occupykiss

anarchist blog from #OWS

IN WHICH SHAZZ BLOGS WHILE STONED

So I’m kind of morally conflicted at the moment about what should make up the content of this post. You see, normally I’ve been taking notes during the day and writing them up at night or the next morning. So this post for Thursday the 12th is actually about what went down Wednesday the 11th.

And Wednesday was kind of a weed night. Ran into a guy, happened to offer some, and I just started writing. Now the writer in me really wants to edit this down into a coherent post. But the marijuana activist in me really wants to just let it hang out there as an example of stoney thinking. I know so many people who would benefit from just letting lose of their perspective some, putting down their egos and picking up a little head change. Maybe an insight into the stoned psyche will pique their interests…or confirm their assumptions. So here’s one for radical transparency, warts and all.

Just remember, Shakespeare was a pot head too. Honest. Out, out, brief bong rip! Life is but a coughing stoner…

Now Cervantes, his thing was mushrooms

*****

Corporations have their memos and their designs and what they produce. It is like their artwork, their creative content. Their profits are their self-expression. We don’t all want to be corporatists; we all want to be artists. We own the real world, not the other way around.

I keep hear talk of occupier burn out and stress. This is just a sign of growth. Personal growth is a moment of stress. How people deal with that is very telling. It shows you a person’s level of commitment. How did this whole revolution movement start? There was a man so committed to his principles; he was able to avenge what he perceived to be the ultimate assault on his personal dignity by killing himself. He committed murder, on himself. How does that make you feel? Are you willing to kill another human being? Are you willing to kill yourself? I’m not saying that we start recruiting homicidal sociopaths. I’m just saying that the threshold for this whole thing, or maybe I should limit it to all of the people that I personally want to be involved in, is being willing to die for what you believe.

And that is why OWS is just going to replicate the problems of the world at large. It was initiated by them, to head off revolution at home. It’s the same thing that the US government did to ward off socialism. Well, first they violently cracked down on the protesters and then they replaced the VALUES of socialism that VALUED human dignity above all else with communism, a system that VALUES efficiency, the collective “commune” before anything else.

This is a system purposefully set up to give you an excuse to betray the inherent love that you possess for your fellow man. You don’t need to know how to love, you learn all your life how to hate. Most of our culture is varying degrees of hate. Hateful violence in movies, hateful self-interested consumerism on reality shows, hateful bigotry and jingoist xenophobia in all of our professional sports and anywhere an American flag is really.

I was in the military from ages 20-22, I experienced firsthand the psychology of American aggression. They’re not selling t-party t-shirts off the shelves in PX’s across the country and our hundreds of global military outposts. The t-shirts that they are selling are of eagles sharpening its talons, of tanks and guns and soldiers ready for war. It is a culture of aggression, of 1st strike, of taking, of raping of pillaging. You really think that more rapists just happen to enter the military? That It just so happens that every military base around the world engenders ugly VALUES in the community that surrounds it? Rape, gambling, prostitution, poverty, these all are the calling cards of the imperial military outpost which is the outward projection of internal despair.

It is a sign of a system which is dying, which refuses to admit that it is both mortal and immoral. It is a system at contradiction with the laws, VALUES, of the world in which it lives.

Some people don’t think that this VALUE discussion is important. They belive that there are more important organizational, monetary, direct action type things we could be focusing our energies on.

These people are either malicious or ignorant to a fault. This is exactly how we’re going to turn a blind eye to our only weakness: losing our moral high ground. THAT is where we derive our moral authority from. And THAT is why I figurerd out that (redacted) is a government agent. Or an institutional douche. That’s it, we’ll call these types of people ID’s. It doesn’t matter if they talk a good talk, or even walk a good walk. If their VALUES and their willingness to sacrifice for those VALUES aren’t similar to yours, to my own, then they might as well be government agents.

