Hello and hoping you all had a meaningful Martin Luther King Day! I write with several things in mind, including the recent desecration by Occupier(s) of a church that was offering housing to OWS. I also write regarding the fact that most of you have not seen me for a while, and you may or may not know the reason for why I distanced myself from the movement. This letter will offer explanation. Some of you may also have heard the false rumor that I was working for the police! This letter will then also expose this lie as vicious slander, seemingly designed to deflect attention from the wrongdoing of others in Occupy Wall Street. Finally, I will also delve into the National Defense Authorization Act for 2012, as it pertains to OWS.
Before continuing, I apologize for distancing myself from the movement. It is generally incorrect to turn one’s back on persons and projects in which one has invested so much love, time, and effort. I only did so, as this letter will explain, as I felt I had no other choice. However, it is now about a month later, and a sufficient number of my concerns have been borne out. Hence, by nature many in OWS may reconsider the soundness of their prior actions that forced me to leave. The time is then ripe for my letter, which I have purposely written in a very personal manner. Ideally, it will then lead to all sides rejoining through a serious reflection of past actions. (This is especially so, considering how much of what will be forthcoming regarding the doings of even the majority of OWS, strongly contradict today’s Vision and Goal’s statement (1/20/12) that is meant to speak for the movement’s manner of conduct.) Thank you for your patience.
Regarding the desecration of the church, bad seeds allowed to flourish in any movement can eventually spoil the whole movement. While I have only peripherally heard what happened in the church, I will nevertheless offer some explanation for why it occurred, which is based on earlier incidents in OWS.
I start with the now-infamous Spokes meeting that approved of the proposal removing the $1000 bail cap, so to pay the $25,000 bail of an Occupier who had come to the Zuccotti area with an unregistered gun. This proposal was passed over Solidarity group’s block, and with what seemed to be the very biased assistance of the meant-to-be neutral Facilitation group. At this meeting, before the proposal passed, I reported to all something that the superintendent had showed me: One of the Occupiers had just ripped a bathroom sink off the wall! This Occupier, someone at Spokes, was not discovered.
With this in mind, and in relation to my opposition to the proposal, I stated that there was among us, some secret vandal. Although I was somewhat interrupted, I was saying this in order to get those who wanted to pass the proposal to understand that we had an obligation to the movement to scrutinize this person in jail regarding his actions before paying his bail and getting him quickly back with the OWS movement. After all, if even someone in that very room was a saboteur, we had better investigate who we were dealing with, especially if such a person had already caused the movement great trouble.
However, my legitimate concern was overridden. Someone made a whole big stink about leaving the movement if this bail was not paid, and a great number applauded his passion. The majority then approved lifting the bail cap, seemingly caught up in the misguided mentality of siding with one’s friends even when they are wrong.
After the meeting, it was relayed to me that a body of Spokes thought that what I had said about the vandalized sink and the undetected saboteur with us in the room was irrelevant. I was then surprised how it was not commonly understood by the body, how if the movement could be infiltrated right under our noses, we needed to have a stricter scrutiny of persons. Especially so with those who are suspected of breaking OWS principles, such as the principle of non-violence, which one would think someone coming to an event with a gun would have broken.
Further, a great number of spokes that night, I think even the majority, myopically voted to specifically not be told by Legal regarding details of why the guy was arrested! They steadfastly wanted to blindly accept the guy with a gun back! With this kind of attitude that potentially allowed “foxes into the chicken coop,” it is not hard to see how bad seeds have been allowed to flourish in the movement so that the church desecration happened.
Before getting into details regarding why I left the movement, I want to relate one more account of the OWS majority allowing in bad seeds: Once, before the camp was raided and taken down, a fight broke out near my tent. I rushed over and tried to break it up. When I got there I was sickened by the manner in which one Occupier was viciously and repeatedly punching another Occupier in the face. I screamed at this guy to stop while trying to break up the fight. He stopped for a moment due to my scream, and he mentally considered what to do. He then, because he had opportunity due to the other guy being trapped, started up again and continued to bash this poor guy in the face! Eventually I and one or two other guys managed to pull them apart.
Of course, I really wanted the police involved, and tried to get them to do something. The one guy hitting the other was despicably vicious, as his attack was not in the passion of the moment. He actually stopped to consider circumstances after I screamed. After his consideration, he then decided to keep on bashing the helpless guy in the face!
The police said they could do nothing unless the victim complained. I spoke to the victim and begged him to complain to the police. Finally, I convinced him to do so. However, OWS’ers then spoke up, including important members of security. They convinced him not to report it! In the end he did not report it, and then in short order he left the camp shamefaced, as the other violent person was allowed to beat him up and get away with it. That other person just continued on at the park with the approval of the OWS majority. It was disgusting, and I told Occupiers about my feelings. I also did not see the person who was beat up anywhere around Zuccotti for some weeks after that.
Of course I am not saying all of OWS was violent. Further, that the movement at least classifies itself as non-violent is important. I have also seen a lot of good work in the movement to combat violence. However, there was dramatic slacking on the part of many at OWS in terms of fighting violence. Hence bad seeds were allowed to flourish.
This similar allowance of violence is what actually caused me to leave the movement. For those unaware, I publicly left NYC OWS last month in spontaneous protest to the GA approved, $7000 funding of the occupation of Duarte Square. This action, called “D-17,” was the now-failed Dec. 17th attempt at occupying Duarte Square at Canal and 6th Ave.
Why this approval so rattled me, was not merely because I thought the new occupation attempt recklessly premature. Rather, it was because this “reoccupation,” as D-17 was billed, promoted violence (I am not referring to unproven rumors that those involved with D-17 planned to buy weapons, but rather promoted violence in a concrete way which I will explain). Further, I felt that the meant-to-be-neutral Facilitation group again showed bias by forcing through this misguided proposal in a manner breaking protocol. L., who was facilitating, did not allow me to explain my block, so that I could have garnered only the two more votes needed to have stopped the modified consensus approval. (Note: I have decided, at least at this stage, to only use the real first initial of persons involved in this account. This is so that that close enough can verify the truth of what I say. I also do so, at I feel this method less inflammatory, so that those so named can more easily come to terms with what they have done and accordingly make amends.)
[More regarding this contested vote. At one point, I clearly, albeit briefly, placed my arms in the block position when it was asked if there were any blocks. I was also standing in the GA’s first row, so my block was seen. Also, while someone else was discussing why he was blocking, L. came down and for some reason walked back and forth beside me. At that time I said to him that if my block could make any difference, I wanted to speak. I was still not entirely familiar with the arbitrary, changing rules of Facilitation, and did not fully understand the value or lack of value of my block depending on what type of vote Facilitation decided to use. In fact, that night Facilitation used some unfamiliar-to-me new gesture similar to a block, to show that an Occupier disagreed. As it was similar to a block, a woman stated that the person using this new gesture, according to protocol, should be able to state why it was being using.
