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Howard Zinn, Taking the Long View on Occupy

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I'm reading a book containing conversations with Howard Zinn called Original Zinn and there's a particularly relevant and moving piece on page 26 where he's talking about a Civil Rights action in Albany, GA, in December 1960. The action "failed" with beatings and arrests for all. Nobody outside of the area really heard about it at the time.

"Albany was an interesting instance because the Albany experience, even by historians sympathetic to the movement, is very often looked upon as a failure. They talk about Albany, Georgia, as a failed event. I disagree very strongly with that. They consider it a failed event because it had no immediate consequences in terms of changing the situation in Albany. But it had enormous consequences in giving hope to the people in Albany and showing them that they could resist and survive. Also, it laid the seeds for later change in Albany. So I think it was a very superficial view of the situation, which happens very often, that is, momentary defeats or defeats that may not be overcome for several years are simply labeled "defeats" without understanding that very often defeats lay the groundwork for later victories because of what happens to people in the course of that struggle."

Howard is very wise to look at the long view and understand that even defeats can be steps toward victory. This view is typically a more eastern method of looking at events. For us westerners, looking only at the next quarter's earnings, it does not compute.

Those who say that Occupy is a failure are these myopic prognosticators, too full of intellectual momentum to understand the big picture. As disappointed as I am that Occupy seems to have less energy than it did a year ago, I think Occupy is still (as one of our group has characterized it) the pilot light of the progressive movement, ready to flare up when needed. The initial success and progress was significant in great part because the establishment got caught with their pants down. They didn't know how to handle us. Now they're more ready for us.

Nobody, even those sympathetic to Occupy, foretold the movement even a short time before Occupy burst onto the scene in NYC. The movie "Thrive" was the only venue I've seen that did in fact foretell Occupy.

I think the next task before us is to attack the root cause of the cancer destroying our country, and that is money in politics - legalized bribery. Even some on the right wing who benefited from their own Super PACs say they don't like it.

And the first major step toward attacking the problem is to eliminate corporate personhood and define money as not protected free speech. The Supreme Court obviously lacks this critical understanding and so must be overruled. And the only way to overrule the Supreme Court is with a Constitutional Amendment. So let's get to it - in honor of Howard.


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I was a computer engineer for ~25 years, now I've changed careers and am flying. Currently I'm flying freight on Caravans. I was at SkyWest flying a CRJ as a First Officer. And previous to that I was flying as a First Officer in a Lear Jet air (more...)

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