Sunday, November 27, 2011

There May Still Be Time for OWS to Make Gains

I am glad OWS got out there and organized all these Occupy events; but I am not so glad about the direction that has been taken. To me, a little more imagination and the whole thing could be less needlessly provocative and alarming to the civic authorities. (Of course, we want to alarm the 1%!) A little thoughtfulness could grow this movement into one that can effect real change through the political process.

It was a great idea to focus on Wall Street and the wealth of a few controlling the country for the many--and for their own greed and power-hunger. The voice belongs to all the rest of us that expresses the anger at income inequality and political corruption that big money has bought for itself. The problem as I see it is letting it turn into an anti-police, anti-government movement. It doesn't need to end this way.

By "this way," I mean the announcements I have read in the news that Occupy protesters intend to stay until they are dragged away by police. This idea reeks too much of old hippiedom and the 1968 Democratic convention (which helped elect "law-and-order" candidate Richard Nixon). Confronting the police will prove counterproductive as it contributes to abuses from both "sides." In fact the police and the civil authorities are not Wall Street. They could be labeled as tools of W.S., but consider how another approach could have worked--and maybe still could.

The OWS need/needed to choose an occasion to disband, with appropriate ceremonial celebration and cleaning up. Then, continue to network and get the word out on the Internet and other media. They have already sent representatives onto news shows: a News Hour segment hosted two young OWS people who spoke articulately and effectively. After ceremonially disbanding, OWS should re-assemble at regular intervals around parts of their message. In my opinion, OWS should show solidarity with police who are also in the 99%. OWS groups would then conserve their energy to show up at political events and exercise their freedom of speech and freedom of assembly often and visibly.

OWS should not organize a third party but should exercise their weight within the Democratic party! There are so many possibilities in this widespread revulsion against the decades of rich getting richer. Educate us, OWS. Film 1% homes and yachts juxtaposed with lines at food pantries. Make people do the hard work of voting for imperfect candidates. OWS has created a wonderful opportunity for wide wide influence if they can maintain their identity through networking, assembling, and informing us.

Not so dramatic as getting pepper-sprayed and dragged to jail by the hair, but I suggest this way to go forward that promotes the long-term interests of the 99%.

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Public Space

A few times a day I check the NY Times on-line, and tonight I got a surprise. The Times posted that I read 54 articles, 18 percent opinion, a certain percent national, fewer international,1 percent on books, and I forget the rest. Ye gods they don't even bother to hide that they're keeping track of my reading habits? Well you know how paranoid I am, immediately started thinking!

1) Hey, how do I know that is accurate? Maybe I should be keeping my OWN records, so if necessary I can dispute!!!

2) NY Times, I also read the paper OFF-line, how do you know I don't read very much worthier articles on Sunday??

3) I immediately went to the home page and clicked on an article about the Supreme Court! If they're keeping track---better look extremely civic. Can they tell if I only skimmed it? Note: click on Science articles but stay away from those trashy wellness blogs!

It being late, I closed the link and snuck away, vowing not to read any more articles about John Edwards ever. Taking off the paranoia, folding it away, I decide to consider this little non-event a friendly reminder that in my easy chair at my fireside if I'm tapping on the Internet, it is a very public activity.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Waited a Long Time for This

"Dear Grandma. It is so exciteing that you are finally 70 years old! I wish you a happy birthday, Sincerely..." wrote my seven-year-old grandson.

Yes! Finally! I waited a long time for this, and I'm finally 70 years old.
My daughter baked me a lemon cake, and she and husband sang "Happy Birthday" as a duet, because the boys had been naughty and sent to their rooms. They gave me a beautiful cross with a ruby they found in the rough in a bucket of rocks. They were tired; the boys were hyper; and it was the best birthday ever!

Back home I found messages on the answering machine and on Facebook. Gift certificates arrived on e-mail.

Showers of blessings--a birthday worth waiting for!

Saturday, November 05, 2011

"Look at the Poor" -- 1973

I felt sorry for myself when we went broke and I had to get a job I didn't especially enjoy et cetera. On Nov. 7, 1973, Richard Nixon was about to announce austerity measures, and I wrote:

"I'll bet that all over this country there are mothers washing their family's dinner dishes with tight mouths, furious with impotence over the state the men have gotten this country into.

"Before he even opens his mouth tonight, we know that Mr. Nixon is going to impose rationing that will slightly inconvenience rich people while at the same time hurting poor people very badly.

"Look at the poor. We have no lawn sprinklers, automatic garage doors. We have no fancy offices with someone answering our phone. We don't have three refrigerator-freezers, two color TVs. We don't even have carpeting on our floors.

"Yet I hear on the radio that MY children might have to go to an unheated school and MY children might not be able to have lights on the Christmas tree!

"We live in a tiny house, with our four children. We do have an upstairs, which is unheated. Our refrigerator was manufactured before World War II.

"And the president flies his fancy plane to Camp David and uses plenty of energy taping everybody's conversations. Did the White House go without meat when prices went up? Is Pat Nixon putting patches on last year's jeans? Oh sure, they were poor once!" [Her children, believe me, went to a well-heated private school; Denny's Cousin Florence was their teacher at Chapin. The worst rich people are the ones who were once poor!]

"So, plenty of women are furious with our hands in soapy water tonight. Many of us have just put in a full day's work [and lucky to get it] before coming home to clean the house and cook dinner and wash up pots and dishes, then read to the children and after putting them to bed do laundry. Many of us moms are alone, either because we have no man to help us or because our man must work nights to make ends meet. And the thing that makes us so mad is that we KNOW what this country needs. What this country needs is a good mother!

"Would a mother eat and let her kids go hungry? Would a mother let the big kids muscle in and take the most of everything while the little ones cried from cold and hunger? She makes sure everyone gets a fair share, including the weak and the sick."

But you can't say that about the country needing to make sure people play fair because the oligarchs will come back with "socialism nanny state class warfare," whatever BULLYING phrases they're being fed from somewhere by people who are the opposite of poor.

In 1973 you had a chance, and real estate was still reasonable compared to what you could earn. Today's (2011) poor are worse off. Many have no job, no house (although I read in the paper many have a TV in their kid's bedroom). I completely don't know how people get by. I have lost touch with all that -- thank God -- but still relate to furious frustration that today's rich rail and scream against inconvenience while "devouring widow's houses," as George Bernard Shaw wrote, quoting I think the prophet Amos.

Vote vote vote vote vote in your gerrymandered-by -Republicans districts! And keep on organizing you young protesters!