Monday, October 24, 2011

The Other Occupation

¡Hola! Everybody…
Haven’t been writing as much lately mostly because I no longer have a laptop and I’m spending most of my
free time at #OccupationWallStreet. There’s so much I want to share, but things are happening so quickly, it’s hard to keep up.

* * *

-=[ The Two Occupations ]=-

Thinking is an action; critical thinking is a subversive action.

The other night, I happened to look over and saw a sea of sleeping blankets and I smiled because it was the section where parents, representing the heartland of America, did a "sleep over" as a show of solidarity with the Occupation of wall Street. I smiled as parents held their children (some were infants!), who sat through a long general assembly because, as one parent told me, "I want my child to know what true democracy looks like." What an inspiration and how different from the stereotype the media uses to frame the occupation protests now taking place in over 900 cities all over the world.

And that's how it is here at the NYC site at "Liberty Square." Not all is as it seems...

Recently, during one of the working group meetings I belong to, someone joked about “the other occupation” (I literally spent all of my Saturday at occupation-related “working groups”). We all laughed because this is the side of #OccupyWallStreet almost no one reports on or knows about.

It’s not that it’s kept secret. #OccupyWallStreet has at least 50-60 different working groups all addressing a multitude of issues ranging from on-site logistics (medical, sanitation, comfort, media) to various political issues (People of color working group, Politics and Electoral Reform), to internal organization (Structure, Facilitation).

All these take place near the #OccupyWallStreet and it’s where all that happens here is made possible. Most people and the media focus on the General assembly or going to the Liberty Square (Zuccotti Park) site to get a feel for the occupation, but it’s the working groups where the real action is at. At least it is for me.

There are all kinds of trainings offered by experienced activists who have been part of struggles all over the world. For example, this past Saturday I was sitting next to a gentleman who was one of the organizers/ protestors at Tiananmen Square. At a later meeting, I was able to exchange ideas with/ learn from two women who had just come from Palestine and Greece. They were part of the flotilla that was “captured” and detained, accused of running arms (the charge was bogus and it backfired because the activists had actually invited media to inspect the boat before the charges were hurled). Another had a special affinity for me, because she had done work around the bombing of the Puerto Rican island of Vieques!

From the gentleman from Tiananmen Square, I learned about ways to better streamline meetings and setting structure and accountability. The two activists just back from Greece held a day-long meeting for a “training the trainers” seminar (unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend). The Structure working group I joined is looking at organizational models borrowed from successful global movements such as the Zapatistas, the anti-nuclear movement, and occupations occurring in Athens and Rome. Today there’s a day-long conversation on “Re-envisioning Money” (here) and a training by the working group, Direct Action (here).

In short, what you might perceive as random or even chaotic is actually a very well organized, consciously and intelligently planned movement. This past Saturday, a reporter from the NY Times left in a huff because we took a group consensus asked that he not tape our meeting. Having been burned by a media that is more interested in getting a handle on the movement in order to frame it from a perspective unable to grasp a grassroots consciousness, many of us are cautious in allowing such access. This has been one of the strokes of genius about our movement because the media cannot find a way to repackage our message, which is not defined by a list of demands, a set of goals, or any single issue. I speak for myself when I say the following, but I believe this is true: the “occupations” now taking place all over the world are really about a re-conceptualization of the kind of world we desire. We are forcing the social discourse to consider alternatives that have not been entertained; we are forcing society to grapple questions that haven’t been asked; we are helping create a new language that can engage a narrative that can see the possibility and engage the human potential for a society that is more just, more empathic, informed by the fact that we -- all of us -- are interconnected in ways we have ignored.

and the beauty of all this is that it’s all taking place in a purely transparent process, without the control of money or of the old dinosaurs that must surely realize their way has failed and failed miserably.

Mark my words, years from now, people will ask, “What were you doing when the #OccupyWallStreet movement first took hold.” what will you say?

My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization…

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Friday Sex Blog [Sexual Revolution]

¡Hola! Everybody…
It’s Friday… and it’s all about sex.

* * *

-=[ Sexual Revolution ]=-

Revolution without fuckin’ is a revolution without a soul…

-- Me

I was attending a #OccupyWallStreet general assembly last night when I noticed a young lady with a derrière that could only be described as “magnificent.” No, I’m not there to “pick up” women and no I wasn’t objectifying her. In fact, I was so deeply engaged in a political conversation with her that I never noticed her ass, until much later when she bent over and her ass was literally inches from my face.

