The Woodstock movie gives me chills. Truthfully, it makes me grin my face off and well up with joyful tears at the strength of spirit, the manifestation of ideals, the simple stand that we, together, believe this. When the Hog Farm announces breakfast in bed for 400 000, I’m awed that a bunch of people society thought were sketchy kept the equivalent population of Tuscon happily fed. I’m moved that they cared to. I’ve said for years that it was probably a perfect moment in time and collective consciousness that allowed the whole thing to go off so beautifully. I said that mostly because Woodstock â€˜94 crushed any dreams I had of my generation doing anything without it becoming a shit show.
So, for the past few weeks, my unabashedly hippie heart has been following #OccupyWallstreet hoping that it is not a momentary dream from which people will simply awake to resume their march to the grave, but rather the revolution I thought would’ve happened by now.
I never understood why the hippies quit; why they gave up their ideals and put on not only the suits but the airs they swore they never would. Some admittedly stuck to their water pistols. Some of them though, just fizzled out and gave in.
As gen Xers, we were half-heartedly maybe gonna make things cooler (well, urban living is a hipster paradise, so we did that), but we inherited the old standard with all its failings. We haven’t asserted ourselves, taken any meaningful collective stands, or changed any status quos. The last generation burned draft cards, we burn CDs while convincing ourselves that not voting is the new voting.
The movement is spreading. On day 19 of #OccupyWallStreet, my dad finally heard about it on the news and wondered if he’d been living under a rock. No, I said, it took the media a minute. Strangely, it’s still not a trending topic on Twitter, but put in the hashtag #ows or #globalrevolution. Go on. Do it. I’ll wait.
This isn’t a dirty hippie movement (we’re totally welcome, obvs). This is not, as Fox News’ Kimberly Guilfoyle called it, “Woodstock meets Burning Man, meets people with absolutely no purpose.” This is what it looks like when the people are dissatisfied, but still have hope and faith.
Not faith in the system as it stands, not hope that a super mega Platonian robot will rise above, hit a magic Utopia button making it rain sparkles and house deeds, but a conviction that if enough of us believe the same things that we can create a positive change, leading us down a brighter path. That small ingredient is the vital difference between a live-in and a violent regime overthrow.
I’m not losing site that this is a protest. but it’s one of creation and the message here is the method. Jim Morrison rightly pointed out that they’ve got the guns, but we’ve got the numbers; here the 1% holds the key to our money, our homes, those numbers on tickers that are gibberish to me (because I don’t have enough money to need them), but we are fundamentally the people. We are, by definition, society, and when we as a collective step outside the box deciding to create another space, the box and the 1% lose all their power. The economy, the whole system, can only hold in its current state if we close our eyes, clap, and say that we believe. This is the sound of eyes opening across the world.
The protesters in NYC are not being allowed sound equipment or bullhorns, so they, in their ingenuity, have created The People’s Mic: one person says “miccheck”, everyone says it back, then everything the speaker says is repeated by the crowd, sentence by sentence, allowing everyone to hear. They’re doing jazz hands in the air instead of clapping to avoid muting the message. That’s fuckin’ beautiful, man. If you took away the mics in parliament, they’d hold a committee and nothing would get said let alone done until next fall. And we’d foot the bill.
On October 9th, Sierra Voices reported that occupytogether.org was listing meetups in 1065 cities. On October 12th, it was at 1424. The same day, Mother Jones was reporting Occupy Rallies in over 190 locations worldwide. That doesn’t speak to how many really big protests are actually going on so much as to the growth of the movement and the solidarity of the global community at its grassroots.
We’ve finally started making our breakfast in bed. And it’s about time.