Occupy Raleigh


I took some time this afternoon to drive downtown Raleigh and see what there was to see as Raleigh was Occupied.

I have to say upfront, I never expected the same time of scene in Raleigh that I would expect to see in NYC currently.  The folks in New York have been at this for nearly a month now and have a permanent camp in the park.  Here in Raleigh, the scene is different.  From what I understand, the organization has a permit.  They have attended informal conversations with like minded lawyers who have advised them on how to interact with people and the police.   They have urged their members to commit to non-violence.

This is to their credit.

As I approached the Capital I expected a kind of a festival atmosphere.  I expected music, I expected long hairs, I expected young unkept kids.  Further, I knew there would be older people there.  People with jobs and even nice cars.  In fact, I brought my 5-year old son – I knew it would be family safe; as long as he couldn’t read all the signs.

And I was right.

The feeling was festive and relaxed.  No tension.  No anger.  No violence.

I arrived late. I had to coach my son’ YMCA soccer team, and I was there only a short time before the crowd began a march toward the other end of town.  We walked down the sidewalk with the folks for some time, then, we crossed the street and walked beside them, but on the other side.

I did this only because my son didn’t like the noise, not because I felt that anything inappropriate was going on.  In fact, because I took my hair down, I resembled many of the protesters and fit in nicely.

We left early, we didn’t wanna walk all the way to the other side of Raleigh, AND we had some college football to watch.  We walked back to the capital and wandered some before returning home.  My take was that the organization was what it said it would be.  Peaceful and loosly organized.

I did, however, get the feeling that many of the folks had “been here before”.  I had the distinct feeling that marching and protesting was a long ago acquired skill.  They had a natural ease about them as they walked around carrying their signs and chanting their chants.  I’ve been to a Tea Party and the feeling is the opposite.  That those people haven’t done this before.

IN the end, the splinter groups are better organized than the main OWS crowd is.  The folks in New York have tipped and have lost what it is they are doing.  The folks elsewhere, they have some sense of reason and form.  However, there is still a gaping question:

What the hell do you want?

Some scenes:

Stinky long haired hippies.

If you didn’t know this was an Occupy Raleigh protest, you would think it ws a Tea Party! That is a lot of white people.

They are racist.

A man in a suit wearing an American flag. Based on me watching, I would say he was in debate with the protester. However, I saw no other counter-protest, so he is likely a member of the 99%.

A gentle soul protesting the fact that the poor and unrepresented join the military in disproportionate numbers.  I don’t think she knows that those who serve do so out of a sense of honor.  Further, if we take it on a pure economical stand-point, the military is a fantastic opportunity to leave poverty.

I don’t know what this means.  As far as I know, the OWS movement has no claims to 9/11.

My favorite scene and the closest I came to interaction.  These protesters were snapping pictures and taking video with some of the most advanced technology available to the consumer.  iPhones, digital cameras and HD video recorders.  They are shocked that they are the story.

I suspect that had the 1% done, or not done, anything, they would be in the same “fucked up” position they find themselves in now.  Blaming other people for your condition is a very comforting position.  It is, however, rarely true and never helpful.

I almost tried to tell him that had he used his one day off a week to better himself, he would have spent his time more wisely.  Alas, college football….

This one sent a shiver to my soul.  “Help cure the wealth virus”.  These people, these ones right here in this very picture, are among the wealthiest .05% of all people ever to walk the face of the earth.  They have stuff, and food, and homes and time.  Time to sit in a chair they didn’t make wearing clothes they didn’t spin under a tree they don’t care for.  To protest the fact that someone else did this for them.

I weep.

Advertisements
11 comments
  1. Karyn said:

    Last point is very fair, people here don’t always appreciate what they have vs. poor in other countries…no question about it.

