As of this writing, people are camping out on Westlake Plaza. There is some promise in this new movement of people. Starting in Greece in 2008, this wave of rebellion has spread from Tunisia, to Egypt, Syria, Spain, England, and now the USA.
But we are worried about this movement of the “excluded” 99%. For instance, we have seen people who are part of the upper 25% of this country entering into the organizing of this movement and trying to hide their middle/upper class, bourgeois-bohemian (or Bo-Bo, as the French say) backgrounds. The upper 25% of the USA owns 87% of the wealth. This includes many individuals who make roughly $100K per year. While this is only a fraction of the income of the wealthiest 1%, it nevertheless separates us poor folk from the yuppies, some of whom are taking lead organizing roles in occupations across the country.
Though all of us “99 percenters” may be below the top rung on the ladder of wealth, there is no question that some are much worse off than others. To lump everyone together under one banner ignores differing individual and group experiences of life in this screwed-up country. Some of us are way at the bottom, barely hanging on, low-paid, under-employed, unemployed, or making money in informal, illegal, and often dangerous ways. We have been precarious for some time, moving from town to town, job to job, having no real roots and no possible future under the dictatorship of capitalism. People who are suddenly upset because their stocks have taken a nose dive don’t necessarily share our interests and are not particularly trust-worthy, especially in leadership roles. It is likely that our needs and desires differ immensely. Like the American and French revolutions of the past, Bo-Bo’s have always usurped the energy that came from the oppressed and exploited to carve out an even more comfortable niche for themselves. We have no interest in this happening again and will actively thwart all the Bo-Bo’s and overbearing managers who wish only to reform capitalism into something a bit leaner and greener.
The promise of this movement is that, in theory, it can be lead by anyone, everyone, or even no one at all. We futureless people must put the Bo-Bo’s in place and begin to self-organize with others who share our desires for a world without haves and have-nots and without the politicians, police, and prisons that keep the have-nots in their place. Those who have already secured their own comfort and stability in this society are unlikely to keep pushing for a revolutionary break with the capitalist routine, and this kind of rupture is the only thing that can end this sad state of affairs. This means that we must find each other—all of us who are sick of wage slavery and rent, who recognize that the problem is not only with corporations and bankers but with the entire economic system itself, who know that it’s not enough to get money out of politics, and who know that the police, who always repress dissent to maintain business as usual, are our enemies.
It’s certainly worth it to participate in the open assemblies of the Occupation at Westlake, and we encourage everyone to attend. Because of its open nature, the assembly can be influenced by new, fresh ideas rather than the old ones that are smelling worse and worse each day. This moment in time is a precious one, and we must make the best of it. This new movement is activating people across the country and is combating the widespread apathy that has ruled over young people for decades. Whether it ends in disappointment and failure is up to us.
So let’s make the most of it, huh? Experiment, create, and if you feel like it, destroy what destroys you. Hold nothing back and let go. USE YOUR IMAGINATION. Perhaps we could turn Westlake into a riotous orgy of joy, freedom, and rebellion rather than a sterile shopping trough. Before this moment passes, let’s go knock the Bo-Bo’s out with their fancy wine, uncork the bottle, and drink ‘til we’re drunk on total freedom.