We're all gathered in the free meeting space in our local community. The agenda is being written on the wipe off board in the front of the room. The facilitator is handing out the volunteer positions of Stacker, Note-taker and Time-keeper. The room is filled with eager participants, and there are some Don't-come-often-viewers filing in and sitting in the back. The 'Candidate' has set up his camera, the intelligentsia are seated in the rear, along with their professed Anarchist who has just come from the latest proposed and voted/passed 'rule' that anyone identified as impolite, aggressive, or expressing ill mannered intentions will be put through the community accountability hotseat. By all accounts, and by the end of the evening we will have witnessed an informal example of this 'treatment' dished out to anyone deemed inappropriate. An anarchist came up with this. If you can believe that, then you'll love how this all turns out.
When we get to the part where it is announced that our webmaster, as they refer to him, has 'hijacked' the webpage named in Occupy fashion, and that he has removed one of the 'leaders' of the general assembly as administrator, it becomes clear our facilitator is in no way prepared to deal with the full out attack on this person. We'll call him Anonied. Anonied has been the recipient of (we'll call his co-administrator, Bunny) Bunny's displeasure for weeks now. You see, Bunny has the tendency to publicly call for 'group' think, group consensus, and group accountability... but abides by none of it. She has support, as this is the way most of the assembly, well, the 'non-leaders' behave. If you do not agree with them on the whole, they will bring what they want to every single GA until they get it. In the beginning they used the block quite successfully. But, once they had the things in place that they wanted, they effectively then presented a proposal to end the block once the voiceless began to see its usefulness, and began to use it themselves to block the unending proposals for 'policy and procedure'. When Anonied blocked the block vote, with two other "co-conspirators", he lost favor with bunny.
There is a handful of protestors in this GA who continually work to organize enthusiasm for action. It is Action that has brought the plight of Oaklanites to the front. It is Action that raised the alarm on Brutality at the hands of what many always believed were Peacekeepers, but in reality became thugs of the state. Action is the heart of any revolution in which the elite and their gatekeepers may find themselves challenged. Hearts and Minds, right? Not here. We live among the elite. It is a nice little retirement community for the elite. BP lives here. Hell, some of the brightest oil conglomerates have left behind their finest Dioxin for this community to clean up. We sport some of the highest rent given the median income levels, and have underdeveloped housing, where anyone with need for more the two rooms will find themselves hard pressed to live where they work. We are a nice little microcosm of the nation. Elite divide and all.
So, another interesting moment arrives in GA. the lawyer whose been charging for representation of our brave bahma 12, those arrested in the Solidarity train action, stands to contribute to the discussion about our finances. Yeah. He gets thousands. they are trying to raise the money now. He watches like a hawk. Can you say conflict of interest? I'm thinkin this isn't change, and anyone who brings up the conflict is shushed. Seriously, literally, shushed.
The moment of Who-killed-our-webpage has arrived. Bunny, the errant administrator who has taken it upon herself to decide who is relevant and who isn't, is in full out name calling, let's-make-it-personal attack mode, she has admitted, earlier in the day that she has emailed all her 'friends' and he's dirt. Anonied stands and presents his points, his purpose, and answered several times why he did this. The facilitator at one point derails a discussion that is prompted by a citizen assembled to understand why Anonied has done this act of CENSORSHIP, as pointed out by one of the elite members of the Assembly. No shit. She says we CAN NOT solve this, and so need to just proceed to the proposal to force Anonied to 'give back the page' and then the second proposal to REMOVE him from the body. I recall another member of the elite gatekeeping team stating, and i'm paraphrasing here, that the webpage is more important then this person. Em Hem... they went there.
No change today my friends. The Occupy in this part of our little world has abandoned the 99% in favor of their 'tools' and 'rules'. They prefer to talk about bumper stickers, buttons, and meeting with the Mayor, rather then listen to one of their own desperately working to illuminate the exclusionary form their approach to this revolution has taken. The message he offered was ridiculed, his name battered, and his dedication questioned. He was made to appear an outsider, a divider, called a cop, and stupid. They all sat there an let it happen in spite of their newly minted policy to hold 'meanness' accountable. When I stood to defend him, the room was subject to a reminder of that very policy of safeness. It's hard to hear on the video on ustream, as Bunny was the media person. She didn't let a little de-administration stop her, she just opened a new account, all the while screaming for his ousting. She hates being inconvenienced. By the way, she uses WEPAY for her donations corporation. Gotta admire her moxy don'cha. She left during the great exodus when Anonied stepped up to defend himself and his actions. So, no vid of the real revolutionary words we need to hear.
Anonied stood his space with a great deal of courage, and clarity. He spoke of the way he has been systematically silenced once he found himself changing, his vision opening up to some of the 'habits' of suppression in those marching next to him, those pictured in his lenses as 'heroes'. He weathered the accusation and condemnation when his 'message', having been put in place of the website was read with derision from an aging peace loving creative woman who just hours ago smiled with him and made his praise. He remained calm, cool and respectful even when he was openly called to be 'booted' from the 'movement' by the self proclaimed 'Ambassador of Occupy'. Grown men four times his age were throwing fists, epitaph's and their weight at him. He sat alone in a chair along the windows that look out on the coveted and elite city of 80,000, waiting.
After the great exodus, the assembled in the name of revolution who remained, did the work that we had hoped would be done when the WHY of it was given the floor. Since the why of it had been circumvented it took those who had the courage to stay three hours to sort it out. It was in that last hour that it happened, that something wonderful i first alluded to in this heart rending confession of ignorance and privilege.
A man rose from his seat with his hand raised. He began with a soft voice. He said to the room that he had changed. The words were taken for granted as soon as they left his mouth. He called by name the proposer, said he was in agreement with him when the evening began, said he was going to support the proposal to return the website. Then he said he could no longer do that. As he listened to this reasonable young man, witnessed, his unflinching dedication to what he was experiencing, that maybe it was time to take the steps toward mediation. He mentioned the value of people, over the value of a website. He said something about time. I was entranced by it. This man who came in one condition, and now was changed.
It happens. In the hours since then it has been painful and lonely to sit in my room and watch as this convention of privileged souls returns to their unchanged language on a social website continuing their assault on change. These mighty warriors who left when Anonied rose to speak. They continue to laugh at the pain of this young man, this revolutionary thinker. I have contemplated with a heart that has known no relief from a control that has contributed to indifferent status seeking personal gain and reward. I feel beaten and hopeless for a future, in which, when someone who is unlike them needs help, none will come. The middle class gatekeepers are more dangerous then the enemy who shows themselves. They come dressed as allies with no vision, and no compassion. This body of citizens are caring for their lives as they have come to expect it. They expend their resources on their own behalf and ask you for yours in a show of solidarity for what they do. They look out on a landscape with the eyes that the well heeled elite gave them.
To the unpeople of this land... gather yourselves... stand together, you are all that you have to wage this battle of survival, as no help will come but from yourselves.