    But having said that, I don’t get your opinion that protestors using iPhones are inherently hypocritical. I don’t think “corporations” in totality are the issue. Its corporations that have had substantially negative impacts on our economy in order to drive the profit margin higher. Its corporations that have knowingly polluted the planet because they can. I daresay its not corporations that have given the world amazing technological advances, even if their CEOs haven’t contributed significant personal sums to charity.

    Maybe that distinction hasn’t been clearly posited, but I think its a fair and logical assumption that it exists.

    What I see here overall, overlooking those that are just there for the “fun” of it, are aims not dissimilar from the Tea Party. I think the divisiveness sewn by the current political leaders OF BOTH PARTIES, as well as far right/far left media sources, has created a situation where the 85% of overlap in message fades to the background in favor of the 15% variance in message. Its honestly too bad that both the OWS supporters and Tea Party leaders (and by leaders, I DO NOT mean Sarah Palin) can’t organize amongst themselves and find common ground all can support. Personally, I’d nominate Jon Stewart to lead that effort.

    • pino said:

      I don’t think “corporations” in totality are the issue. Its corporations that have had substantially negative impacts on our economy in order to drive the profit margin higher.

      Hey Karyn,

      I think they think corporations in totality are the issue. They claim that they are of the 99%. This implies that the richest 1% are the problem. They make no distinction between Whole Foods, Berkshire Hathaway, Apple and Exxon, MCI and Enron.

      In so far as they are making the case that people who break the law in their quest for more and more money should be prosecuted, we are in agreement. And certainly if asked, they would agree that those criminals should be brought to justice. But they don’t stop there. They feel that the rich have somehow gotten rich at the expense of the poor. It’s like, after soccer when the parents hand out drinks and cookies. That if one kid gets “cookie rich” it means another kid is “cookie poor”. It doesn’t work like that.

      Humanity, both in terms of cool technology and REAL money wealth, is richer because of the iPhone, Apple and Steve Jobs. The same can be said for oil, BP and their CEO. The world is richer, both in terms of the energy oil delivers and money wealth.

      These people resent other people who have money.

      What I see here overall, overlooking those that are just there for the “fun” of it, are aims not dissimilar from the Tea Party

      THAT is a fair point. And I need to work on acknowledging that. Where there is an intersection, we should work together to resolve the common complaints.

      Its honestly too bad that both the OWS supporters and Tea Party leaders (and by leaders, I DO NOT mean Sarah Palin) can’t organize amongst themselves and find common ground all can support.

      I agree. If we would all agree to get decent folks in the halls of DC we would be better off.

      Personally, I’d nominate Jon Stewart to lead that effort

      Ummm….he’s a Master Comic. He kinda sucks as an actor and almost certainly wouldn’t be a good politician. Plus, if he WAS a good politician, he’d accomplish too much Leftist stuff.

      Ishy.

  2. Great insight. Thanks for documenting the local event.

    • pino said:

      Great insight. Thanks for documenting the local event.

      Thanks!

      I see you blog as well. I look forward to much greatness!

  3. NPR had a story about the New York occupy. They are very well organized. They have sanitation crews, they’ve worked with the city’s for garbage removal, they remove paint from sidewalks, they keep the place clean. They have a financial committee, and a number of other committees. They are running it like a little city, keeping order and trying to maintain good relations with the police and the locals. I don’t know why you have a negative opinion of them – they seem well organized and ready for a long haul. I believe they’ve raised hundreds of thousands of dollars too, and that helps sustain them. They have first aid, it’s pretty impressive what they’ve put together. It’s also pretty amazing given how it started without much pretense:
    http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/10/occupy-wall-street-international-origins

    • pino said:

      They are running it like a little city, keeping order and trying to maintain good relations with the police and the locals.

      I suspect that as this trend continues, they’ll organize into a more coherent group. And when they do, they’ll get more recognition and respect. Further, I suspect that they’ll begin to learn that running an organization is not as easy as they think.

