I’d wanted to share this image, taken a few days ago at the Occupy Water Street event, but I lacked the words to accompany it. Fortunately, however, I just stumbled across the following quote by Phil Rockstroh, which I think we do quite nicely.
…When one attempts to stand against surging social and political tides, feelings of powerlessness can flood one with anxiety. Accordingly, a single individual can become inundated with feelings of unease and uncertainty. As a result, the social pressure to drown angst-creating individual doubt within the mindless certainties of a mob can become overwhelming. Often, brick by brick, in an attempt to withstand these powerful inner feelings and outward pressures, we build a structure of false consciousness… that we, often, mistake for our convictions, and tragically mistake this dismal dwelling for the whole of existence.
How then is it possible to withstand feelings of powerlessness?
Put one foot in front of the other. Write one word after the next on your protest sign. Make your life a flaming arrow aimed at the dry and rotted heart of the system or make your own heart a warm hearth of compassion for its victims, as you negotiate its cold realities. Thus, hope becomes a process of engagement, not a comforting lie; not the stuff of public relations hustlers and political hacks but a quality of honest conviction and persistent labor; and not a cynical marketing tool.
Relentlessly, from early childhood on, our hopes and longings are subject to commodification by the dream-usurpers of the corporate state. The process of mental colonization by the commercial hologram is as pervasive within us as was the dogmatic influence of The Church within the psyches of Dark Age peasants.
Make your life a flaming arrow aimed at the dry and rotted heart of the system or make your own heart a warm hearth of compassion for its victims, as you negotiate its cold realities. Thus, hope becomes a process of engagement, not a comforting lie; not the stuff of public relations hustlers and political hacks but a quality of honest conviction and persistent labor; and not a cynical marketing tool.
The present order’s litany of economic inequity affords few the option of committing the heresy of questioning (or even apprehending) the exploitative and destructive nature of the system. As an example, citizenship as defined by consumerism has created a landscape devoid of public space. (The attempt to redefine what constitutes public space is one of the many threatening aspects of the Occupy Wall Street movement to the current power structure.)…
One of the powerful attractions of the OWS movement has been its emphasis on reclaiming the public commons from the corporate state, and the dire need for cultural communion beyond the commercial sphere. Thus, for an atomized, alienated populace, the movement has provided a refresher course in the act of simply being human, on existing together in communal space…
And, with that very thing in mind — the desire to take back the public commons — about thirty of us reclaimed Water Street a few days ago, sitting around a fire, sharing good food, and exploring our overlapping visions for this community that we’ve chosen to be a part of, as our children dug happily in the hopefully-no-longer-toxic soil. I don’t know that the photo really conveys it, but it was really quite wonderful.