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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Occupy your mind and/or Wall Street

Demands for the protesters at OWS to have more detailed demands begs several questions. Why that is necessary is a good one. One cannot help but think the confusion indicates more about the questioner than the protest itself. We have freedom of speech and assembly, unless you don't detail exactly what you want. Then apparently you must give up and rejoin what Ken Kesey called the "combine." Many who have actually taken the time to go to the site have come away impressed with the spirit and resolve of the occupiers. They are protesting, but they are also happy to protest. Satisfied at the act rather than the program. Affiliated by resolve and community rather than ideology. If they are happy, so am I.

We are learning a great deal because of the movement. We know know that the Mayor of NYC is not the benign option so many people believed. Yes, he is rich and when his people are challenged he shows his understanding of power. Get off my lawn!!! Of course to be fair, he was defending the "poor" underpaid Wall Street workers who the protesters were preventing from earning their lower middle class wages. I was a bit confused about how they were doing that since they didn't seem to have chained themselves to the office doors, but I am sure he is well informed (didn't he start a magazine or something?). It didn't really occur to me that they were protesting against stock exchange workers, but I am sure he must be correct.

Having taken part in some of the demonstrations here in Madison, I guess it simply occurs to me that there are a great many reasons for people to be there--and there is no requirement that you sign off on why everyone else is there. I needed no "papers" proving that I belonged to the protest. I enjoyed the speeches and entertainment, but felt little need to accept it as the reason I was there. True, the protests in Madison were well organized in the sense that specific groups got the permits and permissions for stages and crowd control. On some occasions I used union buses to get to the capital. But is is a mistake to confuse that with the organization of the protesters themselves. Parts of the crowd were there because they were union members directly affected by the Walker agenda. The bulk of the crowd was unorganized! We had no specific agenda but to stand up and say no! Protest, period. Delight in the physical act of being there, of walking around the Capital building, of yelling "this is what democracy looks like." Indeed, the media delighted in finding individual members that could not articulate why they were there. This always made me smile. The agenda to understand is far different from the simple act of doing. You don't need a reason to protest. Like most of human reality--truth emerges, change (like shit) happens.

I don't believe in Truth: Truths are the lies we recite to each other. I do believe in the "ring of truth." Occupy Wall Street has the ring of truth. Stop talking, and listen!