(NOTE: I wrote this a couple weeks ago for the huffington post, but they haven’t published it so whatever here it is )
Nobody understands Occupy Wall Street. At least not in the media. It is clear now, more than ever, how important framing is to politics in this country. We aren’t even being given the opportunities to ask the right questions about the Occupy movement, much less answer them. Media coverage reduces Occupy Wall Street to a protest about market regulation, and the bloodstained greedy hands of the 1 %. Even Liberal media doesn’t begin to suspect the power nascent at Liberty Plaza. Occupy Wall Street is about total revolution, just not the one you were expecting. Occupy Wall Street is a revolution in the lived lives of its participants. We should all be inspired by this.
Occupy Wall Street should be understood as a conference, not a protest. It is about sharing an emotional and social experience that creates a space for the unforeseen. It is a testament to the tenacity and creativity of a rag-tag group of people who are acutely aware of the fundamental space behind the curtain we have been presented as common sense reality. Capitalist sorcery is real and circumscribes our entire conversation about the potential for more fulfilling and just lives. We can barely begin to speak about, much less, address the dread and self-loathing that true consciousness engenders under present circumstances.
Of course, I cannot write “magic” and “true consciousness” without the need for a warning that I don’t mean New Age-y babble. Do you understand the power at play here? That I can barely speak of magic, even though it is quite literally the binding agent that defines the world around us? That a type of sorcery has been committed against us all, bearing branded sigils of protection against an outside world we see through the lens of a financially driven social system that has not, does not and never will serve us.
Occupy Wall Street is merely a charged space to draw energy from. It is not the solution. It is not the sign of the impending collapse. It is a place to share and dwell in power and resources, to visualize the possibilities for lives that overflow with fulfillment. Its real value is not in the demands it makes, or its duration, but merely in its existence. Occupy Wall Street tells white people what brown people have known for so long in America. This place is not for you. We will kill you if you get out of line. Stories of bootstrap success are no longer enough to keep us complacent. We are not bitter that we are not rich. We are bitter that a system exists where in the myth of a free and fair market confines us all. Living an entirely new life is only the beginning of necessary change. The fact that the job market is shit and that over seven million Americans are in jail, on parole or probation is one of many signs of the hubris of Capital — how lazy the system became in the face of its own largess. Job creation does not solve the problems that created the global Occupy movement. People want fulfillment, not just something to fill the time.
Still, we must ask, what is next? We must ask ourselves what resources we do control. To bring fulfillment into your life is the most radical act possible given the current degradation of life. We are being killed by the food we eat, the air we breathe and the media that enchants us to believe our dissatisfaction has no root cause. Consumption is offered as the cure. Infinite choice proves we are unique human beings. Sure, it will be worse if Michele Bachmann becomes the next president, but my dissatisfaction runs so much deeper then caring which face is given to the Capitalist hydra we let guard us. Occupy Wall Street is one expression of a universal need for meaning, regardless of political posturing.
We must begin by examining our lives. This is not a question of what consumptive choices you make, but what productive forces you unleash onto the world. We all have the potential to create spaces for fulfillment in our lives. What is the passion that drives you? Is it aligned with every moment of your life? What are the fantasies you have let wither inside you in fear of their impossibilities? Now is the time to bring them to the fore and think creatively about actualizing them. We are all deeply resourceful in our creativity and need only to be reminded of our true potential. Begin with small negotiable tasks like eating well, and creating time to do the activities that bring you the most joy. With each small step, the path becomes easier. #OCCUPYEVERYTHING