We are the 1%
This statement comes from Portland, Oregon following the solidarity actions that occurred nationwide on wednesday. Despite references to specific occurrences here, I feel assured that others elsewhere are warming themselves elsewhere with similar thoughts on this particularly chilly night.
The march on wednesday was an action planned in response to police brutality; sparked, in part, by the sympathetic media coverage of Scott Olsen's wounded head, but also aimed at the much longer history of violence and murder perpetrated by police forces- in Oakland, Portland, and elsewhere (frequently against those who do not make as attractive symbols as a bloodied white veterans). It was planned by a few dozen folks who had widely differing political views and aims, in and beyond the 'left', yet agreed to organize a solidarity response and, in doing so, consensed to a *diversity of tactics* within the demonstration.
What transpired during the march on Wednesday evening was quite a different affair all together: arms were linked under banners advocating for electoral reform, socialist alternatives, and the adoption of bitcoins; chants informed onlookers that, this, in fact, was what "democracy looked like." All major targets of economic, political, and law enforcement were intentionally avoided, despite initial plans to march to these places of significance. Regardless, comrades attempted to engage in minor acts of (unsuccessful) property damage and were met with violent retaliation, de-masking, and immediate scolding at the hands of the other participants in the march. In one case, a protestor was seen striking an black-clad individual with a flag attached to a metal pole, harshly reminding them that "we are peaceful protestors" (as a resident of Portland, OR, this even exceeds my stomach for the ironic). Only one arrest was made that day, that of a man identified as David Anthony Burgess, who in defending themselves from an on-coming line of heavily armed riot police, allegedly shoved an officer in the way of a transit vehicle. However, from the looks of the statements coming out of occupy portland, it appears that David Anthony Burgess is the only one being tossed under a bus: he was identified in a "Statement of Condemnation"( http://occupyportland.org/2011/11/03/statement-condemnation/) as an 'outsider' with a 'criminal past' and thusly stands to be one of the few that are not included in the rapidly swelling '99%.' Similarly, our actions of 'escalation', as well as those who reclaimed a building in Oakland on saturday (who have also received a Statement of Condemnation), and various other comrades who have taken a similar approach, have received a comparable response from their respective Occupy movements.
Don't mistake this statement for some sniveling Trotskyite critique for "ruining our fine little marches." No, instead, what follows is a statement of gratitude for the clarity that your actions provided on that Wednesday evening:
We now know who the 1% are. It is us.
We want out. We want nothing to do with your 99%. Your political discourse that reduces societal power and privilege to the size of one's paycheck. Your adventures in chosen disempowerment and urban camping. Your progressive elevation of our target, the origin of 'injustice,' to levels of abstraction, far from our reach. Your ever-widening arms that welcome politicians, bankers, and cops without question. Your ever-weakening actions that have become nothing more than a tepid reshuffling of the deck of the status quo.
The 99%//occupy movement had so far appeared hard-pressed to find any specific group or individual actors that it does not wish to assimilate into its ranks-- aside from its occasional bouts of shadow boxing with the nameless 'wall st. elite'-- & so far, the mantle of the lawlessness and hedonism of the 1% has remained conspicuously empty. No longer. We never wanted your reform, your cooperation with the police, your snitching, your jobs, your rehashed leftist agenda that has been re-warmed so many times that it is beyond palatable.
We recognize the deep intersecting oppressions that are our true target: capitalism, the state, racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, etc. These forces are actively perpetuated in our daily lives by our own actions within structures not of our making, and these forces have found a home at the very base of your 'movement.' We have never felt comfortable in 99% of our modern lives, yet you insist retaining 99% of the problem (as evidenced here [ http://i.imgur.com/Ri7vH.png] by a user on the occupy portland forum, on the topic of what to do with us), we'll take our chances elsewhere-- through our hopes, dreams, and actions that have earned your condemnation.
So be it, occupy. Let down your ropes to the officials, the bankers, the cops; swell your ship to the point of bursting with the scum that have rendered modern life, as we know it, unliveable. Set sail for a new tomorrow, guts still full of the shit of yesterday. We'll jump ship and happily fill our boats with those you've cast off (the recently condemned from Oakland, and David Anthony Burgess, for example). But take warning-- a vessel that ripe with our enemies is too sweet an opportunity to pass up, you soon may find yourselves taking on water (provided you don't manage to sink by your own hands).
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