We are all agents for the government. Just some of us have agency and some do not. The agents who who do not spend the effort to learn and accept their roles as servants for state aggression (police, military, politicians, any gov worker), these are known as citizens. And citizens are who we should be organizing, to show them how they have an alternative to citizenry. That’s why the farm’s so important, it is our alternative. It is our haven, our safe place to which we can retreat to imagine a better world.

The farm is our fort. That is why it scares them shitless. We have a lot more autonomy on the farm. We can actually start recreating society on the farm. This is already being done. People are open sourcing all the plans and material needed to create a do-it-yourself civilization kit, complete with a an automated brick maker that pumps out enough bricks to build a house a day.

One person. One house a day. You need a place to live? Do you have Wednesday free? Let’s get you to work so you can move in Thursday.

Nice car. I’ll build you a house for it.

Yeah, I’ve got twenty houses out in the country. Selfish? Naw, they’re already prepped and ready for occupiers. I just had a couple weeks free this summer and thought I’d crank them out, you know, like chopping a lot of fire wood just for the hell of it.

This is what living in a world of plenty would look like. This is exactly the opposite of our world of scarcity. Things aren’t perfect, and it’s not “do nothing” living. But it’s living in tune with the wisdom, timeframe and bounty of the natural world. In this sense it is exactly what Kukoaka talks about in “One-Straw Revolution.” It is not farming, but a lifelong process. There is no such thing as farming. There is no such thing as occupying. There is no such thing as banking.

There is only living. (Indian quote about white man’s bank vs indian bank). I wrote this quote on the event calendar on turkey day, interestingly enough. I thought it was funny that no one had organized a demonstration to talk about Thanksgiving Day VALUES. That’s the conversation that was probably going on in the heartland. That’s the conversation going on between people. Homegirl from Jamaica hooked me up with herb that day, out of the goodness of her heart, right there in Zuccotti.

And I run into her the other day and she’s telling me how it was her birthday the other day. And how her and the guards in the park were all playing tag or something. And how someone started taking pictures and they had to stop, because they didn’t want to get in trouble.

Perhaps our approach gets in the way of our effectiveness. Or actually, I know it does. It’s the only logical reason why we’ve stalled. Our approach has been wrong. We need to change what we’re doing. We need to admit we’re not doing this right.

I need to go to the farm. And I need the right people and a whole lot of money to meet me up there. Highly skilled welders. People who know about farming. People who communicate well. People who like to have fun. For the love of God, some cute girls who don’t mind having casual sex every now and then. The shamans The thinkers. The brutes. The musicians, artists and inspired outcasts.

The sincere. If you agree with the VALUES of this tract, and you are willing to die for those VALUES, then let’s talk. Come to the Woodstock farm and hang out. I doubt you’ll leave. This isn’t about Shazz Baric or David McNerney or a 29 year old writer, an admittedly flawed, ultimately frail human mortal. This is about learning how to live within harmony of the world we live, tapping into that wisdom and furthering our understanding of that tradition in order to reach our real human potential.

Our potential as a collective consciousness of humanity.

And THAT is why he’s nervous around me. His conversation kept going back to near the seat of moral justification. Our inaliable rights are not derived from contracts, from general assemblies, from the dying society out of which we’re escaping or the people who are escaping with us and interpreting the previous, facilitating this whole process.

Our moral justification, our highest VALUE, what a strategic mindset might call our center of gravity in our organization, the emergent culture, our identity, is realization of human potential. This is the abstract concept that we are all clinging to: that everyone has the right to become a better person. Everyone CAN be better. A better society is going to require this.

This is the personal journey that I am beginning to realize that I’ve started. This is the journey that I am asking you to join me in.

Join us in the open source REVOLUTION. Join us.

******

All in all I think it’s an interesting piece. And if you’re looking at the spelling errors or the grammar or the paranoia or manic thought process as warning signs, you’re missing the point. The point is you can’t get the point. You can’t feel the rush of stepping outside yourself, stepping out of the way and just letting the thoughts flow onto the page without impediment. You might get close with enlightenment, but this was pretty good shit. It’s always humbling to get that different perspective, unpack naive sincerity in the form of a stoned rant.

