ROLLING BLACKOUTS sound more fun than they actually are
Its Just Another Day at the Park
SUDDENLY stars surrounded the sound space and surprised the submissive listener. Guns were drawn and battle plans were etched in dirt. Its unknown who will come out victorious but it seems that someone must. The ravenous squirrels in the park on Oregon Ave. know no boundaries- jumping from tree to tree and onto benches and into trash cans searching for food and chasing each other. On some benches laid seemingly homeless men and a few women as well. Beer cans of the malt liquor variety filled the trash cans.
KNOWING the time of day and how the game gets played Hugh knew nothing new ever happens. Its just another day at the park. Its always the same sad songs with grey clouds serving as the time keeper. Old men in old man sunglasses and bored workers and then his self all wasting life, all with nothing better to spend life on. He wasn’t afraid of being alone or not having a home. He just dreaded living. Step by step, the same damn sad songs plodded along- this time with sunshine playing rhythm guitar and stars (hidden) hitting tambourines. Damn ugly crying babies.
IF for no other reason, Hugh knew that he needed to get clean because he was tired. Tired of the ride, he thought to himself, as he sat on a park bench. It bored him- only sober life bored him more and therein laid the predicament. Still, he had to at least try. It works if you work it! Assholes, he thought. Testifying about nothing… Drunk on group hysteria… Its impossible to tread even ground. There’s always more space and more meaningless places to create voids and then attempt to fill them. Yip-yapping passersby… ITT Technical Institute, Bensalem, Pa advertisement on the side of a bus… Hugh thought further back and remembered a time when he heard a man once say into a cell phone, “I can’t use a cell phone in here- this is going to have to be quick.” Let’s suffice all this to say that Hugh’s life was a meal which had been inadvertently prepared with way too much salt and rendered inedible.
Can’t Win Anything; Penn’s (Mis)Landing
I. Come Down
With the speed gone, the fun of the game dried up like blood left at a crime scene. Delusions of grandeur and success got replaced with sober and ugly realities. Again (and again and always alone) this time sitting on a park bench at Philadelphia’s Penn’s Landing, looking out at the Delaware River and across to the neighboring state of New Jersey and its Camden waterfront. Having just wrote a letter, a potential transmission from heart to heart, there sprang no better feelings or release. Nothing’s ever any better because the realities are still the same: alone and broke again. Again without anything; nothing of substance anyway… I suppose these are merely high class problems in comparison to those which exist around the world.
II. Come Further Down
All I really want is a drink. One burning shot of whiskey will fix me; then another. Or maybe; some rum… He and I haven’t spoken for awhile. Something over ice or with water… Something, anything, other than vodka; because, were not talking anymore. We had a falling out of sorts. Anything other than foul, cheap, corn-colored American beer- she and I have so many problems that I don’t even know where to begin. All I know is that I need something as the wind annoys me, as do the ripples in the water, and the stickiness of the perspiration caused by the heat of the sun upon my face, and these same fucking clothes, always here, always following, always grabbing the wrong parts of my body. I’m convinced that my body is sick. If my mind goes, I won’t be able to take it.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Messaging Working Group
Broad St. & Market St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
KEEP OCCUPYING EVERYTHING: Action Survey
Results and Locating Pathways to Keep Moving Forward
Within the financial industry, neoliberal doctrine informed the promotion of loose governmental regulations, encouraged speculation, and made a strong reliance on market logic appear rational; all of which resulted in the housing market bubble and bust and the subsequent financial industry collapse in 2008. In reaction to the collapse, the US government responded by resuscitating the failing private banks with public taxpayer money, channeled through the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). Since the financial industry collapse and its state aided recovery, the general public within the US has had to contend with a poor economy, high unemployment, greater precariousness in the workplace, and increased amounts of personal debt and financial losses- most visibly seen in the form of homes lost to foreclosure.
Within this context, in mid-September 2011, activists descended upon Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan, New York City and established Occupy Wall St. to protest the current neoliberal informed workings of finance capital and its influence over and its immersion into the US political system. In solidarity with Occupy Wall St., similarly styled occupations were established in towns and cities nationwide, including here in Philadelphia.
In the course of forming Occupy Philly, it became apparent that many different issues were of concern to members of our community. In order to identify and address these issues, the Occupy Philly Messaging Working Group was formed. Over the course of the last few weeks the Messaging Working Group conducted surveys and compiled the resultant data. According to survey results across Local, State, National, and International categories; it was determined that the following issues were of concern to the Occupy Philly movement: Education, Economy/Jobs, Corporate/Private sector accountability, International Conflicts and Human Rights. The prevalent, persistent, and interconnected nature of these issues suggest that they are complex and not necessarily contingent upon local or state particularities; but rather, they are issues of wide concern with far reaching consequences for many people regardless of geographical location.
As we move forward and continue to explore these issues and search for solutions to our problems many fundamental questions will need to be confronted. Some of our now familiar refrains hint at these questions; “Banks got bailed out! / We got sold out!” highlights our government’s implication in re-establishing the neoliberal status quo within the financial industry, which occurred at the public’s expense- all while blind to the fact that neoliberal logic lead to the industry’s collapse in the first place. “Banks got bailed out! / We got sold out!” suggests indignation with the status quo and a strong desire for change; but, change is never easy.