[In any event, I neither got to speak about my block, nor about why I was using this new gesture to show disapproval. When the vote was taken, seven were against; two short of stopping the proposal. I therefore got very angry, for had I been allowed to speak, I may have convinced two more persons to vote against the proposal. This was very important, as I knew the proposal to be very reckless for the movement’s future and to be promoting violence. Further, it promoted violence in a way that the majority at the GA did not recognize. My speaking then really could have made a difference, as it could have opened eyes. Also, after the vote was taken, I loudly called to those at the GA to then let me speak, as should have earlier been my right, and to thereafter take a new vote. However, I was neither allowed to by Facilitation, nor by the great majority of persons at the GA. Therefore, I felt I had no choice but to loudly announce that I was leaving the movement (to the applause of most gathered there), so that it would be known that I had nothing to do with the “D-17” action, and that I strongly disagreed with what I considered the promotion of violence not merely by a few at OWS, but at this point by the whole movement in the way that the GA spoke for the whole movement. (Although, to be fair, the GA seemed to have been stacked that night with supporters of the Duarte occupation.)]
Regarding the DA proposal, while I very much wanted the movement to have a new home in Duarte Square (which is on one side bordered by Grand Street, the same Manhattan street I grew up on), I considered the next Saturday’s planned action recklessly premature. So reckless in fact, that doing so endangered chances for the movement to get the space in the future (this concern has borne itself out). Why I thought this, was partly because the movement’s Solidarity group, which I had been coordinating, had not been consulted with regarding the reoccupation. Why this was so crucial, was because Solidarity ran the movement’s grievance councils when Zuccotti Park was still occupied. In fact, two such meetings were held on Nov. 14, about half a day before the AM police raid on the park. This considered, I stated to the GA at the time of proposal questions, how was it that a reoccupation at this point is being reliably planned, when the group with perhaps the most information on the problems in Zuccotti Park from the Occupiers’ perspective, was not consulted?
It should further be said, that the consensus after the first grievance council on that day (interestingly, which took place in Charlotte’s Place, which is freely donated Trinity Church property), was that the camp’s biggest problem was sanitation. (Occupiers at the meeting, as well as two AP reporters there, can attest to this. If one does an Internet search for “Rabbi Chaim Gruber, third from left,” one should find a photo where one can see who was there.) That sanitation was such a concern, was therefore from the perspective of not merely the police (sanitation was a primary reason for why authorities said they were obliged to clear the park), but also the Occupiers. [Regarding such issues at Zuccotti, I myself had to “toilet train” some Occupiers, who were peeing into supermarket plastic bags (even with holes), and some not into bags at all.]
Therefore, Trinity, who had helped the movement so much, did have a legitimate concern for not then giving the property to OWS. For one, there were no public facilities at Duarte. And if Trinity had a legitimate concern, surely it was reckless for OWS to storm the square, when the movement itself was not yet prepared to properly maintain it. There had even been a recently verified reported incident where the Park Slope church housing Occupiers was desecrated when an Occupier peed inside the building, and the pee came into contact with a cross.
In response to my concern that the movement was not yet ready to reoccupy, as we did not yet have solutions to the Zuccotti issues, those promoting the Duarte reoccupation simplistically answered that this occupation would not be like the one at Zuccotti. Therefore, there was little need to have consulted Solidarity about Zuccotti grievances, as the problems that had applied at Zuccotti would not apply in Duarte. However, I hardly saw how the new occupation would manage to overcome the human need to urinate and defecate! (Note that Duarte, unlike Zuccotti, did not have an across-the-street McDonalds with 24/7 toilet access.)
Further regarding this ill-advised reoccupation, while Trinity was considered to have “dug in their heels” in terms of the church not allowing usage of their Duarte space, I personally had new information about Trinity, which I had days before revealed at a Direct Action meeting at 60 Wall St. This info could have been instrumental in getting the church to reverse it position. However, DA chose not to act on this powerful news so to peaceably engage Trinity in further dialogue. Rather, they decided to illegally and forcefully storm Trinity’s premises. (Before D-17’s failed reoccupation, one of the church leaders with a long history of support for OWS, had agreed with me in terms of the new information being of sufficient quality, so that Trinity may change its mind regarding allowing OWS usage of Duarte.)
The previous considered, if the planned Duarte occupation had only been reckless in the stated manner, I would not have so distanced myself from the movement. However, the GA-approved, Duarte reoccupation also promoted violence: During DA’s proposal, one of the persons speaking on its behalf, G., publicly stated that he was one of those who had chained himself to the Zuccotti Kitchen when the police had cleared the park on Nov 15. He had chained himself by the neck with a bike lock. Further, he continued, due to his actions he got cut on his neck only 4-inches away from his jugular vein. I was perhaps the only person in the group that literally keeled over in emotional sickness when he related this near-death experience. G. then proudly stated that he would do the same thing again for the cause! I was stunned, as it seemed to me insane to boastfully risk one’s life for a misguided cause! And the GA was going to fund this?
At the time of the proposal, another Occupier mentioned how there were also others now willing to risk their lives for the OWS cause. After hearing all this shocking information, I then knew I had no choice but to strongly protest the funding of the Duarte occupation. After my block was not heard (as earlier described), I even protested to the degree of shouting to those assembled at the GA that they were promoting death.
How was such a proposal promoting death? Why my drama? For one, whenever persons are willing to die for a cause, such surely means there is more of a likelihood that someone will in fact get hurt or die for the cause. While it is valid to risk one’s life for the cause of defense of self or others, to risk one’s life when defense is not an issue, is wrong. It is wrong, as it cheapens the value of life by saying that some ideology is worth more than a human being. Such is foolish, cruel egotism masquerading as righteousness.
However, when armed with a true cause, one does not have to needlessly risk one’s life. This is because the truth fights for itself. If someone has the truth, he or she just needs to speak it. Those who do not listen will eventually get their just desserts, which is what eventually happens when someone contravenes a true principle, in the manner of not being able to mess with Mother Nature. This is how non-violent struggle works: A parent only has to say to a child, “Don’t play with fire!” The smart children will then listen to the parent. However, even the rebellious who go against this advice will eventually learn their lesson and stop playing with fire once they get burned.
Returning to the specifics of the misguided Duarte reoccupation, consider what happens when persons are willing to lose their lives for a misguided cause: Even if such persons are entirely passive in their protest, there is surely a higher chance of police brutality against them, as compared to not-misguided, righteous protesters. After all, the police, who are human beings, will naturally sympathize with those who have a legitimate cause (think of the 103-year old Atlanta woman recently in the news, who police refused to evict, despite Deutche Bank’s foreclosure). However, subconsciously and even consciously, police are less likely to be sympathetic to misguided protestors, especially angry misguided protestors. Therefore, the misguided are more likely to be brutalized. Of course it is wrong for the police to so brutalize. Nevertheless, it is also wrong to throw oneself without good cause into a lion’s den.