I’m going to have to think about where I was going with the above…

Advertisements

THE PATHOLOGY of POVERTY

Re-reading that last post I’m realizing that novels are just a trick that smart people use to deliver long-winded arguments. Because I have SO much more to say but if I can’t figure out an interesting way to say it I know I shouldn’t even bother.

And I’ve already burned through 52 words of my quota today. Fifty-eight. Fifty-nine. Sixty.

These first posts are more to set the pace anyways. This is the pre-season, no one pays attention until the finals anyways. Wait until there’s blood in the streets America, then you’ll tune in to what Shazz is saying. And Shazz…he’ll be out doing something heroic or chilling on a beach somewhere, I’m not sure if he’s decided yet.

So I start off this morning not in McDonalds but in an apt on Staten Island. I’m on a couch taking pictures of old notes with a borrowed iphone to upload them into my prettiest of pink laptops before I have to return the illicit good. I was in the process of taking a census of Zuccotti back in early November and had drawn some interesting maps, before I realized that full scale detailed versions were being used by the upper echelons of organizing. That was probably my first hint that we were still in Kansas, the fact that Zuccotti had layers of people planning housing and logistics and maps, while most of the park had no clue.

Back then the ”problem” of the rabble in the park, the occupiers, was already surfacing. You see, good ideas take good people to draft them. Populism is when this per-ordained draft is then taken to the public for ”buy-in.” The technocrats decide. We purchase their decision. People who disagree are narcs. And the world makes sense. I think they call this back on the block putting lipstick on the pig. I should know, I’ve got a nice pink little piggy I’m typing on right now that I can’t make up enough to turn her pretty.

This apt is leased by a couple with Occupy Farms who happen to be up at Woodstock right now. We call it the barn because we’re young and we think we’re clever. A bunch of us from the working group crash here occasionally, and last night a half dozen happened to wander in. In the interests of full disclosure, I informed the group of my ingenious borrowed laptop scheme with J&R. In the interest of my bodily health, they informed me that I was to return it immediately. But I have 2 weeks to return it – NO. But otherwise the money’d just be sitting there – NO. But it’s pink – NO.

Anyone have any lipstick?

Now this is something that I’ve come across often in this movement, the pathology of poverty. In fact, I’ve come across it often in life in general. My family at one time accepted food stamps, and my folks never had much more than their chin above water as far back as I can remember. There was a time when I was an infant and there was a house purchased on the outskirts of Las Vegas to pay for my future education. I guess that could have been considered an inner tube of sorts, or maybe one of those fancy floating chaise lounges with the beer cozies and the pockets all over that held water that would turn warm in the sun.

But this college fund floaty went the way of the Savings & Loan scandal. Or maybe it was just a crooked realtor. Either way, I wasn’t raised with much of a financial safety net. But I dealt with it. I realized that things are just things, and that some people have access to more. Maybe some people don’t deserve as much as they have. Maybe others shouldn’t be so envious. But in the end it’s just stuff. I went and spent a couple hundred bucks on just a couple pieces of wardrobe when I had a decent job, just to see how it felt. I frequented the Republic of Banana before I could appreciate the irony. Never was I rich by any means. But for me a $75 t-shirt was like a golden toilet seat, I just wanted to see how luxury (or at least my idea of it) felt against my skin.

I think it’s important for people to see how the other side lives. Not just the rich observing the poor, but the other way around. And not in the reality TV rags to riches style that we see played out ad nausea on our televisions. Not the “I’ve finally made it” Horatio Alger story (really milking that young blogger demographic with the Alger reference I’m sure). No, just a small little luxury to show that you’re worth it too, to demystify wealth.

It’s just stuff. Yes, those jeans fit better. Men have asses too. Yes, things taste better. Although for some reason Starbucks burnt ass coffee bucks this trend. Yes, there is such a thing as money hair and money teeth and a monied complexion. But then, it’s just one way to live. And usually if not always there’s a better, simpler way.

