Sady Doyle, at InTheseTimes, describes her feelings about OWS, especially after organizing a SlutWalk in NYC on October 1st:
“I had been staying away from Occupy Wall Street. I wasn’t sure why; I, like every other progressive in the city, had been exhorted to attend, reminded that it was both my right and my duty. As a recession casualty, and a woman from a working-class family, I often thought that my lack of money controlled my life, and brought violence and suffering into it, just as much as my gender had. But the exhortations made me resentful, for reasons I couldn’t name. It was something to do with the big, sexy, non-specific targets; something to do with the language of duty; something to do with the fact that men who had routinely given me gentle or not-so-gentle crap for my own activism were now Tweeting constantly about the power of the people and the obligation of the masses to protest.
It wasn’t until I marched in SlutWalk that I finally got it. It was simply this: No matter how hyped SlutWalk had been, no matter how long the marches had been going on or how global their reach was, no one ever imagined we could book Radiohead. We had all known that wasn’t our place; it wasn’t a degree of recognition we felt entitled to, even in our fantasies. Even on the day we marched, we weren’t the biggest show in town. We had accepted that. We didn’t tell the Wall Streeters it was their duty to join forces with us; we didn’t express resentment that more of them hadn’t come uptown. We were just feminists, after all. We might well be the next wave, but to the progressive community we looked a lot like the feminist waves before us: A sort of women’s auxiliary to the real movement. Maybe admirable, mostly irrelevant.”
Word. Just read via Catarina at Crawdad’s that the Coast Guard is officially advising its personnel to avoid Occupy Boston (they have a facility on the waterfront quite close by) while in uniform after a woman Coast Guarder was verbally and physically assaulted.
Riverdaughter is smitten with OWS. Miq, not so much. I’m not smitten either, but not for the same reasons. The objections at Crawdad appear to be mostly specific and rational. Mine are more amorphous. I find I don’t really give a crap. Most of the women I know are at fricken work right now. At not very good paying jobs and at completely UNPAID jobs taking care of their families. Often both. Often both at the same time. Which is not, in itself, a persuasive argument against OWS. The “working grownups” of the world rely on those unwashed, unemployed, irresponsible (even pot-smoking, Heavens!) young people and college students to go sit out in the cold with signs or march up and down streets chanting slogans against the Powers That Be, so WE DON’T HAVE TO. I get that; I really do. I don’t expect them to be clean cut or articulate or quiet or rational. I don’t expect them to line up at City Hall for a permit or have persuasive Talking Points ready for TV interviews. They’re a loud messy mess. God bless ‘em, even.
But here’s the thing. We can only safely rely on the cute dirty idealistic youngsters if they actually are marching/sitting-in/protesting on OUR BEHALF; only if the attainment of their goals would mean a better situation for us. I don’t believe for one second that the dudes on Wall Street (of both types, the suits and the unsuitable) are there for me. The attainment of their goals (both the greedy capitalists and the greedy hippie dudes) would probably lead to more poverty, more violence, and more oppression of women (Down with authority! The rules don’t apply to us! By any means necessary!). It’s kind of interesting that both groups of boys, the ones inside the glass buildings and the ones outside throwing stones, object to being told what to do by regulatory authorities. Coincidence?
By the way, the girls got a permit for their friendly, inclusive, utterly peaceful march on October 1st. The boys? They”re not using military terms like OCCUPY by accident. They moved in like tanks, refused to budge, asked for and expected handouts, and then started shitting (literally) all over the place. Sounds really fucking familiar to me.
So, thank you to the women who marched on October 1st in NYC. You were there for me because I couldn’t be. And only a handful of men marched with you? Most of them gay men who were there for Queer Rights? Ok then. Count me out of the 99%. And wake me up when the boys stop playing with themselves.