I’m evolved, but I’m not asexual…

Social movements, revolutions, protests, and social unrest make for sexy meetings. After all, you’re engaging like-minded people who have dared to question the status quo, who are challenging “conventional wisdom” and economic and religious dogma. This makes for stimulating, even inspirational interactions that engage your whole body/ mind, so it’s not unusual to see people forming romantic or intimate connections. This is not to say that there’s a whole lotta fuckin’ going on at OccupyWallStreet. In fact, I haven’t seen any of that going on, but I would be surprised (and frankly disappointed) if it wasn’t happening.

The massive upheavals throughout history took place on many levels: cultural, political, social, and psychological. For centuries blacks had fought for liberation and their civil rights and to transform the quality of their lives. The younger generation of blacks, Latin@s, and whites built on the changes wrought by the Civil rights movement to launch a radical political movement against the war in Vietnam and to eliminate social and economic inequalities that had existed for generations. The women’s movement emerged in the wake of civil rights and anti war movements. The gay and lesbian liberation movement emerged in the midst of this critical mass of anti war, civil rights, and women’s grassroots organizing.

The one common thread found within all these movements was the sexual revolution. All these movements generated rip tides that intersected with one another. In addition, cultural and artistic movements in music (Jazz, rock and roll, etc.), drama (theater of the absurd) art, and iconoclastic independent filmmakers (Easy Rider, Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song, Alice’s Restaurant) were central to the creation and dissemination of a new sexual morality.

Beginning in early 1960s, Helen Gurly Brown published a series of magazines articles (later forming the basis for her book, Sex and the Single Girl) set out to attack he double standard that made acceptable for men but not women to have sex before marriage. Betty Friedan challenged the notion that the only possible way a woman could fulfillment and happiness was through the institution of marriage. In fact, the fiercest intellectual attack on the presiding patriarchal power structure was launched via the sexual revolution. Radical feminists such as Kate Millet and Shulamith Firestone fired broadsides that would send the existing power structure reeling.

The sexual revolution, though never fully realized, and having some faults has actually been one of the most powerful and having the most impact. It even changed the way you perceive and engage in sex. The construction of the orgasm was changed dramatically with women now freed to express their sexual needs.

Of course, as with all major social shifts, the sexual revolution had its problems. For one, women in protest movements found themselves feeling coerced into “free love” and in the gap between the dismantling of old, irrelevant and oppressive moral standard and the creation of new social sexual mores, patriarchy reared its head. In the end, women were still being oppressed and men were acting out their alpha male bullshit. Still, one would be hard-pressed to envision a world freed of some of the worst sexual myths. On the other hand, I look at our political sphere these days and despair that the resulting counter revolution launched by the religious right has done much to erode any gains we may have made.

The one thing that’s important here, and which I find most relevant with the OccupyWallStreet movement is that, in the absence of a structure, human beings will substitute older structures. In other words, we cannot exist in a void, so when we don’t see a structure, we actually use the very same structures that we’re proposing to critique.

At this point in time the #OccuppyWallStreet movement is reaching a point in its development that crying out for the implementation of an egalitarian structure (click here to read such a proposal). The general assembly no longer works, and there is evidence of the beginning cracks resulting from the dynamics around race, class, gender, and power.

Hierarchies not necessarily evil. In fact, saying you want no hierarchy is a form of hierarchy itself. The issue is what kind of hierarchy best represents our aspiration toward genuine democratic ideals. Otherwise, as in the ongoing sexual revolution, we will begin to resemble the very tyranny we are struggling against.

My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization…

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Friday Sex Blog [Fucking for Revolution]

¡Hola! Everybody...
Today I'm attending an event at Centro Estudios Puertoriqueños at Hunter College (click here for info). Tomorrow is a big day at #OccupyWallStreet, as a coordinated global action is set to take place (here). You should come, even if you don't know, or give a fuck, or want to see what happens when the will of the people is applied through nonviolent means.

It’s Friday and that means it really is all about sex… LOL

* * *

-=[ Living and Dying ]=-

...So quiet now.
Soften yourself and listen.
Connected and motionless.

To the symphonic pulsing of our blood,
the crash of an eyelid,
the joyous trickle of a bead of sweat.

Sooner or later, no matter how much you try to deny it, a moment just like this one will be your last. It’s the only punch line to this grand Cosmic Joke we call life that you can be certain of (and no, taxes are not inevitable, just ask any “corporate personhood”).

You are alive, for now at least. Feel your heart beating in your chest. Soften yourself -- soften your belly and your jaw. Feel your heart’s celestial mambo radiating outward, pulsing through your hands and feet and neck. Feeling your heartbeat, relax open as if offering your heart to the world.

