By Michael Sammartino
I don't watch or read any online news from the "one percent" pundits on mainstream television, so please take my words with a grain of salt as I address the underdeveloped, under-informed editorial titled "Black Friday protests show Occupy movement's lack of unity or purpose" in the Dec. 1 issue.
Since the beginning of the Occupy movement in the U.S., the one consistent mainstream "criticism" of it is that it has no clear purpose or leader. It's a great observation on their part. There is no clear purpose and no leader, but that's what makes this movement effective, universal, and directly democratic. History's shown, repeatedly, that in revolutions with leaders at the head of the dissenting group, when the dissenting group becomes the power, the power corrupts the leader and the group's collective mind and purpose. We can't repeat that.
In a global society with seven billion people, there's no one problem and one ideology that solves it. Each locality on Earth has its own problems, specific to their geographical and socio-economical context. To provide a blanket solution for all localities' problems is extremely naïve; it doesn't work, and it shows in our country today. So why do we need a "clear purpose" when everything is so complex that not one solution will take care of it all?
To Occupy doesn't mean we only camp out and sing songs about peace and change and talk about how the one percent has screwed or is currently screwing us in some way. That's certainly part of it; a human movement can't be joyless.
To Occupy (you'll get a different answer from all supporters) means to withdraw our consent to be governed by a system that ignores human needs, places more value on money than human well-being, and simultaneously destroys the Earth for the unsustainable mass production of oil based products, like anything plastic.
"This movement has cost the United States more than it has benefitted it," the Dec. 1st Chronicle article states.
We've won already. We now see that the U.S. spends too much money on worthless ventures like militaristic police violence against a peace-filled movement.
If we obeyed the system that we're protesting, kept shopping at the inhuman corporations, it wouldn't be a protest; it wouldn't be a movement to change the world so the future won't look so bleak.
We have a lot to say, a lot of grievances, including the 400-word limit on this letter to the editor.