Again, and as explained, even if misguided protestors willing to risk their lives for some cause are entirely passive in their protest, their lives and well-beings are still more at risk. If such misguided protestors are outwardly violent or have violent thoughts, obviously this makes matters much worse.
Immediately after the GA funded the Duarte proposal that I opposed, I spoke to G., the one who had chained his neck when Zuccotti was cleared. At the start of our conversation, he made an angry, hasty, wrong assumption. (In a fit of anger, he said he did not want to continue speaking to me, although he earlier said that he had wanted to, as he wrongly thought he would have to wait to speak to me due to an interruption.) In response to his wrong assumption, I said that if he gets so angry when entirely wrong, surely this same character trait will appear in his doings at Duarte Sq. This hotheaded nature could further unnecessarily endanger his life, one he is already wrongly willing to risk for a misguided cause.
I then also said to him that despite what he thinks, my trying to stop what he was hoping to do at Duarte, actually showed more care for him than all of his supposed friends who voted for his proposal. After I said this, G. suddenly welled with violent emotion and said that he wanted to punch out my teeth! (I speculate he acted this way, because deep down he knew that I was right, but immaturely could not deal with the information that his “friends” at OWS didn’t really care about him; even if they and he consciously believed that they did. After all, in truth they were aiding him in foolishly risking his physical wellbeing and even his life.)
All this considered, I felt that I had no choice but to distance myself from the movement, as it had willfully gone astray. (Of note, the next day I spoke to a number of Occupiers, as I happened upon an OWS event. Upon my questioning, the great majority of them then told me that in the event of someone wanting to risk his or her life, they believed that they should not intervene, as such person had a right to do so. It was then that I realized that most persons in the movement, assuming my sample of persons to be an accurate reflection of the body, did not truly care. I say “truly,” in the way that a parent would protectively care for a child, by not allowing the child to harm him or herself.)
It should also be stated that the D-17 occupation was worse than a failure (a case of the truth eventually bearing itself out). Besides wasting the $7000, it turned the likelihood of Trinity ever allowing usage of Duarte into practically nil. This was a great blow to the movement, as the space was perhaps the only one in all Manhattan sufficiently similar to Zuccotti. It is then really a shame that the majority consented to follow certain reckless and even violent forces against sensible advice. I had such hope for OWS (and still do, if we straighten ourselves out). Who else had the Zeitgeist? Who else was going to raise world consciousness so to put a stop to all the environmental destruction caused by crazy, greedy, impatient Capitalism?
[Note: If one sees online video of the action at Duarte Sq. on Dec. 17, G. is among the first group of persons to jump its fence (about a min. into the clip, http://motherjones.com/mojo/2011/12/video-mass-arrests-occupiers-duarte-square). Because of the GA approved, D-17 action, G. has become more famous and more able to influence others. To his credit, G., some days later, did seek mediation and try to make an excuse for himself for his violent comment: While he did not apologize, he did claim that he had been greatly stressed that day. However, that is hardly an excuse, as during an occupation, with police making arrests, he could be under even more stress and again do similar things. I said that to him at the time, although he seemed to refuse to allow my comment to penetrate his psyche. He also said that he had told several people that he had threatened me. None of these persons have ever contacted me out of concern. I again saw G. in the early AM of Jan. 5. He still did not apologize.]
Also on the night of the D-17 proposal, another Occupier besides G. also physically threatened me. In front of witnesses, while hinting at physical violence, he said that he was going to follow me outside the park.
It should too be said that a contributing faction to my leaving, was me being the coordinator of the Solidarity group, charged with consolidating the Principles of Solidarity document. As part of this consolidation, I had distributed the following understanding: “With the exception of self-defense, solidarity is NECESSARILY based on non-violent principles. After all, if someone is forced to submit or forced to join a group, as soon as the person can manage to revolt or break free, he or she will. Whatever temporary solidarity that existed will then be broken.”
Therefore, as I felt a large enough portion of the movement was promoting or turning a blind eye to violence (the D-17 proposal was approved by the GA, which spoke for the movement), there can be no true solidarity in OWS. And without true solidarity there is a loss of moral credibility, as there is division over the right course of action. This last message is brought to you by not only the only rabbi, but the only known member of clergy—rabbi, priest, pastor, imam, or otherwise—to have actually camped at Zuccotti Park during the Occupation. (If there was clergy camped at the park that was hidden or overlooked, please let me know.)
The previous should please be kept strongly in mind considering that today’s Vision & Goal’s statement, meant to speak for the movement’s conduct, reads that in OWS “non-violence is practiced as a way of life.” I am sorry to say, and as sweet as it sounds, can someone not accuse this document of being a hypocritical farce, playing a game of much easier said than done?
~ ~ ~
Regarding being falsely accused of being a cop, the day after the D-17 proposal passed the GA, I was standing on a Midtown street corner and speaking to an aged lawyer I had just met. It so happened that three prominent NYC OWS’ers passed by, including Andy and N. of Facilitation (Andy’s name is mentioned due to his defamation against me). As they passed, Andy, publicly, loudly, and viciously, screamed at me that I was a “COP!” The group did not stop to speak to me, however, and the lawyer I was speaking to afterwards hurriedly left.
In response to this false, slanderous charge, I remind those of you at Zuccotti during the Occupation of my doings at the time when the larger, military tents were being constructed and placed in a manner that often brutally displaced Occupiers. Like terrible stories heard about government eminent domain infringements, the majority of Occupiers allowed the larger tents ostensibly for community purposes to forcibly displace individual occupiers. While there were some rules in place designed to make sure this did not happen, the rules were broken, and it seemed that the majority turned a blind eye to the displacements. Great upset was being caused to a minority for the supposed sake of the majority. Many Occupiers left the movement because of the callous treatment.
As the abuse continued, I felt I had no choice but to occupy Occupy Wall Street: A large, new tent was being put up, but I refused to move from the area from where persons had been disruptively moved. In response to my protest, the tent was literally, and dangerously, built around me! The builders didn’t stop what they were doing. They didn’t seem to care. I loudly called and then screamed to even hundreds*** of passers-by for help, although no one really did. Many were told by those building the tent that I was crazy. They said the tent was going to be the new mental health tent and I was its first patient! Only later, after the tent was completed with me inside, did I get help; and then only because I continued to refuse to move, and they needed to put down the floor.
Finally, an emergency Spokes Council meeting was held in this new tent between six working groups, which as I know has been the one and only emergency Spokes Council meeting. I think it even met before the very first general Spokes Council meeting at Murry Bergtraum H.S. that was taking place that same night.
