I recently participated in Occupy Oakland. I was in the Bay area on other business and could not resist the chance to take part in history in the making. Since I first wrote about Occupy Wall Street, the Occupy Movement has produced a firestorm of protests across the nation and globe. Nobody seems able to pinpoint the source, the catalyst for this movement. But that may not be as important as effectively gauging the direction these protests are taking us. The movement has taken such a stronghold that occupiers the world over are vowing to stay through the winter. Police are confiscating generators and heating devices from tents in New York, the stronghold of the movement which is going through periodic protestor arrests, evictions and Court victories giving Zucotti Park occupiers the right to move back. Occupiers are back in Wall Street without the right to erect sleeping shelters and subject to a few borders, violations of which will result in arrest.
Wall Street was chosen, no doubt, because of its historic and ongoing legacy as a symbol of global corporate dominance but the movement has definitely spread all over. The movement is huge! However, it seems the mainstream is attempting to belittle the movement. The Economist, in its October 22-28, 2011 edition, stated the following as a possible reason many are engaging the occupy movement: “for many the main aim may be to have fun.” Whoever wrote that has not slept outdoors in a tent on a cold night or been pepper-sprayed or attacked by the cops. This movement is anything but fun, although it sparks a sense of life inside of us much the same as “having fun” does; it makes us feel alive, like we matter.
The Occupy Movement may be weaving itself into the fabric of the American society for generations to come, unless it is absorbed in the cyclic mainstream media barrage that has us worrying about things like the Kardashians, the NBA lockout, or whether Congress is going to make the right decision by classifying pizza as a vegetable for school lunch funding. The Occupy Movement has definitely changed the socio-political-economic conversations of the day, and for this we should all be grateful.
Nobody knows what to do with the Occupy Movement. The Economist, among other news-sources, attempts to politicize the movement by framing the inquiry and asking whether or not the left or right in America, benefits from the Occupy Movement. I chose The Economist to cite as it seems the appropriate sounding board for global-corporatist dominance. At this time the Occupy Movement seems to lean left because of the list of demands that highlight inequalities of wealth distribution and taxes. The Occupy Movement has not proclaimed any allegiances and it would do well not to, so as to avoid a coopting. Occupiers should stand strong for however long it takes to gain meaningful change. We know how long meaningful change will take: the corporatists would sooner die than see their brilliant and destructive system change to the detriment of their profit. Thus, I am comfortable saying that the occupy movement is here to stay.
The Occupy Movement may very well lack in a coordinated leadership, goals, and other hierarchic organization that mainstream is calling for; as if to say the movement is illegitimate until then. How many times have we heard a reporter ask “What are the protesters demands? When will the protesters demands be met? When will they go home? When will everything go back to normal?” I have news for you: the movement is legit and it is already changing the world. Will we change with it?
As I watch livestream of the November 17 “Day of Action” in New York, with all the makings of violent conflict, I must say I do not believe in violence, as that would give the corporatists the excuse they need to fully eradicate the movement. As an Indigenous person I wished the movement was about more than improving Americans lot within the confines of the corporate western artificial existence. By this I mean Indigenous people want true sustainable civilization—true cost economies that value mother earth, not more carbon-economy jobs for everyone; but that definitely doesn’t mean I do not support movement. I genuinely support each and every occupier that is making this movement live.
Many Indians have sounded off about not joining the 99 percent, pointing out the fact that Indians have always been poor, that Indians should sit back and not engage the movement. I do not see it the same way. I believe the best way to make our voices heard is to include them with the 99 percent, there is a great energy that we should be a part of. I understand the “go to” response that the government isn’t honoring the treaties, that the Occupiers are Occupying Occupied land –valid points. However, that doesn’t really get us anywhere. There is plenty we have in common with the 99 percent, including equitable tax burdens for the rich, less consumption/excess for everyone, Let us find ways to join energies, not conflict energies.
Hecegla. (That is enough.)
Chase Iron Eyes is an attorney, writer and speaker. Connect with him on twitter @thelastrealndn or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org