Thursday, September 29, 2011

Every thoughtful, moral, individual right now belongs in the streets

Across the world right now, and across the United States, occupations and protests against corporate domination and political corruption have broken out. The corporate media is not where to learn of this global revolution: your best bet right now is twitter and the hashtags #occupywallst, #occupytogether, and #globalrevolution. 

I could certainly write something about why every thoughtful spiritual individual needs to get his or her duff off the meditation cushion, or knees off the kneeler, and if at all possible head promptly to their nearest available #occupation (by whatever name it may use). But Chris Hedges has put it as eloquently as it can be stated:

There are no excuses left. Either you join the revolt taking place on Wall Street and in the financial districts of other cities across the country or you stand on the wrong side of history. Either you obstruct, in the only form left to us, which is civil disobedience, the plundering by the criminal class on Wall Street and accelerated destruction of the ecosystem that sustains the human species, or become the passive enabler of a monstrous evil. Either you taste, feel and smell the intoxication of freedom and revolt or sink into the miasma of despair and apathy. Either you are a rebel or a slave.

The only word these corporations know is more. They are disemboweling every last social service program funded by the taxpayers, from education to Social Security, because they want that money themselves. Let the sick die. Let the poor go hungry. Let families be tossed in the street. Let the unemployed rot. Let children in the inner city or rural wastelands learn nothing and live in misery and fear. Let the students finish school with no jobs and no prospects of jobs. Let the prison system, the largest in the industrial world, expand to swallow up all potential dissenters. Let torture continue. Let teachers, police, firefighters, postal employees and social workers join the ranks of the unemployed. Let the roads, bridges, dams, levees, power grids, rail lines, subways, bus services, schools and libraries crumble or close. Let the rising temperatures of the planet, the freak weather patterns, the hurricanes, the droughts, the flooding, the tornadoes, the melting polar ice caps, the poisoned water systems, the polluted air increase until the species dies. 

Those on the streets around Wall Street are the physical embodiment of hope. They know that hope has a cost, that it is not easy or comfortable, that it requires self-sacrifice and discomfort and finally faith. They sleep on concrete every night. Their clothes are soiled. They have eaten more bagels and peanut butter than they ever thought possible. They have tasted fear, been beaten, gone to jail, been blinded by pepper spray, cried, hugged each other, laughed, sung, talked too long in general assemblies, seen their chants drift upward to the office towers above them, wondered if it is worth it, if anyone cares, if they will win. But as long as they remain steadfast they point the way out of the corporate labyrinth. This is what it means to be alive. They are the best among us.

Go. Go now, or at least as near to now as is possible. If you cannot stay overnight, it is important to go for as long as you can. If you cannot go, collect supplies and donations for the occupiers, and if you cannot even do that, spread the word to those who don't know, or who have absorbed some of the lies they've heard about the occupiers. If there is nothing around you, organize your own #occupation. Age is no excuse-- the young have provided the energy and the joints that can tolerate a night sleeping on the sidewalk, but people of all ages are participating to the best of their ability. Do what you are capable of, now.

Yes, the outcome is uncertain, and no one knows how long it will take to expunge corporate power and reclaim democracy. Those are reasons to put one's shoulder more urgently to the task, not reasons to flee from it. You have a moral duty to participate. You have no excuse.

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