Today, neoliberalism impacts nearly every facet of our society and our lives. Neoliberalism can be seen in the dominate role that corporations have assumed when it comes to influencing legislation that shapes our health care system. Neoliberalism is the driving force behind the increasing privatization of our public education system and neoliberalism fuels the proliferation of the for-profit prison system. Neoliberalism informs US foreign policy. Neoliberalism plays a role in determining how, where, and when we engage in international conflict- or if we decide to engage at all. Neoliberal logic drives the US military to apportion large amounts of its budget to private sector defense and contractor companies for their services in key military operations…
At some point it will need to be asked; do we, as a country want to continue our unambiguous support of neoliberalism’s preferment of private sector solutions to public problems? Is market logic always the best or most humane basis for decision making? Is a reliance on market logic always rational or pragmatic? How many more industries will we have to bailout after they’ve been gutted by a small few and then left in an entangled ruin? Let’s keep examining these issues and continue working towards solutions.
I was over at the Occupy Philly Media website; posting replies and engaging in discussion. I made some points that I wanted to re-post here:
This movement is based on liberal values: egalitarianism, inclusiveness, etc… ; and ideally liberal solutions: corporate accountability, enforced regulations, a general push back against neoliberalism.
If you believe in these things; especially here in the US, you are a minority- in every sense of the word. Ever been to a party where you’re the only _____ in a room full of _____?
“We” simply don’t have the numbers. I’d put the number of people who “truly” support liberal values and solutions within this country at around a maximum of 15% -20% of the total population.
So as you can see this puts us up against a whole barrage of opposition from people who “kinda-sorta understand and agree” to people who want to “straight destroy everything and everyone who aren’t them”.
The left has no power outside of people and we lack the numbers and all the cards are stacked against us- institutions, culture; and capital that flows through everything, are all controlled and arranged in a way to ensure that they are reproduced; which has ultimately resulted in our present day situation.
I think we’re just going to have to wait until people suffer more within this country and are forced to endure austerity measures and other restrictions to the material aspects of people’s lives. Then maybe culture will change and people will be more open to working towards “different” solutions to the problems of our times.
Never underestimate the power of stubborn, cynical, and selfish assholes to keep us stuck in the same shit generation after generation.
“Part of why the movement has been so important is that it has in some ways redefined what’s possible and actually opened up a visible conversation about how our political and economic systems don’t serve the vast majority of people in this country.”
I agree. We are talking; but, none of this is new…
Over the past few decades, social science research has routinely documented the trends that we are seeing and highlighting today; income and wealth inequality, increased amounts of neoliberal informed policy, stagnant wages, increased costs of higher education, etc…
“There’s definitely some kind of a political awakening going on in this country that’s neither liberal nor conservative (I certainly wouldn’t call myself a liberal, not to knock anybody who does). What we don’t know is how deep it runs and what kind of effect it will have in the long run.”
What brought people into the streets is directly related to the financial crisis and failed hope in Obama. The kicker is that even this was not enough to mobilize the left in a “mass” way… More suffering and hardship will probably be needed.
You are liberal by virtue of your interest in this movement; its just that the terms “liberal”/”progressive” have been so tarnished in the past few decades, due to the rise and dominance of neoconservatives and neoliberalism, that few want to take on the perceived liabilities associated with those terms. I imagine that the terms “liberal” / “progressive” will become more fashionable in the coming years as more and more people are unable to hold any identification with neoconservative or neoliberal policy- after all, you look silly talking about the health and interests of corporate America, especially considering their actions, when you have no money in your pockets, you can’t feed your kids or buy a house, etc…
Over at the Occupy Philadelphia media site I made a post attempting to provide direction. It largely went unnoticed. Who knows what the future will bring. The following is my post:
ONE ISSUE NOW!!!!!!!!!!!
This movement has jumped into a pool of big issues and we’re drowning.
Our working groups are spread too thin and they are headed in too many different directions. Direct actions have addressed many issues but our numbers are decreasing. Our encampment is experiencing precariousness. We need one issue that we can really impact here in Philadelphia.
STOP thinking about the Spokes Council restructuring…
STOP worrying about the city…
STOP talking about anything else…
Starting now, let’s use the GA to come to a CONSENSUS about what OUR one issue will be…
At the GA let’s only talk about this one issue. Let’s put CoCo on hiatus. There will be no leaders. The only thing that will matter is one issue that is bigger than any of us. We should use every non-violent tactic available to address this issue. We should show everyone the power of collective action and the strength of a unified voice. Many across the nation are in a similar situation and are waiting… Let’s start it here.
We need to create change now. We need to decide upon this one issue now.
Spread this idea. Talk about this within your working groups. Bring this up at GA.
With a small win and a real change to the status quo we will only continue to grow larger and from there we can take on additional issues and restructure as necessary…