Posts tagged OccupyLA
Posts tagged OccupyLA
( Edit: It appears the woman who removed the flag pulled down her video, but I found it posted by someone else! Ha! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4q8J_crXqso )
These two Tea Party Patriots “liberate” the American flag from the “anarchists” at Occupy Portland. The flag can be seen flying upside down and these two douchenozzles think it’s a sign of disrespect. The best part is how they all pat themselves on the back in their little circlejerk of ignorance. And they call themselves patriots? Keep drinking the kool-aid!
From the US Flag Code itself:
The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.
I would agree with Occupy Portland that the union down flag is appropriate at a time in our country’s history that is like the present where our free speech is violated by a police state, where our people are starving and living in poverty, where our government is bought and paid for by the 1% and where corporations are raking in record profits while average citizens lose their homes and jobs. This is a situation of dire distress and also reflects danger to life and property.
So keep on flying your upside down flags Occupy Portland. In fact, we should ALL fly our flags upside down until our country starts looking up once again.
Look, I realize that you find us pretty scary with our drum circles, our oh-so-lofty human rights ideals, our youth and probably most because we’ve gotten a lot of people you thought were your allies to stop drinking your shitty kool-aid. You know like veterans, senior citizens and even your own loyal bank customers! I get it. You are pro status quo and we are about making a new world order that doesn’t leave a lot of room for your tunnel vision world. I’m totally empathetic with you on this because, damn, you really did not see this coming. Total blindside!
You are completely flummoxed by our movement. You have tossed out a lot of criticism at us claiming that we are un-American, not patriotic, or that we seek only the destruction of the government so we can create The United Soviet States of America. But, this is a sore miscalculation on your behalf, you fancy Ivy-league educated bankers and those who support them! Oh wait, the same kind of miscalculation you must have made when your banks went belly up and you came to beg at the doorstep of the American people for your corporate welfare check.
Let’s start with our Constitution. I imagine that this is a document that most Americans have little dispute with. Let’s focus on the preamble alone:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
We wrote a Constitution to insure domestic tranquility, justice, liberty, common defense and even general welfare. Did your defense contracts aim to secure general welfare? Did your sub-prime mortgage scam insure domestic tranquility? Do you really act justly when you lobby the government on issues that suit only your interests? Does roughing up peaceful protestors provide for the common defense? I think the answer to anyone with eyeballs is a glaring no. And you know this. But, you’ve decided that your personal gain is much more important than anything that our Constitution contains in its preamble. Now, who is acting un-American amongst us?
Don’t get me wrong. I want there to be rich people. I want someone who has a good idea or is a savvy business dealer to strike it huge and rich. This movement is not about crippling capitalism. This movement is about doing the most good for the most people to make our country even stronger so that you may sell your services and products to a thriving American middle class. And sometimes that means evening out the spoils just slightly so that, in the very least, everyone has their basic needs met and an extra $20 to go to the movies on the weekend. This concept of economic fairness (fairness does not mean everyone makes the same amount, by the way, so hush) is as American as baseball.
You say our Occupy camps attract the worst parts of society. And, to some extent, you are correct. But, what is shortsighted is that you see this as a weakness of our movement, rather than a strength. Just because for decades now you have shoved these marginalized populations under the rug doesn’t make your end of the scale any more favorable. In fact, it makes it less so. At least in our camps we try to work with these populations and treat them as fellow human beings. We give them food, we try to provide them with what little resources we have and we attempt to approach them with empathy and compassion. That is a hell of a lot more than most of you have ever done living in your precious, perfect bubbles of society. And why don’t we all get on the same page here? The homeless, the disenfranchised youth, the families evicted from their homes, and the drug abusers are all a part of your society too. They are not unique to the Occupy movement. But they seek the solace of the Occupy movement because for once they have a voice in a society that often marginalizes them.
You criticize us for not having a clear message. Yet, the very fact that there is an awakening and a movement is the message itself. You are just too out of touch with reality to see it. You see us as disorganized simply because we are a movement of many leaders with no need for a CEO or a board of trustees. We won’t be co-opted and we know this also pisses you off. But, it’s important that this movement not be tainted by the stench of Washington politics, the stink of the very system that has let itself be bought out and brought us oligarchy rather than true democracy.
You sent us to schools that taught us about tolerance, peace, justice and diversity. You urged us to be colorblind. You urged us to share our toys. You taught us to be kind to one another. Remember, the golden rule? You expanded our world with the invention of the internet. I don’t think you actually realized all of this would ultimately resonate so deeply with us. So you sit there, shocked today, your jaw hanging slack, when we put into practice the very social curriculum we were taught. You taught us that we could be anything we wanted to be. And look, here we are.
You are asking us to come up with solutions to problems we did not create ourselves, that have been around for decades and problems that you have not been able to fix. Let’s look at discrimination, homelessness, sexism, poverty. All of these issues were born out of your policies and yet you are asking us to tap the heels of our ruby slippers together and divine you a solution ASAP.