  4. Dee said:

    Dear Sir;
    You should weep and be ashamed of yourself! As I started reading your blog I was thinking you ‘got it’ then the pictures. I am appalled that you could put captions like that under them. This group is in NO WAY racist. Just check any media outlet for video and pictures and anyone can clearly see that it is a very mixed demographic. The picture that you attribute to the young lady staying it was about the military is another bad interpretation. It has NOTHING to do with the military. Yes, I am aware that you have the right to free speech and your opinion. Which is what you hear everyday at the OR movement. I think in all fairness (and I do assume you are a fair man) that you take another stroll through the movement. And try to actually LISTEN to what the people are saying. Maybe even actually initiate a conversation or two. “These people” as you call them do not resent hard work or people with money. They resent the GREED that affect each and every one of us. They resent 1% speak for them. That our country is no longer “We The People” That 1% have the politicians in their deep pockets. That 1% has outsourced America.

    You say “I am worried that We have lost our way.” That makes you a part of the 99%.

    • pino said:

      You should weep and be ashamed of yourself! As I started reading your blog I was thinking you ‘got it’ then the pictures.

      Dee, thank you for stopping by.

      First, lemme start off by saying I am a stinky long haired hippie. Have been for nearly 20 years now.

      I do get it, to a degree. I DO get that these folks are upset at bail-outs. I am too. I’m tired of my government bailing out car companies and bank companies. I hate it. I’m tired of the government bailing out all people. In that regard, we are simpatico.

      After that, we begin to diverge rather markedly.

      I do not feel the best way to get rich is to continue to allow the producers in this country to produce and then reallocate that money to other non-producers. I happen to feel that the best way to get wealthy, make a good living, is to start working crummy jobs. And then try and work really hard so that the next job is less crummy.

      For me, this experience started when I was 10 years old. I didn’t know it then, I was 10, but the lesson my dad taught me when he gave me a job for my 10th birthday was striking. No gifts. A job.

      I have been pulling a paycheck for 33 out of 43 years of my life.

      Many MANY of those jobs sucked.

      This group is in NO WAY racist.

      I know they’re not racist.

      I was making a point in comparing the criteria by which the Tea Party was called racist. The Occupy Raleigh rally was 95% white. In the same way the Tea Party is 95% white. And you have media and pundits using that to make a blanket statement about the Tea Party.

      The picture that you attribute to the young lady staying it was about the military is another bad interpretation. It has NOTHING to do with the military.

      Ahhh…..I see it now.

      You are right. My caption is grossly misguided in that instance. I do apologize.

      I think in all fairness (and I do assume you are a fair man) that you take another stroll through the movement. And try to actually LISTEN to what the people are saying.

      I think that this advice would serve ALL of us.

      They resent the GREED that affect each and every one of us.

      With all respect, this movement does not seem to consist of self reflection with the idea that the 99% have self improvement goals. They are clearly upset about wealth. And they want more of it.

      You say “I am worried that We have lost our way.” That makes you a part of the 99%.

      I do not consider myself part of the 99% as it pertains to the movement. I more consider myself part of what is being called “The 53%”.

      • Dee said:

