(Written en route from NYC to Shanghai 10/26/11 – continued from Can You Tell Me How To Get To Occupy Wall Street? (Part 2/3) )
Most notably a man who was not a native English speaker who was questioning the structure and some of the intentions of the meeting – was told he was speaking out of turn because comments were supposed to be for a later portion of the meeting (I think they were following some form of Robert’s Rules of Order, which I only know about b/c I was a student council nerd in high school). Strangely enough, whenever he spoke only a few people would repeat what he would say and at a certain point when he was being told he was out of order, not at all.
I don’t say that to be an asshole and like, “See they can’t even be equitable within their own system.” I say it because believing in democracy is tough in its execution to provide leadership that is transparent and truly does embrace oppositional thought – it’s easy to think that it’s taking the process off-topic or off-message…but that may be exactly where it needs to go. Maybe this was an isolated phenomena, but I’d be interested to see what and who the people’s mic (i.e. the group) feels comfortable amplifying and which voices even within that fall through the cracks.
It is inspiring though to know that this movement that began as a few hundred people in lower Manhattan has inspired folks all around the world to come together in solidarity around their frustrations and malcontent – and in some cases, generative hopes for the future. As I boarded the plane today, I saw images of folks in Oakland being tear-gassed, which is awful – what is the violent threat really of people organizing for what they want? From my p.o.v. though, the fact of OWS in NYC being dominantly white in its population (somebody correct me if I’m wrong on that) – gives it a layer of protection from the intensity of police repression and also media attention that I don’t think would be afforded to a majority group of people of color i.e. I think that shit would have been shut down QUICKLY.
It’s also disappointing that Jean Quan the newly elected mayor of Oakland would let this happen in terms of the use of brute force in a city that has such a rich history of social activism. I don’t know the particulars of how all of that popped off, but it seems unwarranted given the fact of the Occupy movement being peaceful pretty much all over.
Alright, once again, written longer than I thought I would…but I would say this last thing…the whole We are 53% movement of folks who are being framed (in some newsmedia that I saw) as neocon is pretty interesting to me – basically everyday folks who don’t want to be associated with the politics of the We are 99% folks – The age-old boot-strappers vs. activists. Whereas I’d say I’m kind of a boot-strapper activist or as my boyfriend calls me “practical radical”…i.e. personal responsibility + corporate responsibility + governmental responsibility. Work your ass off on whatever you’re trying to do, plus work for and demand that structural injustices be addressed. That’s a whole lot of working, ain’t it? Exactly.
Although completely missing from this dialogue is any response from the 1%, how ironic – while the folks in the 99%/53% battle it out in culture/value wars.
For the past couple of years with the rise of the Tea Party, I’ve been wondering, “Where are all of our loony tune, don’t give a fuck folks on the Left?” and although IMHO I do think that OWS folks make a lot more sense and are less brazenly reckless than Tea Party folks…I’m glad to see a vigorous, vociferous, and brave group of folks putting their initiative and organizing towards what they and we believe in.
Whether we agree on everything 100% or not.