I was not a rebel in the ’60s,when many of my generation were. I was raised in such a conservative community that civil disobedience never occurred to me. And I saw the acts of others as practically sinful. Because the government knows best, right? It wasn’t until I was in my forties that I began to see that government, and other institutions, were flawed. As all human enterprise is flawed. And it’s only now, when I’m not working sixty hours a week, that I can rebel.
I have had some minor, peripheral involvement with Occupy Seattle. The people sleeping in the park won’t claim me, I’m sure. I’m not about to join them. I’m too old for that stuff. But we also serve who sit and type. Right now I am trying to make myself useful in the Internet and Media Workgroup. I am, however, apparently a slacktivist, and I didn’t get to the meeting today. I didn’t go yesterday, in the middle of a downpour, because I didn’t enjoy sitting in the rain in a meeting the day before. I wouldn’t want to get arrested for using an umbrella sitting down.
The Boyo has been an activist from way back, for about 30 years or so. He is, of course, much more active in the movement. He has spoken a couple of times at the General Assembly. I live vicariously through him. And the internet. I can watch the GA meetings on livestream. Of course, my vote doesn’t count, but somebody has to tend the home fires.
Right now, there is a lot of mumbling on the internet that the movement is leaderless. People don’t know that is intentional. It is a democratic movement run by consensus. Besides, if you want to kill a snake, you cut off its head. That’s what they tried to do by assassinating Martin Luther King, Jr. Presenting the head of Medusa makes it harder to kill the movement.
Today at the park, I saw a lot more people of color. I was glad to see this, as much of the Occupy Wall Street movement seemed to be comprised of white, middle class people. I’m not denying they have problems, a lot of them, but if we are going to be the 99%, we need to be inclusive. Neither color, nor income, or lack thereof, can exclude you from the 99%, only income and attitude can do that. Like the 53%ers, who think they are not part of the 99%, because they are working three jobs, and so should all those slackers out there. I hate to tell them, I’m old enough to remember when you could get by on one job in America, even a minimum wage one. And a lot of those “slackers” would love to have a minimum wage job, but you’ve got three of them. Jobs, like oil, are a finite resource.
I am not happy with what is going on in Seattle. The mayor has offered us City Hall to camp at, but a certain small, vociferous minority are insisting the Occupation stay at Westlake Park. Sure, they are more visible there than they would be at City Hall, but sometimes discretion is the better part of valor. If you get pneumonia, or hypothermia in Westlake because you can’t use a tent, or even a tarp, then I guess you’re a martyr, but what have you really accomplished? If you’re arrested for staying in the park, what have you accomplished? The police have been brutal without provocation in Boston and New York, so why instigate arrests? They police took down one small tent tonight, yet the people are calling for reoccupying the park with lots of tents on Saturday. Sigh!
Things go on. I don’t know how this will all turn out. And I think this is turning out to be two separate issues. And right now, the Occupation of Westlake is getting all the attention, while there are a lot of other issues to work on . I think I will work on the other issues and stay out of the park.