Why Are They Afriad?

Night Time General Assembly

One of the young men, right this minute I can’t remember which, who spent time with Bonnie and me during the long night at the occupation asked me why the corporate powers are afraid of them.  It seems apparent from the massively inappropriate police repression that they are, but why?

I suggested to him that it might be because all they have is power and money, both of which are not inherent to their person, to their being, to their life.  Power and money can be taken away from them against their will.  The occupiers, who want to reduce the power and wealth of the corporate titans, have, by contrast, personal strength that cannot be taken from them against their will.

The first of these qualities of the occupiers is love, by which I mean the willingness to value other human beings and the natural world enough to put the common good ahead of personal interests.  They are living the antidote to greed and selfishness.

The occupiers have courage.  They live under the continual threat of being beaten, jailed, even killed  “by accident” if they were run over by a police vehicle or trampled by a mounted police officer.  The NYPD, and the other militarized forces that are hidden in it, have yet to fire on the protesters, but that could change.  All the officers have guns.  The occupiers are risking their lives for a better world for all of us.  By contrast, the titans of the corporatocracy are huddled in fear behind their “security” establishment, defending themselves and their privileges.  They know, none better, how small their numbers are and how many could be inspired by the occupiers. They know how great is the power of the peoples they have despoiled for their own selfish ends and they fear an unleashing of that power.

The occupiers have real fun, the kind no money can buy.  I am not sure what personal character trait this is, maybe a combination of several, but the occupiers have it. It has been very wet for much of the occupation.  When the sky opens up and deluges fall on them, they cheer.  They live with music, they dance.  They smile and laugh.  They are masters of the witty come back. When told by the police not to be on the sidewalk so that pedestrians can use it, they reply “We are the pedestrians.”  “I want mine back,” is their response to a sarcastic comment about “freedom of speech” from a Fox news team  member, when they have surrounded the team and and chanted “Fox News lies” until the team packs up to leave.  When the “clean up” order was postposed, after spending days cleaning up Liberty Park, some of them armed with brooms and mops and a big bucket, march joyously across Broadway to clean the plaza on the other side as well.  This joie de vivre in what could be seen as horrible conditions is a great moral strength.

The occupiers have commitment.  They are sticking it out.

Most of the US population has been distracted by the corporatocracy’s very skillful manipulations over the past decades.  Few people here have been willing to take a stand, until now.  With the exception of Camp Casey, which drew tens of thousands during the month of August 2005 and was not meant to be a permanent occupation anyway, there have not been large fixed centers of resistance.  Now there are, not just in Liberty Square in lower Manhattan but in cities across the country.

This is very frightening to people whose power and money are not inalienable, as power and money never have been.

The young man just listened to what I had to say.   I hope he felt affirmed.  These young people are committed and strong, but all people need affirmation and validation.  If I served that role for him as he got ready to face the possible brutal assault of Friday morning, I am glad.  For me, it is always good to declare the truth.

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