Here’s an UNEDITED comment I just posted on Facebook (of all places) in response to critics of the occupy movement. Again, I don’t have time to edit, so it is what it is….on my way to work again… (at my low-paying, stressful, dead-end job for which I am way overqualified, mind you…) But I”m so lucky to have a job in this economy. Woo-hoo!
XXX contends that public camping is not a protected right by the US Constitution. S/he refers to a US Supreme court decision. The decision of the court reflects an interpretation only (and interpretations can be wrong) of the US Constitution and, I believe, it is misguided
Second, if you read the Constitution, it does state that the rights not specifically spelled out by the Constitution automatically revert back to the people. Since the Constitution does not specifically state that people cannot camp out in public places then it is up to us, the people, to decide whether or not we should have that right.
And we’ve decided.
Third, the colonists camped out on land that was owned by the Native Americans (Indians), so they couldn’t possibly advocate laws forbidding camping out in public spaces. (Otherwise, what they were doing in coming to this land and taking it over would have been illegal. Wait a minute…it was illegal…)
Fourth, many Americans are losing their jobs and homes and are having no choice but to camp out somewhere as homeless shelters are overwhelmed with the increasing need (and are often dangerous and unpleasant places to stay anyhow.) Those of us who are suffering greatly in this economy need to confront those in power with our poverty. “Look at what you’ve done to us,” is what we are saying to them when we camp out in front of their luxury office buildings and add some discomfort to their luxurious lifestyles.
Living in their gated communities in affluent areas and traveling in their limos and private planes, it is easy for them to ignore us. (They’ve been ignoring us for decades. Read Barbara Ehrenreich’s “Nickeled and Dimed.” It was written over ten years ago!)
But when we’re camped out in front of their well-manicured faces, they can’t ignore us! That’s why the occupies are so important. We need to take back public spaces.
Ironically, we Americans have become a lot like the Indians or the illegal immigrants we claim so much disdain for in our own country and in direct result of this very system we have set up. We are now suffering, in part, due to our own unjust laws and policies. We need to take responsibility for our mistakes now and be the change we seek in the world.
Occupy is our big chance to do just that!
Fifth, the great thing about Occupy encampments is that they give us that chance to learn to live together, to share and cooperate with each other again. Camping out together, we have the opportunity to formulate a new system that truly is democratic. It’s not easy and there have been lots of problems and conflicts at the Occupy in my own city (as I’ve written about in previous blog entries), but those conflicts exist because we have all been influenced by this corporate-controlled society. We’ve been conditioned to think dog-eat-dog and fight with each other. The Occupy movement is our chance to work on ourselves and create a new way of living and looking at the world and each other.
My question to the anti-occupiers is this: why are you so against the encampments? Is it because it forces you to confront what you’d prefer to ignore, i.e., the suffering of others and the real truth about the US–that we are NOT democratic, NOT free, and most certainly NOT the land of opportunity?