Thursday, October 27, 2011

Shame in Oakland

The shameful police assault against the Occupy Oakland citizen action deserves widespread condemnation. Email the Oakland Police Department and tell them as much:

They also have a "Quality of Service" page on their website where citizens can report police misconduct (among other things):

Sample Text:

"Mr. Howard Jordan and all members of the Oakland Police Department,

"Appalling" comes to mind when reading accounts of the Oakland Police Department's aggressive and punitive actions against peacefully-assembled United States citizens. "Shameful" and "disgraceful" seem apt as well. That your assault critically injured an Iraq War Veteran simply deepens the shame your department deserves. Millions across the nation have seen and read about your debased conduct and we decry it.

This citizen's voice urges you to refrain from further violent actions against fellow citizens practicing their constitutional rights to free speech and freedom of assembly. You should be protecting these people, not attacking them."

Don't remain silent. If you can't join an Occupy action, speak up using the technological means at your disposal.

Oakland Police Assaulting US Citizens, October 26, 2011

Thursday, October 20, 2011

It's How You Frame It

George Lakoff, in his October 19th article "How To Frame Yourself," gives words to what I've been trying to articulate in my own mind about the Occupy movement and what needs to happen in America. He uses the idea of frames and framing as in "Frames are just structures of thought that we use every day."

Responding to the media and punditry that cares about the movement having "no demands," Lakoff says:

"I think it is a good thing that the occupation movement is not making specific policy demands. If it did, the movement would become about those demands. If the demands were not met, the movement would be seen as having failed."

Exactly. Because the Real Work is not changing policies. The Real Work is about changing the frame, changing the reference points we use to define our society.

What we need to do in America is rid ourselves of the notion that money is everything; that the making of money, the accumulation of money, is the goal and the yardstick of success; that everyone is a rugged individualist who must either stand on his/her own feet, or fall. This is the narrative, the ideology, the taken-for-granted aspect of American life that must be replaced with a narrative of diligence, modesty, reverence, empathy, compassion.

It's an outlandish idea, that a movement could focus on re-calibrating the moral fabric of a nation, particularly one as debased and poisonous as our own, and not spend all its moral capital and human energy wrestling with policy. Changing policies will not change the essentially corroded and corrupt national ideology.

Read the Lakoff piece, it's brilliant.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Occupy October; Todd Gitlin the Fart

Todd Gitlen did not distinguish himself today on Tom Ashbrook's broadcast that focused on the Occupy Movement. The former SDS president, while guardedly encouraging of the movement in general, ruled out the idea of a third party, belittled Ralph Nader (see Chris Hedges' The Death of the Liberal Class on the 'Nader cost Gore the election' canard and obfuscation) and urged the Occupy Wall Street movement to throw its weight behind the Democrats and electoral politics within an established two party system. Gad.

By contrast, the Occupy Wall St guests/representatives Bre Lembitz (NY), Jon Phoenix (Northeastern, Boston) and Peter Kuhns (LA), demonstrated vision and integrity, collective mindsets not yet closed and determined. We need imagination and vision, not faith in the Democrats.

See also: James Howard Kunstler's second pointed rant in as many weeks.

Dewey Square Sunday, October 9 Boston

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Occupy Boston

The young will lead, the middle-aged with means must provide support. This is how change might come.

Donations for the New York City group:

Declaration of the Occupation of New York City:

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Occupy America

Could this be the beginning of real resistance to the Corporate State? Can the Occupy Wall Street movement which, by now, has spread to other cities across the country, be the spark that sets in motion real mass resistance? Could it possibly re-configure the Red/Blue, Dem/Rep divisions and coalesce into a movement that unites the 99% of the population who are being ongoingly fucked by the moneyed class and their courtiers in government?

It's too soon to consider this incipient movement in terms of the Arab Spring or the collapse of Communism. To do so would be to underestimate the remorseless and unchecked State Security apparatus that has been assembled in this country since 9/11. When drones can target and assassinate an American-born citizen abroad, how big of a jump would it be for something analogous to occur here, in America?

Nevertheless, the Occupy movement, at least in this chilly moment in the wasteland of autumn 2011, stands out as some glimmering flicker of idealism and possibility.

Chris Hedges certainly thinks so.

As does James Howard Kunstler.

Further commentary and updates to follow, including links to sites that support the movement, screeds that elucidate the principles, goals, and tactics of the protests, and various other comments and reflections.