The 'leaderless' Occupy Movement has sprung-up from
pretty much nowhere and nothing into the mainstream of
everyday consciousness in very short 47 (as of November 1, 2011)
Google 'occupy' and you'll get a list of 135,000,000
(yes, one hundred and thirty five MILLION) listings.
Google 'occupy arkansas' and you come up with
Betcha' Coca Cola would love to get these kind of
results when they roll out a new product <grin>.
And of course the banter in these millions of posts
runs the full gamut of pros & cons, insinuations, acclamations,
exaggerations, supplications, mediocre points of view and, here and
there, a modicum of truth.
Still, how to sort the wheat from the chaff?
Thus I, being the curious sort and a long-time civic
activist who has for decades supplicated the gods to deliver us a
society's savior, set out to learn for myself what the Occupy folks
Overall, the experience was a good one and I am
pleased to report that the Occupy Little Rock group earned my esteem
for their tenacious dedication to purpose... even though, quite
frankly, they haven't exactly figured out what that purpose is yet.
Consider, however, that this is a very good thing.
Choosing a 'unified purpose' is in the truest sense
akin to wedlock, except that it is not just two people who must
(over time) come to agreements about what they will willingly do for
each other in an environment where, by the foresworn rules, coercion
is not allowed... it is, essentially, millions of folks -- working
together in small 'neighborhood' groups of dozens -- who must
consensually arrive at such mutually acceptable terms.
To say this is a challenging task is to make a
gargantuan understatement. Want proof? Let's ask the Founding
Fathers, whose words of wisdom as chartered in the Declaration of
Independence and codified in the Constitution of our national
heritage still today inspire raucous debate... just as they did when
the deliberation of the ideas invoked by these documents was going
"We hold these truths to be self-evident..."
This is the mantra humming in the back of these kids'
minds... who I refer to as kids with the same loving respect I cast
upon my own dear children, being complimentary of the vivacious
exuberance and sheer strength of fortitude that is the endowment of
There are, however, some 'elders' of my own age in
the 'campus' (as the kids like to call it) community. But the
vibrancy and drive of this getting-its-act-together movement
definitely comes from the 20-something age group.
All of whom (at least those I met) are fundamentally
well-educated and seriously pissed; feeling betrayed like lambs
promised a happy green meadow, then sluiced-off to slaughter.
Yes, there are some whiney-weepers and some coo-coo -nutz.
Truth be told, the same is true of our body of legislators, federal,
state and local alike.
And the only problem I see with all of this is the
growing frustration with being misunderstood which, in context of
the fear being promulgated by those who are totally clueless about
the legitimate concerns being expressed, could fester and erupt in
uncomfortably life-quaking events.
Though I hasten to add that the Occupy community in
Little Rock has zero tolerance for violence, threats, bullying or
confrontational violation of the law. They want peace and order just
as much -- and perhaps maybe more -- than those of us sitting at
home watching the saga unfold.
Dare I say, shame on us..??
I will say sham on such folks as former Alltel CEO
Scott Ford who, in a speech to the Fort Smith (Arkansas) Chamber of
Commerce, drew a comparison between the Occupy Movement and the
[see: The City Wire, October 27, 2011,
Scott Ford talks about Whirlpool, ĎOccupy Wall Streetí]
While I agree with Scott that anger just doesn't work
and that self0fulfilling prophecy is real, what he seems not to
grasp is that these 99%ers have figured out how the current economic
system works... and they don't like it.
Not one bit.
That is why they are pissed.
They feel like they -- nearly all of us actually --
are getting the shaft. Being treated (by 'the elders') like they are
subhuman; enticed into entrapments by banks that dangle alluring
bobbles and then in the dark of night foreclose dreams.
They are bereaved by wars that kill, maim and
terrorize real human beings under the pretext that violence is a an
essential ingredient of peace.
They think (and I agree with them) that all of us who
do the 9-to-5, pay our bills, attend our children's school
volleyball games and crash (exhausted) each night in front of the TV
too weary to think about any of this have abdicated our duty as
citizens; bought off by a loaf of brown bread and jug of white wine.
Sadly, they may be right.
Hopefully, they are wrong. Because the ramification
of 'us' -- ALL of us, the WHOLE 99% -- failing to educate ourselves
and take action with the management of our own nation's economy is
If you are ready to start learning, take a gander at
the video posted at the bottom of this page...
My partial day with the Little Rock Occupy group
started with a group photo at the Arkansas State Capital building.
Above, folks are organizing on the lawn, figuring out 'how to'
create the 'perfect image' to express their unanimity. Note: click
the thumbnail at the top of the left column to see the outstanding
results of this amalgamated effort.
Once the plan was made, everyone headed inside. to
take the picture in the Capitol building Rotunda.
My photo: No where near as dazzling as the 'official
group photo' (click thumbnail, top of left column), and still it
confirms (for any who might doubt) the reality.
After the photo-op I visited the camp, which is in a
parking lot in front of the Main Post Office in downtown Little Rock
on Capitol Ave.
Tech-savvy and utilitarian, posterboard, twitter,
facebook and all things Internet are the tools of common use.
Law-abiding and respectful, everyone I spoke with
said that the Little Rock Police have been nothing by courteous in
spite of the fact the being authoritarian is a huge part of their
Above is the commissary where provisions for meals
are stored and prepared for the hungry troops.
Above are a couple of the people who do the cooking
and cleaning up. (NOTE: If you want to find the 'true leaders' in
any group, visit with the folks in the kitchen. Not only will they
know who the leaders are, they likely are them.
One continuing challenge: having enough potable water
to drink, cook, and clean up. [Hey: did you hear? A multi-national
corporation bought-up all the water rights in a neighboring country
and then started assessing a 'use fee' on the rain water the
citizens were catching in buckets. These 'kids' know stuff like
that... and you wonder why they are pissed?]
Think about it: The CEO of Exxon makes $400 million a
year. How many gallons of fuel is that for you and me? And what
stretch of 'do unto others' logic makes it possible for a
person to believe that their time and energy is worth that much more
than anyone else's? Is it simple greed? Is it arrogance? Is it
bullying? Or is it just simple stupidity? Or maybe, just maybe, it's
what we taught them in college about how to succeed...???
By the end of the day, even my car started thinking it
was one with the 99%
Are you ready to go camping yet???
RALLY FOR JUSTICE:
youtube, OCT 22, 2011, held at the
Arkansas State Capital in LIttle Rock, Arkansas.
PROMO- FLYER to print and share.
What the Occupy folks are 'angry' about: An education about the
economy in charts.
PICS FROM November 5, 2011, by
Shawna Shoxx, gozarks staff photographer (click thumbnails to
Coming into Little Rock on I-30, heading south, just
as you cross the bridge over the Arkansas River, watch for the camp
on the right.
Yes, that's me (at right) in the photo above,
chatting with a small group of occupiers, all of us doing our best
to figure out how to solve the world's problems.
The above penny, sliced and curled with deft
precision, somehow symbolizes what these young people have come to
see as the state of the general economy... all messed up with a lot
of sharp edges.
MORE PHOTOS OF 11/5/11
COMING... Check back soon!