Impossible to love, hard to hate, especially as long as they keep on waving those "End the Fed" signs. Oh, if only they wanted hard currency to replace it, instead of Ithaca Hours. Still, think of all the real work that's getting done in the places where they aren't, all the parent's couches unslept-upon, all the fridges unraided. It's an ill wind that blows no one any good, though downwind of an NYPD squad car might not be the place to be.
Here's the thing. As I told Erik earlier today, there is at least some level of cross-over between the Tea Party and the Occupy protesters. This is from the flyer they gave us (er, I must admit I'm not reproducing the bizarre capitalization, & am inserting commas where necessary):
- End the alliance of government and large corporations/banks, so that our elected leaders are actually representing the interests of the people (the 99%) and not just their rich donors (the 1%). Include limited terms on all government officials.
- Investigate corporations and banks, holding senior executives accountable for the destruction in wealth that has devastated our country and the world and eliminate "personhood" legal status for corporations.
- Dismantling the Federal Reserve, which is a private institution, and returning the power of coining money to Congress; and the US Treasury returning to sound (real) money.
- Limit the size, scope, and power of banks so that none are ever again "too big to fail"and in need of taxpayer bailouts.
- Repeal the Patriot Act and protect civil liberties.
- End all imperial wars of aggression and bring our troops home.
- Sweeping, all-encompassing health care and education reform.
- End law enforcement brutality and corruption.
- Fair workers' rights and protections including wages, hours, safety, and injury compensation.
Here's the thing: this is a nascent movement. Still feeling its way. Here in San Antonio, at least, a significant portion of the protesters are libertarians. That means there is common cause.
Borepatch is always telling us that the Democrats are not the problem, and the Republicans are not the answer. And he's right. The problem is that we have an entrenched political class in this country, the very de facto aristocracy Patrick Henry warned us about back in the late 18th century.
We are being played for fools.
We are being given false, misleading impressions of the Occupy protesters the same way they were previously given false, misleading impressions of the Tea Party. They are no more unemployed slackers (quite a few of the posts on the local FB page were from people wanting to know whether the protest would still be going on when they got off work) than we are racist rich people. Allowing the same mainstream media we distrust for very good reason to dictate our opinion of this is dangerous.
We should make common cause, to the best of our ability. Again, this is a nascent movement, at least outside of the NYC group. Find out where the protests are happening in your city. Go down. Listen much, talk some. Do your damnedest to keep an open mind. Don't dismiss them as a bunch of rudderless hippies unless you find out that they are. (And, hey, they might be. That the guys here aren't may just be another symptom of San Antonio being pretty much the best place, anywhere.) There's a pretty good chance you'll find you agree with them on something.
There is a window of opportunity to help mold this movement into something that can work with the Tea Party rather than against it. It's a small window, though, and it's already closing. When Erik and I went down to visit them Friday afternoon, a couple of Northerner union reps showed up to chat up the gathered protesters. And Van Jones is already after the NYC folks. (No, I don't buy that he's running the protest. But he sure wants to.)
Wanna let that happen so you can feel superior? I sure as shit don't.