Poet-photographer: Jerry Nelson
“During the winter, the oak tree is busy doing several things that to the unawares aren't seen or noticed. Life continues. Healing takes places. Growth is building up ready to burst in the spring.”
“The behavior and misbehavior of approximately a dozen people ruined everything for almost 200 people.”
“Again, the bar of expectations was lowered and intolerable behavior was tolerated.”
This phenomenon that Nelson describes is the result of the “inclusive” mantra that was the primary reason why people that knew they couldn't engage in unlawful activities elsewhere chose the occupation as a convenient location to do so. They used the occupation as a shield, a hideout, or for access other people's property because they know that their behavior and conduct would not be tolerated anywhere else.
We saw people that had stolen funds returning to the scene of the crime, some even flaunting the fact that they had stolen, destroyed or sabotaged property. And yet they remained due to the “inclusive” nature of the movement. No organizational structure can survive such attacks and those involved with the media efforts were the first to be targeted. What a surprise. Nelson's assessment of Occupy DC includes the following observation:
“Plans are being made anew. Expected standards of behavior are being explored as are the ways and means to enforce them.”
Most, if not all of the occupations were forced to deal with these problems in their own way, typically distancing themselves from anything resembling enforcement of flimsy guidelines (not to be confused with rules). In each case, the aberrant behavior resulted in negative portrayals by the mainstream media, and often the perpetrators were a small group of malcontents that tried to hijack the processes of a larger group struggling to organize. On other occasions, the same people were seen either inciting or participating in destructive behavior that was counter-productive to the movement.
And so it was in just about every occupation, the result being not only negative imagery and press, but also an excuse for city leaders and police to remove the occupations altogether. And so, in a coordinated effort and with the assistance of the mainstream media, mayors and police with coaching from Homeland Security found an easy way to attack the movement surreptitiously.
It was county health officials that removed the solar-heated showers, shut down food distribution, and then complained about the unhealthful environment. In New York, the police confiscated generators, the brought them back after they found out it was illegal to confiscate them; that no law had been broken. We've seen many examples of journalists being arrested, jailed or having their property confiscated or damaged by police while they were providing coverage of events. Citizen journalists have been routinely attacked and harassed, their property stolen on many occasions, sometimes because being “inclusive” meant turning your back on someone that was hanging around waiting for an opportunity. And then paying for the mistake.
But the movement survives, just as Nelson points out the winter months and the ensuing spring will provide another opportunity to deal with destructive forces, external and internal. While there are philosophical reasons for remaining inclusive, we also know that in the real world it it also an invitation for the things that would ultimately destroy the movement. How is balance achieved? Why does the term inclusive have to be interchangeable with stupid, adolescent or disorderly?
It doesn't. It only needs to be properly defined within a workable structure that provides a voice to all that would contribute to it. But not necessarily to those that would use it as a platform for reasons inconsistent with the message. That message of course doesn't need to be defined further. It is a simple message of socio-economic disparities caused by the symbiotic relationship between corrupt corporate executives and elected representatives that allow both to thrive and flourish at the expense of the 99%.
There are many manifestations of the status quo. So there are many stories to write, many victims to assist, and much work to be done to educate the general population. That is what occupying is all about.
So back to the message, the following example provided by a citizen journalist contributing to the cause.
'Bottom line: Your bank is an asshole'
By Karolina Szymanska
It's time to face reality. You and your bank do not have a good relationship. Your bank steals from you. Your bank arbitrarily changes the rules of the game on you ($5 bank fees, what?). Bottom line, your bank is an asshole. It's time to stand up against the banks. It's time to break up with your bank, and what better day than Valentine's Day.
Here's how to transfer your money and start a new relationship with a much better partner
1. Open Your New Account
In most cases, you should be able to open a checking account with an initial deposit of $35 to $100. At a credit union, you'll also become a member and co-owner at the same time.
2. Order New Checks and an ATM/Debit Card
These typically arrive within 1 to 2 weeks. You should also consider applying for a credit card from your new local bank or credit union at the same time.
3. Ask Your Employer to Reroute Your Direct Deposit
When you open your new account, ask the bank or credit union for a direct deposit authorization form that includes your new account information. Give this form to your employer and anyone else who makes direct deposits to your account. It may take one or more pay cycles for the change to be made, so keep your old checking account open and watch for the swith.
4. Contact Companies that Direct-Debit Your Account
Using your last bank statement, make a list of any businesses that you've authorized to directly debit your account. Ask your new bank or credit union for an automatic payments authorization form that includes your new account information. Send this to the businesses on your list.
5. Set-up Online Bill Paying for Your New Account
If you like to pay bills online, set up bill payment information for your new accoutn. Also, top automatic, recurring payments you have established through your old account.
6. Close Your Old Account
Once you have started receiving direct deposit into your new account and are sure that there are no outstanding checks or automatic debits that need to clear, close your account. Warning: do not just withdraw the last dollar and assume the account will fade away on is own. Your old big bank may start chargin you fees for having an empty or inactive checking account. Instead, follow the bank's procedure for closing out the account.
7. Enjoy Your New Local Banking Relationship!
Of course anyone could have written this, but Karolina Szymanska actually did it, correctly pointing out what most people already know but have never acted upon; that their bank is an asshole.
And think of how much she has done not only for the movement, but also those that will come to find out how gratifying it is to stop financing the crooks that toss elderly and disabled people into the snow so they can add to their record profits and bonuses. Maybe they will also come to realize that if enough people do the same, they will make a difference. Remember that Bank Transfer Day caused something of a panic in the banking sector.
Pardon the double-post here, but these links are worth reiteration:
“In what may be the most damaging blow to Big Banks since the overwhelming success of Bank Transfer Day in late 2011, the City of Berkeley recently announced its intention to withdraw all financial assets from Wells Fargo.
“On Tuesday night, the City Council voted unanimously to find a more socially-minded institution to hold approximately $300 million in city assets.”
Karolina is right. Your bank is an asshole. So why continue to feed the beast that hires people to fraudulently sign foreclosure notices? Why finance the criminals that package toxic securities that they sell to your pension fund? Why would anyone support predatory lending or anti-capitalist practices like financing failed businesses, corporate welfare, and paying ridiculous bonuses to their management? Isn't this rewarding failure, exactly what conservatives decry while they insist that market forces are self-correcting?
If market forces are in play, then the victims of the various bank scams can prove it by moving their money and voting with their dollars just like the City of Berkeley and so many others since. No one said overhauling the system would be easy, but this part of it is.
This video was posted the day before the original Bank Transfer Day:
Thanks to Mikey Caldera for the pic: