Daffodil by Bear
I read "Situating Occupy: Lessons from the revolutionary Past" by David Graeber. His analysis is outstanding. And like every sympathetic observer of the Occupy movement I have come across, he has been swept up in the accomplishments and failed to notice that the occupiers are not taking the next essential step.
Occupy D.C. issued a Declaration on November 30. It took them a month of debate to hash out the wording. It is their statement to the world of their grievances and a call of action to the 99 percent to do the same thing they are doing. The Declaration of Occupy D.C. uses the language of resentment, frustration and anger to lay out its grievances, and the language of radicalism, fear and hunger to call for change. Who in America will listen kindly to a declaration blaring from an amplified megaphone? If the 99 percent were inclined to take back the commons, a few more people would have showed up by now, don't you think?
The occupiers need to ask the 99 percent one by one if they agree with the principles, grievances, redress and future action they have identified. They need to seek the consensus for change that will make change a requirement of our future as a nation. They need to obtain positive affirmation from the 99 percent that will signal civic culture is alive and well in the United States of America before they can move forward to work out how that change takes place and what it looks like. They need to engage the 99 percent in the discussion in a way that demonstrates to the 1 percent that the 99 percent is waiting for a response from the 1 percent.
I wrote the "Proposed Petition of Redress and Pledge of Action" on Nov. 8 and posted it on Facebook. I was inspired by the five teenagers in my Intro to Political Science course at Hudson Valley Community College who have done a finer job at political analysis than I have seen among the press, pundits or professors in decades. This is not about personal gain or glory. My preference is to use my nom de plume/ nickname: Bear. However, someone pointed out that that undermines my credibility. I should think the ideas speak for themselves. The proposed petition lists the same grievances as the Declaration of Occupy D.C. -- but in more measured tones. It seeks the same redress from the government, the wealthy and corporations; however, it calls upon the 99 percent to pledge to become engaged, active citizens again in our political culture, not just to occupy the commons and complain. It anticipated the Declaration by three weeks.
I asked my local newspaper, the Times Union, to print the proposed petition to demonstrate that newspapers remain relevant as leaders in putting forth ideas to their communities and contributing to public debate. Unfortunately, I was turned away. I have asked again, citing as proof of my analytical skills the letter the Times Union printed on Nov. 3 in which I suggested that Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden switch positions in 2013. The same idea of Hillary Clinton as vice president was put forward by a columnist for The Hill, the premier news outlet on Congress and national politics, on Nov. 30. Again, I anticipated the idea by four weeks. I await their answer.
Shouldn't my ideas be shown a bit more respect? Shouldn't I be given the opportunity to present the proposed petition to the 99 percent via mass media? What harm is there in asking the 99 percent if they agree or disagree with the proposed petition? Why is the Occupy movement doing the same thing over and over -- asking for the attention of the 1 percent and not taking the second step of walking out of the encampments and asking the 99 percent to support change? Are they afraid the 99 percent will agree in such numbers that change becomes necessary and the hard work of rebuilding must start? Why not be a part of a historical undertaking in American politics rather than just sitting in the parks thinking up ways to continue sitting in the parks?
Thank you for your consideration.
H. Kevin "Bear" McNeelege aka Ruff Bear