Occupying History

All power is derived from the people. It always has been. In the last 600 decades, power has been concentrated and dispersed many times. "Occupy" (everything) is about to accomplish that dispersal again. It's what this country and it's people were forged to do.

Some might consider "Occupy" late to the cause. Voices on the left have augured and pined for a public display for a decade or more. The North African nations led this now global movement to the streets. They led because they had less cushion to absorb further impoverishment at the hands of global banking and business. They did show the future though. How long would it be before an American set himself on fire publicly as did Tunisia's Mohamed Bouazizi, touching off a civil coup d'état of an Arab tyrant, and then another. "Occupy," never is, though, the only too late.

U.S. socioeconomic upheaval is under way. Legendary Hooverville occupations, protests for economic justice, ushered in acknowledgment of the Great Depression. The Civil Rights movement beat back a hundred years of racial segregation in the South and called out race hate and social injustice for a reckoning in the balance of the country. With the energy and frame of the Civil Rights movement, came the protest over the Vietnam War. There have been a multitude of fights and injustices along the way, but not since the Hoovervilles has the American public suffered such a dramatic decline in its general welfare.

Doubt is now melting away as it did in the instances of civil unrest in the century just closed. Social justice is the the equilibrium for which democracy was conceived and the First Amendment ably defines the means by which social justice is achieved without guillotines and worse.

I spent the balance of summer in London. In London I saw the stirrings of revolt, the impeachment of any honor one could possibly accord Rupert Murdoch as a newsman and the crushing hardships of a world wide "austerity"/sovereign debt crisis meant to bolster bank solvency. The west end burned.

Returning home I found the Republicans holding the debt ceiling hostage to demands for budget cuts, our own"austerity" that would actually harm the economy and make it more likely that the U.S. might default in the future, or at least have to inflate our currency to pay obligations.

I found myself selling a house in September that I had built on a Washington State beach 20 years ago with my own hands. I sold it at a third less than it would have brought four years ago because I cannot see how we will accomplish an economic recovery with Republicans in absolute control of the House and effective control of the Senate.

In October, for the first time in 30 years, I drove across country from Seattle to Knoxville. There I saw middling effects of "Stimulus" road projects in every state on the northern tier from Washington to Tennessee, a little widening here, a little repaving there. Lots of roads and lanes were blocked off with nothing visible going on, as if they had the money to put out the barricades but not actually do anything. Having witnessed the building of the Interstates, Eisenhower's Interstates in my youth, it seemed Third Worldly compared to the giant earth moving and paving machines choking out the sun with the shadows of their massive frames and clouds of dust of the original building. There was no question then, we were building a modern nation. Our own rich are now gutting a nation for every morsel before the end, that they certainly see, comes for America. It is in grim recognition of this apparent fact that "Occupy" is tasked, by a legacy of honor and justice, to animate the will of the American people.

Lack of tourism shuttered businesses and motels in Montana and shops in the Black Hills. Friends and family along the way complained in exquisite detail about lack of business and loss of jobs. I visited Rushmore and reflected on the politics of the men whose images are there hewn. I met one of the original workmen, in his nineties, now reduced to signing Rushmore project books in the souvenir shop. More tractor-trailers were on the road than personal vehicles. Goods are moving, from China to Wal-Marts as the last dimes of U.S. workers are shipped off into a treasonous maze of tax evading re-importation schemes. One sympathizes with the Sioux at Little Big Horn. We can kill the white men destroying our home today, but there is an endless supply of them and there will be more days until we are gone and only they remain.

On I-70 heading back west to Seattle you see the Gateway Arch still dominate the skyline of St. Louis. Sleek and as if forged by some dual god of metal and stark form, it's wonder gives way within a half mile to ruins of a once great hub of commerce and industry. In Wyoming I saw trucks with 155mm M198 howitzers going somewhere and a dark windowed pickup truck with "National Security Force" stenciled on the side and U.S. Government tags. There's, evidently, plenty of money to drag howitzers around and cruise the highway in scary vehicles. Still, it was not as wackadoodle as the jeep with the "Taliban Hunting Club" signage. I wonder if the Wyoming militia creeps realize that the Taliban and they would get along just fine on social issues (except for the alcohol)?

In the Occupy Wall Street movement I find the first glimmer of sanity from America's populace in more than a decade. It is as if we have been asleep since Watergate. True to form, nothing gets done in a democracy until crap is really, really screwed up. Then it may seem too late, but we have been here before an survived, stronger. We are stronger if only for a while. Memory fades, and we repeat history.

One of my stops was the Will Rogers Memorial in Claremore, Oklahoma. I, like him, am a quarter American Indian. At the height of the Depression, Will Rogers made use of his celebrity and even found his place in history by speaking truth to power. He did it with humor as a shield, but did it nonetheless. The words he spoke to power were as essential and immediate as is anything worthy of the circumstances of today. We have been here before. We know what to do. Just visit Will Rogers if you doubt.

This is real, this social/economic justice revolt. You who are in the streets and occupying the visible places are repeating a history that has been forced on mankind many, many times by the greedy and addicted to power. You play out history now, as the arc of history has always been played. The end is always greater liberty and justice, bled for by and crafted for the people. Surrender any doubt. You are right. You will win and grace the annals of human history with your efforts.