As anyone who knows me can tell you, I am upfront about the fact that I haven’t taken part in a lot of organizing and thus don’t have much experience. But, in the context of the Occupy movement and the fact that many participants are not very experienced either, if at all, I think that I can express my thoughts as an equal person of any other person who is involved with and cares about Occupy. And since I have white male privilege on my side, chances are that more people will listen than if I were a woman, trans- or cis-gender, if I were a person of color, and many other things in our society that disempower others and thus resulting in empowering me. This is a huge part of what we are fighting.
I included the following personal details because I wanted it to be very clear that I speak from a particular point of view that may not represent anyone/everyone—though some may find some or all of this piece to be in line with how they feel. But I also want to give insight into how I arrived at my perspective. Please treat this critique, if one can call it that, as such—a window into my particular viewpoint.
Since I was in my very early teens, say, twelve years old, I have been the target of police repression for my resistance to rulership and my desire to have freedoms. If it were not for my white male privilege, I would probably be dead by now. Luckily, I have not only had those privileges but friends and family who have been willing to tough things out by tolerating me and helping me grow as a person.
And yet, like many people reading this, I’ve had a sort of organic personal war against the State/capitalism and certain devices of repression they have used to attempt to break my/our spirit of resistance—cops, courts, probation, jails/prisons, programs, boys ranches, humiliation, violence, intimidation, stripping me naked in a cold room in juvenile detention and forcing me to rub stinging, unnecessary de-licer chemicals all over my nude body in front of two people I’d never met, charging me vast amounts of money that I’ve never had in trade for my freedoms, denying me medical attention in juvenile detention until my internal bruising (from a beating I had taken prior to incarceration) was hurting so bad I needed (expensive) medical transport, alienating me from my family, forcing me to choose between dropping out of high school or facing years more of untrained counselors in a special education/counseling school trying to psychologically reprogram me to believe that everything I was was shit and that I needed to abandon myself to be someone else (I dropped out), tricking people in my life into believing that all these things are good for me, isolating me from my friends and family for months and even years at a time, etc etc etc.
Because of these things and others, I still haven’t been able to get involved in organizing very much because of my inability to properly interact with people on a social level.
It’s my responsibility to deal with these things and that battle is ongoing.
Frankly, many of us have an easier time working alone than with potential allies or comrades. When it comes to getting in a group or room with people we don’t have an established trust with, we feel anything from discomfort to terror, elation to disappointment, self-consciousness, depression, anxiety and so forth. Even groups with trusted relationships can be too much for some. That can include me and often it does. It is therefore that I have not been able to or desired to get very involved in most organizing. Writing is where my skills lie, and I can hope to make a significant contribution by writing from up close—and from a distance—as I am able and as required.
That is why I write, when I can’t or do not wish to be involved directly in the decision-making process of any organizing.