While feeling your heartbeat as an offering, feel how you live your moments. What did you do today? What are your plans? Who do you love and how deeply?

Here’s a thought: no matter how much money you have made, one day your body will become cold and numb, your heart will stop its determined and persistent cosmic echo, your breath will cease, and it will all stop.


Ask yourself this: are you ready for death? Are you ready for the death of your children, your parents, your beloved friends?

Picture this: a picnic with your friends and famly. Fried chicken and cold beverages. A gentle breeze and the sun caressing your face. Suddenly your heart stops. A final gasp. Fade to black…

Are you ready? I’m asking because today many of your fellow human beings are questioning what we’ve been taught to believe and to value all our lives. We’re saying that when that moment comes, what will matter most is if you’ve loved fully and deeply, and given of your deepest gifts. The Dow Jones or how much money you’ve made won’t matter much when the time comes (if you don’t believe me ask yourself what Steve Jobs was thinking at the end).

A life lived well embraces death by feeling openness, not contraction. The good life is an open heart, open to all, in every moment. Wide open, you can make of your life an offering; you can also receive without pushing away. This is fearless living without the walls of repression that bring so much suffering and the dreaded feeling of disconnect and isolation even in the midst of plenty and privilege. Wide open, you are openness; every moment comes and goes as openness.

Your lover’s embrace: sweet, full, but already disengaging, loosening. Your child’s smile: temporary, oh-so-precious, and yet already dissolving. Every moment is at once miraculous and disolving. Every experience both profound and empty.

Life lived merely for the sake of experience is a life half lived: tense, insecure, lonely, and ultimately unfulfilling. Your experience cannot fulfill you because as soon as it comes it is already gone, a thin wisp, like the scent of a vague memory, the tail end of a hope, receding just out of reach.

Without grasping, this moment (which could be your last) emerges free and bright. Surrendering -- loving and opening deeply, offering your heart -- these are the moments that will become your karma, reverberating long after you have moved on.

Sex, dearest, is sometimes our little practiced piece of dying. Death is the permission, indeed, the exhortation, to open freely as love.



UPDATE: Occupy Wall St. [10/14/11]

¡Hola! Everybody…
I stayed late into the night over at the #OccupyWallStreet protest (OWS). For one, everybody felt today would be a huge challenge/ hurdle for the movement. Essentially, using the false pretext of cleaning the park, the Bloomberg administration was looking to evict the protestors from the site…

The place was crowded last night and people were prepared to do whatever they could -- nonviolently -- to protect the infant movement. There was a large teach-in facilitated by legal experts and veteran activists on the nuances of civil disobedience. Varying degrees of “arrestibility” were discussed and when the call went out for those willing to be arrested for the cause, literally scores of hands were raised. It was a powerful moment…

Everything was well-organized, strategically thought-out. This isn’t just a bunch of kids going out there going wild (as even the business community has recognized, even while so-called progressives scratch and sniff); everything you see is planned beforehand, with all scenarios considered. For example, members of the National Lawyers Guild advised participants of the possible consequences of arrests, spoke about who shouldn’t volunteer (for example, people like me), contingency plans were discussed -- in short, the actions here are the result of committed, intelligent (mostly young) people.

By 12AM last night, the City already knew that the “clean-up/ eviction” had been postponed by the “owners” of the property. I believe this wasn’t the result of the powers-that-be all of sudden getting down with the cause. I think the public call for OWS support by large unions put the scare into these bitches.

Still, Bloomberg at no time decided it was a good idea to relay that information to the protestors. In the meantime, the group at OWS was getting fired up, anxiously preparing for what they felt would be a violent assault on their community. This is just another example, among many, that the Bloomberg administration is looking to provoke the protest in an effort to discredit the protestors. This morning, after news had filtered out that the clean-up/ eviction had faltered, protestors marched and were immediately confronted with violence, with at least one officer punching a peaceful participant in the face. Legal observers posted at various locations of the marches, back up the protestors claims of unprovoked violence by the NYPD. This video clearly shows this is true:

Tomorrow is a big day for the nascent movement (click here) with a coordinated global action scheduled to take place. Today, families are participating by joining a child-friendly camp out at Liberty Square. Parents are bringing their sons and daughters to Occupy Wall Street to educate them about our broken economic system, and alternatives that could help save the planet and provide a future for the next generation.

As the movement grows, so do its structure and organization, and the message -- restoring democracy in America by ending the influence money has over our representatives in Washington -- is and has always been clear.

Better put:

As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors; that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Occupy the ‘Hood/ El Barrio

¡Hola! Everybody…
I’ve been a bad boy, not posting updates on #OccupyWallStreet. I’ve been busy mostly doing stuff and what free time I have I have been spending at the OWS site.