        Well you did say in your rant that you let your hair down…I need a place of reference to start so I will say I have you beat! I started working at nine standing on a pepsi crate making 25 cents a hour laying a tobacco stick on a conveyor belt (you do the math to guess my age LOL) The misconception that you have about Occupy isn’t that we (yes I said WE) want to get rich. I have seen the signs that say ‘Robin Hood was right’ and I would like to think that the ‘average’ person knows it’s just a figure of speech. I made the comment today that I assume most people are as smart as I (or is it me?) to which I had to clarify as having common sense. I have been ‘aggravated’ by the fact that up until recently there was no clear ‘demands’ (I prefer focus) for Occupy. However, people are apt to believe what their party believes (Or tells them to believe). Why is it you can’t make people understand “bi-partisan”? So lets move on to ‘jobs that suck’…for some reason our society believes “I want better for my kids” is a good thing…not realizing that those ‘jobs that suck’ made us go to collage and appreciate what we have. And because of this ‘I want better for my kids’ there are no children working on the farm or other jobs that suck. Those are being outsourced in a sense (please press one for English) It chaps my butt that the job that made me who I am isn’t good enough now. That the ‘now’ generation is just that, now.
        You guys (I don’t have a ‘dog in this hunt’) this ‘now’ ‘it’ or whatever the in word is a generation where every child ‘deserves’ a trophy is raising a nation of underachiever blows my mind! How does one prepare a child for adulthood when they believe life is full of no one loses??? Oops sorry…off topic….
        To being ‘racist’ I guess I didn’t get the satire. But in all fairness I don’t know you. So don’t you think quote marks would work well in a case like this? Or maybe a sidebar to the Tea Party?
        I know that there is a lot of misinformation about the Occupy Movement (I am confused most of the time) as it seems each ‘generation’ has a different definition but I can assure you of one simple fact: WE are tired of corporate America screwing us with out buying us dinner. That ‘they pull the strings’ and there is a WHOLE lot more us of than them! There is one thing I would like you to consoider…where are those ‘jobs that suck’? YES..back to my pet peeve!!! OUTSOURCED! Here is a link for the numbers: http://jobs.lovetoknow.com/Facts_and_Figures_on_Outsourcing

        And speaking of the media..”Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive”

  5. Kristin Williams said:

    Hello. I am the “gentle soul” holding the sign about the wealth gap. I wasn’t making any reference to the military, as noted by another reader and yourself in a response post. However, I think that it is a gross overstatement to suggest that those who serve in the armed forces merely do so out of a sense of honor. While this may be the case for some, I can tell you that many of the students who enter my classroom are only able to do so because of the financial assistance they receive as compensation for their time served. These students, without a doubt, were proud to serve their country, but I don’t think we can ignore the fact that many join the military simply because their educational opportunities and the means to pay for their future are greatly restricted. Should people really have to put their lives on the line to pay for an education? It is because of these wealth disparities (to which my sign refers) that people have to make that choice in the first place. Let’s leave the patriotic rhetoric of honor out of it. Let’s not try to justify the exploitation of the most marginalized sectors of our citizenry. Finally, let’s not pretend that it is acceptable in the United States to limit the pathway out of poverty to enlistment. Now that it is settled, can we get back to the point that 1% of our nation owns 40% of the wealth?

    • pino said:

      Hello.

      Hi.

      I am the “gentle soul” holding the sign about the wealth gap.

      It’s an amazingly small world. I’m glad you saw this post and felt that you wanted to comment. I am very interested to engage in conversation with the OWS folks. I was with my very young son that afternoon. The folks on the Capital lawn were very respectful and polite. But I didn’t get a chance to interact because he’s still scared of crowds.

      I wasn’t making any reference to the military, as noted by another reader and yourself in a response post.

      Yes, I know now. Dee pointed that out now and I see that I was wrong. I’m sorry that I misquoted you.

      However, I think that it is a gross overstatement to suggest that those who serve in the armed forces merely do so out of a sense of honor.

      To be fair, I did mention that it represents a way out of poverty,

      These students, without a doubt, were proud to serve their country, but I don’t think we can ignore the fact that many join the military simply because their educational opportunities and the means to pay for their future are greatly restricted.

      I agree; it isn’t my intention to ignore that. The military is a fantastic opportunity for people to gain real world skills. They may be craft skills like mechanics, plumbing or electricians. Or, it might be technical skills like communications, computers or nuclear training. Further, these kids get the ability to lead. Lead people and be someone who is depended on. THAT is invaluable.

      Should people really have to put their lives on the line to pay for an education?

      No. But it isn’t a binary proposition.

      Finally, let’s not pretend that it is acceptable in the United States to limit the pathway out of poverty to enlistment.

      That isn’t the case. A great number of people leave poverty without ever joining the service.

      Now that it is settled, can we get back to the point that 1% of our nation owns 40% of the wealth?

      What is your solution?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: