Courtesy. Professionalism. Respect.

15 11 2011

Don Emmert/AFP/Getty Images

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We are circling like sparrows

20 10 2011

YouTube commenter lemontarsier nailed this one: Exquisite music; truly terrible video.

Anyway.

Jtte. asked me (in her inimitable, directive way) today what I thought would happen with the various Occupy movements: Tell me, what do you think. . . .

It will probably fail.

No!

I’m not saying it will fail, but I think the odds are against it.

But this could! lead somewhere.

Yes, it could. There’s a chance, a small chance, that this could work. Before, there was no chance, now there is; that matters.

Yes! [pause] But this is such a conservative country.

Wellll. . . .

No! If you have liberal students from the university leading protests, that is a mark of a conservative country. If you people who are protesting because they lost their houses to foreclosure, it is a conservative country. They don’t want to change anything, not really, they just want to fit in.

Okay, I see your point.

This man, this Murdoch? Murdoch, yes, he was giving a speech to teachers, and this African-American man stood up and started to yell, and shoom! the police came and took him away. And then a teacher, a woman, at another table, stood up, and another woman and another woman, six teachers, African-American, white, Latino, they stood up and they were dragged away, and you know what the rest of those teachers did? Do you? They clapped.

They don’t want to be disturbed.

Exactly! They should be supporting their fellow teachers and what are they doing?! They’re siding with the police!

[n.b.: Jtte.’s father is a Marxist and a retired teacher in Puerto Rico]

What kind of working class do we have in this country? No, they are too comfortable.

They have escape routes besides revolution, so they escape rather than revolt.

Exactly! . . .

[And then we went on to discuss class struggle, social movements, reform, radicalism, culture, legislation, gay rights, women’s rights, and then, inevitably, the Catholic Church and authority, by which time nothing we were discussing had anything to do with OWS.]

[Anyway, while I do think the occupy movements will dissipate, maybe they won’t. Maybe this opening grows larger, maybe something happens.]

[Exquisite song, in any case.]





Where we open up the floodgates

16 10 2011

Goes without saying, doesn’t it?





Wishing like a mountain and thinking like the sea

6 10 2011

I have no hope.

The reasons for this are entirely personal, and entirely related to events in and leading to a couple of stays in a psych ward way back yonder. It was a relief to shed all hope, and gave me some much needed breathing room, and I can’t say that I miss it.

Still, that hope is gone for me has created some awkward moments: I hesitate to use the term hope in even the most banal of circumstances (hope you feel better!) and I don’t always know how to respond to people who do hope. I don’t think they’re wrong to hope—that hopeless-ness is better than hopeful-ness—but I what does someone for whom hope was a burden say to those for whom it’s a blessing?

It’s also an impediment to political action. Most political action is a bother, requires enormous effort for incremental payoffs, and often takes place in inconvenient or uncomfortable locations, so if you’re going to get off your ass to do anything, it helps to have hope that you can, indeed, make a difference. I have rallied and knocked and doors and waved signs since I ditched hope, but more out of a sense of grim absurdity (why the hell not?) than anything else.

And so it was when I joined the Occupy Wall Street rally-and-march today. I no longer have the heart for direct political action, but my head is able to direct me toward action: given my political beliefs, does it not make sense act as if things could change? Shorter version: quitcherbitchin’ and get moving!

It was a big—tens of thousands, I’d guess—and included a nice cross-section of New York City. I marched under the banner of the PSC (the CUNY union) and fell in with a math professor from another campus. We talked of our reluctance to be there, and why we came anyway. We talked about what these protests meant, and what they could mean. We talked about marches in other cities, in other states, and why this movement, that of the 99 percent, contains possibilities not found in the Tea Party.

Possibility, yes, I still hold to that. I may have no hope that anything may change, but the possibility, well, that’s still there.