I am a mom. According to much of society, declaring myself this erases the value of my voice.
I am a mommy blogger. I can hear my opinion being discounted.
Is it rooted in the kyriarchy? In our mysoginist system? In the fact that I am female? In the fact that I have completed my biological purpose and should now fulfill my sole role in raising the next generation of future-obsolete beings?
Or is it self-fulfilling because it’s easy to rest on my complacency? I can fill every waking moment in parenting and turn aside from social movements like Occupy. I can choose not to think deeply.
Or I can choose to think and speak, without caring whether anyone else reads it. If my tree falls in the forest, I’m still surrounded by other trees who may also decide to opt out of silence and fall with a resounding, “Crash!”
Part 1: My Pre-Occupied Mind
Today is November 2, 2011, the day that Occupy Oakland has asked for a general strike and a day of action. I honor of Occupy Wall Street and specifically, Occupy Oakland, I’m supporting them today by writing about why I believe in the Occupy movement and why I believe the movement has the potential for change along with some philosophical questions. This is meant as an exploration of the issues and my hope is that it will inspire you to question your own beliefs.
Why November 2nd? Check out this link for more information about events happening today and about what you can do to support Occupy.
What would happen if you questioned your beliefs about Occupy at each step?
When I first heard about Occupy, it was from one of the mainstream media sources. They were dismissive of the people involved and their methods. I didn’t pay much attention other than to notice it was happening. I didn’t really understand why they were protesting and assumed it would be a one-time thing.
Part of the reason for this was the media’s obvious bewilderment in dealing with a non-soundbyte movement. There wasn’t a catchy jingle or flippant slogan to label the protestors. The frustration with the lack of conformity to the acceptable PR-friendly social movements was palpable. It was easy to see the talking heads seize the opportunity to bash these uncooperative children and stop doing real journalism.
Here is the official description from Occupy Wall Street’s main page:
Occupy Wall Street is leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions. The one thing we all have in common is that We Are The 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%. We are using the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic to achieve our ends and encourage the use of nonviolence to maximize the safety of all participants.
This #ows movement empowers real people to create real change from the bottom up. We want to see a general assembly in every backyard, on every street corner because we don’t need Wall Street and we don’t need politicians to build a better society.
Social media showed me how irrelevant and non-journalistic mainstream media can be. I was holding out the idea that some of the revered journalistic institutions still held to the ideals of an independent fourth estate, but I questioned my belief as I watched the live Occupy feeds and first-hand accounts. Mother Jones and other truly independent media sources were highlighting the differences in media coverage.
Then, the police descended on Occupy Oakland. I was paying attention to #occupyoakland’s twitter stream because that’s near me. The mainstream media left as police approached the crowd with tear gas, flash bombs, bean bag guns, and rubber bullets. I was horrified by what happened.
It woke me up. It forced me to think deeply about what I believe.
I love my country intensely. As a former political science and journalism double major, I believe that shaking up the status quo is one of the best ways to support the country.
The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions that I wish it to be always kept alive.
I agree with Occupy that our country’s financial institutions have become too enmeshed in our democractic government. I agree that the institution of government has become so entrenched in holding onto the status quo as determined by financial interests that it is no longer effective. I look back to the last presidential election when I broke out of my nihilism and had some Hope for Change. If nothing else, the lack of realization for many of the changes I longed for has me more firmly believing working within the system may no longer be viable.
I don’t agree with the us or them mentality. It seems at odds with the egalitarian practices of Occupy. And it’s this that I’ll discuss in part 2.
It feels overwhelming enough and it’s easy for me to retreat into the pressing demands of my every day life. But, I’m going to stay awake and do the following:
- Continue to pay attention and speak about it
- Transfer all of our financials out of the big banks and into local credit unions
- Continue to buy local, upcycle, minimize, reuse, etc
- Use cash instead of credit cards (limit spending)
- Put up a sign on my car & lawn that I support Occupy
- Bring donations to Occupy Oakland
My point with this essay is to ask you to question your thinking as I am in the process of doing; To wake up and say something. It doesn’t have to be the right thing, but your authentic voice deserves to be heard.
Many parents are actually going to Occupy protests. So, I feel sure there are many more of us Mommy bloggers who are quiet in our spaces, but have a voice to speak.
This is Part 1. I still have some pressing philosophical issues with their main slogan, “We are the 99%…” read about it in part 2: (forthcoming)
Are you awake? Will you say something and “CRASH!“ with me? I would love to hear from you.
The title is a nod to an Aimee Allen song.
- Occupy Movement Coverage (Mother Jones)
- 11 Simple Ways to Support the Occupy Movement without Sleeping in a Park (Iamlaurenleonardi.com)
- Occupy Wall Street roundup, Day 45 (dailykos.com)
- Occupy Wall Street FAQ (The Nation)
- Occupy Oakland, the General Strike on November 2, 2011 and An Introduction (seattleducation2010.wordpress.com)
- Why the Occupy Movement Will Succeed…..By Jake Olzen, From Nation of Change (truthnreality.wordpress.com)
- The Oakland police and #OccupyOakland. (emilylhauserinmyhead.wordpress.com)
- Oakland prepares to be Occupy movement epicenter (sfgate.com)
- Oakland Braces for Occupy General Strike [UPDATED] (sfist.com)
- Infographic: Who Is Occupy Wall Street? (fastcompany.com)