These are the days of decision

October 8, 2011 9:12 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Saturday October 1st, 2011, I went to Wall Street, Liberty Plaza, and the Brooklyn Bridge. Those of us standing by applauded the activists who were returning from across the bridge and hadn’t been among the seven hundred arrested.

These are the places to be during these pivotal days – where the brave and the beautiful are. I wanted to embrace everyone. Liberty Plaza, small and country-like, surrounded by looming mile-high corporate towers, looked like a scene out of Breughel (I was reminded of the movie I saw recently at New York’s Film Forum – the excellent “The Mill and the Cross.”). There were people of all types dancing, resting, eating, living, pigeons perched in the delicate leaves of the trees – each individual interesting to watch and no one emerging as a leader to dominate the rest. Police allow no tents and no PA systems, so all communication is by human voice.

As we go about our daily affairs, we are all being ground down like grain into flour by Wall Street millers in high corporate towers. Some friends have objected to the protests saying: “The Wall Street protesters aren’t necessarily those most oppressed.” The left tends to attack segments of itself rather than focus on what we set out to do. That weakens us. People suffering the most don’t necessarily have to show up at Liberty Plaza. Everyone but the top one percent is oppressed by corporations abetted by a government which the corporations have bought out. We all have a right and a duty to speak out when we can, to make our voice heard, our body counted. Martyrs like Troy Davis inspire us. Let him be represented by anyone who volunteers.

Those on the political right, the Republicans, the Tea Party, and other organizations funded by the Koch brothers are notoriously effective at public relations. They have purchased the mainstream media and co-opted its bland deceptive language. They have repeatedly and mono-maniacally lied. However, this time – with the Wall Street protests – we on the left have finally gotten it right. We’re not focusing on specific issues. We’re not pointing to parts of the diseased body politic piece by piece the way Western medicine regards the human body. We’ve abandoned the mechanical model, the attack and kill model. We’re not speaking in the bureaucratic bloodless language of the establishment. The words on the posters held high by Wall Street protesters are incisive, direct and witty. We’re not giving the opposition another opportunity to deride, twist, and distort our issues in its characteristic way. We’re objecting to the whole bloody deal, to the oppression of the entire world by big corporations and banks.

Taken all together, we are the Earth coming to consciousness, deepening our empathy, expressing what we feel. The people coming off the bridge on Saturday looked determined and attractive – attractive because they are charged with an important mission and they are doing the right thing. How magnificent that more people are coming out in cities across the world. I feel elated but we have much work to do.


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This post was written by Jean Claude van Itallie

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