Tharp: My Thoughts on Occupy Wall Street
Expats living abroad often look back at their home as events unfold and wish that they were there. American writer, Chris Tharp, talks about his feelings on the Occupy Wall Street movement, those against it, and the frustration of watching from afar.
BUSAN, South Korea -- For the past many years now, as I've seen things unfolding at home - as I've sat down at the computer and watched the videos and read story after story of regular Americans getting fist-fucked by the uber-rich and powerful - I've thought to myself: When will Americans have had enough? When are they going to get sick of eating shit sandwiches? When will they finally say 'fuck this shit' and fight back?
So you can imagine the elation I've felt all fall as I've watched - from a very large distance, mind you - the Occupy Wall Street movement not just grow in numbers, but catch the collective imagination and angst of the nation.
Sure, there are the typical haters: The angry old Tea Party screamers and the servile, thick-tongued morons who mainline Fox News and talk radio have been laughingly predictable in their "critique" of the movement:
"Get a job!"
"Go back to your mom's basement."
"What a bunch of spoiled rich brats."
"They're just jealous of the success of the 'job creators'"
"Freeloaders just looking for a handout."
Yawn. Straight out of the Archie Bunker phrasebook. These are the same old lame, tired, and just lazy accusations that the same people leveled against the young people who stopped the Vietnam War. The supposed "liberal media" have been no better, with a never ending succession of plastic, condescending talking heads rolling their eyes at these misguided young people, gasping aloud while delcaring across the airwaves that this motely band of agitators "has no clear message".
No clear message?
This has always set my bile on fire, since the message couldn't be any clearer: Arrest and convict the fat cats who torpedoed our economy in order to line their own pockets! End the brazen attacks on the poor and middle classes by the mega-wealthy! And to quote a flash-in-the-pan 90's workout diva: STOP THE INSANITY!!!
And where have the police been in all of this? Where they always are: on the side of capital, enforcing the status quo. There have been countless incidents of police brutality and absolutely unprovoked attacks upon not just the peaceful demonstrators, but also anyone else unlucky to be standing in the vicinity. This doesn't surprise or shock me in the least, however, since cops in America have always been like this, and are rarely held accountable for their actions.
As for the protesters themselves, I have witnessed several of my "progressive" friends of late complaining about the the Occupiers, even going so far as to applaud Bloomberg's paramilitary raid of the Zuccotti Park. These middle class friends of mine bemoan the "tactics" of the protesters. "Shouting at the police impresses no one," one friend of mine sniped. Another facebooker decried the acts of civil disobience, pleading with them to "Create change by voting!" (haha). Another recently posted this on her facebook, which tells you all you need to know:
"The occupiers had my support for a while. They really did. I still support their reasoning but their methods are ridiculous. Time to shut up and go home."
Really? Are people so ready to throw in the towel just because things get inconvenient and messy? Guess what? Change is ALWAYS messy, and people get put out. That's just how it is.. Black folks in Montgomery, Alabama walked, bicycled, or caught rides to work for over a year before they got what they wanted. People go to jail. Traffic gets snarled. And sometimes, sometimes, things get broken, people get hurt, and shit burns.
I'm sure some of the protestors and their leaders can be big fat douches at times. I've seen this overly earnest and righteous type at many street demonstrations (you know who I'm talking about). Yeah, some the Occupiers are "professional protesters." Some are of them are probably just there to party and fuck shit up. I'm sure that some of the chants are cheesy, unispired PC cliches - and yes, some of them ARE hippies and probably do smell.
But the message is clear and this thing shows no sign of dying. It's bigger than the people in the streets, as it's resonating in the kitchens, living rooms, and water coolers of the whole damn country, as well as beyond. I may live in Korea now, but I have put my ass on the front line in the past, and I wish I were home right now to do it again. In the meantime, I'll keep screaming from the outfield bleachers.
I am the 99%.
Haps may or may not agree with the opinions of the writer, but we fully support his blatant use of profanity.
Lead Photo: ABC News
1% photo from the International Business Times
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