Public Comment

New: Occupy Berkeley: Where It is Now

By Thomas Lord
Wednesday December 21, 2011 - 12:27:00 PM

Here is part of what I want to say:

I don't regard the camp as having any remaining political legitimacy. It still has political significance, but not legitimacy.

Here is what I mean: 

The camp is *significant* because there are some people there with some real problems. 

The camp is significant because many of those real problems reflect problems of the larger society. The cycle of poverty, drug abuse, violence, and other crime effects us all. 

The camp did not create those problems. 

The camp can not cure those problems. 

But the camp is significant because it brought all those problems right into the center of town, right in the middle of town. Right in everyone's way. 

The camp brought those problems of poverty, violence and drugs right in the way of children and teenagers, of vets, and of families. The camp brought those problems right in the way of farmers and city council members, bankers and baristas. 

The camp is politically significant because the community is forced to end it -- while trying to wrestle as justly as possible with the ongoing problems of poverty, drug abuse, violence, and other crimes. 

But "significant" doesn't mean "legitimate". 

The camp lacks political legitimacy. 

What I mean by that is that camp offers no solution to the problems it has created. The camp offers no insight into how to solve those problems. Some elements of the camp seem to positively wallow and revel in these problems. 

The camp has no legitimacy because it doesn't ask the community for help -- it demands food and tells donors to fuck off. 

The camp has no legitimacy because it tells the police to fuck off but internally runs on might makes right. 

The camp has no legitimacy because it claims to be non-violent yet it covers up and therefore rewards violence in its own ranks. 

The camp claims to be against greed but then squanders its own precious resources on the selfish desires of a few. 

One must always say, up front, and loudly: I do not speak for Occupy. 

With that disclaimer, I will say this: 

That camp ain't Occupy. 

Later: what I think is Occupy. Hint: it might be you.