We are fighting an outdated system more than we are fighting people. The system works on a paradigm that is rooted in the idea that the wealthy should be the most powerful and the primary shapers our society because their success or luck in making or inheriting money proves that they are better suited for deciding what is best for the rest of us. The end of this hierarchical system and the emergence of a truly democratic system of the people is seen by the so called 1% as the greatest threat they have ever known.
The 1% who influence or control politics and the macroeconomics of our nation, live in a world divorced from the reality of the average working class person. To some degree, they know not what they do. They do not know the stresses and obstacles of the working class. They do not feel the decline in average wages and the rise in healthcare and food costs. Whether they inherited their wealth or had the good fortune of their hard work paying off, they do not know the frustrations and insecurities of the working classes and those who had their hard work destroyed by the economic collapse. What they do know is that they enjoy the advantages of their power and wealth and they fear the loss of any of it.
They fear it so much that they are mustering all of their forces of propaganda and redoubling their efforts to secure the loyalty of those in the 99% who think the world can operate no other way accept for the old outdated paradigm. We are fighting a system; however, that system is controlled by people who now see the spread of fear and intimidation as their best weapon.
This brutality’s for you
The violence and arrests being brought upon Occupy protesters is not so much intended for the Occupiers themselves. Those in power know the resolve of the people in the street and that it will only harden them. No, these violent actions are intended for all of those millions at home who sympathize with the sentiments of the movement but are a little hesitant about whether to go down to an occupation or get involved in any way.
Here in Florida, many live in an especially chilling state of fear. I have talked to college students who are not only afraid to go down and just hang out at Occupations, but they are afraid to do anything on or near campus to even show solidarity. They fear being suspended from their school for expressing their right to free speech and assembly. They are concerned that they will put their scholarships, grants, and federal loans in jeopardy. They worry that schools will put a mark on their record that will follow them into the world when they try to find a job after spending thousands on a degree. They are afraid of losing their current low wage jobs because it is the only thing keeping them fed as they pay for the rising price of classes and textbooks.
When I told some of these students that they cannot just be summarily arrested for being at an occupation or setting up a free speech area on campus where they loudly promote the movement, they looked bewildered. I explained that even if the occupation is breaking a curfew you have to be given ample warning to leave. If the school feels your free speech zone is interfering with something they have to let you know and ask you to quit. They honestly felt that the “flyer bombing” they had done on campus to promote a local GA was dangerously subversive.
When I told my own mother that I was active in the Occupy movement she said, “You better be careful, there were plenty of professors and teachers who lost their jobs during the Vietnam era and wound up living on the streets.” Mom?!?!
Coworkers at my high school will not even attend labor union events, which are so subdued I will not even call them “rallies”. They worry what people will think. They will not show up at school board meetings and speak their mind when there is an open forum. “I’m afraid people might take it the wrong way.” They will not post political opinions on Facebook because they are afraid the “wrong person will read it.” They look over their shoulders when talking about politics at work because they are afraid offending someone will lead to a reprimand or worse.
WAKE UP MIDDLE AMERICA! This violent crackdown is for YOU. They want you to believe this is what happens whenever you speak up. They want you to believe that you can express your opinions and petition your government for a redress of grievances, as long as you do it in your house or by electing one of the approved candidates in November.
WAKE UP MIDDLE AMERICA! We cannot win this thing without you. Speaking up does not mean becoming a drug user or criminal. I have visited some occupations and know people who have visited others. There are no more sanitation, drug, or crime problems in these camps than in any other part of any American city. RESIST the FEAR!
WAKE UP MIDDLE AMERICA! Speaking up does not make you a radical or a subversive. Go to rallies, protests, and occupations. Just leave when the curfew comes and let those who are willing to be arrested take part in the nonviolent civil disobedience. If you are really daring, stay and be an observer to what happens. Film it.
SHOW UP! You have to get out there and bring a friend. Increase the numbers. They are afraid that is why they are now trying to make you afraid. Nonviolent leaderless movements confound them and this one is on the verge of forcing them to make systemic changes that benefit the people for once. They know that if we win this showdown between their violence and our nonviolence they have lost a crucial battle of this generation. They know their power will be severely curtailed.