The emergency Spokes Council unanimously decided that an individual occupier could not be moved from his or her spot if they were not happy to go, and that this new rule would be in effect until the next GA, when the GA itself could decide upon the issue. This satisfied me and I then stopped my occupation. [However, the next day I came across a crying, old man, who was being displaced by the new “Comfort” tent. A group of seemingly merciless Occupiers was harassing him to move. In pity, I had to intervene, and I stopped the old man from being moved. I then found him a suitable spot to move to so that Comfort could put up its tent. It actually only took me about 5 minutes to find him a new spot after I calmed the situation. However, none of those others at first tried to find another spot for this old man who had just been released from the hospital. Rather, they were just kicking him to the curb. (To be fair, however, some time after I stopped the old man’s eviction, different persons from Comfort arrived to also help.)
[It so happened that Tommy Fox, who has led many direct action protests for OWS, had simultaneously come with me on the scene. Because he was then filming, there exists a heart-wrenching video of this crying old man and those who were trying to displace him. For those who wish to see it, kindly be in touch and it can possibly be viewed.
[The video was given to me by Tommy with provisos requested after-the-fact. Tommy did not wish for me to let anyone else even see it. However, he technically did not give me this proviso until after I had already downloaded it, so he can not technically hold me to it, as I did not agree to it. I therefore am not here breaking any obligation to Tommy, although I would have preferred, if I could, to abide with his desires. However, I now feel obliged to here at least make the video potentially available, for considering all that has happened, I feel that Occupiers really need to be woken up.]
At the next GA it was actually difficult for Solidarity to pass the proposal granting rights to individual occupiers. This proposal stated that Occupiers had to be satisfied in order for them to be moved. That is, a suitable place needed to be found for them before they could be asked to move from their spot. In the end, the proposal passed only for a 48-hour period until the next GA, when it was again extended for only a short time. I was then dealt a dose of reality about a great number in the movement, when I discovered how hard it was to protect individual rights. (For those interested in “what one sows one reaps,” “what comes around goes around,” karma, mida k’neged mida in Hebrew, etc., it was only about a week after the start of these incidents, and while Solidarity’s protection proposal was in temporary extension, that Zuccotti got harshly cleared by the police. I cannot help but think that such a clearing was the karmic payback to the movement for its own harsh clearing out of the most vulnerable Occupiers. God, after all, is a fair judge, who judges sometimes very harshly so to get us to wake up regarding our own actions.)
Further on this general lack of care by the OWS majority for the most marginalized, I remember a number of weeks back when dreadlocked J. gave a short speech in Spokes. He stated how he felt that for the sake of the movement, we needed to move forward by steamrollering those who were regularly complaining. His speech got a great round of applause by the majority gathered. When they applauded, I was aghast, as I again considered it the same uncaring, reckless mentality of quashing minority rights. (This is not to say that I regularly agreed with the viewpoints of those known for loudly complaining. However, I know enough to know that properly dealing with difficulties is what prepares a movement to overcome future hardships. By contrast, ignoring, or steamrollering tough issues is what leads to the destruction of a movement, as it creates great bitterness from those steamrollered, and it also makes the movement unprepared for the really difficult tests. Do you think that those known for loudly complaining in the OWS movement are less reasonable than the incredibly disruptive forces that exist in our wider society and world? How is it that if the movement does not properly deal with these relatively minor frictions, it is going to be equipped to fix larger issues? While it is admirable for OWS to claim that it is based on consensus, such consensus is not worth much if achieved by ignoring or kicking out dissenting voices.)
Even if we did not agree, I like J. a lot. He was someone in the movement that I was very friendly with, as he was willing to listen, even when I criticized. [As stated in the Torah, aka the Bible, a sign of someone intelligent is his or her appreciation of criticism. After all, if the criticism is true, then the person becomes aware so to improve. If the criticism is false, then the person has an opportunity to correct and set straight the misguided accuser. Someone foolish, however, does not appreciate criticism. For reasons egotistic, such person prefers not to know that that he or she is potentially going astray. These are people who would even go so far as to rather die than be wrong. (Note that sometimes low self-esteem is the cause of not wanting criticism. However, this can still be defined as egotism, as it is the fragile ego not wanting the truth.)]
This considered, I will here mention two revelatory incidents that happened between me and J. (Dear J.: I hope there are no hurt feelings by these revelations, whose mention here I feel is necessary):
1) Once, J. and I together left 60 Wall St. heading toward Zuccotti. Off the corner of Broadway, alongside one of the food kiosks, an Occupier was passed out on the sidewalk. I immediately rushed to the person’s aide. Maybe he had hit his head while he had fallen! I didn’t know. J., however, felt he had better things to do than deal with this Occupier who he thought was just drunk (although that was just his assumption). J. headed toward McDonald’s, although I called the paramedics, scared to even touch the non-responsive, but breathing person, as he may have broken or fractured a bone.
It took a while for the paramedics to come, and J. had returned from McDonald’s, now heading down Broadway in the direction of the OWS storage space. When he passed me, he literally snickered at me, remarking that I was such a chump to be wasting my time paying attention to that guy on the ground. I don’t even recall that he stopped as he passed. His remarkably callous attitude shocked me.
The police and paramedics eventually came, the police coming first. This officer, when he saw the Occupier on the ground, rushed at him in a manner that seemed like he was going to kick him awake. I therefore immediately threw my arm in front of the officer so to protect the Occupier. The officer had to stop his inappropriate aggression because of my intervention. However, the officer then turned to me, and in a very nasty, brutal way, said that I had better never do something like that again! How dare I get in the way of what he was doing!
Despite this pig’s brutality (this cop justifiably being called a pig), I’m not sure who was better or worse, J. or the cop? The cop, eventually at least, did get the kid to the help he needed. Further to wonder, if the kid really was drunk or on heavy drugs, did he get himself that way because he so needed to fill an emotional void because of the general lack of caring from persons in the movement and in society at large who were like the ignoring, snickering J.?
So when J. made his speech at Spokes about steamrollering dissent, do recognize that underlying such speech, was the same character that allowed him to treat this truly pathetic Occupier in such careless fashion. I therefore also wonder if it not a similar or even worse character underlying those in the majority who applauded J.’s speech?
2) The second incident involving J. happened on a walk back to Zuccotti from Spokes. Thereon, he told me that he felt that it was often like “walking on eggshells” dealing with a number of powerful persons in the OWS movement. You know, putting up with the whole “politically correct” mentality.
This comment reveals quite a lot about the nature of someone who wants to steamroller dissent. To begin, someone who will continually stress himself out by walking on eggshells so as not to shake the ego of others, surely has little self-respect. This considered, someone with so little respect to not even care about his own feelings, would seemingly care equivalently little about the feelings of others. This seems to be the character of someone willing to trample on minority rights, as he tramples on his own.
Also to recognize, that someone too frightened to bruise powerful egos is an obsequious brownnoser following fools. Why fools? As explained, the foolish do not like criticism, and anyone having to “walk on eggshells” must be dealing with persons who do not like to hear criticism. Therefore, J., who has been acquiescing to the leadership of fools, was that night in Spokes the one getting applause from the OWS majority. I, on the other hand, got cheers and applause when I announced on that later, fateful night of the D-17 proposal, that I was leaving the movement in protest. This majority who applauded my leaving, then also seemed to prefer not to hear the dissent that I had loudly been giving. Is it then any wonder that the action of taking Duarte Sq., which was led by and agreed to by fools, so miserably failed?
