Dispatch from OWS, Tompkins County Division

photo by Cashel Stewart

I was up in Ithaca, New York over the weekend, and we chanced to pass by the local demonstration in support of Occupy Wall Street. There were only a couple of dozen people there (it was raining) but I found it very heartening. Representatives of each of the local factions spoke a little piece: first a girl from Cornell, then a boy from Ithaca College, then a girl from Ithaca High School, and then…the guy with the Ron Paul sign.

I’d been eyeing him with both curiosity and trepidation since arriving, for he represented the closest thing to my faction — and sometimes when my libertarian homeys talk in public, it reminds me of that time my grandmother caused a disturbance at the town meeting. Makes ya want to climb into a hole. But this young man was perfectly tuned to his moment — confined himself to the common ground, which is the whole point — and I felt pride and something like a tiny germ of hope.

Another person had a sign that reinforced this feeling. It read “This is not a ‘liberal’ movement. Conservatives welcome.” The pundits (especially the conservative pundits) have been falling all over themselves ridiculing Joe Biden’s remark that the OWS people and the Tea Partiers have a lot in common. But from where I stand personally (with a foot, more or less, in both camps) I think maybe I’m one of the few people who can see it. EVERYONE (except apparently a handful of political and business leaders) is dissatisfied, scared and angry, and feels not only powerless, but that there is no one who can or will lead a way out. The interests of all of these people are identical, despite wedges that have been driven in between them by the political class and the mainstream media. Like the Paul supporter said, “This is not about Democrats. This is not about Republicans. This is about everybody.” Only when someone can figure out a way to knit together the will of the 50% and the 49% will the 1% (and their government toadies) have to answer to everybody else.

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4 Responses to “Dispatch from OWS, Tompkins County Division”

  1. Amen to that…even tho we’re technically on ‘opposite’ ends of political divide, I agree there’s Way more similarities than differences and wrote about that myself…hope that understanding becomes more deep-rooted, cause it’s true.

    • The trick of course will be getting the Tea Party side to be as open-minded and inclusive. Did you go to Times Square?

  2. Michael Karp Says:

    You’re not alone, Trav … I’ve been explaining the congruent interests (and common motivation) of the OWS and Tea Party movements to anyone who will listen–and many who will not…
    Their situations are identical…. What the Plutocrats fear the worst is that they’ll find that common ground, forge an alliance, and act in concert. Now there’d be change we could all believe in! Thanks for posting this…

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