When I was living in Puerto Rico last year I paid $300 a month for a house on an acre of land and wild horses running through my yard. I could make my rent in a good day of playing with tourists on the beach. So when I wanted to join a gym, I didn’t just go to the local municipal building where they had thrown a couple weights into a musty closet. I went to the W and dropped $150 for a month of luxury. To put it in perspective, their gym bathroom was fancier than any house I’d been in on the island. They didn’t loose electricity when Irene hit, they had their own power supply.

They didn’t even have mosquitoes within the walls of their compound. Bugs are so third world after all, and when you drop at least $300+ a night you want a hassle free vacation experience. And there I was, dirty feet and dirtier mustache taking it all in. That’s the nice part about buying your way into privilege sometimes; you get to keep it real among the stuffed shirts. No Ma’am, I don’t own any shoes. I shouldn’t even be in here really. But I’m all paid up for the month so you can go get me a glass of ice water, thanks. Oh, and get that good stuff, the water with the orange peels. Yeah, I pay good money to have orange peels in my water, you can’t expect me to hydrate myself without the subtle compliment of citrus.

Just how do the poor do it?

Where was I going with this? Oh yeah, the pathology of poverty. Margaret Atwood wrote an interesting book about the story lines of debt: sin, memory, redemption, guilt, about debt being a cultural issue.

Whatever debt is, and whatever this means for our debt-based monetary system, I could tell this morning that we were talking about more than a shiny pink Vaio laptop. People accused me of stealing, although I don’t know many thefts that come with a two week return policy. Relax, I promised, let me get my blog online and throw up a donation button, it’s an investment I promise.

But then the conversation turned funny. It doesn’t matter, it’s the principle. It’s wrong. It’s money. I ran into this type of thinking later that day when trying to deal with finance to cash out some of our working group receipts under the $100 daily allowance. A guy I know was having a ‘principled argument’ over $1.40. Is this what money does? It makes us stand up for principles? Huh. Maybe we should put a price tag on social justice. I’m sure a democratic society is worth more than $1.40.

I’m not saying that this kid doesn’t value real democracy, or that anyone I’ve met since coming to this movement doesn’t share my own values and hopes for a better world. It’s just that, usually in my experience when someone’s making a big deal about a non-issue, we’re uncovering just the tip of a personal baggage iceberg. And one of my pet peeves being people who’d rather be right than effective, usually I chart an opposite course when these floating ship-sinkers drift onto my radar.

Can he stretch the nautical theme?

In the turbulent waters of American democracy, the seas were stormy and all hope was lost. We were a nation set adrift, 300+ million people in a life raft no bigger than an Ikea pullout only less comfortable, durable or affordable (how DO they do it?). With the dark clouds of global terror, financial crisis and a presidential election roiling on the horizon, from the other direction a mysterious force swelled up from the abyss. A populist movement, a tidal force, the cresting majesty of people power began to lift rudderless America on that fateful August day and ferry her through the storms of her destiny. Faster and faster, through the distractions, through the political fog, through the corporate sharks. Onward towards her inheritance as a land of liberty and justice for all, the powerful wave bore America forward…

Before eventually smashing her upon the rocks.

I think of these things, and think about the Statue of Liberty across from me as I ride the Staten Island ferry back and let Manhattan recede into the distance, the perfect size, no bigger than a postcard, something to write home about. The guy to my right, same guy who this morning accused me of stealing, is now explaining the difference between liberty and freedom in maritime law. He says that we’re all governed by maritime law, because technically we were in water in the womb, or we came out wet, or you piss the bed until you learn to use the toilet, there’s a good case for it somewhere in there.

But I’m not listening. I’m looking forward to another night with my privileged laptop. You see, I (wink wink) forgot the case on Staten Island and so couldn’t return it today. Aw shucks.

I really shouldn’t be our working group’s financial point person.