FYI, I believe the first real clash between the Bloomberg administration will occur tomorrow morning. That’s when the “owners” of Zuccotti Park, the site of the #OccupyWallStreet Affirmation, will attempt to disperse the occupation in the name of cleaning it. This morning, members of the board (Bloomberg’s love interest sits on that board) handed out flyers announcing the cleaning. Also included in the flyers are dictums that seem intended to stifle the protests. For example, the flyer states that no one will be allowed to lie on the ground or on benches and tarps and sleeping bags will now be prohibited. This effectively makes the occupation impossible.

Here’s a post I’ve been meaning to write for some time…

* * *

-=[ Occupy the ‘Hood/ El Barrio ]=-

Each generation must, out of relative obscurity, discover its mission, fulfill it, or betray it.

-- Frantz Fanon

It is said that Louis XVI, at the end of the day the Bastille fell, wrote in his diary, “Nothing happened today.” People rarely understand or even notice great historical transitions as they take place. Revolutions of belief are even more elusive, because they take place in people’s minds. You don’t always know what’s going on, even when it is your own mind that has been the scene of the upheaval. It’s quite possible, for example, to move from seeing science as absolute and final truth to seeing it as an ever-changing body of ideas -- a big time shift -- without losing all confidence in the scientific facts: for all practical purposes, light remains 186,000 miles per second, gravity will still splatter yo ass if you jump from a high-rise, and ontogeny goes right on recapitulating phylogeny. It’s equally possible to move from seeing religion as timeless truth to seeing it as the product of a certain culture and still happily worship at your church or temple.

People all over the world are now making such shifts in belief -- or more precisely -- making shifts in belief about beliefs. And this is what’s happening at the #OccupyWallStreet (OWS) site.

The first time I visited OWS, I was immediately impressed by the qualitative feel. It’s very difficult to articulate, but the way I explain it is that OWS is not merely a “protest” in the sense of a reenactment of political protests. There’s more happening there. True libertatory movements are preceded by a collective consciousness-raising. It is a process in which old accepted ideas and dogma are questioned; a process that develops a new language, a new perspective with which to deal with contemporary issues. And, more than anything else, this liberatory, evolving, clearly evident at OWS, is what’s most important.

Freedom, transformation, positive social change doesn’t spring from a set of demands or goals. It isn’t envisioned solely from an oppositional stance (merely being against something). It comes from a process that facilitates the collective mindset transition to a new way of thinking that can then lead to a new conceptualization. The base of OWS has been around for some time now. We are an emerging group of people, global in scope, struggling to transcend nationality, race, and contemporary culture, and connected by shared values. We are the sons and daughters of those who have participated in the social and consciousness movements that have emerged since the '50s: the civil rights movement, the environmental movement, the women’s movement, the jobs and social justice movements, the peace movement, the organic food and alternative health care movements, the new spirituality and self growth movements, etc.

Simply put, the same mindset causing the problem cannot be used to effect a solution to that problem. And at OWS we are engaging this process of change and reconceptualization. I like to think of OWS as a collective affirmation of the ideals and vision of society so many of us had been trying to grasp individually. One of the first signs I saw at OWS stated: “For the first time I feel like I’m home.” And if you aren’t here (or at a similar event) it’s hard to grasp that feeling, but it’s palpable.

People say that there are no OWS leaders, no coherent message, or clear set of demands. I, for one, hope that there’ll never be “leaders” in the old sense of the idea. I would like to think the process is the guiding principle, and, borrowing from the 12-step movement, I would rather see “trusted servants” rather than leaders.

The demands, the goals, the messaging -- that will be part of the outgrowth of the process of critical thinking. If you really need a meta message, what better message than that a just and civil society cannot exist when 1 per cent of the population holds the other 99 per cent in thrall?

My father, a “community organizer” before there was such a phrase and before it was professionalized, would often tell me that if mainstream America had a cold that meant our community had pneumonia. It’s a common realization in the Puerto Rican and African American communities I was raised. When the shit hits the fan, we are disproportionately affected.

As I join the thousands who’ve decided that Wall Street should be confronted for the crimes that have been committed against the people, I feel somewhat saddened that I don’t see more Latin@s, African Americans, and other people of color because there are a long list of reasons that all of us should be concerned, disappointed, and angry about what Wall Street has done to our country.

