Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Occupy Targeting

Stay on target.   Stay on target.
With a tiny bit of free time on my hands this last week, and my flighty muse temporarily disinterested in the book I'm chugging away on, I found myself doing a little bit of research.

With the days growing short and the winter coming on, the Occupy Movement here in DC is going to be facing a conundrum of sorts.  The long history of sustained camping-demonstrations here in the Nation's Capital combined with a moderate-to-progressive local ethos may not yield the sort of forcible removals we've been seeing in city after city this last week, but one never knows.  It didn't stop the aggressive action to clear out Zuccotti Park last night in New York, at the heart of where the Occupy movement began.  There, the response of the Movement was mostly what it needed to be.  Just clear out.  Just pick up peaceably, smile at the nice officers and tell them you love them, move, and then settle back in the next morning, like the murmuration you are.

Still, time is short.  The Death Star is clearing Yavin.  It is important to stay on target.

The larger challenge will come, in DC at least, in reinforcing identity and in spreading popular support for the movement among Americans generally.   To do this, I would ask that Occupy K St and Occupy DC consider direct action that reflects the actuality on the ground.   Having gotten the satire out of my system on that subject, here's a simple proposal for consideration by the General Assemblies in question:

As the political system is not, not yet, the focus of Occupy, focus on the ground you inhabit.  Call out those places of power that are not accountable.  What troubles most Americans is the control over our political system by powerful, entrenched, and moneyed interests.  The One Percent, as they say.  These are the lobbyists, the potent influence-shops that employ our politicians and politicos after they've left office.   This is where corporate money buys the direction of our culture, and where the good of the country is taken out of the hands of voters and citizens.   This is the heart of injustice.  The political leaders from either of the two parties we're permitted to choose from do not speak against these places, and they will not.  Not ever.  It's where their campaign staffers go to work, and where they themselves hope to pad the nest for their retirements.

Resisting those places would have purchase, deep purchase.   If America hears you are doing this, Honeychild, ninety-nine percent of them will wave their hands in the air and say AMEN.  Even the Tea Party will acknowledge the excellence of your kung fu.

Here in the District of Columbia, there are plenty of office-fronts where a few hundred souls with signs making noise could light up, in a prophetic way, those places of unaccountable power.  These are not places known to most citizens, but as I'm a DC townie who likes to do research, I know 'em.   The next time you're considering a nonviolent Guy Fawkes-masked march or an impromptu resistance dance party, consider these as destinations:

The Podesta Group.   Akin Gump.   Patton Boggs.   I have selected these three against two primary criteria:  1) they need to be in easy walking distance of your encampments, and 2) they need to perfectly represent the essential power you oppose.

Let me light 'em up a little for ya.

The Podesta Group is a good place to start.  They're at 1001 G Street, NW, Suite 900.   They are, according to opensecrets, the number three lobbying shop in DC this year, pulling in over twenty million dollars from their clients in 2011 alone.  And oh, what lovely clients they have.  They've pushed the interests of BP, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Bank of America, and various Big Pharma corporations, and that's just this year.

If you're having a Pavlovian response to Podesta, well, that's because it is just so very tasty.

Akin Gump is a DC powerhouse, and has been for decades.  I used to work in the same building they inhabit, at 1333 New Hampshire Avenue, NW.  I watched former lawmakers and power-players go in and out, in and out.  The guy who advised Clinton to hush up the Lewinsky thing?  He worked there.    They represent, among many others, Chinese interests, Big Oil, Boeing, and casinos.  It's a short walk, right next to Dupont Circle, and if you want to stop in for a beer at the Front Page afterwards, it's right there.  They're number two on the list of 2011 lobbying firms, at twenty-five million in receipts in 2011.

Finally, there's Patton Boggs, the big boy on the block.   They're looking at nearly thirty million in client money for 2011.  Their huge client list includes various large big Pharma players and Walmart.  They are also in the notable employ of several big-ticket investment and financial interests, who are their largest dollar amount clients.

Meaning, my friends, that they work for Wall Street.  This is where the power of Wall Street reaches into the halls of governance, kids.  This is where the social connections of power are leveraged, bought, traded, and sold.    This is why you're here, and it's only a 25 minute walk from McPherson Square, at 2550 M Street, NW.

So I will leave this in your hands, to do with what you will.  Be peaceful.  Be loud.  Be gracious.  Be bold.