October 26, 2011

The connection between 9/11 and the occupy movement

I've been traveling around the country and interviewing people in the movement about what brings them out of their home, and camping in public space.

The economic issues come up. The political issues come up. But something else also comes up surprisingly often - September 11th, 2001.

I'm not talking about "truthers" who are convinced that 9-11 was an inside job, though there are some who are in the movement.

I'm talking about the fact that 9-11 keeps coming up tangentially in conversations.

"Since 9-11..."
"Ever since the WTC attacks..."
"After 9-11 happened..."

What follows is also similar.

Everybody has noticed that since 9-11 there has been narrowing of political discourse until we are left with nothing but a fear-mongering, crony capitalist middle.

There is a willful ignorance of "radical" ideas such as alternate modes of economy, and the rich and diverse political history of socialism and labor in the USA is all but forgotten entirely.

The fact that our country used the death of their loved ones as an pretext to invade another nation that had nothing to do with the attacks, murdering millions in our name, and all of it, just to line the pockets of the 1% with our tax dollars.

After 9/11 the world really did change, and it changed for the worse. The world became black and white. It became polarized. Things were defined as "with us or with the terrorists."

We became afraid of everything and everyone that was different, who looked different, who acted different, who thought different thoughts. We put trust and faith in a government that then proceeded to rob us blind-- stealing from the taxpayers for war. Stealing from the taxpayers for weapons. Stealing from the taxpayers to bail out the banks. At every turn, they capitalized on our fear to steal even more from us. They passed the USAPATRIOT act and stole our rights from us. They passed bills that made it impossible to declare bankruptcy, unless you're a corporation. They used fear as a cover to restructure our entire legal framework to allow the 1% to steal every last penny in our pockets.

They used fear, racism, xenophobia, classism, and used it to deflect our attention away from the crime that was happening in broad daylight, right in front of us.

It is a coincidence that the occupation in Zucotti Park is directly across the street from the 9/11 memorial, but it's a cosmic coincidence. The fact that this reclamation of humanity exists here is a powerful and poetic symbol of what this movement is.

We are healing the psychic wound that was cut into our collective consciousness ten years ago.

We are human beings who are capable of loving our neighbors again.