10 November, 2011

Writers Support Occupy

At the Halifax Occupy Camp at the Grand Parade site-- copyright R.J.O 2011

 by Francine Prose at occupywriters.com:

As far as I can understand it myself, here’s why I burst into tears at the Occupy Wall Street camp. I was moved, first of all, by what everyone notices first: the variety of people involved, the range of ages, races, classes, colors, cultures. In other words, the 99 per cent. I saw conversations taking place between people and groups of people whom I’ve never seen talking with such openness and sympathy in all the years (which is to say, my entire life) I’ve spent in New York: grannies talking to goths, a biker with piercings and tattoos talking to a woman in a Hermes scarf. I was struck by how well-organized everything was, and, despite the charge of “vagueness” one keeps reading in the mainstream media, by the clarity—clarity of purpose, clarity of intention, clarity of method, clarity of understanding of the most basic social and economic realities. I kept thinking about how, since this movement started, I’ve been waking up in the morning without the dread (or at least without the total dread) with which I’ve woken every morning for so long, the vertiginous sense that we’re all falling off a cliff and no one (or almost no one) is saying anything about it. In Zuccotti Park I felt a kind of lightening of a weight, a lessening of the awful isolation and powerlessness of knowing we’re being lied to and robbed on a daily basis and that everyone knows it and keeps quiet and endures it; the terror of thinking that my own grandchildren will suffer for whatever has been paralyzing us until just now. I kept feeling these intense surges of emotion—until I saw a placard with a quote from Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself: “I am large, I contain multitudes.” And that was when I just lost it and stood there and wept.

She says it better than I could. I have visited the camp in Halifax and taken them cupcakes and a few words of support.  I am well-wishing with all my might, watching what happens and writing letters of support whenever I can. I am dearly hoping for a sea change.

It is so long overdue.

I like these words about the Occupy movement by Judith Butler, Sara Paretsky, and Duncan Murrell, also at occupywriters.com.

There you will find them in the good company of many writers including Alice Walker, Noam Chomsky, and Salman Rushdie.

Halifax Occupy -- copyright R.J.O. 2011


mist said...

Those oppupy folks look so happy. If only I didn't have to work to pay my way, feed, clothe and protect myself, perhaps I too would have time to waste like that. Or perhaps get a real education....

vegetablej said...

That's a lot of assumptions for a little drive-by comment, mist.

Try sleeping out in a tent in freezing temperatures with no easy access to water or toilet facilities, cooking breakfast over a camp stove, and feeding not only yourself but homeless or other vulnerable people on the same stove with little money. Then factor in daily meetings, organization of camp duties and volunteer work on committees, educating yourself and others about the basics of the economy and democracy, welcoming and talking to all people who drop by, mounting media and maintaining livestream activities, liaising with other Occupy communities and the list goes on. I venture to say they are not happy because they are lazing around not working. I know many have jobs as well as having been on site (because as we all know, the camp has been torn down by police).

In fact, I think they are happy because for the first time they are engaged in something that might make a real difference to the future of all of us, raising their voices to say what's been on all of our minds. finding community, and that there are a lot more caring people like them than they thought.

And if you call participating in democracy, protecting and caring for the vulnerable, standing up for the environment and equality and challenging government to be better by raising debate everywhere a waste of time then I have a little real education for you.

vegetablej said...

mist,I wasn't ignoring you, I simply didn't get back to my blog until today. I won't be publishing your comments, however, because I don't wish to get into a back and forth argument. I congratulate you on your business success but think we have far differing views that no amount of discussion will do much to reduce.

Thanks for commenting, though.