1.618 (dynamicsymmetry) wrote,

Evening prayers and tear gas in Tahrir Square. Love and solidarity. Their revolution is not even close to over, though most of the press has forgotten them.

Glenn Greenwald has some very important points to make here regarding the dangers of Occupy's being co-opted by traditional political organizations:

But whatever else is true, the notion — advanced by SEIU — that it’s the Democratic Party and the Obama White House working to bring about these changes and implant these values of the 99% is so self-evidently false as to be insulting. Agitating for passage of the jobs bill is a perfectly reasonable and sensible step, but how can casting that in such starkly partisan terms be justified when numerous key Democratic officials opposed the bill and prevented its passage (just as an always-changing roster of numerous key Democrats — the Villains of the Moment — almost always act to protect the interests of Washington’s permanent ruling factions)?

The problem is that the entire system is broken. Democrats are better than Republicans right now but that's just in general terms, and "better than Republicans" is barely a compliment in any reasonable sense.

This is the first election I've been eligible to vote in where I've honestly wondered if I want to. I know, I know--and I almost certainly will. But I'll probably do it angry and I'll probably do it sad, and I won't walk away proud of it.

I had a bad feeling, even in the midst of the elation, that 2008 was a bunch of us fooling ourselves. More and more I feel like I was right.

I know I've been talking about this non-stop. I know that several of you have encouraged me to keep doing so, and I appreciate it a lot. Part of this for me is about managing mental stuff--my LJ is a reflection of whatever's foremost in my psyche, and right now this is eating all of my focus. Part of that is that I'm obsessive by nature--when I'm in something, generally I'm all in. But a lot of it is just what this is. I honestly never thought I would see this here. I thought I would see riots, probably, and chaos. I thought what happened in London was a portent for what was coming here.

I did not expect Occupy. I did not see it coming. And it has pierced me.

I feel stupid writing that, because I haven't been out there protesting with them. I've been watching and reading and writing and thinking, and I've been sending food and books and cold weather gear. I hung out with them in Chicago and DC and I hope to get to Philadelphia while there's still an encampment there to see. But I've resigned myself to the idea that what I need to be doing is what I'm doing: Trying to finish my PhD, trying to teach my kids. My entire course is focused around inequality. I tell myself that my work is my activism and as such, I have a horse in the race.

I still don't know if I feel comfortable saying that I'm part of this movement. I don't know how much of this is pretension. I feel like not all of it can be.

How can we separate the desire for meaning from the presence of meaning? How do we navigate that?

How can I be a researcher and a participant? How can I study this and be part of it at the same time?

Where are the lines? I have no idea where the lines are anymore.

But it doesn't matter what I'm feeling, because this is still happening.

Here's something you should see, that you might have missed. Here's the video that I posted yesterday of the students at UC Davis being pepper-sprayed in the face. It turns out that what happened yesterday was more violent than the video even shows, as UC Davis assistant professor Nathan Brown reports in his open letter calling for the resignation of Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi:

Police used batons to try to push the students apart. Those they could separate, they arrested, kneeling on their bodies and pushing their heads into the ground. Those they could not separate, they pepper-sprayed directly in the face, holding these students as they did so. When students covered their eyes with their clothing, police forced open their mouths and pepper-sprayed down their throats. Several of these students were hospitalized. Others are seriously injured. One of them, forty-five minutes after being pepper-sprayed down his throat, was still coughing up blood.

Incredible violence. The video is upsetting. If you watched it, you may not have watched it all the way through to the end. But if you did, you saw something remarkable.

The protesters pull people away. Screaming, people scrambling, cries for water. Panic. There are loud, angry chants of SHAME ON YOU. SHAME ON YOU. They rise in intensity. People begin to close in. The police start to look nervous. They start to back away and close in together into a protective clot. Tension rises.

Everyone has cameras. Holding them up like weapons, because that's what they are.


Then, at 6:14: MIC CHECK


WE ARE WILLING (we are willing)

TO GIVE YOU A BRIEF MOMENT (to give you a brief moment)

OF PEACE (of peace)

YOU MAY TAKE YOUR WEAPONS (you may take your weapons)

AND OUR FRIENDS (and our friends)

AND GO (and go)

PLEASE DO NOT RETURN (please do not return)

WE'RE GIVING YOU A MOMENT OF PEACE (we're giving you a moment of peace)

WE'RE GIVING YOU A MOMENT OF PEACE (we're giving you a moment of peace)

YOU CAN GO (you can go)

WE WILL NOT FOLLOW YOU (we will not follow you)




And they do.

This entry was originally posted (with comment count unavailable comments) at my Dreamwidth.
Tags: #occupy, feel all the feelings, politik
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