(Rereading the previous paragraph, my tone seems very harsh. While I am sorry if there are any hurt feelings, I’m leaving it in, as I really want people in OWS to WAKE UP!)
I should also say that I heard a report about the feelings of an Occupier after he was arrested on the D-17 action: He felt like a pawn of the guiding Bishop, who he thought had some private grudge against Trinity. This considered, it is near needless to say how fools are more easily turned into pawns.
[A bit more regarding “walking on eggshells,” I also here remind that in Spokes there was repeated, outright racism against Caucasians that was accepted by the majority. I think I was the first one to disrupt Spokes to loudly speak against it. Some vilified me as “disruptive” for my actions (seemingly in the same way Rosa Parks was vilified by some for being disruptive; “How dare she not get up!” “How dare she cause the bus to be late!”). However, I got appreciation by enough persons afterwards to know that many had felt that what was going on was wrong, but did not have the individual courage to say anything. Therefore, happy-belated MLK day 2012, and I too pray for the day when we truly can be judged not by the color of our skins, but by the content of our characters.]
Before the D-17 action, I also spoke to two well known clergy who were very involved in in D-17 from the OWS side. I told them my serious concern about how there were now those in the movement willing to die for the cause. To my great chagrin, these clergy responded with something like an unsurprised “What’s new?” They said that all such movements have adherents willing to die for the cause. I then realized that the moral, theological leadership behind D-17 was corrupt.
Some may say that I was being thin-skinned by my spontaneous anger that night. However, I say that my anger was justifiable. I had legitimate concern that the movement was that night literally being ruined. My protest was then necessary to make a point, so to, in future, try to save the movement (as I hope to do so now with this letter, by opening people’s eyes).
Can I credibly say “ruined”? Is this not over-dramatic? I don’t think so. Consider the following (forgive the extreme example, but I am using it to make a point): What is the difference between a freedom fighter and a terrorist, other than the true righteousness of the freedom fighter’s cause, and the lack of righteousness in the terrorist’s?
For instance, consider the Allied war against Nazi Germany. This seems to be the war that most would agree was justified. After all, the Nazi’s were heinous oppressors, perhaps even the worst in human history. Therefore, as power allows one to oppress more, it was even morally obligatory to fight against Nazi Germany so that they were less empowered. This is in the same way that it is appropriate to come to the aid, even by force, of those being subjected to genocide.
As the Allied bombing of Nazi Germany did far more damage than the two terrorist commandeered planes attacking NYC’s Twin Towers, again, what is the difference between terrorists and freedom fighters, if not merely the difference in the righteousness of their causes? Similarly, it was not considered murder, but justice when an unrepentant, cold-blooded killer was executed for his crimes, despite there then having been two persons dead instead of only one.
While these are very extreme examples, nevertheless, the principle remains true even when dealing with persons or movements that are misguided to even a much lesser degree. Keep this in mind, and also recognize that to whatever degree a movement is misguided, to that same degree it is not righteous. So if an in-whatever-degree incorrect movement has violent elements within who are willing to die for the cause, there is a corresponding to-whatever-degree higher probability for wrongful hurt or even death for someone not just in the movement, but also without it during an action by the movement.
Therefore, I do not see that I had any other choice but to that night leave OWS, when the GA, the movement’s governing body, approved a very misguided action where someone willing to die for the cause, who was also violent, spoke on the action’s behalf, so to influence Occupiers to approve the action.
I should also say that I was not offended by all the applause and cheers from the crowd when I announced I was leaving the movement. My self-esteem was not bruised by such majority dislike. I try not to be so foolish that my ego is in need of being coddled; seemingly like those OWS leaders that J. and all other OWS’ers who force themselves to walk on eggshells follow. After the hateful applause broke out, it made me realize just what a great number of persons were like in the movement. (I also remembered previously, once at Spokes, when nearly half the persons there raised their hands to vote against me speaking even for a work group report-back. Such hatred! And why? For doing the morally correct thing against the “politically correct” majority wishes. For having courage to time and time again to make a stand.)
Thank God I learned that night of the D-17 proposal about OWS’s majority heart. As the truth sets one free, from that point I better learned who deserves my love, energy, and attention. (Although, to give the movement credit, in my mind, what OWS had been reduced to was a far cry from what the movement once was. Also, there where a number of individuals in the movement who I knew really cared for an appreciated me. A number even apologized for the way I was that night treated, and have asked me to reverse my position and stay.)
I should also say that the D-17 proposal being passed was my final straw on top of all the other issues that I had with what I believed had become a movement being led by those very misguided. It was not a secret how the Solidarity group had been for a while fighting what it considered to be the promotion of violence by the Spokes Council majority. Please remember that against my wishes and the wishes of the Solidarity group, the OWS majority, for just two persons, paid $50,000 bail for charges related to incitement to violence and potential violence. Regarding the first charge, from multiple sources, an Occupier threatened violence, including the use of Molotov cocktails. The other charge, as mentioned, pertained to an Occupier arrest for an unregistered gun while en route to Zuccotti. Occupiers close to this person admitted that the gun was his.
It should also be said, that in sleazy lawyer-like fashion, the legal team, when trying to secure this second $25,000 bail, mislead the Spokes Council into believing that the charges were perhaps false, that is, that the police maybe planted the gun. However, legal knew all along that the charges were true. Solidarity, at a subsequent Spokes Council, tried to have this bail issue revisited, so to fix the problem. However, the spoke who had spoken for legal on the $25,000 proposal, was now the facilitator at Spokes that was handling the Solidarity fix! This facilitator then refused to step down despite the conflict of interest! Solidarity’s proposal then did not pass, and, to my knowledge, legal has never responded to these charges.
I do not know why the majority of OWS has turned such a blind eye to these once well publicized Solidarity accusations. After all, surely police brutality has been worse against Occupiers because of paying these mentioned bails, and the continuing payment of bails for persons involved even in violent acts. Why has the brutality surely been worse? Because by nature the police will have been more on edge, knowing that OWS has allowed violent individuals again in their midst at OWS events. So why is it that Occupiers do not care that their own well-being is continually being jeopardized?
This is just the beginning of how misguided I felt the movement had become. And even worse, hypocritical; acting like the 1% that the movement was supposedly protesting. After one Spokes meeting at Walker a while back, there was a continuation at Zuccotti. There was a continuation as Spokes had ended in severe disarray; in large part due to my justifiable protest over a Facilitation meeting that had banned men from speaking.