The real wage of the average American worker has remained stagnant (and in recent years decreased), while the gap between the rich and the poor has risen to levels that not seen since the Gilded Age. We live under the preposterous delusion that those who caused the financial crisis should be the only ones to receive assistance. Labor unions have been decimated, and while the joblessness problems persist, corporations are sitting on trillions in capital that could be used to hire American workers.

The African American and Latin@ communities have every reason to be on the front lines in this battle. Black unemployment has skyrocketed to near record levels and nearly half of all black children are living below the poverty line. Black and Latin@ wealth has continued to shrink, as the burst of the real estate bubble left many of us either homeless or upside down in their mortgages.

Most egregiously, Black families have been destroyed by the prison industrial complex, where Wall Street firms earn billions each year from slave labor. A half century ago -- before the Civil Rights Movement, before the War on Poverty -- blacks in the United States were imprisoned at roughly four times the rate of whites. Today, a generation after the civil rights gains, African Americans are incarcerated at seven times the rate of whites. Along the margins of society imprisonment is the norm, not the exception. There are the million-dollar blocks: city blocks documented by social scientists in which the state spends at least $1 million incarcerating residents of that block. One out of every six African American men has spent time in prison, one out of every thirteen Latinos. Consider the following:

  1. There are more African Americans under correctional control today -- in prison or jail, on probation or parole -- than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began.
  2. As of 2004, more African American men were disenfranchised (due to felon disenfranchisement laws) than in 1870, the year the Fifteenth Amendment was ratified prohibiting laws that explicitly deny the right to vote on the basis of race.

For the marginalized, reform doesn’t really make sense. The system as it is now, is not so much as “broken” but “rigged” to prey on the vast masses, with the black and brown faces at the bottom of the well.

We have reason to be angry and OWS is our chance to join with those who dare challenge the pimps who profit from the devastation of our youth and subsequent creation of a New Jim Crow. And it’s not like our leaders are anxious to help us. Today instead of a Martin Luther King we have shuckin' and jivin' Herman “Git a Job!” Cain and the “moderate” Barack Obama; instead of a Cesar Chavez we’re left with come mierdas (shit eaters) such as Linda Chavez. Today instead of the Young Lords and the Black Panthers, we’re left with the NACCP, which took millions from Wells Fargo, a bank accused of targeting communities of color with predatory lending practices. We cannot afford to wait for a leader to unchain us from our shackles, we must do that ourselves.

No matter how you look at it, or whatever criticisms you have (valid or not), the #OccupyWallStreet movement belongs to all of us. We -- Blacks, Latin@s, indigenous people, Asians, and other people of color -- we need to seize the moment with our brother and sisters at OWS and put it all on the line because we’ve fallen asleep and we have lost and have so much to lose.

If Dr. King or Cesar Chavez were alive today, they would be right down on Wall Street with the protesters, demanding justice, freedom and equality. In fact, if you look into the eyes of those who’ve become inspired to resurrect the spirit of conscientious activism in America, you can see that Dr. King’s dream is alive down on Wall Street right now.

My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization…

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Friday Sex Blog [Intelligent Sex]

¡Hola! Everybody…
I'm sorry, I'm sure Steve Jobs was a nice guy and all, but he never did shit for me, and HOW much did he pay in taxes last year? All this slobbering over Jobs' fermented taint juice is nothing but financial porn. In a sane world, someone like Steve Jobs would be properly deemed a sociopath.
Even the corporate/ anti-union mainstream press understood the Steve Jobs real contribution to humankind -- which was incredibly horrific:

From the Wall Street Journal: “Measuring the Human Cost of an iPad Made in China” (here)

From Electrical Engineering Times: “Apple reveals increasing Chinese child-labor problem.” (here)

From TIME Magazine: Another Slavery Scandal in China (here)
. I realize some of you are treating this like the passing of your father rather than some godammed stranger you never fuckin met, but puhleeeze stop making a spectacle of yourself.

I’ll be (for the most part) at the Occupy Wall Street protests for most of today and the weekend -- just in case you feel like channeling your stalkerish tendencies.

* * *

-=[ A Smart Fuck (Not Really) ]=-

Or: Thinking Allowed

It’s been said that the most important sex organ is the brain, and if your brain jiggled as deliciously as your ass does, I would agree.

And speaking of which -- Quick! Stash away your brain. You know that gelatinous matter between your ears? I know you don’t use most of it (something like 90% goes unused, but apparently that percentage is higher for teabagger presidential candidates). However, the editors here at [un]Common Sense (me) have discovered that your brain is illegal. Yes, Virginia, The U.S. government has criminalized the chemical compounds that are found in peyote, even though one of them, dopamine, is a primary neural transmitter in the human brain. Our brains also produce anandamide, a substance that’s nearly identical to THC, the active ingredient in marijuana.

