Thanks for “Occupying” My Disillusionment—For a Moment
When I discovered that Occupy Wall Street had assembled in Zucotti Park in September of 2011, my heart swelled with renewed respect for America.
My mind raced to devour any information about the movement.
I thought Finally! The people have had enough! They are crawling out of their cubicles, turning off the propaganda machine, waking up from the consumer stupor, and realizing we have been economical hostages to a cognizant dissonance that is unmatched by anything in history.
I searched, I Googled, I Facebooked.
I went into the street of my hometown to stand in solidarity in front of Bank of America with a few people who would join me in holding up signs to spread the awakening.
I found a Facebook site, initiated by a local couple, contributing to the multitude of similar sites that were popping up exponentially, representing towns and cities all over the country—and gradually, the world. The site promoted information and called to unify local protesters.
I was intoxicated with hope and ecstatic at the possibilities of retrieving our democracy from the jaws of financial saboteurs, political sociopaths, and megalomaniac corporations.
I truly believed we had awakened from our sleep of insidious oppression and complacency to take back our freedom.
Yeah, that was a great moment.
Then the adrenaline, the motivation, and the optimism became fodder to a new social system with which I had no experience—the General Assembly.
The GA seemed like a great idea to communicate democratically and allow everyone an opportunity to be heard. I assumed it was akin to the United Nations General Assembly wherein all had equal representation.
The GA meetings in my town became the true revelation to me in regard to what “Occupied” really looked like.
People were kept occupied by the structure itself. The process became the new oppressor with redundant hand gesture education, blathering over who should be a facilitator, and disruptive reprimands toward those who had a difficult time adjusting to this legitimized surrogate for authentic communication.
I watched many people giving up in lieu of speaking up.
The exasperation at trying to make an inquiry or a point became too much effort for anyone who was not savvy at social conformity.
The General Assembly in my town fell prey to those who had experience at proselytizing and maneuvering social structures with adamant personal agendas.
It became a Specific Assembly with no general population.
I quit occupying my time with the General Assembly but continued supporting the encampment of protesters who had established themselves at the local park. I took coffee when I could. I donated items; tent, tarps, sleeping bags, signs and materials. I visited the camp and watched the streamed GA’s on the Internet to show my support and learn. But gradually I became less motivated by what I was seeing and hearing there.
Also what I was reading on the web page designated toward community involvement in our local chapter of the Occupy Movement became a point of contention between personal agendas and cooperative ideals.
It seemed that a handful of people who rode in under the banner of the occupy movement became transparent in their need to claim territory and notoriety for their personal causes at the expense of fracturing the bigger ideal of the community.
I observed petty disagreements rising to the surface to crumble the movement into curds of spoiled individual goals. I watched as the main community withdrew from the shrinking group that held meetings, claimed self-righteous suffrages, and adhered to their own vision of what the movement was about with little tolerance for other views or methodology.
I continue to write to representatives, hold sacred the power of the masses, boycott big banks, and oppose legislation that undermines our freedom while serving a corporatocracy.
I have moved my money to a local credit union, and moved my body into a new occupation of my time.