Saturday, November 19, 2011

The #OWS "Crucible"

There is a grueling final test at the end of Marine Corps bootcamp known as "The Crucible". For 54 hours, potential Marines march day and night, endure severe weather conditions, evacuate and care for simulated casualties, etc. Only after this is successfully completed will a recruit have finally earned the title of a Marine. You don't show up at Parris Island or San Diego, put on a uniform, pose for a photo and automatically get to be a Marine. You have to endure weeks of hell, tear gas, being woken up at ungodly hours and other unpleasantries in order to get there.

So it goes with the folks who are out at Occupy Wall Street and other protests across the world. Change doesn't just happen because you stand on a corner with a sign for a couple hours on the weekend or make a cool "99%" sign which makes the rounds on the internet. Don't get me wrong, a collection of those actions moves the dialogue forward and every bit helps and it is appreciated.

My hat is off though, to those who have gone through the "Crucible" of being a protester. Being arrested, beaten, peppersprayed, shot with rubber bullets and coming back for more abuse is a sign that the repressive tactics aren't working. In fact, they're backfiring and the frustration of the oppressors is showing. They are ironically building a more determined group of protesters and support for the Occupy movement at the same time. Whether it be waves of pepperspray rolling in with the Pacific mist in Seattle or batons clanking against barricades in Manhattan, every image or video clip of a grandmother being sprayed or a retired police officer being arrested makes us stronger, more determined and it's free publicity.

The thing is, the powers that be don't seem to grasp that this like aikido, as I wrote in a previous article "The Strength of Peaceful Protest". They don't understand that their overwhelming strength and weapons are their greatest weakness. They can't just walk away because they believe that means they lost. So they keep on fighting us, we keep growing stronger and more disciplined. They've taken "lazy, dirty, entitled rich kids" and turned them into politically aware and motivated individuals who are all leaders. These people who may have been politically apathetic before are determined now, more than ever, to change the status quo.

So keep on pepper-spraying, keep on arresting, keep on making us realize why we are doing this. We'll thank you one day.

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