SCHOOL GIRLS & ACCOUNTING

Nice thing about writing through the night is that you start the morning early, if not completely useless. I started Monday morning in McDonald’s writing long hand into my black spiral bound notebook. The notebook was a reminder of when I had office access, which meant I had office supply access.

You don’t really appreciate the little things until they’re gone. I’m reminded of a time I was staying at a hostel which was closing within a couple days, something about not being able to afford renovation to keep up with building codes. Some school teachers pounced on their office supplies. It turns out these are hot commodities in times of budget cutbacks.

But back to the revolution. I’ve been writing between two homeless, sleeping occupiers for the past couple hours and it’s approaching that time. When the shift changes and the new manager comes in and they start to notice the patrons without the happy meals. The guy next to me has his head thrown back mid-snore. Perhaps if I find some bits of burger and wrapper to dangle from the corner of his mouth, dress him up a bit…

So a half hour later I find myself a couple blocks down Wall St, at our nerve center, 60 Wall. The Occupied Office would like to be our nerve center but there’s just something about multiple access checkpoints, an anonymous undisclosed donor, paid activists and closed practices that doesn’t sit well with populists. Or maybe they just prefer the higher ceilings of 60 Wall.

This is the coordinators meeting, 10am every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. We used to hold one every morning but then people have been trying to make our orgs more efficient. You might know the girl who spearheaded reforming this particular meeting. She walked CNN through the Occupied Office. Funny thing about reform in this movement, it always seems to have a chorus of familiar voices. God bless the noble few, this should be our motto in this movement. And God damn the homeless.

Fuck, I’m already half-way through my quota for this post and I haven’t described shit.

Let’s see…the important thing about that morning meeting, other than my report back about Occupy Farms (everything’s roses, we’ve got a farm in Woodstock, come up to ride a horse sometime)…Oh, it was interesting to watch the guy from media lay into the guy from finance. This is out of 4 people in attendance. That’s another thing, these meetings are supposed to be for the coordination of Occupy Wall Street’s working groups, 100+.

Four dudes.

So this media guy, he says point blank: You guys fucked up, you fucked up from the beginning, and the blame is completely at your feet, or something to that affect. He is older and more New York than me, so he has a way with foul language. Basically blamed finance for not only our money issues, but our identity issues and everything else that seems to be fracturing the movement. And rightfully so, in my opinion.

Weeks ago I asked finance why they don’t perform an independent audit to create a blank slate. This was after I learned that they had just started to implement electronic data-entry TWO MONTHS after receiving donations that totaled well over half a million dollars. Now I don’t care if you’re our lord and savior himself (George Soros?), keeping track of that much dough using just paper receipts is begging for funny money to happen.

I should know, I used to sell insurance. Not just car insurance, where you’re throwing $150 broker fees on top of a couple hundred dollars of premium. I’d gun for the $30k, $60k, $100k+ premiums. Funny side note – although I never stuck with it long enough to make a real career, one year the state of California sent me the following letter: Dear Mr. So-and-so, the average person with your professional licenses and years of experience makes X number of dollars. We want our cut. I understand parents getting on your case for not living up to your expectations, but when the tax man chimes in you really have to question the decisions you’ve made in life.

But back to homeless adventures on Wall St. Having that type of change filtering through my hands, even when I was only collecting a couple hundred or even a $5 processing fee, is called a fiduciary responsibility. There are ways to handle it. Jotting down notes on paper is not one of those ways. Now, people are funny when it comes to money in this movement. It’s almost like trying to talk about sex to a bunch of Catholic school girls. Everyone stonewalling you and yet you have a suspicion they’re all the kinkiest freaks behind closed doors.

I should know, I used to date an ex-Catholic school girl. Sweetheart, grew up in Brooklyn, became a dominatrix, now she’s a waitress somewhere in mid-town.

Ok, back on point. The finances of this movement, and the people who run them, beg a lot of questions. And it was interesting to see that I’m not the only one who’s noticed this, or who feels like these questions should be voiced. So that was a pretty good start to my groggy Monday. Let’s see, what else happened today?

