Thursday, January 12, 2012

Sampling Occupy Demonstrates "The People Can Have Anything They Want"

“The people can have anything they want. The trouble is they do not want anything. At least they vote that way on Election Day.”
Eugene Debs, Socialist candidate for president several times in the early 20th century, as quoted in this analysis of the effect of the Occupy movement on elections by blogger Kevin Gosztola. I've been reading him with interest since he did such a great job covering Bradley Manning's pretrial hearing, and he nails it here:
Is it any wonder why the Occupy movement is so refreshing? It has forced progressives to confront their role in a liberal class that has betrayed Americans in the past decades.
It may be that the time has finally arrived when the people do want something. Here's the crowd that turned out for the New Hampshire primary to (joyfully) express their dissatisfaction with corporate controlled "representative" government. These people want music, and they want to raise their collective voice.

Occupy can and has changed the mainstream media narrative. Reporting on a survey conducted by Pew about the growth in perception of class conflict in the U.S., the NYT made this absurd statement:
...experts said, that the groups that traditionally benefit the most economically — women, whites and those in higher income groups — seem to be the most concerned about class conflict. 
Women traditionally benefit the most from capitalism under patriarchy -- what planet is the NYT on?

A snapshot of what the people want right now -- at the inception of the year of great change, 2012.

Women occupying want a full voice, and they mean to have it.

Young people carrying the burden of education debt want relief.

The 99% want to throw off their shame and tell their story to the world.

They want to express what's on their mind using creative media like Occupy the Wall (very fun to draw on, try it).
Occupiers want to have fun challenging the financial elite's death grip on our collective resources. photo credit: Bess Adler
The people want to protest the Citizens United ruling that corporations are supposedly people, and money is supposedly a form of speech protected by the First Amendment. Occupy the Courts January 20.

People want homes. Occupy Foreclosures is seen by many as the best alternative to occupying parks and getting pepper sprayed while police throw your media equipment into garbage trucks. At least during winter in the northern latitudes. Occupy Spring!

Indigenous people want what they have always wanted: for the commons of earth, water and air to be shared not privatized. For human beings to live respectfully as guests of the Earth Mother.

A dear activist and organizer in Maine died last week at a ripe old age. Tom Sturtevant was a retired teacher who was an excellent mentor to many of us in the peace movement. He often sent news articles he thought would be of interest, and the last article he sent to me before his passing was, "In solidarity, Occupy group joins with Native Americans" from the Boston Globe's coverage of the National Day of Mourning aka Thanksgiving.

I imagine that Tom felt he could go, because big changes and connections were underway, and the 99% was finally waking up to want something.
Tom Sturtevant in front of the Brunswick Naval Air Station. He organized this protest of the fuel wasting air show last summer.


chrisrushlau said...

"A woman will crawl through the mud for a mink coat." Barbra Streisand's character in the movie "Nuts"
"There is a pecking order in the US, with white women on the top, then white men, then black men, then black women on the bottom." An African-American sociologist, married to an African-American cummunity organizer, in conversation with me at the Antioch Communiversity in St. Paul, MN, 1977 or 1978.

chrisrushlau said...

The test would be to ask people about Israel and correlate their responses with their demographics.
As for Debs: he did not confront an efficient coercive mechanism comparable to the Israel lobby. Taking his remark as a premise, his response would have to be, "What kind of coercion and what do they force you to do or not do?"