Occupy the Tactics of Occupy!: A Slight Seeing Need

NOTE: IF YOU ARE CONCERNED WITH THE LATINO COMMUNITY DON’T READ THIS; READ THE PREVIOUS POSTING CENTERED ON PROFESSOR RODOLFO ACUNA. This is an archived site, and each piece is posted for a particular purpose for a very specific audience in each case. Not knowing context can be quite puzzling, and possibly very off-putting. THIS IS UNEDITED, A FIRST DRAFT. AND IT IS PURE PLAY. Warm-up for my rendezvous with you. I am “the audience” here.

“Surrender is essentially an operation by means of which we set out explaining instead of acting.” — Charles Peguy

Occupy the Tactics of Occupy!: A Slight Seeing Need
Dedicated to the people who I am about to meet… so different than the zombies in my presence, self-serving cynics… atomized one and all… all alone together on their sinking slight seeing ship of shits
by Ox

“The world has changed less since Jesus Christ than it has in the last thirty years.”Charles Peguy, 1913, to thirteen-year-old Yves Tanguy.

“More has changed this week by me turning that corner, Papi, than what’s come down in my whole life.” — the author’s twelve-year-old son

Back in Hawaii, when I first discovered Bob Seger, if anyone would have told me that the Silver Bullet Band once backed lyrics by Bob which made reference to Yves Tanguy, I would have told them they were crazy. For who? His beer guzzling, tatooed, red neck following? [Pause.] I guess there really are more things in heaven and earth than we imagine. We must imagine the impossible. The magic this moment.

What’s a magical sight to me
An Yves Tanguy in a gallery
The 30s looking back at me
As if he really knew
I marveled at the artistry
Predating our technology
The vision there for all to see
Bold and strong and true
And I wanted I wanted I wanted
To take that painting home
I wanted I wanted
I wanted to take that vision home
from Bob Seger’s Sightseeing

The 30s looking back at me
As if he really knew

Wow. [Pause.] Rhymes with Don’t kowtow.

There’s a ton of money in California. I’m here to get it for you. Go, test me. Meet me in person. Fifteen or so minutes with yours truly, that’s all. [Pause.] But that’s not all I have in store for you. I have medical care and dental care — free in a lot of cases — for you and your loved ones. Quality care, not quack cracks at you. All kinds of benefits. Whether or not you work. And if you do work, I’ve got a huge surprise for you. You don’t have to put up with shit work anymore. And you’re gonna know — if you want to — what the actual quality of the water is that your drink, the air that you breathe. Soccer balls and skateboard halls for everyone! News that’s not tweaked to suit the purposes of the likes of Apple and its first cousins. Apple, you know, the corporation — along with several others — that pays zero tax in California. California, you know (or maybe you don’t), the state where the federal government owns 44% of the land. A 1% tax on Apple’s modest earnings would turn lots of tricks. A federal fire sale of the government’s Cal real estate to the tune of only 1% — depending on which parcel(s) — could easily generate enough revenue overnight… so that night basketball programs and trombones and fiddles could be made available to our youngsters looking for something to do. [Pause.] Seriously, lots of the highway robbery going on daily — the murder and mayhem in our name and with our hard-earned bucks — could end tomorrow, bringing the organic/vegan bacon on home. That’s right, vegan bacon, and a whole lot of other miracles could be had. But you have to wake up. Awake and sing! Use your imagination. Jump into a tiny pool of faith. Get off of your privileged butt. Cut out that Zombie Waltz to the tune of MiMiMi. Crack a nut, and take a crack at me. You lack too much to not.

Enough blah blah. Let me loose. Seriously, see me. Whatcha’ got to lose? I’ll come unarmed. Without a weapon except for the one that’s been brewing in my brain since I was a boy. I’m ready to make a contribution. It’s not in my nature to be a quietist. Apathy, cynicism, resignation, ignorance, and bad habits coupled with atomization make my skin crawl, keep me from sleeping. And, besides, I want my boy to be able to keep turning those beautiful corners long after I’ve fallen through the cracks.

It’s time for the Occupy Movement to take a fresh turn regarding its tactics. Occupy the Tactics of Occupy! A new paradigm that’s not not a dime a dozen, cousin. Not the thirties looking back at us.

There’s a slight need to see from a new angle of vision, with a fresh perspective. To put it mildly.

It was a curious sight to me
A castle older than a redwood tree
Once lived in by royalty
Who taxed and raped the land
Mostly now it was stone and dust
Long damp halls and smells of must
Faded walls and ancient rust
Built on shifting sand
And I wanted I wanted I wanted
To smash that sucker down
— Opening lines to Segar’s Sightseeing


Look at the description below of the General Assembly dynamic for OCCUPY, then — if you will — glance at some of my comments which follow it.

The General Assembly is a horizontal, autonomous, leaderless, modified-consensus-based system with roots in anarchist thought, and it’s akin to the assemblies that have been driving recent social movements around the world, in places like Argentina, Egypt’s Tahrir Square, Madrid’s Puerta del Sol and so on. Working toward consensus is really hard, frustrating and slow. But the occupiers are taking their time. When they finally get to consensus on some issue, often after days and days of trying, the feeling is quite incredible. A mighty cheer fills the plaza. It’s hard to describe the experience of being among hundreds of passionate, rebellious, creative people who are all in agreement about something.

Fortunately, though, they don’t need to come to consensus about everything. Working alongside the General Assembly are an ever-growing number of committees and working groups—from Food and Media to Direct Action and Sanitation. Anyone is welcome to join one, and they each do their own thing, working in tacit coordination with the General Assembly as a whole. In the end, the hope is that every individual is empowered to make decisions and act as her or himself, for the good of the group.

First of all, the jargon used to describe the way in which OCCUPY operates — at this juncture — is a drawback, a serious downside if one has one’s eyes on mobilizing a larger demographic than what is currently participating and supporting OCCUPY events, the OCCUPY thrust. There is absolutely — has absolutely been — no discussion about the effect of underscoring the leaderless aspect of the movement on the general public. That is not to say that “leaders” must be employed in any traditional sense. Rather it is to underscore the fact that no one is even talking about the issue I’m bringing up here. Secondly, Tahir Square activity and counterparts worldwide — cited often by OCCUPY people — are not to be viewed as successful models without deep critical points being made. Meaningful analyses of such events, attempts at turning the powers that be around — around the world — is not to be found. At the General Assemblies nationwide there is virtually no acknowledgement that the seeds planted in various quarters are not sufficient, or will not bloom in time to deal with a number of the deadlines faced by populations in the different centers. The emotional lift and the understandable thrill of being part of a giant celebration is being praised in lieu of taking stock of the nuts and bolts of what’s going on, and what’s not going on. Part of what’s not going on is… they’re no securing of any significant reins of power together. People all doing their own thing is fine, and should be encouraged to a great degree. However, something in solidarity needs to be attempted, something on a macroscopic level that will have a meaningful, ongoing effect on our collective lives. Working alongside will not cut the mustard. Atomized activism has limited value. I would ask OCCUPY people — considering the arthritic snail’s pace they’re embracing — what deadlines, if any, they see on the horizon. For starters.