[I say “justifiable,” even if the whole Facilitation group claims otherwise. For those unaware of the situation, Facilitation, who has an obligation to be neutral and fair, decided, by their vote, not mine, to ban men from speaking at one Facilitation meeting. I happened to come to this meeting and desired to be put on stack. I was told I couldn’t, as I was a man. I was surprised, as Facilitation is meant to be an open meeting for all to attend so to take care of potentially very important issues. Also recall all the problems that have existed regarding bias in Facilitation, that the group has time and time again exasperatingly brushed-off by saying, “Well, just come to one of the Facilitation meetings to solve the problem!” So I get to one of the Facilitation meetings and then I cannot speak? Not go on stack? All because I am a man! Further, I did not significantly disrupt the meeting until I was told that Facilitation would specifically not be giving men a day just to speak, to balance this sexism of women only speaking.
[In any event, there is more to the story, as well as more justification for my actions for which I have been so wrongly vilified (I have been wrongly called a misogynist, viciously told by one woman not to dare even stand next to her, etc.) . There are also a number of persons who have been very angry at me without even having been there, including the mature L. of Facilitation. No doubt this is in part due to certain flat out lies spread about me, including by B. of Facilitation and Finance, who stated that I called her a b-i-t-c-h, which is 100% not true. For whatever reason, B. lied. My only foul word, if it can be called foul, was calling a man “pussy-whipped.” Additionally, at the time I apologized for my usage of this word.
[I should also say it is not only incredibly hypocritical, but even ridiculous for many Occupiers to state that I had no right to occupy that Facilitation meeting in protest, considering that the movement’s whole reason for being is to occupy space in the name of rightful protest! While I may have been brash, this was also due to Facilitation’s past behavior that was so biased, particularly involving their handling of the bail issues. Therefore, this sexism, on top of the bias, promotion of violence, and racism against Caucasians that the majority allowed and even promoted (I am not here saying that there was not also racism against minority groups at OWS. However, such racism was not allowed by the majority as was racism against Caucasians), was something like “the straw that broke the camel’s back.”
[I should also say that I later went to Facilitation to try to mend the issue. However, Facilitation gave it only a few moments, not wanting to really get to the bottom of the matter. It seemed to me that they did not want to do so, as deep down they knew they were wrong, and it was simply more convenient for their egos to vilify me. It was largely due to my being unjustly vilified for doing what was right, that caused so many at Spokes, as mentioned, to vote to not allow me to speak during group report-back. (Note that this vote against me at Spokes was caught on film by Lulu. However, she has refused to release the video, as it seems to reflect so poorly on many at OWS, while it makes me, and rightly so, appear to be very abused.)
That after-Spokes Zuccotti meeting was led by N. of Facilitation. I protested against her leading it, although my concern fell on deaf ears. I asked N. not to lead that night, as she had a conflict of interest, as she was involved in the women-only Facilitation meeting that I had protested which had led to my protest at Spokes. (It should also be said, that at that women-only speaking Facilitation meeting, other men also stated that they did not like this women-only format. Despite this, it was announced and agreed to by a number of women after the meeting, including N., that they really liked the way the meeting turned out and hoped to do the same thing again! These women then seemed to me selfish and cruel. How was it when there was such a protest, that they can so happily want to do the same thing over?
In any event, N. did not excuse herself from facilitating this after-Spokes meeting. Therein, I was put on a long stack to explain why I had disrupted Spokes.
Due to certain events that happened in the park, including some emergency with some bag left at the gate, I was called away from the meeting. I therefore never got to speak as I missed my chance on stack. However, it happened that Russell Simmons came to the park that night. As he was so famous and had given so much money for the movement, he got to speak right away. After he left, I walked with him for a bit with a group from OWS. However, I did not have a chance to say to him fully what I wished to say. Therefore, as he had gone into a building, I decided to write him a note and put it on his windscreen, as his super fancy, Rolls Royce-like car was parked outside. However, as I was finishing the note, his driver came out of the building to get into the car. I therefore said to the driver if he could pass a message to Mr. Simmons. The driver, in outrageously haughty 1% fashion, did not pay me any attention. It was as if I didn’t exist! He didn’t stop, didn’t respond, and didn’t even look at me. He just got into the car and drove away. Wow, I marveled regarding this guy’s level of extreme haughtiness, and he was just Mr. Simmon’s driver!
I then returned to the park and found OWS media interviewing N. on camera. When this camerawoman was done, I asked her if she shouldn’t also be filming me? After all, I was the one who had such an issue with Spokes, and had made such a protest there, so to be even the primary cause of this whole after-Spokes meeting. The OWS media woman, giving some lame excuse, refused to film me. Sadly, OWS media seemed to have become as self serving as the mass media. N., gracefully, then admitted that there were systemic problems in the movement. This “systemic problems in the movement” comment of N., further gracefully, also took into account her not giving a chance for me to air my views, which on that night was perhaps the most important view to air, as I had been the one who so disrupted Spokes, and in my mind rightfully so.
This incident with Mr. Simmons was minor compared to what happened one night with Ben Cohen, the Ben of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, who has supported OWS a lot. It was he who filed the paperwork to make OWS a non-profit. It happened that I was in Finance at the end of a day and met Ben, who was there with a woman in real estate named Jamie. We all left together and were walking down Broadway. Jamie wanted to talk to me as she had travelled to Israel. She also said that they were all going to have a drink, and why don’t I come along? I accepted the invite. Right before we got to the restaurant, called the Federal Café, an Occupier who I had not seen in a while was on that street corner. I therefore stopped to speak to him and told Jamie that I would be coming in. Even though I wanted the great opportunity to speak to Ben, this marginalized Occupier was one of the flock and deserving of greeting.
This Occupier happened to have a cat with him who was clawing at a different restaurant’s window. I looked and it was a sushi restaurant. I then told the Occupier to wait, and that I would get his cat some fish, which I did. Only after, did I go into the Federal Café. When I got there, I was told by the approx. 15 members of the Organization group that was seemingly being led by H., that they were having a private meeting only for members of the group. They said it was a group policy that I couldn’t come. I said fine, and then just asked Ben if he would be so kind as to speak to me privately for a moment. Ben got up and we went into a corner. I then told him that I was having severe issues with the movement and needed help to deal with them. He then just got angry and said, in pure 1% fashion, “I can’t deal with this!” He then immediately returned to his seat. It so happened that I then overheard someone from this get-together say to another at the get-together something that made me realize that this was not some group meeting, but a social event. I then asked if this was a social event, and it turned out that it was. I had been lied to just to get me not to attend!
I then gave the group a piece of my mind, going so far as to claim that they were being anti-Semitic in their rude exclusion of me, their behavior truly befitting of the exclusionary 1% that they were meant to be protesting against. (Note, I was later told that Jamie was not a member of Organization, but had been invited by a group member to come. Therefore, each and every person at that gathering had the privilege of inviting me to stay. However, each and every one decided that they would rather see me leave.) I also told this group in my outrage that I had more consideration for an animal, the cat I had just gone out of my way for to buy fish, than they had for a human being. (In some fairness to Ben and his dismissal of me, I realized afterward that his mind must have been poisoned about me by the group, for when I walked in, the whole group, in prepared fashion, let me know that I was not welcome.)
