November 24, 2011
Nonviolence Is Creative
The mono-culture of Consumer Society - this corporate economy - can only be created by threatening us with loss of our good looks, status, youth and power. They want us to quietly believe that without their products we will suffer the annihilation of our personal identity.
And what does this psychic aggression have to do with the police I found surrounding Zuccotti Square this afternoon? A longing for a very recent pleasure of freedom from corporate bullying swept through us as we stared at the empty square. When we lived in that little plot of granite, there were no corporations. There were no threats. We had a gift economy. We were being of service to one another. It was a civil revolution. What am I saying? It still is.
What was it that made journalists froth at the mouth and cops come running with their pepper spray on September 17th? At least part of it was - we were starting a new economy. Their products were not inside the square to supervise our desires. And - once Consumerism is established as the dominant economy, it is far easier to militarize police and physically attack those who resist the allegiance to corporations. Yes it is surprising that the shift from psychic to physical violence is that automatic. But sure enough - once Consumerism was banned from a small patch of ground - especially public space in the shadow of Wall Street - that armed police were terrorized and the logos on the sides of the surrounding buildings seemed to angrily glow.
The police are paid directly by big corporations. So they are both city cops and rent-a-cops. They are still spending the 4.5 million given them by JP Morgan Chase shortly after the takeover of the square on September 17th. Was that extraordinary pay-out really a gift to the city to restore order in the face of anarchists? No, of course not. The institution sitting on the top of the present economy saw a clear threat to their scam. The gift economy aspect of Occupy Wall Street was immediately vilified in the commercial press as hippy-esque, bongo-ridden and noble-but-naive. We didn't listen to those people, watching their anger alongside that of the cops. And that was before two thousand Occupy sites erected their tents around the world. We were learning to start a democracy from scratch, and found it fascinating, and still do, and so do more and more people.
How far will police and law enforcement agencies go in attacking those who enter public space and stay there together, these islands of no Consumerism? At what point does a policeman admit that the refusal to cooperate with consumerism is not grounds for violence? If they are violent, then they have made their choice. But we will continue to say (without violence but full of conviction!) that you police are part of the 99% and - we welcome you!