::watches disdainfully as potheads set their brains on fire::

Here’s one from the “they hate us and our freedoms” file. According to my computations (not really) more than 1.2 billion Muslims live under democratically elected governments, and there is a steady movement towards democratization, civil rights, and political freedom in many other Islamic nations (click here for source)

From our “Good News/ Bad News” department: The U.S. Air force has complied with the Environmental Protection Agency’s ban on ozone-destroying chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). It has removed CFCs from the cooling systems of ballistic missiles that carry nuclear warheads. “If they are ever fired,” Access to Energy reported, “there will be an environmentally friendly nuclear holocaust.” (here)

At last! A man I can admire. A blind German clairvoyant named Ulf Buck claims he can foretell people’s future by feeling their naked buttocks. I’ve been trying to convince women of this all my adult life! Believe me, if I can feel your naked buttocks, sweetie, I will definitely be able to tell your immediate future (“I see you experiencing a refreshing soreness and deeply felt sense of surrender in the near future.”)

From our historical department comes the following gem: More than seven centuries before a few Europeans dared to sail beyond the safe boundaries of their known world, entire Polynesian families crossed the vast expanses of the, Pacific Ocean in, yup, catamarans. The first humans to arrive in Hawaii, they were led by wayfinders. These miracle workers navigated uncharted seas by reading star positions, discerning weather patterns, and interpreting the ocean’s colors and movements. Shit! I know some families can’t make it to Disney world with a map without killing each other along the way.

I’ve been reading again, folks. Yup. In his book The Naked Woman, best-selling author/ biologist Desmond Morris (The Naked Ape), takes us beyond the G-spot. He says that in addition to the G-spot, women have three other highly sensitive erotic zones in the vagina. He calls them the A-Spot, C-Spot, and U-Spot. And here I was under the impression that the alphabet was only a guide for good cunnilingus.

From our “subversive acts” files: a few years ago, members of The Barbie Liberation Organization (BLO) sneaked into toy stores and swapped the voice boxes of 300 GI Joe and Barbie Dolls. Boys who later purchased the plastic soldiers were shocked to hear them make comments like, “I like to go shopping with you,” while the girls who came to own the mutated Barbies heard commands like, “To the front lines, men!” (click here to view a video)

Finally, our crack research team (in actuality a really brainy a DominiRican with a great ass) came up with the following morsel: Diane Ackerman observes in her book, A Natural History of the Senses, that in many cultures the word for kiss means smell. “A kiss is really a prolonged smelling of one’s beloved, relative, or friend,” she writes. “Members of a tribe in New Guinea say good-bye by putting a hand in each other’s armpit, withdrawing it, and stroking it over themselves, thus becoming coated with their loved one’s scent. Other cultures sniff each other or rub noses.” Now, before you get all culturally myopic on me, please note that my preferred manner is to put my hand in the crack of your ass while I’m kissing you and then smelling my hand.

I lurrrrve the baby powder!



Tuesday, October 4, 2011

OWS vs. The Professionalization of Activism

¡Hola! Everybody…
First, let me thank all the kind people who’ve written me, encouraging and thanking me for posting these (albeit) sporadic updates on the Occupy Wall St. (OWS) protests. FYI, if you're looking for in-depth reporting on the Occupy Wall St. protest/ social movement, see my fellow FDLer, Kevin Gosztola, for up-to-the-minute posts and incisive commentary (here).

Today I’m prepping for a job interview tomorrow. There’s a lot research to read and I want to get as much info about the organization as possible. Unfortunately, the interview conflicts with tomorrow’s rally bringing together the OWS, labor, and other progressive stakeholders in a Community Labor March:

Union members and community members impacted by the economic crisis have been demanding that Wall Street and New York's wealthiest pay their fair share of taxes. Let's march down to Wall Street to welcome the protesters and show the face of New Yorkers hardest hit by corporate greed.

It's time to stand together, and continue what was started in Wisconsin!

WHEN: October 5th at 4:30 pm

WHERE: City Hall (250 Broadway) to Zuccotti Park

Note: this MARCH IS LEGAL, meaning that the necessary permits have been obtained. Supported by United Federation of Teachers, 32BJ SEIU, 1199 SEIU, Workers United and Transport Workers, PSC-CUNY United NY, the Strong Economy for All Coalition, the Working Families Party, Vocal-NY, New York Communities for Change, Community Voices Heard, Alliance for Quality Education... many more joining daily.

