Today was a trip. I've been involved in the #OccupyWallStreet movement and been following it very closely online; really, as if it's my only hope. I'm convinced it's not only my only hope, it's my countries only hope(and I wasn't even a patriot before;) it's the only hope- as explained by movement hero Chris Hedges.
I got to work at 6AM and clocked in. 2 young white people, one a man 1 year older than me, and the other a woman a few years older than me- have been hired in the last 2 months in my 'department' of the restaurant. Every morning while we work we listen passively to the 98rock morning show; a talk show, because there's no music station on terrestrial radio that's agreeable to all of us. The show had a guest in the studio, Paul Mooney, known recently for his appearance on Chappelle's show, hosting the 'Ask a Black dude' sketch. A guest on the phone was one of the unofficial spokespersons for the #OccupyWallStreet protest, Jesse LeGreca, whose first interview on behalf of the movement went viral.
As my friend Graham Andrews, #TheNihlist has said; not only is there some truth in humor- every joke is 100% true. The heaviness of the truth causes laughter- because laughter is the last release valve before insanity. That's why the maligned in society have made the best comedians in the last 100 years. All they have to do is tell the truth, and the audience, not being used to hearing it- has to laugh, or else.
When the #OccupyWallStreet spokesperson was saying goodbye, Paul Mooney said, "I love it when white people get in the streeets."
Everyone laughed for the right reasons.
"What's the oldest white expression?" Paul Mooney asked.
Everyone stayed silent.
"Get off my Land!"
"Get off my property! White people are obsessed with property... that's how you know that there's actually change in the air. White people can't stand to have their property questioned. Now that white people are getting thrown out of their houses, they're taking to the streets; and when white people take to the streets something has to happen."
He was, regrettably, completely on point. Not regrettably because white people shouldn't stand up for their property 'rights'(though if they hadn't in the past things would've gone a lot smoother,) but because the U.S. doesn't really digest when black people stand up for their rights. It's always seen as some primitive angry gut reaction to their own failures; rather than congruent to, and in harmony with, the big war.
Late in the interview, the young woman I work with asked, "What are the protests about?"
And the young man I work with said, "I don't know, some government shit. Goverment."
She said, "Oh. okay."
And he said, "Fucking hippies."
I don't talk about politics or religion at work, if I did; I'd have a much more colorful work history. So I ignored it in spite of my strong feelings.
I sailed through the rest of the day at work daydreaming and when I got home and checked facebook I saw a link on #OccupyTheHood(originally conceived as a way to get more people of color involved in #OccupyWallStreet) to a quote from David Banner calling for more Black Celebrities, including athletes and entertainers, to support #OccupyWallStreet.
The post predictably generated big back-and-forths about what it means to be Black, rich, and American; or any combination thereof. Those discussions are always interesting, always, but a link someone posted caught my trackball left-click:
And it was one of those rare not-psychedelic induced epiphanies for me. I had been seeing things in black & white and I should've been seeing them in color. Here it is. Black American revolutionaries( now extinct, mostly murdered,) Communists(made illegal, still insist on existing,) and unionized workers(still exist, tho now the butt of many jokes[for expressing self-interest in the 'free' market]), existed as one and the same entity-and for good reason- not very long ago. And in the video, that entity(who is no longer allowed to exist) in American society speaks out about the exact same things #OccupyWallStreet protesters speak about now.
The connection between all those things is simple. It's innate. It's inborn. It's practically(and for some of us literally) inherited- we've only been brainwashed to believe it's contradictory. Those Communist Black Auto Workers saw the interests of White Americans better than White Americans saw it themselves. The Big War is the same as it's always been- It's the weak against the strong, the many against the few, the brave against the invisible, and the righteous against the crooks. It's the oldest struggle of humanity and it's embodied not only in that clip on youtube but in Zucotti park now. It's populism. It's what everyone knows is right. It's what every thinking person is concerned about.
It's The Class Struggle.