I should also say that the next day H. did not apologize for his actions. He had not at all felt guilty. Rather, he just continued to act rude and mean. He was even very upset at me. I imagine because his super, 1-percenter friend Ben was likely very offended that there was such a public scene made in his presence. H. also said that I complained too much. Rather, it seemed H. more wanted pats on the back for all the wonderful, great things he was doing.
I was also once in the OWS office having rushed to get to Finance before it closed. When I got there it was just 5PM, so Finance didn’t let me into their room. However, I wanted to speak to G. (a different “G.”) about something for just a moment, and asked one of the receptionists could go inside and ask him to please come out. The receptionist did and then returned. A moment later I saw a hand grip the half-open door’s edge as if a person was about to come out, but had turned his head back so to speak to someone in the room. I knew this person was G. by his faded, red nail polish. However, I then overheard the Finance group inside loudly vote for him not to meet me! He then went back inside the room, never coming out. (It is a shame more persons do not understand that peace is only possible when no one is excluded.)
On a different tack, I would also like a brief discussion on the following paragraph, which is a true precept that I penned that was distributed in written form at Spokes by Solidarity group. It pertains to getting the haves, the 1%, to share more of their wealth:
MEETING BASIC NEEDS: GOOD FOR RICH AND POOR ALIKE!
The most materially selfish persons in the upper class, those most against compromise, by nature want to hold on to their wealth and power. However, even they can understand how at least granting a minimally equitable resource division so that the basic needs of the populace are satisfied, is actually in this upper class’ best interest. Such a division is so in the interest of the rich, for as a populace becomes more satisfied, by nature there is less likelihood of revolt, so that the rich can more likely maintain their wealth.
This is a true principle that is never going to change. Therefore, it can be utilized to get the wealthy to part with enough of their wealth so to enrich the poor with at least their basic needs, as is not now happening in society, where even children regularly go hungry.
However, OWS, which is supposedly about getting a greater share of the wealth for the masses, didn’t run with this message. They did not do so, even though the message, if properly disseminated and forced through the media, is so obligatorily sensible, so to seemingly make every single, presidential candidate, Democrat, Republican, or otherwise, adopt it as part of his or her platform. After all, it is win-win for everybody.
So why didn’t OWS run with the message? I only hope not for the same reason as one purported “peace” organization I once met with. This organization, supposedly dedicated to peace, got very angry by my promotion of this message. They were so upset, as they wanted much more than this message freely offered them. Assurance of basic needs was not enough for them! It was after this that I realized that the organization did not really have the heart of peacemakers, but rather of the greedy and even of thieves.
So what do the past number of pages have to do with me not being a cop? As I can only go so far as to convince someone I am not a police officer or informant by stating that I am not, the preceding was designed to show that it is not possible that I am an informant or cop, as surely an undercover or an informant could never have the same mindset as the person who lived and wrote the previous.
Also, I assure everyone that I do not now, nor have I ever worked in any capacity (including being an informant) for any governmental law enforcement agency. Further, those who know me, whether they agree with my views or not, should at least surely admit that I am passionate about my beliefs. I am not one to bottle myself up. Therefore, as there are so many governmental laws on the books that I strongly disagree with, it should be recognized how improbable it is that I could be the least bit psychologically able to work for a governmental law enforcement agency. I would hope it was obvious that I do not have the character of being able to sell out my soul. However, someone who is a secret law enforcement officer or an informant must have a psychology of keeping his or her true feelings in check, otherwise he or she can be detected. Those who know me well enough, would therefore laugh at the accusation of me being a cop or informant, as if I of all people could ever possibly hold my true feelings in check! Ha, ha, ha.
I also mention the further ridiculousness of me being a cop or informant, due to the fact that the job of such a person is to gather surreptitious information about the group being infiltrated. It therefore makes no logical sense that someone who was an undercover agent or informant would so publicly leave the group as I did! If such person did, he or she would then be out of a job as one could then not gather information. Therefore, such an accusation of me being an undercover agent is obviously false.
So why has this slander been spread? I speculate due to an effort to discredit me, out of fear of me publicizing the true incidents that surrounded my distancing myself from the NYC OWS. Importantly, this slander of me being an undercover agent or informant did not surface until just after I publicly distanced myself from the movement. It therefore seems no coincidence that when I recently saw G. (the first “G.”), guess who he happened to be with? Andy! The one who screamed at me, saying that I was a cop!
~ ~ ~
I also want to say something about the National Defense Authorization Act. The NDAA has been the subject of much protest and action in OWS. It has been claimed that the NDAA has now given an authority to the government to arrest U.S. citizens and indefinitely hold them without charges.
This is not true.
The NDAA did no such thing. There are specific, clearly stated exemptions for U.S. citizens and residents listed in the NDAA. For those of you who question this and find it hard to believe that you have been so misled, please investigate the matter yourself. When doing so, you will find that the highly controversial sections of the NDAA specifically state:
“Nothing (emphasis added) in this section shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities, relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States.”
Meaning, even non-U.S. citizen, Al-Qaeda agents that are captured in the U.S. cannot be held indefinitely without charges!
It also states: “Applicability to United States Citizens and Lawful Resident Aliens.--
(1) United states citizens.--The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend (emphasis added) to citizens of the United States.
(2) Lawful resident aliens.--The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend (emphasis added) to a lawful resident alien of the United States on the basis of conduct taking place within the United States, except to the extent permitted by the Constitution of the United States.”
Meaning, NDAA changed nothing as pertains to U.S. citizens and residents. This is not to say that other, prior laws or authorities greatly infringed on U.S. citizen rights (for instance, for the past 11 years, those considered to be somehow involved in the 9/11 attack, even if U.S. citizens, can apparently be held indefinitely). However, the NDAA itself didn’t change a thing. So why all the hoopla?
Go ahead, check this out yourself at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-112s1867es/html/BILLS-112s1867es.htm
I mention all this here, as I was myself was hooked into this scam, thinking that suddenly U.S. citizens could now be held without charges if they were considered terrorists. This is one reason why I delayed writing and publicizing this letter. After all, knowing how corrupt government can get (Reuters has even reported that the White House potentially targets U.S. citizens for assassination!), I was concerned that if I publicized the information that OWS members, some of whom were known to be violent, were now willing to die for the cause, the group could be branded as a terrorist organization and members subject to detention.
