Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Let the Evicted Become Occupiers

How can you buy the sky?
How can you own the rain and the wind?...
The earth is our mother.
What befalls the earth befalls all the sons and daughters of the earth.
- Chief Seattle, when the US Government offered to buy the remaining land of the Salish (after, of course, destroying the people of the Suquamish and Duwamish tribes)

As I travel through the West and South Sides of Chicago - where I and thousands live and work and where thousands can't find work or living accommodations - I can't help but notice dozens and dozens of square miles of foreclosed and evicted properties. Lands lay fallow and empty and overtaken by weeds. Empty lands where there could be jobs making products of any use: food, machines, clothes, housing, health...

Meanwhile, I know of several other friends - one who just died this week (RIP Kevin!) - who can't find work of any meaningful kind or, like myself, meaningful pay*, or who live under bridges.

The signs of these times are the Eviction Notice, the Pink Slip, and the Foreclosure Notice.

Hard-working, outstanding, moral women, men, and children are being tossed out of their homes and jobs by the wealthy lords through the power of the law and the force of the police (who also face the same difficulties and realities that the rest of us do). So it only makes sense that the Occupy movement is being served eviction notices as well.

New York, Portland, Atlanta, Salt Lake City, San Diego. They were all told they are not welcome there. Chicagoans couldn't even spend the night in our own park.

Where the Occupy Chicago movement holds its meetings.
Not because, as we've been told about others facing evictions, they are lazy bums who do not want to work. Not because all they do is complain. In fact, the majority of Occupiers everywhere are employed and attend the events in their spare time.

Rather, the Occupiers show, on a grand scale the kind of unjust reality that we currently live in by trying to live out a different reality and calling our supposed rulers out on their manipulations, on their bullying, on the fact that they serve the big property owners (the Multinational Corporations), rather than the public they were sworn to and promised to serve.

When the landlords and other rulers of the present, corrupt, de-humanizing reality come into conflict with a reality that they cannot profit from, there is a clash. And the violence that erupts is not a violence from the people, but from the system.

So when the Occupiers try to live as a united people in public land, demonstrating with the rights that we all are supposed to have by way of the First Amendment, suddenly they are called lazy, dirty, reckless, greedy, foolish brats who want everything and are unwilling to the necessary work to get it. Of course that's not the reality. That's the lie. The reality - for increasing numbers of human beings - is that because those who make money off the land that we are standing on have figured there are better ways of making money off the lands we are on, we are moved off the land and put on the reservation.

To starve and die.

Property laws disproportionately serve the greedy desires of those who own most of the property. And they often turn the vast majority of us into little more than extended property.
  • Just ask the original settlers of America whose land - and along with that, ways of life and life itself - was bought out from underneath them by the man-made laws of the powerful European settlers who believed that Law=Rightness.
  • Ask the peasants of old Europe or the serfs of Eastern Europe.
  • Ask the slaves (themselves considered property) of the American South before the Civil War.
  • Ask the sharecroppers of the South after the Civil War.
  • Ask the Occupy members in Portland, Oregon or New York City. 
  • Or office workers who have been removed from their workplace by security as if they're common criminals. 
  • Or any number of thousands upon thousands upon thousands of working class and middle class white, black, and brown Americans sent out to live in the streets over the last five years.

We have all been evicted for profit. It is high time to occupy for humanity.

*Also known as living wages: Meaning that you make enough money in order to afford basic costs to live without worry of being uninsured, having enough money to buy proper food for your family, not having to worry about paying rent or utilities., being able to get around town decently, etc. You know, living...

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