* * *

I have written elsewhere how I came to be involved with OWS. Initially, some younger friends looking to tap into my experience as an activist invited me to be part of OWS before it began. I asked them the usual questions: What’s your goal? What’s your mission statement, and demands? And they didn’t have any answers…

Not wanting to discourage them, I didn’t share my thoughts that in, my “professional” estimation, this was an action doomed for failure.

This goes to show you how much I fuckin’ know.

By day nine, I (like many others paying attention) became outraged by the treatment of the protestors, the ridicule heaped upon them by those supporting the status quo and (shamefully) by so-called progressives who sneered at the OWS protestors as naïve or ill-informed.

I went down to the site to see for myself what was going on and I immediately realized that something different and vital was happening here and it was happening because the (mostly young) people were actually very well informed and were engaged in an intense dialog -- you could almost sense the consciousness raising. What I didn’t realize at the beginning was that these kids had at least two qualities no amount of strategizing, spin, or tactical know-how could bring about: courage and commitment.

Could OWS benefit from more skillful strategizing? Sure, but that’s a silly and irrelevant issue at this point of the protests. What’s happening here at OWS is the nascent stirrings of a movement, not just an action. This is an organic process, with a true “bottom-up” structure dictating that process. The only ones hung up on the lack of specific demands and goals are those most afraid of revolution: the media (which needs a handle with which to spin information/ sell air time), and people who, frankly, don’t know much about coalition-building and consensus.

Few protest movements enjoy perfect clarity about tactics or command widespread support when they begin. What’s important at OWS is the raising of awareness, attracting others to the cause. The structure develops as this ferments and grows. Dismissing these protests because they lack fully developed, sophisticated professionalization is like to throwing out a child because he can’t read.

This is what I mean when I say, as a “professional,” that I don’t want to mess with that process. OWS and its allies are attempting to oppose a dogma and to reconceptualize a society mired in a fuck up of gigantic proportions at least three decades in the making. Those who are actually interested in helping it develop will work toward improving those deficiencies, not harp on them in order to belittle its worth.

From my standpoint, I only want to be there as much as possible to support that process as much as possible without attempting to fuck with a phenomenon unique and courageous, considering the social context it is taking place within.

“The nature of the occupation’s organization hinges upon the belief that electoral politics have failed to address gross injustices. It rests upon the idea that no piece of legislation will provide the solution to systemic problems in society. It stems from the notion that petitions, calling your representative, going to conferences and holding permitted rallies and marches have been ineffective. Corporate and special interests control the agencies, bureaucracies, institutions and politicians, which participate in the electoral and political process, so much that citizens have virtually no power to influence how dire problems are addressed.”

As a veteran activist of too many protests/ campaigns/ actions to enumerate, that passage right there grabs me and compels me to an action that’s not just a march, not defined by a mere set of demands, but an invitation to dare look beyond the false choices we’ve been handed.

The only ones who need a clear message, overarching goals, yadda yadda yadda are those least interested in being about organic, lasting change.

My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization…

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Spirit of Disobedience: Occupy Wall St. [Day 15] and Slut March

¡Hola! Everybody…
It’s been very hectic over here in [un]Common Sense-landia and yours truly is tarred (as they say in Texas).

For the holier-than-thou bloggers who post constantly about “idiot America” and how Americans are politically naïve and apathetic, there were several protests going on this weekend. I attended two: The Slut March, NYC and I stayed for several hours and marched with the Occupy Wall St. protest. In addition, there was a march against poverty and another march (at the moment, I can’t remember its goal/ aim).

More on Slut Walk and mass arrests at Occupy Wall St. after the jump…

* * *

Slut Walk, NYC

I got to the march late and missed the actual march. I was under the mistaken impression that there would be speakers and entertainment followed by the march, but it was the other way around.

The event was well-attended with my eyeball figure putting it at around 2-3,000 people. Men, women, transgender, straight, gay -- everybody was in attendance. It was great to see the solidarity, the togetherness, and most of all, it was inspiring to see so many women (and those that love them) show up and be silent no more. Lots of survivors here and the event was both somber and entertaining and very humorous.

One speaker, a Latina, addressed the controversy surrounding the use of the word “slut” and she did a great job. The power to define words (and human beings), and the importance of challenging that power is what’s essential. What does it mean to be called a slut? Who gets to decide to label someone a slut? What happens to people who are marginalized as sluts? And as a Latina, she often gets labeled a slut simply because of her ethnicity and the color of her skin because, as we all know, Latinas are ‘hot blooded,” right? SMDH

Until we live in a society in which being called a slut is no longer a tool for oppression, we will not be free.