~ ~ ~
*** (These asterisks pertain to those from page 8) I here relate certain events that happened to me on New Year’s which reminded me of the hundreds that passed me by when I was screaming for help during the new tent construction at Zuccotti:
Early in the AM of New Year’s, ahead of me, I saw a woman being literally attacked by a man, so that she fell to the sidewalk! I ran to help, and loudly screamed for others to get involved. No one else did. Due to a red light, a car even pulled up, with a man driving and a woman in the passenger seat. I called for them to call 911, as I couldn’t then take my eyes off the situation so to protect the woman from further harm. His window was a bit open, and he just said “F this shit!” and drove away. I then had to chase, at a distance, the attacker down the street, while on the phone with 911 and screaming for help. No one helped. Passers-by, who had no idea what was going on, even said, “Don’t call the cops!” Finally, I managed to flag a police car and get some officers to give chase to the man, just as the 911 operator was getting my location. I then said to the operator that the cops were now all over the guy. The operator then asked if the call could be cancelled, as there was no need to send further officers. In a surreal moment, I responded “Yes.”
It turned out that the woman was emotionally linked to the other man. It was a situation of domestic abuse. When the woman was found, she did not want to press charges. In fact, like many abused women, she wanted to go home with the man. Therefore the police could do nothing, despite one of them speaking to another witness who saw the woman being attacked.
That man, back with the woman, were now across the street stopped by three officers. I did not want to get close to that man, so that he could get a better look at me. I therefore told the one officer with me to at the least please tell the woman that she is potentially risking her life in the future if she stayed with that man. The officer said he wouldn’t say it, as he didn’t see anything happen. I then said to him that he could say it in the following manner: “Ma’am, I didn’t see what happened, so there is nothing I can do. However, if that man did truly hit you as has been reported, you should know that you are risking your life if you continue to stay with him.”
The policeman refused to say it! He didn’t care enough to do the most that he could, which in truth wasn’t all that much in that circumstance, literally just saying a couple of sentences. Because I knew that I would have guilt in the future if I did not do my best and try, by good advice, to save even the life of this woman, I then went across the street and said to the woman what the officer refused to. I then finally left the scene disgustedly telling that officer that he was worthlessly soaking up taxpayer dollars with his salary, as he considered it too much to give this woman some good advice that could even save her life.
Later I was in a sitting on a lobby bench while a number of persons were standing waiting in line to get into a club. Suddenly the lobby fire alarm went off (we knew it was a false alarm, as the guy doing check-in didn’t react). It was so loud that it hurt my ears, and I had to plug them with two fingers. However, I could not then just leave and go into the outside cold, as my coat was off. I also could not pick up my heavy coat and take it, as I was using both hands to plug my ears. I was therefore left staring out at the about eight other people in the lobby. Not a single one of them plugged their ears, even though they were all closer to the actual alarm that was under the door than I.
As they were not plugging their ears, I decided to get up and parade myself in front of them with my ears plugged. I also told them to do the same, but not a single one did! They just continued to stand in line as if nothing was going on. After a couple of minutes (the alarm wasn’t able to be shut until the Fire Dept. arrived), the noise was starting to really agitate me even though my ears were plugged. I then, with three fingers and a thumb of one hand, and with its index still plugging an ear, did my best to grab my coat and leave. On the way out I stopped and strongly berated the group, screaming at them over the alarm that they needed to show themselves some self-respect. I too said that they were all really cheap, as they did not care about their own physical beings. [Note: I knew that the alarm was too loud and hurt a normal person’s ears. It was not me being over-sensitive. Nevertheless, when I got outside I asked someone else who had left the club if the alarm hurt his ears (he did not leave the club because of the alarm, rather, he left because he then happened to be leaving the club through the lobby). He said it did.
When I later thought of all those who didn’t help when the woman was attacked, and all those persons standing on line as if the deafening alarm wasn’t going off, I was reminded of all the Occupiers who passed me by that day when I was screaming for help. It also reminded me of many other times that I have, with good cause, thrown a fit at some OWS event, while others at OWS just ignored my complaints as if they were baseless, or as if I was just some loony bin.
The New Year’s events, especially the alarm, also made me realize why humanity is doing relatively little about global warming, nuclear waste being poured into the ocean, wars, famines, calamities, etc. How can people care about such distant things when they don’t even about themselves give a sufficient damn? (Excuse my strong use of language.)
So what can be done to change all this? Have courage! Because courage is so needed, that is why it is also crucial to promote non-violence. After all, it is much harder to have courage when one can be physically attacked. This is simply how it is: While it is certainly admirable to have courage when potentially subjected only to ridicule for doing so, that level of courage is less than the level needed when one can be subjected to physical abuse for one’s taking of a stand.
While the courage that so many of you have displayed being part of OWS is highly admirable, more is needed. You need the courage to also purify the movement from the inside. How can the movement fight corruption if it is itself corrupt? This considered, I would love to come back to OWS, but my doing so in contingent upon the actions of others, as it exhausted me to do what I did with so little support, and with so much vilification for doing what I thought was right.
I also think it important that the movement recognize the limitations of democracy: Democracy is only as good as the majority in the democracy. If the majority are bad, then the society is forced to go bad as well, for in a democracy majority rules. OWS needs principles that never chance. Hence why the Principles of Solidarity document that Solidarity was revising was and is so important, as it was based on unchanging social rules (the rule of non-violence having been previously explained).
Finally, recognize that violence to achieve an end, and the allowance of violence to achieve an end (“might makes right”), is one of the world’s great evils. It is the opposite of civility and peaceful co-existence. In is also stupid, as in the long run it is counter productive: With the exception of true self-defense which can teach a lesson, getting one’s way by force works only so long as one has physical superiority. When such superiority is eventually lost, circumstances for those who had oppressed are then worse than before. Think of the terrible fate of tyrants when they are finally overthrown.
Non-violent mutuality is then the only method for achieving lasting peace, for any dispute becomes more peaceful when all benefit or when all make equal compromise. This process requires intelligence, for the present and future needs of all must be considered for long term peace. A lack of consideration for even one party naturally leads to oppression, which can then lead to conflict.
While compromise does require some sacrifice, if all are fairly doing so, there is natural compensation for such. For one, there is greater long-term security as there is more peace. Also, inequality breeds hate, while equality breeds consideration and love. Therefore, fair societies and groups more abound in love, and love, the greatest of emotions, fills any void and compensates for any sacrifice: Those with love are not only happy to go without so that their loved ones have, but insist upon it.
For these reasons I kicked up such a fuss when I felt that minority rights were trampled upon by the OWS majority. I knew that steamrollering serious concerns only created problems in the future, as it created a minority that is more oppressed. Now just think of all the issues that now exist in OWS because rights were trampled upon as opposed to being properly dealt with.
As there is no time like the present to finally deal with these issues, I hope to hear from like-minded persons so to salvage the moral heart of OWS. Hopefully we can take OWS back from those consciously, subconsciously, or unwittingly intent on destroying it, or intent on removing its moral bite. I also hope to hear from not like-minded persons, if it is thought that there is some flaw in my statement of facts or in my theory. I am certainly willing to hear another opinion. I also apologize for any upset I may have caused. However, I was trying to do by best. No doubt I can do better, be more graceful, etc. We can always improve.