Oh yeah, I used my working group’s funds (Occupy Farms) to buy a laptop from J&R. I guess there goes my fiduciary responsibilities. Fuck it, I have a receipt, I’m just borrowing from a corporation. What’s the worse that can happen?…

3:00AM ACROSS FROM ZUCCOTTI

I wake up as the 2 train rumbles into Penn Station. 34th St. Next stop Times Square. Shit, I missed it. I stand and stretch, then reach for my navy blue Titan’s duffle. I mutter something to a fellow occupier about being at the McDonald’s across from the park and exit at 42nd St. It’s half past three on a Monday morning and for some reason I feel compelled to get back to lower Manhattan.

As if I had a job there.

As if I lived there.

Maybe I left something there?

Naw, we all found something there. Something addictive. Let’s see, I came straight off the plane from JFK Nov. 1st, cross country flight. That morning I arrived around 6:30am. Climbed up out of the subway and asked the nearest cop which way to Zuccotti. What did it first look like? Real, I guess. Like, people living here real. The small details of a village rubbing the sleep from its eyes. Me walking through bright-eyed and cheerful like Belle from some Disney movie; bonjour anarchist at the info desk, bonjour kitchen starting to prep for breakfast, bonjour free cigarette table, bonjour occupier I just stepped on.

Bonjour bonjour bonjour. A cartoon world.

Two and a half months ago. A beating and arrest ago. A couple of working groups ago, more bad meetings than good ago, waaay too many cigarettes ago, various drugs and an art model ago, an occupied farm ago, an occupied office ago. Train rides ago. A lifetime ago. And now I’m in McDonald’s. Because I registered this domain the 1st week of November and it’s still all lorum ipsum. What’s going on here, I thought to myself a couple months ago. Maybe it would be good to document my fact finding, self-improvement journey. But as most people can attest, keeping a regular journal is near impossible in the real world. In the revolution…well yeah, 1st post 70 days later. Sparkles for getting shit done…eventually.

Don’t get me wrong. I have tons of notes which I’ll try to unload in later posts. In which Shazz joins archives. In which Shazz uncovers spies. In which Shazz is uncovered as a spy. In which Shazz accuses Jackson Browne of being a spy. In which Shazz encounters mind-altering drugs and mind-altered women. In which Shazz finds and loses a Woodstock Farm. In which Shazz proposes that the general assembly divide up all funds out among occupiers.

That last one was actually last night. That’s probably as good a place as any to start this story, from the present. Let’s see, resource management has been a problem since the beginning of this occupation it seems. Supply, kitchen, the Occupied Office (who kindly told me to shut the fuck up and leave Sunday morning because I was no longer ‘on the list.’ No one seemed to appreciate my comment about that being how they got the Jews). Money being the mother of all resources, I came up with the genius idea of doing flash reform in one shot:  divide that mother up.

Granted, this epiphany came to me while walking through Zuccotti stoned on Thanksgiving. But I hope in the end this can turn out to be a positive drug story. Like, the Beatles altered their state of consciousness and in doing so altered the course of pop music. Or maybe I’m just the guy who leaps from the roof thinking he can fly.

What did Bill Hicks say? Why didn’t that asshole try it from the ground first? One more idiot’s dead. Good. I just felt the earth get lighter.

They’ve tabled my proposal until Tuesday, so I’ve been granted a reprieve. The ‘Buy Out Buy In’ proposal survives in agenda limbo for a couple more days, which gives me a couple more days to try and garner some online support, if I can find a computer to type these paper ramblings into a coherent blog post.

Yeah, occupied Zuccotti was also a functional laptop ago. Thank you New York’s finest. I think that I’ve found my reason for coming back: my addiction to the NYPD’s tough love. My God, I’ve become a battered housewife.

And a frequenter of McDonald’s.

Somebody, anybody, click on the donation button. Or at least put me out of my misery. I see canvassing for Obama in my near future…