* * *

Occupy Wall St.: Day 15 (Saturday, October 1, 2011)

After enjoying a brunch with my friend, Puma, I decided since it was still early (and raining), I would take in a movie and then head downtown to the Occupy Wall St. protest (OWS). There wasn’t anything worthwhile at the Regal Union Square, and the times for the Black Panther documentary I’ve been dying to catch, The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975, was too late, so I went instead to The Strand Bookstore, and over to the St. Marks Bookshop, to purchase a book there, since they’re in financial trouble and in need of support (I purchased Black Frankenstein).

After spending some time finding a dry spot and reading for an hour or so, I headed over to OWS and quickly found out there was a march scheduled for the Brooklyn Bridge. My usual shtick is to get into OWS and striking up a conversation with anybody. I’ve met some really interesting people this way and yesterday, it was a young lady named Charlotte (not her real name), a recent college graduate who quit her job at a Wal-Mart to join the OWS protest. I immediately liked her: she was young, intelligent, and believed passionately that she had to make a difference, and had been sleeping at OWS for the past three days. I tried to buy her dinner and offered her money, but she told me that she was being fed well and that her clothes were dry. Geeeez…

We joined the rest of the marchers and headed over to the Brooklyn Bridge en masse. Now, you probably haven’t heard about this because the police haven’t maced nor beat anyone lately, but one of the things that disturbs me the most about the OWS protest is the discrepancy between what’s actually happening here and how what little is being reported is in actuality disinformation. More on this later.

As we neared the entrance to the Bridge, I saw that the police seemed to be encouraging and even allowing marchers to cross over to the road section of the bridge. Being a veteran activist and having marched across the Brooklyn Bridge countless times, I found this odd. I have never been part of an action in which the police allowed marchers to cross over from the pedestrian section to the vehicular traffic section. In fact, when I reached the bridge, I almost followed Charlotte onto the road section and then something told me this looked like a set-up at best. So I grabbed Charlotte by the hand and pulled her to the pedestrian side, where we then watched the crowd on the road section from above.

Here’s the funny thing: after allowing, and seeming to direct the marchers onto the road, the police then rolled out the mesh, corralled the marchers and then proceeded to make 700 arrests. Here’s a short clip of what looks like the police leading the marchers onto the road (forbidden) section of the bridge:

From my perspective, it certainly looked as if the police were allowing, if not encouraging the protestors to veer off onto the road section of the bridge.

Later, a phalanx of police officers created a wall and then proceeded to make arrests, often targeting people of color who happened to be at the front of that part of the march:

What you can’t see on the second clip is that towards the back, the police had already started rolling out the mesh and corralling (“kettling”) the protestors on the road section of the bridge, so that those who had realized they would be arrested couldn’t retreat and comply by moving over to the pedestrian section of the bridge.

If you heard about this at all you probably only heard that there 700 hundred arrests. Period. No context. Or, alternatively, if you did read about this you might come upon a redacted version. For example, the Daily Kos points out that the New York Times first reported the arrests in this way:

“After allowing them onto the bridge, police cut off and arrested dozens of Occupy Wall Street protesters.”

Later it was changed to say:

“In a tense showdown over the East River, police arrested hundreds of Occupy Wall Street demonstrators after they marched onto the bridge’s Brooklyn-bound roadway.”

It must be difficult for the New York Times to suck and swallow at the same time…

Finally, this is what pissed me off the most. Here’s a clip of the police arresting a young lady who can’t be more than 12-13 years-old:

What the fuck?!! Whatever your political tendencies, we should be encouraging our youth to question, to think critically, to be civically engaged, not arresting them for having the fuckin' huevos to speak out. This is what we’ve come to and I know some of you dumb-fuck neocon-twat motherfuckers will justify this nonsense in some way. Our youth should be ashamed of the adult population.

In other news, we continue to get more support from the unions and there is an informal commitment by Marines to come down to the protests to protect the OWS activists (click here). This Tuesday and Wednesday there will be mass protests. I expect there will be thousands and I expect that the media will continue to ignore us. Today will most likely be a day of rest for OWS.

The weather will soon be turning cold and we need sweat suits or warm clothing. If you can send sweat pants and hoods in size large (that way anyone can wear them), it would be very helpful. We have a postal box and can accept packages of any size:

The UPS Store

Re: Occupy Wall Street

118A Fulton St. #205

New York, NY 10038

Money orders only please, cannot cash checks yet. Non-perishable goods only. We can accept packages of any size. We're currently low on food.

My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization…


Occupy Wall St.: For the latest news and information (click here)

Occupy Together: For information on Occupations happening near you (click here)

For Facebookers click here


[un]Common Sense