The anti-Wall Street protest has often resembled a street party. In occupied Liberty Park, people banged on drums, danced, performed mime, even dangled donuts to bait cops. Their mood has been merry, which is remarkable considering that they’ve been sleeping out in the open, on hard ground, in a compact park, without even tents over them. Food and money have been limited, and sanitation a logistical nuisance, yet even a cloudburst in the middle of the night, drenching everyone, was greeted with cheers. A sign, “THE REVOLUTION WILL BE PLAYFUL.”
Critics have slandered these protesters as idle and frivolous, as muddled crybabies who would flee from any job application, not that anyone’s hiring, by the way. This rally, then, is just a noisy blight on America’s crooked economic engine. With a first dusting of snow, these anarchists, hippies, art students, bums and trust fund kids would all go home to mommy. Third-term billionaire mayor Bloomberg—who says money can’t prolong life?—even moaned that this protest was targeting people just “struggling to make ends meet,” and he was sorta right, of course, because there’s no way Wall Street’s end can meet any of our ends.
When noticed at all, the protesters’ frequent meetings have often been dismissed as pointless and confused. Surely nothing will come of their callow and cumbersome deliberations. Their decisions can’t and won’t matter. America’s life and death matters are decided by cynical, rich old guys in suits, not bongo stroking freaks, so debate all you want, but there’s no way your jejune ideas can inflect, however slightly, this monster bank-dominated, Federal Reserve-run, two war party system.
With the just released The 99% Declaration, our ruling class has been issued an ultimatum, however. The anti-Wall Street protesters will convene a National General Assembly in Philadelphia from July 4th, 2012 until October of 2012, resulting in a “PETITION OF GRIEVANCES to be submitted to all members of Congress, The Supreme Court and President and each of the political candidates running in the nationwide Congressional and Presidential election in November 2012.” If these grievances are not redressed within one year, the 99% “will organize a third independent political party to run candidates in the 2014 mid-term elections.”
This is the best news I’ve heard in a while. Finally, some much needed oxygen in this suffocating political dungeon. These mostly young protesters have stayed clear of any current politician. Showing more maturity than many of their elders, they trust neither Democrats nor Republicans. They are not suckered by Obama nor distracted by Clinton’s Usher and Lady Gaga circus. It’s incredible, isn’t it, that the man who enacted NAFTA and repealed the Glass-Steagall act can now go on television to lament that “the American Dream has been under assault”?
With their rejection of this walled up and dead end system, the protesters can bring to mind Bartleby, with his “I’d prefer not to,” but this movement is not just a refusal to be co-opted into a murderous and life-sapping existence. Last week, America entered yet another war, but who’s keeping track any longer? A Yahoo! headline, “Mysteries of Clinton’s Big Concert Solved,” and the Cardinals are amazing, aren’t they?
A third, viable political party is long overdue. Though the moneyed interest will surely bare its fangs before it gives up even a sturgeon egg from its privileged table, it is high time we break apart this mad vehicle before it hurls us all into the abyss.
Linh Dinh is the author of two books of stories, five of poems, and a just released novel, Love Like Hate. He’s tracking our deteriorating socialscape through his frequently updated photo blog, State of the Union.