happy New Year.

Zoomie: Awesome! Good point on the cost of public education. Occupy is also meddling with possibly illegal foreclosures. And they had a float at the Rose Parade today!

Little Pots: Happy New Year! I'm craving Chinese. :)
I don't think Occupy has issues with anyone making a living. They want to make a living too.

SimplyStated said...

Well...I know I'm going to piss some people off but I have to be true to my feelings...and counter some comments. it's long and in 2 parts.

Part 1

Occupy and the people who put down those of us who aren't sold on it yet makes mad and frustrated because:

1)"Everybody thinks it grand that there is no visible leadership." Please.

Is there a 10 Commandmants of OWS that I missed the memo on? And no,
I'm not a butt-headed Tweeter who thinks she should tell OWS what to do but if I'm part of this 99% why don't I have the right to request leadership and a sensible agenda?

I don't hop bandwagons that have no clear destination and I ain't drinking the Kool-Aid just cause you tell me to.

Leaderless movements are nothing new...we've all seen this before and I find it downright scary that folks aren't seeing the danger in this.

Reminds me of the French and Russian revolutions and the Tea Party. It leaves the door open for anybody, usually a nut, to come in and take things over and the whole thing goes to hell in hand basket very quickly.

2)If you don't have a clear message(and occupying a park is not telling me a damn thing),no visible leadership or agenda,you limit your resources and your leverage.

3)Cookie you wrote: "Thank you Occupy Wall Street and all your permutations. You have made the issue of income inequality huge in our minds. The income inequality was there all along, but it took OWS to get us to notice it, to get us heated up about it."

Cookie, I feel I know you and I can't believe it took OWS to get you to notice inequality. Where have been for last 3 or 4 decades Hiding under a rock on Mars? Let me throw a few names at you: Susan B Anthony, Ceasar Chavez, John and Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, Nelson Mandela, Ghandi, Elizabeth Peratrovich, Frederick Douglass, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Emmeline Pankhurst, Malcolm X and Bruce Cohen to name a few.

The above people are part of reason OWS can even exist let alone to function in public today. And they had no problem with leadership, stating an exact cause and having an agenda.

4)We need to redistribute the wealth of the 1%. Again, Please.

Really? And just how do we plan to do this and who is in charge? Has anyone sat down and done the actual math on this to make sure it's even a viable solution?

Because if its the same folks who did the math on the idea of taxing the 1% extra to lower the deficit you can throw it out now. I did the math on that one and the additional taxes wouldn't even touch the deficit.

This is all provided of course, they don't just pack up and leave the country first and take their money with them. That would be a real kick in the head.

And who decides who gets how much? Do the neighborhood gangbangers and drug dealers (who are also part of the 99%) get redistribution too? That would be a hoot.

Think they would take that money and start living right? Think again. And how do we deal with givin illegals resditribution? (another group in the 99%)How far do you think that would fly with everyone?

If the wealthy don't give it up, do we take it from them by force? And if they do give it up guess what will happen? All that money that they normally put into the economy when they purchase luxury items will cease. So will the philanthropy that many of them provide to charities, schools and organizations. And when they start closing companies they own we know what that means.

Can you imagine winning multi-millions in the lotto and then being told you can't keep most of it because its not fair?


End of Part 1

SimplyStated said...

Part 2

6)We are adults here and we know that anytime you have demonstrations, occupations and protests in public places you will have an unstable atmosphere and feelings on both sides will run high. There is always the risk that someone on eiher side is going to do something dumb or overeact to someone or something and someone is going to get hurt or die.

7)Those Law Enforcement officers are 99%ers too...and there are good ones and bad ones as with any profession. And Cookie, every cop in riot gear doesn't think they can bust up nonviolent groups of demonstrators for no good reason.

I had one of afternoon knocks on the door to let me know a SORT (Special Operation Response Team)operation at a "peaceful" demostration had gone bad after someone pulled a gun and fired into the crowd.My husband and his partner were both seriously wounded.

I had to keep a brave face in front of the kids, find a neighbor to watch them and pray if it was gonna be the end I would get there before he passed. We got lucky that day...his partner didn't.

8)We have nearly depleated all our natural resources without focusing on having adquate alternatives in place and we refuse to enforce strict recycling measures.

We continue to reproduce at alarming rates worldwide, we can't produce enough food for everyone but we will outlaw illegals from working the fields to harvest (We'll let the food rot in the field and there are few 99%ers'showing up for any of those jobs)

We continue to wage and fund wars we can't afford and refuse to fund infrastructure, education and health care because nobody wants to pay more taxes.

9)We 99%ers' are also part of the problem and we need to address that.

They wanna occupy something...try reality. Try a state capital, Congress or the Senate.

10)We have the leader of the Catholic nation (Pope Benedict)on Christmas Eve giving a homily lamenting how the true meaning of the day had been overshadowed by materialism.

In that homily, he urged humanity to see through the superficial glitter and commercialism of the season and rediscover the real significance of the humble birth of Jesus. Maybe he should look in the mirror.

The Vatican's wealth put it at $10 billion to $15 billion. The Vatican has big investments in banking, insurance, chemicals, steel, construction, real estate. Unlike ordinary stockholders, The Vatican pays no taxes on this income.

Want to redistribute something?...try starting there and then move on to the defense budget.

Patricia Lawler said...

By the bye, anyone bothered by Obama's signing NDAA into law? Maybe this isn't the place to bring this up but I guess, cookiecrumb, you'll let it publish if it's ok. My head's kinda reeling and I don't know where to start ...

James said...

Well I guess It's my turn...
The problem with corporate america is not the corporations.
The problem with industry is not the industrialists.
the problem with politics is not the politicians.
All of these problems have one thing in common, pure simple greed. Greed is the monster that mutates the good into the bad.
I have said before, in other places, that a couple of years ago Levi's closed their last American factory. In the name of cost cutting,and I for one am still waiting for the price of jeans to come down but they keep getting more and more expensive. That's greed.
The makers of "the best stand mixer around" has cut costs and is now making mixers that will only last a couple of years instead of a lifetime, you have to go to garage sales and get one mad before 2000 to get one that will last. Again the price has not gone down, only up. That's greed.
Politicians for what ever reason seem to sell their votes to the highest bidder rather than to a cause they may have believed in before they got elected. That is greed.
OWS has shed a little light on the affects of this greed but I can't see how it can eliminate such a "natural" part of the human condition.
I wish them all the luck in the world from the bottom of my heart, but I think a miracle is in order.
Happy New Year to US(A) and remember:
Miracles do happen, close your eyes and clap your hands,maybe if we all believe...

Patricia Lawler said...

Well put, James, but I believe it is not greed, but Greedy People, who are the problem. So yes, it Is the industrialists, politicians, and corporations ... oh, wait, corporations aren't human, are they? Oh, yeah, I forgot, they are human - the politicians made them so.
And yeah, it probably will take a miracle. Cheers!

breeamal said...

Cookie, I come here all the time, I love this place! I just rarely feel the need to comment on your lovely posts.

cookiecrumb said...

Hey, thanks, all! Too much to really engage in. I appreciate your input, and I still feel hopeful about Occupy.
Let's rattle some cages in 2012.