So everyone’s been weighing in on the Occupy protests lately. I’ve done a few lightweight “just the facts, ma’am,” pieces on my other site, but I feel like what I’ve really got is commentary, reaction, and editorializing. In one of my day jobs I’m a reporter of straight news, in the other I’m a real estate and mortgage broker, which probably qualifies me as a 1%er (and not in the HA kinda way) and worthy of lynching. But I’m bringing the unqualified opinions that follow home to the OB Rag, the place where I cut my pseudo-journalistic chops.
The point of my rant today is the official Facebook page of the Occupy SD movement. This is a topic on which I must say I’m not very well qualified to pontificate upon, as I’ve been thoroughly opposed to Facebook and voluntary exposure to said beast since its inception. Hell, I didn’t even join the MySpace revolution until it was in its death throes and even then I have some misgivings about being involved in the whole “social networking” thing at all.
My wife, however, is a big fan of it. So much so that, even though I bought her a netbook and have offered to share access to my computer since hers took a shit some time ago, she relies on the Facebook app on her smartphone for most of the daily news she consumes. It seems a significant percentage of the world today feels the same way she does.
Anyway, today we got to discussing Occupy SD and our differing views of the coverage it’s received in the media. We were active participants last Friday and Saturday, but have since been absent physically due to a cascade of personal tragedies and subsequent obligations. She’s been on Facebook, I’ve been everywhere but – following the reports from my co-worker Chad Deal at the Reader, the coverage of other local reputable news outfits like CityBeat and KPBS, and even the likes of the U/T and KUUUUUUSI. And of course a big nod goes to the very site you’re reading this on now.
After seeing what Christina’s been seeing, I’ve only got one thing to say to the Facebookers – cut that shit the fuck out! The big focus of the people on the Facebooks (I’m hoping it’s okay to improperly pluralize this in a pseudo-Bushism, as in ‘the Googles,’) is on police brutality and on fostering a lack of cooperation. There’s a plethora of posts on how to evade arrest, block inspections, and smuggle extra camping gear into the site.
To me, this is not Occupy. If the authorities are going to stop you from doing what you’re going to do, and you feel you’re within your rights to do it, fucking do it! Don’t hide your actions, but be up front and clear about your intentions and ready to back up what they are with logic. If you feel it’s plausible to expand the camp, do it and be ready to explain why it’s within your rights to do so. If the cops have a point in blocking you from expanding at your current location, expand the occupation elsewhere. I think the OG NYC group realizes they’re outgrowing their britches, it’s perfectly okay for SD to feel the same and start another camp nearby (that’s Original Gangsta for those not in the know).
Beyond this, I argue that the San Diego cops are not the Boston cops, nor are they the NYPD. Maybe other factions of the Occupy movement are waging war with law enforcement. Good for them – not only do they have the right to, but they’re in the right in doing so! But that’s just simply not the case here…so far. All the police I’ve talked to have been totally cool, some have even expressed candid support. Remember, they’re part of the 99% just like we are, and they’re fighting local government over staffing cuts, pension reductions, and a lot of the same things we’re fighting for too. I’m the first to rise against laws I don’t like and corrupt pigs that practice selective enforcement, but I think it’s beyond obvious that those types thankfully represent a minority of the SDPD forces. As far as bringing the low-level members of government (like the police force) over to our side, you’ll catch a shitload more flies with honey…
From what I’ve read, and I haven’t had a chance yet to attend one in its entirety, the General Assembly is growing beyond manageability. Start a second! Hell, start a third if it’s necessary to get the quantity of voices down to a reasonable number to allow everyone to be heard. Then have a post-GA meeting with representatives of all groups to share what each has accomplished and to compare and contrast opinions.
I’m speaking personally here, but I think every damned adult who wants to be a productive member of society has not only a right but an obligation to air their opinion and have it heard. It’s impossible for all of the couple hundred million of us to do that at once, which is why we formed the representative form of government we have in the first place. GAs are, in my not-so-humble opinion, the best way to achieve that goal that the founding fathers set forth for our society.
I have a ton more to say, as does the movement. But for now I’m going to give it a rest and see if there’s anyone out there listening…