We aren’t perfect. We’re learning to live in a society where things are as they are, not as we gloss them over to be. And this takes time. It takes unlearning the prejudices that we’ve acquired knowingly or unknowingly over time. It takes unlearning our first response to lash out and incite violence. It takes patience and understanding in how to communicate with a diverse array of groups. But, damn, we are doing it. We are living it. We are learning it. We are proposing solutions via direct democracy. And we are being that change we want to see in the world.
Cut us some slack. Give us a break. And get on the right side of history with us instead of standing there, knees knocking, frozen in fear. A lot of you are followers of Jesus. So I ask you whenever you are quick to criticize, what would Jesus do? And then you should do that.
I’ve always struggled with the notion that the Occupy movement is leaderless. First, and foremost, anyone who has been a part of the GAs, or committees, or has taken a moment to observe these actions knows very well that we are a movement full of leaders. One of our forefathers, John Quincy Adams, once said this about leadership:
“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” -John Quincy Adams
The Occupy movement has done just that. I think he was pretty spot on and that is the definition I’m going to apply to all of those involved in the Occupy movement.
The mainstream media and critics often indulge in lambasting the movement as being a bunch of free-loading, idealistic college grads who haven’t a clue about “the real world” and just need to stop smoking the grass and get out of the tent and find a job. And the ironic quality of such criticism is that our generation and the others who join us (veterans, senior citizens, homeless families, the laid-off, teachers, etc) often have more of a grip on this so-called “real world” than many of those reporting about such do. We’ve gone into debt to get an education, we’ve played by all of the rules only to have them fail us. We drank the “American dream” kool-aid like good little soldiers and finally found ourselves choking on its saccharine sweetness.
But, while the media has been so busy focusing on all of our less desirable qualities (and by less desirable, I mean the qualities that they can’t put into a neat, pretty box), they’ve forgotten to look at our overwhelming abilities. They sit and scratch their heads in befuddlement at the fact that this many people can seemingly function with this level of organization and have no need for a CEO.
We’ve rewritten the manual on leadership and gone from a hierarchical society to a more lateral organization, where we focus on including those so often disenfranchised in the “real world.” Only in an Occupy GA can you find a homeless man, a queer chick, a transgendered dude, a law student and a single mother all given their equal input into the decision making process. This is what democracy was always meant to be, not the sham that it has become to feed the corporate gullet.
Is it imperfect and frustrating at times? Yes! But, democracy is a slow process and it should be. Often, rash decisions are not the best ones and when you open up the platform for all to be heard, it’s one giant brainstorming orgy. There will be some great ideas, some terrible ones, and some in between.
It is a scientific fact in communication studies that the more diversity and brains you have in the decision making process, the better the solution is for the whole in the long term. Of course, this also produces conflict between those involved, but the beautiful nature of this conflict is that if it is able to be worked through, then there is a deeper understanding and empathy achieved amongst all. This is where our government has failed us. They are not diverse. The leadership does not rotate. You often see political dynasties within families or “advisors” moving in and out of the regulatory committees and Wall Street and all of this has created an incredibly incestuous, self-aggrandizing government with devastating policies to match its homogeneous nature.
Nothing worth doing is ever easy. And this movement, this occupation, this revolution is going to be the hardest thing that we ever do as individuals and as a collective country. We have to relearn everything we were taught. We have to invent new ways to speak to one another. We have to cross all those lines that we have never crossed before and we are going to have to fight the most unyielding, powerful forces that we cannot even imagine defeating. And yet, it’s necessary. It’s needed. And it’s the only thing that is going to sustain our existence as a nation. Some call us nasty names to try to intimidate us, but history is on our side. The very people that we consider patriotic heroes now are those who were once showered with the same debasement that we endure today.
We may not see the whole change before we pass on from this world, but we have set the stage for the future of our beloved country in the hopes that generations that follow will enjoy the essential and inalienable rights our founding fathers granted.
The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood. -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Occupy movement has been criticized as lacking any specific demands. Granted, it is a brand new movement and completely grassroots, so the critics seem to be completely ignorant of the fact that this is not a corporate run campaign. It’s “the little people” doing all the work and there is a lot of varying viewpoints involved. But, given our founding principles of diversity, you’d think that this would actually be one of our highlighted strengths. One of my fellow OLA 99%ers wrote this statement of demand in a recent blog post and I only hope it’s brought to the GA soon and spread about to other Occupy GAs.
“We ask for investigative action, and support all concurrent efforts by Treasury and Justice to hold accountable those parties responsible for the massive losses incurred by their procedures and practices. Specifically those practices that used artificial valuations under false pretenses to profit from the losses they intended to incur on depositors or investors, those that entrusted their money with them or their institutions.”
This is a great start! You can find the whole blog post here: http://occupylosangeles.org/?q=node/1606