Today, I’m thankful for the validation.
The world really is watching. This really is the future, and though the revolution may not necessarily be televised, it is being streamed and youtubed and tweeted and facebooked.
Joblessness, homelessness, shootings, starvation, mental illness, professional motherfuckery, rats in City Hall, undas, cops, pigs and shit…none of this is new to us. This is how we roll. They killed Lil Bobby, Judy Bari, Oscar Grant, and countless others. Each time, we came back stronger than before, letting them know that we would not be intimidated.
This is why I built a life here, planted a garden and joined the community. Oakland keeps it real.
I’m not a pacifist. Because I grew up in Nazi territory during the 80s, I strongly believe in everyone’s right to defend themselves, but I’m also trying to raise a son in a world where people use their words before their fists. The strong commitment to non-violence in Oakland, a place where people are not afraid to fight by any means necessary, is incredibly encouraging, and we should all be proud.
People in Oakland get it, and have gotten it for a long time. This is the best place to experience the collapse, because people have been preparing for it, people have been organizing around it, and most importantly, people are willing to work together to survive it. All 99.99% of us.
Oakland really is a commune. It was before the Occupy movement, and it will be after. That’s how we roll. People who don’t know don’t know, and they can judge from that position of ignorance all they want. We don’t need anyone else’s validation, especially if their perspectives are rooted in the old played-out infinite growth paradigm. They are the dinosaurs, and we are the birds.
Even if the Occupy movement died tomorrow, hella people still got an unprecedented sensitivity training for free. They didn’t have to go off to some foreign land in search of meaning, as they had a convenient excuse to come to Oakland as part of some sort of urban domestic peace corps minus the fees and bureaucracy. No passport was needed for this trip. They served the people here in this country, and I highly doubt that they’ll be satisfied going back to a meaningless life of endless consumption. I doubt that anyone will really have that choice to be honest.
Besides, the movement ain’t dyin tomorrow anyway. It was never just about the camp. The camp, which was unlike any other camp anywhere else in the country, was but one protest out of many in Oakland. The camp was merely a symbol that could be replicated elsewhere, like the mouse ears of the movement. It was important for the homeless people, but it wasn’t the end goal.
The end goal was, and still is, a better world. The path to that goal is the process, and that still lives on.
Everyone in, no one left out.
Judgement is the bankstas’ way. Mutual respect is the only way we can learn from one another, and if we can’t learn from each other, we can’t learn.
We have a lot to learn if we want to survive, and there really isn’t a better place to learn than right here, right now.
So I have to also be thankful for the bankstas’ predictable greediness. They couldn’t possibly save themselves from themselves, and they partied like it was 1999…for an extra decade.
And now the collapse is here. It was inevitable to us, and that’s why we have been preparing: dreaming and planning, learning and sharing, organizing and working to make a better world. Now, thanks to the teargas and the pepperspray, more people have a reason to notice, and be curious. They are all welcome to join the movement towards a better world, and they can do so in their own home towns. Oakland isn’t just a place, it’s a way of life, one that the overwhelming majority of us have chosen.
We aren’t where we need to be yet, but we are still ahead of the curve, and it’s being noted. For those of us committed to the struggle, who have been screaming for years/decades hoping to be heard, it is nice to know that the tide has shifted away from willful ignorance and towards curiosity. That’s actually more than we realistically hoped for, and it is a call to action for us to step it up and continue building on the momentum.
The whole world is watching.