POLITICS, POLICE & REOCCUPATION
Ha, I still don’t know whether to keep up my stoned ramblings from yesterday’s post. Back when I was in California, before my Caribbean adventures, the last book project I was trying to sell was entitled “Brown, Queer, High; Cut Back, Locked Up, Sent to Die.” Well, I was in the process of finishing it to sell it, life intervened, noticing a pattern here…
It was another non-fiction radical politics tract, similar to “The Complete American’s Guide to REVOLUTION.” But back then I hadn’t yet escalated to a call for a full-on revolution. My idea was just to advocate for organizing social identities that already existed into political voting blocs that could cross party lines to band together. So the goal was to show how undocumented immigrants, alt sexualities, stoners, students, victims of the prison industry and soldiers all share similar traits. Every one of these groups has strong social bonds while also having their dignity assaulted by the state. They all shared at the very least the moral high ground.
The idea was to interject human rights into our political discussion: the rights of an economic refuge, the right to create your own sexual identity, the right to an education, the right to freedom, the right to not be lied to regarding the mission, conned into illegal unending wars of aggression.
And of course, the right to alter your state of consciousness. Talk about HIGH ground 😉
Of course, marijuana activism has its highs and lows, the lows being confused mugshot photos. It’s one thing to write about injustice, it’s another thing to witness it firsthand. I met a lot of people and took a lot of notes over my week vacation in a for-profit corporate jail. I owe a lot of promises to the guys I met who were also locked up for non-violent drug possession.
I come from Cali, why is shit so fucked up here?
Just the way it is man.
Why don’t you organize?
Just normal people who liked to smoke weed. Oh, except for the detail that they’re mostly poor minorities, Black and Latino, and make up almost half of our prison population. The only reason I got out in 7 days instead of the typical 45-60 is that I flirted with the in-processing girl, who mentioned my case specifically to the overworked public defender. They have to rack up those billable bodies when you’re a for-profit prison, so it makes sense to keep the system overburdened and understaffed.
In a way drug laws remind me of a funny detail about Stop & Frisk, New York’s idiotic, unconstitutional warrant-less search law. A cop can search you if you’re wearing clothes he deems are associated with criminal activity. Now technically, smoking weed is a crime in this state, or so they tell me. And I know a lot of potheads also dress similarly. Policies like Stop & Frisk allow cops to profile and criminalize whole segments of society which may or may not fall along racial lines but usually do fall along income lines.
To borrow from Sancho Panza of Don Quixote lore, it’s not with whom your bred but with whom your fed. Class trumps race every time, and privilege preempts objectification, not the other way around.
Now imagine if the NYPD brought in a SWAT team to Wall St and set a phalanx across Broadway, blocking off entrance to the stock exchange. Imagine if they created impromptu check points to filter out all the suits, typically white males. Imagine if instead of Stop & Frisk they performed Stop & Audit, a quick check of their financials to catch white collar crime. Maybe even looked into what corporate gangs these thugs are running with.
Oh, you trade Apple stock? I’m afraid they use child labor, sorry we’re going to have to take you in for questioning.
Oh, your company dealt in credit default swaps and bet against the great recession? Is that how you pay for all that ice? And you have the balls to walk my street? You’re gonna like walking the block over at Ryker’s, that is if they don’t break your legs first for helping to destroy low-income communities of color with this manufactured boom and bust hustle. What, you haven’t heard? The streets are getting smarter, they know what’s up. They talk mad shit about mortgage derivatives and muni-debt traps while they cook that rock.
It”s a dream anyways.
We were close to this becoming a reality on November 17th, only someone didn’t give the cops the memo that they were supposed to arrest the SUITS and not the ACTIVISTS. What do you have to do to get some love from the NYPD, donate a shit-ton of money to them or something?
Smart move Chase, well played.
Ok, so there was more to this post other than a general rant about politics, drugs and our ever-growing police state. Let’s see, actually the fences at Zuccotti were taken down earlier this week, I probably should have mentioned that. I was walking up Wall St. with some people and we heard commotion from the direction of the park up ahead. It probably shows my state of mind lately that I expected a bad scene, and not a bunch of cheerful celebrating occupiers streaming into the park.
I’d been dragging around a friend’s guitar, an attempt to try and spend at least part of the day mellowing out and feeding my creative side. The laptop and the money stuff was starting to wear on me. I returned the prettiest of pink Vaios finally and handed the cash and financial responsibilities back over to the group. If they think capital is more valuable in horded money form as opposed to a good or service that you’re really just borrowing interest-free from a corporation, then maybe these people missed their calling in life.
Or maybe I’m growing bitter from arguing about money.
So I played guitar in the newly opened park while a mic check circle formed around what I’d like to think was my positive energy but was most likely the block I was sitting on. Drums were banging, people were laughing and I was realizing just how much a small thing like an open park could lift all our spirits.
And then, crouched down in the middle of the circle, beyond the watchful glare of Brookfield Property’s private security henchmen, blocked in by cheering shouting joyful occupiers, two people started unpacking a duffle bag.
They quickly assembled poles.
They carefully slid them into the frame.
They pitched a tent.