The Occupy movement has opened up a new chapter in history, however history is written by the victors and at the moment it is unclear as to whom the victors are. Many people will relived to know that the police will uproot the camps in Portland and there will be some people who will remain defiant in the face of a cause with no direction and no real objective.
I am sure there will be many gracious writers who will attempt to compare this moment in time to past protests of note. Some will see similarities with move nets that were led by Martin Luther King or Cesar Chavez without even indicating that there were no leaders or even direction, only a general assembly used to pretend that there is progress.
I don’t know what happened with the Occupy movement in Portland. I only know I loved the excitement. I loved the revolutionary spirit. However I really didn’t get the feeling that any of the protestors smoking dope or dancing to dub step would know about Thomas Paine.
I witnessed many times as Protestors would get in the face of news crews and tell them that the media had no right to document the event. Thomas Paine actually used his position in the media of his day to write protest literature.
Paine was a harsh critic of many things and used the men in order to challenge the sword. He had wrote that the King as a fool, and stated that natural ability is not necessarily related to heredity. Paine argued that the colonies existed only for British profit, and that the colonies must unite quickly if they were ever to form a single nation.
Paine also argued that the only way to gain the rights desired by the colonists was to be autonomous.
Paine wrote “Until independence is declared, the continent will feel itself like a man who continues putting off some unpleasant business…and is continually haunted with the thoughts of its necessity”
Paine would be the one who would have the last word in an editorial and if he were alive to see these protests would probably ask “Where is the spirit of political intervention?” “Why is it, that there are no bold souls screaming from the sidewalks that classical politics as usual are dead and worthless?”
It would also be appropriate to ask what is a movement without movement? How can ennui make anything change?
With the typical media reporting of the movement we came to know the occupiers as pariahs. I had been through the camp numerous times and had the privilege of talking with many intelligent people who believed that the sphere of political influence has forgotten them. It was expressed to me by the occupiers I spoke to that the left and right paradigm has destroyed the American way of life. The criminality in Washington is not addressed because of bias in politics. They believe that there is a bias in news reporting and with non objective reporting the people pick sides and argue for the favorite mob boss in their particular political party.
However the mainstream would have you believe that most of the protesters were without work because of poor decision making, or lack of ambition. That is not necessarily true. Protesters can make the argument that the media was spinning this and they may have had a hand in exposing it in a bad way, but wouldn’t it be fair to say that the movement would have worked better if the group rid itself of individuals using the camp as a marketplace for their own selfish agendas? Granted the movement was spontaneous and it was ill defined, but it needs to be said that those who were there were not taking into account that the world moves faster and that it would have been better if there seemed to be a modicum, of evolution to the movement and not a cornucopia of issues from hemp legalization to tribal injustice being parlayed to anyone who cared.
It was as if thousands of people camped with the attitude of revolution, and after a few days of sleeping, and freezing wondered if anything was going to happen next. It seemed that there was a claim of territory and then nothing. All of the occupants would have done better if they all set up camp in the backyards of suburban neighborhoods.
They remained in a park, near the county jail and police offices, under the watchful eye of big brother. Indeed ironic for a group looking to make a stand against an Orwellian oligarchy.
The issue of the apocalyptic state of political affairs was often clouded with the blue haze of marijuana smoke and the unkempt areas that smelled like urine. Undaunted the group did their own spin in their assemblies letting people know that this is not what the group was about, hoping to keep everything on task. It was the attempt to paint that broad spectrum of ‘something is going on.”
Meanwhile observers were always wondering what that something was.
I guess to put things back into perspective the something that is going on is that things are wrong in this country. That is what the movement represents and as the autumn becomes winter and the movement is uprooted – the spring renewal should regroup and form a functional agenda. It may return in greater numbers as governments continue to deteriorate.
It is wrong when Americans are asked to pay for bailouts. It is wrong for politicians to not address these issues by replacing them with push button issues that are magically able to throw us all back into that collective trance. It is also wrong to try and pretend that politics work when crisis is ignored. A little militancy in the political arena may get the circus to become a functional group who seeks not to perform tricks but form actions that will improve the overall health of the American people, spiritually, financially and physically.
However creating a catastrophic action again like another Pearl Harbor, similar to what was spoken of in the Project for the new American Century would be irresponsible and would end the perception of a safe and free America.
This would lead to a full insurrection.