Occupy Orlando: The Other Side of Occupy

-by Kid Bucket-

Just like my co-writer, I support the Occupy Movement… but I do in theory, which is much different than in execution.

I want to support it fully, I really do, but so many people WON’T LET ME… and the people who won’t let me are the ones IN THE MOVEMENT.

Thanks for picking THESE two, Colbert Report.

I don’t believe that looks should disregard someone from anything, but when you have woman named “Ketchup” who self-identifies as a a “Female-Bodied Woman” and looks like this as one of your go-to TV representatives, the movement is fucked. In the real world (which is still kind of what we live in) no one is going to take many of the people who are the unofficial leaders of the Occupy movement seriously.

There are two Occupy movements:

  1. Close enough physically to the problem to maybe have some real sway with what happens day to day in the coming future.
  2. Everybody else. (Occupy… Pensacola, FL? Really?)

I understand and support why the first one exists, and I think most rational thinking people do as well. America is messed up right now and a real movement might make enough ripples in the collective psyche to make some change. But the second one? Let me give you a list of some of the “cities” that currently have Occupy movements:

Bethel, Alaska; Prescott, Arizona; Conway, Arkansas (Which I have actually been to, this one is especially funny); Grand Junction, Colorado; Vero Beach, Florida; Maui, Hawaii; Pocatello, Idaho; Carbondale, Illinois; Elkhart, Indiana; Cedar Valley, Iowa; Pittsburg (Wait for it), Kansas; Lexington, Kentucky; Shreveport, Louisiana; Amherst, Massachusetts; Kalamazoo, Michigan; Moorhead, Minnesota; Butte, Montana; Wilmington, North Carolina; Toledo, Ohio; Lubbock, Texas; Provo, Utah; Roanoke, Virginia; Janesville, Wisconsin; Jackson Hole, Wyoming

“But they are standing in solidarity!” You may say. While it would be really nice if that made as much of a difference as you would like it to, I really doubt that “Occupy Kalamazoo” is really going to have an effect on Wall Street. They are missing what should the point of the movement in these small cities… big changes due to making local change.

I recently went to my local Occupy site in Orlando, and after thinking back on my experience I am very disappointed in what I witnessed. Is it intoxicating while in the midst of the site? Fuck yes it is. But that eventually wears off and that is when you realize what is the glaring problem with the local movements, most of the occupiers don’t know what local problems that, if changed, could have a big effect when coupled with changes being made by Occupiers in other cities. I chatted with some of the occupiers I met and asked them about what local issues they were concerned about, in response I got a lot of talk about the man keeping the 99% down, some talk about personal freedoms being infringed upon and a lot of people talking about who is and isn’t a Nazi. A few recounted going to the local city council meeting and getting shut down, which is obviously wrong, but I really want to know what they would have said if allowed. Would they have addressed any local corruption, or would they have talked about the banks that don’t have their headquarters anywhere close to here? They hate Rick Scott, for good reason, but do any of them know how many jobs he has actually cut since he was elected to office on a jobs creating platform? This isn’t to say that there isn’t ANYONE there who knows what they are talking about, because there are. However, the ones who play their “Fightin’ the Man, For Dummies” playlist and act like it’s cool to be arrested are stealing your thunder, bro. Maybe between Rage Against the Machine and drum circles you could come up with ideas to fix the state.

Oh, and fuck you, Drum Circles.

We also need to stop acting like the people who get arrested while protesting, for most reasons, are people to be looked up to within the movement. Should the Marine who was shot in the head with a gas canister be singled out within the movement all over the country? Sure. He is a veteran working with Veterans for Peace who was put into a bad situation by a police force that doesn’t exactly have the best reputation. While I was in Occupy Orlando though, things were a little different. The rule concerning who and what can be left past 11 PM in the park that was designated as the Occupy site had changed many times over the past weeks. First the police didn’t care how long people stayed, then said they had to get out but their belongings could stay, then changed their tune AGAIN to nothing being left behind at all. The night I visited the site I decided to stay until midnight to see if the police or any other authorities showed up. The local media arrived at the site just before 11, I’m assuming to see if any shit got started. The night before, the police came to the site and decided this was the night that everyone had to get their belongings off of the premises. 11 p.m. rolled around and there was no police presence at all. During this time most of the protesters had decided to stay on the sidewalk, which was perfectly legal, but 10-15 people decided to stay in the park property. It wasn’t that they were staying on the property that irked me, it was the look on their face and their body language. It was as if they WANTED to be arrested. Maybe then they would look cool, right? I decided to leave at midnight and an hour and a half later the police arrived with SWAT (which was a little strong, and probably a waste of taxpayer money) and arrested 2 of them. What patriots! They bravely sat there on the bench in the middle of the park, breaking the law for no real reason other than to get arrested on purpose. Was the law that said they couldn’t stay there past 11 a just law? Probably not, but it is still a law.

I really want the Occupy movement to have an effect by leading to more of a separation between Wall Street and Washington D.C. Will it happen? Who knows.

But it sure as hell will make a better America.

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