Many years ago, a friend of mine who had once spent a year in a Turkish prison, for trying to smuggle hashish, reflected on his time there by saying, “We were all there for the same reasons, one, because none of us liked to work, and two, because we were all smarter than everyone else.”
It is odd that this memory should come to me, as I begin writing about the Occupy Movement. For sure, there are similarities we occupiers all share. First is that we have all arrived here with our own pre-conditions and secondly, we are all “right.”
Much back and forth has been made about who we are, and what we should be. Opinions abound across the globe. The outside media paints us as drug users and hooligans, while the poets might say we’re working class heroes.
It’s all in the perspective you take, where each one of us comes from. We all came together because individually we have grievances with the system and though those grievances may not be the same, we have identified the guilty party, the source of our woes – that single-digit percentile.
We are the 99% and that means we’ve got a lot of baggage to carry. From businessmen to anarchists, we all fit into that category. So yes, when we are being defined as one thing or another, there is no need for automatic reactionary defense. Yes, there are all types among our ranks and we might as well embrace it. No matter how much we scream and shout and bang our heads against the keyboard, the only person who is going to look like you in the mirror, is you.
With diversity comes individuality. There are some who want to hang out, maintaining the base, while there are some who want to expand the movement out into the larger community. Both are needed and essential.
Some are willing to be arrested and some are not. Someone recently at a GA, I believe, said having that choice defines privilege – and though I hear that clearly, would not fault another for stepping out of harm’s way.
As we are leaderless, or leaderful, we all, though in unity together, are ultimately responsible only for our individual actions.
So though, at the core, the vast majority of Occupy adheres strongly to the principles of non-violent civil disobedience, there are those, and let’s accept it without necessarily condoning, who will break a few windows. And though I disagree, I can hear their plea, “What are a few windows compared to the millions of lives these corporations have destroyed?” Oh yeah, loud and clear.
Personally, I do not agree with this tactic, but I must also admit that my voice is but one and accept as truth that there are those elements that do exist and are waiting for violence on the state’s behalf to justify their own action.
Yes, and if I can see that, as not the most intelligent in the room, I must assume that the politicians and governing bodies are well aware of this too.
That puts Occupy in an unique position. Our government is afraid of us – the way it should be. Yes, they have the physical force to evict us at will, yet as has been proven, violence on the government’s part will only multiply our ranks exponentially, and endangers igniting a powder keg.
I accept this truth, and because it is true, and we all know it to be, it is the government’s responsibility to maintain a check on its own authority in order to safe keep the peace, while our job is to push the envelope and public discourse.
The undeniable conclusion is that we have won. Now, it is just a question of how much time it will take for the government to realize it themselves and give in to our demands.