When I first heard of the Occupy Wall Street initiative, I thought it was
just a group of overfed and overeducated and underemployed "white" boys
trying to get their own generational street cred. "New Millennial Hippies"
(Mippies?) out to gain a little attention, smoke a little grass (or whatever
they call it these days) and hopefully get laid by some arty-cutey from the
Upper East Side or Jersey (Or both).
That was just the cynic in me talking. Deep down, the "better angel of my
nature" was begging to be heard. But the devil in me still thought… as
soon as the cops grab and twist a few arms, break some legs, spray a few
faces with mace and kick a little ass, the kids would cry "foul, unfair, not
nice" and scurry back home.
Maybe it's because I remember standing on the corner of Chicago's Michigan
Avenue and Randolph, looking south, down toward the Conrad Hilton Hotel and
deciding not to walk down past Grant Park. It was August, 1968 during the
Democratic Convention. I was a 20-year-old "Black" man who'd just moved out
of Robert Taylor Homes, America's largest housing project at the time, after
scoring my first decent job -- in the big time ad agency game.
Not that I didn't feel for the hippies and yippies and Panthers getting
their heads busted in the park. I was as philosophically on their side as I
am on the OWStreeters' today. But I was no fool. I opted out for what became
a 35-year career creating ads for the biggest ad agencies in America and
their clients. Being one of the first and few "un-whites" in the corporate
suites then was my version of contributing to the Civil Rights Movement, as
Jesse would say -- "in the suites, if not the streets".
Which brings me -- quite nicely -- to my point. The Civil Rights Movement
was one of four American Revolutions. We may be looking at the fifth.
The first American Revolution was..well…er….the American Revolution in
Number 2 was the Civil War, when Abe Lincoln was forced to get closer to the
"all men are created equal" rhetoric of the ultimate American hypocrite, Tom
Number 3 was sparked by another Wall Street greedfest, the Great Depression.
FDR decided it was better to give the average American Social Security, a
government job or relief, than have them tear the nation apart - in spite of
his fellow oligarch's cries of socialism.
Number 4 was the one I mentioned above, now called The Civil Rights
What's happening on Wall Street now could be the start of American
Revolution No. 5.
And the two things the Mippies on Wall Street have on their side that
protesters throughout history have on theirs 1. The arrogance and
overconfidence of old power and 2. The energy and naive idealism of youth.
As Tom Paine pinned just before Rev. 1, "we have it within our power to
begin the world anew". (I'm told he really said "over again", but somebody
thought "anew" was more poetic.) Good call.
My advice to the OWSs is the exact opposite of what I've read from the Baby
Boomer Fogeys who now have nice gigs bloviating for the MSM:
Keep things amorphous and amateurish. Don't let the unions and the
professional (or unprofessional) left take over. Hold Obama's feet, hands
and *&*# to the fire. And be patient. Remember Lincoln ignored Frederick
Douglass and the abolitionists for decades. Until he needed them to win the
Pollsters say there are anywhere from 25 to 40 million of US out of work. If
only 10% of those make it their job to occupy Wall Street until they find
something better to do - the powers that be would be powerless to stop them.
And as long as they follow Dr. Martin Luther King's model of
self-disciplined, peaceful resistance, there'd be no way to send them home
except a world-wide televised bloodbath that would make what happened in
Grant Park in '68 look like, er….umm…a walk in the park.
The most important occupation you can have right now? Occupying WallStreet.
I'm actually starting to think that if the seemingly unfocused kids who
started this fire can just hang on a little longer, the millions of
Americans without jobs - and not a whole lot better to do - might join them.
And since I myself am in….er,,,,uh…."early retirement", I might even be
among the latecomers.
This may be the last moment in America's history that we have to wake the
average American up from the Dream and introduce them to the American
Reality, which is becoming a nightmare. About 1% of your population own or
control almost 100% of our wealth, our media, our "educational" institutions
and, so, our government and our future. Over the next few years, the GOGs
plan to sweep up the last crumbs left before they disembark…to places
unknown. You might as well turn off the porch light. They won't be back
This just in. I just got a version of what Nation Of Change, an online
left-wing website says is the first official statement from the OWStreeters.
It's based on the Declaration of Independence. I just skimmed it and it
looks pretty good. It's called "The Declaration of Occupation".
But as an old adman, I'd change the headline to "Declaration of
Interdependence". That's the only thing that will make this work - For all
of US to finally, after over 230 years of the American experiment,
understand how our aspiring democracy is dependent on each other, not on the
GOGs. And, in a mashup of Great American Documents we forgot as soon as we
passed the test on them in school, I end with what should be the ultimate
goal of all this, "that that Government of the Greedy, by the Greedy and for
the Greedy shall perish from the Earth."