I really, really, really don't understand why the mayors of U.S. cities and the federal government are so hell-bent on preventing the assembly of Occupy groups. What are they afraid of? Do they think that the prospect of sitting in a tent in a park in Chicago (or New York or Oakland or ... ) all winter will be so attractive that people will abandon their homes and families and society as we know it will fall apart? Is it really possible that they can't tolerate the idea of people spending time together and talking about how to bring about a better future?
I can't help thinking that a lot of people who otherwise wouldn't be giving too much thought to the Occupy movement are now attracted to it principally because of the way the government is trying to repress it. "An encampment is so intolerable ...? Hmmm ... maybe I need to give this another look ...!"
And so, because they couldn't tolerate an encampment, they are getting something much bigger ....
The picture above is of a sign that I made for the Occupy Chicago visit to the office of the Chicago mayor to deliver petitions demanding assembly rights. A lot of people commented on it, and the media even ran some clips of it on TV. Thinking about the idea embodied in the sign, and making and showing the sign itself, has helped me get a better understanding of a basic idea of society and politics: one thing leads to another ... things happen for a reason ... expect consequences ....
Where did this sign come from? It wouldn't have happened without the friend who said to me, "It's good to go demonstrate, but it would be even better to have a sign." And from another friend who said, "That thing about 'don't like encampment?' - that's got a beat - put that on a sign!" And even the friend who, years ago, said, "Your artwork doesn't have to be perfect -- people like seeing another person's hand in a sign!"
But most of all, it came from the mayors who got on the phone together and coordinated raids against Occupy groups in New York, Oakland, and other cities. It came from the police in Davis who pepper-sprayed protesters. It came from the Chicago mayor who is spending millions to assemble NATO war-makers and G8 plutocrats in OUR city but thinks he can prevent US from assembling and formulating our own future!
That's right: Most of all, it came from YOU, Mayor Emanuel. It came from you ....
Check out more Scarry signs!
Faced with chorus of voices saying, "Isn't it time for you to tone it
down? Can't you be more reasonable? What is it you want, anyway?" Jesus
kept right on doing what he was doing. And that was a sign to us about
how to live our lives . . . .
(See WWJD? Occupy! )
solidarity means taking to the streets where you are. (And sometimes
doing so reminds you to stick up for your own rights, as well.)
(See Can Chicago Walk Like an Egyptian?)
It seems like an appropriate time to remember the protests against NATO in Chicago in the spring of 2012. (What do YOU remember about the NATO protests?)
(See Flashback: Protesting NATO in Chicago - May, 2012 )