Joyce L. Arnold: Liberal, lesbian, Independent, equality activist, writer. At TaylorMarsh: Liberally Independent, including the Two Parties series, and Queer Talk
This daily update regarding Occupy, as I wrote in yesterday’s initial post, will provide links to new information and developments, as well as to analyses from various sources reflecting, or reflecting on, the grassroots side of things, mostly. The updates will by necessity be selective. There is a rapidly expanding amount of attention being given the whole Occupy movement (as some are now calling it), and of course, what’s coming from internal to Occupy is also growing. So what I can do here is cursory. Of course, I won’t be able to resist a bit of commentary and analysis along the way.
You may not believe me, but I want your movement to succeed. From a former tea partier to you, young new rebels, there’s some advice to prevent what happened to our now broken movement from happening to you. I don’t agree with everything your movement does, but I sympathize with your cause and agree on our common enemy.
I check Occupy Together out several times a day, to watch the numbers grow. As of about 4:00 PM EST, the total number of cities registered where Occupy related actions and meetups are happening was 1209.
At Truthout, William Rivers Pitt provides one take on how Occupy is being seen, in Bank On It: They’re Scared, citing an internal bank memo.
It’s a movement now.
And they’re scared.
… I know because a friend in San Francisco took the time to transcribe a document he was given by the major bank he works for. The document, titled ‘Protest Safety Handbook,’ explains what a bank employee should do when confronted with the horror and terror of an OWS protest.
I am leaving the name of the bank out of this to protect my friend. Some tidbits: …
‘These types of groups are reaching out to the disengaged and disenfranchised population of the United States for members, often encouraging the unemployed and homeless to join the movement. … While this group has not yet resorted to violence the possibility exists that they can.’
What follows is a rather lengthy “Safety Tips” list of what to do if you have to go anywhere near the “disengaged and disenfranchised” group, including avoiding poorly lit areas, avoiding wearing Bank ID in public, and keeping your cell phone with you, charged and pre-set with emergency numbers.
Which sounds kind of silly, but when you consider the “class warfare” language being used, it might become a bit less ridiculous. Sure, this is a scare tactic, but it’s also a classic Us and Them division. Maybe the DC Electeds are feeling neglected – the people are suppose to pay attention to them, not each other. Or maybe it’s just their continuing inability / unwillingness to understand what’s happening. Or maybe, they do “get” – if in top down kind of way – that what’s happening with Occupy and beyond actually is about “class” and a kind of “warfare.” And it scares them sillier than usual.
From Rob Kall at OpEdNews:
Herman Cain says Occupy Wall Street protests should go to the White House. Willy Geist on Morning Joe says ‘I’m glad to see it’s moving to Washington,’ referring to the frustration that’s being manifested on the streets. …
Cain and Geist don’t get the Occupy Wall Street movement because it is anything but about Washington. One thing that’s become clear to me … is that people no longer have faith in elected officials. … The members of the Occupy communities see the Occupy movement as an alternative, as an extra-legislative approach to making change happen. …
… it seems to me that the true power of the Occupy movement is not at the Wall Street Location, not at the Washington DC Freedom Plaza or McPherson Square locations. They are important, but the real power of the Occupy movement is in the burgeoning explosion of Occupy communities that are happening locally … not in the big cities where protests usually happen. …
There has been a class war going on, against the middle class, for at least a decade, probably more like 20 or 30 years. It’s a bi-partisan war that many Democrats are also enabling, as well as Republicans. …
When people like Eric Cantor suggest that Obama or Occupy Wall Street people are engaging in class warfare, he’s right. To suggest that they started it is totally dishonest. They are fighting back against the forces Cantor represents — corporatist forces.
A similar take from Al Jazeera’s Heather Parton, The class warfare the rich don’t understand, in which she writes about the build-up to the current Occupy moment:
It started early on in the crisis, when Jake de Santis an executive for the bailed out too big to fail insurance company AIG took to the pages of the New York Times to complain that he was being treated unfairly … .
Since then we have been treated to regular scoldings from the masters of the universe … . JP Morgan Chase chairman Jamie Dimon famously declared, ‘When I hear the constant vilification of corporate America, I personally don’t understand it.
Of course he doesn’t. He has no clue about the grassroots, real world experience of the “99%”. Parton cites the more recent class warfare charges specific to Occupy, then writes:
It’s easy to make light of all this – they are just that silly. But the truth is that in the age of Citizens United, these complaints carry a great deal of weight with both political parties.
It’s too soon to know if the nascent Occupy Wall Street movement will grow or if it will have staying power. … But the focus on Wall Street alone should be enough to make the 1 per cent take pause and question their assumptions. …
Is this a class war? Yes, probably. … in this latest battle, there’s little doubt who fired the first shot. When the financial crisis hit, the Masters of the Universe evaded responsibility and defiantly demanded more sacrifice from their victims. They enlisted their favoured politicians to hold the people hostage and then complained about being unloved despite their crimes. They have won all the early skirmishes – but the people are gathering their forces and starting to fight back.
One of the interesting, and helpful, things happening now is a lot more attention not just to the Occupiers, but to the analyses and commentaries and cries for attention and help that have been widely ignored for years. Or decades.
Assuming timing allows, tomorrow I’ll start looking at some of what’s happening in those 1207-and-growing cities and towns. If you know of local happenings, please jump in. We can have our own little version of Occupy.
( Photo via Common Dreams )