First-Hand Reporting from Occupy Wall Street: “You Are All a Lost Generation”

— Gail Zawacki, in a Wit’s End Repost

After the exhaustion of staying up all night Thursday to deter the threatened eviction of Occupy Wall Street early Friday, which to much teary jubilation, was thwarted, I came home for a nap and then returned again today.  My intention was to first join with one of many collaborative demonstrations going on around the city, a protest against mountain top removal coal extraction, which I had been informed was to meet in front of the NYC Library.  I arrived early and nobody else was there yet, so I wandered around back to the park, and came across a statue of Gertrude Stein.

Okay!…so I admit, I put my Anonymous mask on her bronze effigy!  (I like to think she would have approved.)  The rest of this post consists of quotes from her, and my first interview to upload (it takes some time, more will come).  This first young lady, who is utterly charming, sincere, and articulate, presents an unsentimental assessment of the prospects for our industrial society and the inhibited actions of the major environmental groups that is amazingly sophisticated.  I was impressed, and encouraged.

“Everybody knows if you are too care ful you are so occupied in being careful that you are sure to stumble over something.”

There ain’t no answer.
There ain’t gonna be any answer.
There never has been an answer.
There’s your answer.

You look ridiculous if you dance
You look ridiculous if you don’t dance
So you might as well dance.

I do want to get rich but I never want to do what there is to get rich.

You have to know what you want to get it.

There is no reason why a king should be rich or a rich man should be a king, no reason at all.

All of the above are quotes from Gertrude.

As I get more video uploaded, I’ll add it…it takes time!

Update: Snippets from Times Square, where the police barricaded the protesters to allow traffic to continue to flow…

— Gail Zawacki publishes a blog with photographs and links to research about the damaging impacts of tropospheric ozone on vegetation, primarily trees, at Wit’s End.

13 Responses to First-Hand Reporting from Occupy Wall Street: “You Are All a Lost Generation”

  1. Leif says:

    Thank you Gail. Port Townsend had a 200+ OPT turnout Friday. Not bad for a small town. I was also impressed by the support of the majority? of passer-buys.

  2. Wes Rolley says:

    Gail, this was great.

    If you go back a couple of weeks, John Hanrahan did a great piece on the question of where protest went after Obama was elected, published in Harvard’s Nieman Watchdog.

    I think that he is spot on regarding the question of the media coverage.

    Will Bunch, senior writer for the Philadelphia Daily News who covered the Wall Street protests early on, gave as good an explanation as we’re likely to get during a recent appearance on Keith Olbermann’s “Countdown” program on Current TV. Commenting on the early non-coverage or condescending coverage of the Wall Street protests, Bunch said: “A lot of people in newsrooms still are not in touch with the real pain and the real suffering of 25 million who are unemployed and underemployed.” Paraphrasing PressThink weblog editor Jay Rosen, Bunch said: “It’s kind of un-cool for a journalist to take these people who want to change the world seriously.” Olbermann chimed in that if the more than 1,000 people on the first day of the Wall Street protests had been Tea Party-ers protesting Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s monetary stimulus policies, it would have been “the lead story on every network.”

    Now we need to apply that thinking, what NYU Professor Jay Rosen calls the “cult of the savvy”, to climate change and the media. The “savvy” have decided that climate is an old story, that there is nothing new in it, that it won’t affect the political climate this election cycle, etc. It is just “uncool” to be caught writing about climate. Well it is time to change the political climate, isn’t it? We desparately need a Greening of Congress.

  3. prokaryotes says:

    I’m not sure if Gertrude Stein is a good association with the current 99% movement:

    “Stein was a life-long Republican and vocal critic of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the New Deal.”

    The New Deal was a series of economic programs implemented in the United States between 1933 and 1936. They were passed by the U.S. Congress during the first term of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The programs were responses to the Great Depression, and focused on what historians call the “3 Rs”: Relief, Recovery, and Reform. That is, Relief for the unemployed and poor; Recovery of the economy to normal levels; and Reform of the financial system to prevent a repeat depression. The New Deal produced a political realignment, making the Democratic Party the majority (as well as the party which held the White House for seven out of nine Presidential terms from 1933 to 1969), with its base in liberal ideas, big city machines, and newly empowered labor unions, ethnic minorities, and the white South.

    Though i just gave this a quick look, so not sure about my conclusion, but thought i post this here.

  4. Cynthia says:

    “The mass media, politicians, etc. don’t want to ask why our society largely ignored the warnings about climate change. Few… also consider Peak Oil and GW are two ways of looking at the same problem of overconsumption, since our monetary system is predicated on ever increasing growth.

    The last analyses of Peak Oil and GW each conclude that the problem would have to be addressed a decade or two before it manifest… yet both problems are here now. Perhaps the truth is that the shadow gov’t. (corporations and the military industrial complex) did not want to deal with these problems because the solutions are inherently decentralized and would would require relaxation of centralized power control systems. Since we missed the opportunity to solve these issues as gently as possible, gov’ts are instituting a global surveillance police state to suppress dissent as the oil that runs the show becomes more scarce and expensive and climate change reduces available food and water supplies.

    The precise timing of Peak Oil is not the issue– whether its now, next year, or in a decade or two doesn’t matter much nor change the need to shift course from exponential growth that is devouring the very basis for the planet’s ability to sustain humanity.

    Surviving and thriving after Peak Oil will require using the resources currently invested in the military. How we use the remaining half of the oil determines the future of human civilization: will we use the remaining oil to make solar panels and relocalize food production, or will we use it to build more military equipment to control the oil as it runs out?

    Converting these resources to peaceful, permaculture use will require removing the pretext for what Cheney called the “war that will not end in our lifetime”.

    A century ago, Thomas Edison said, “I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until the oil and coal run out before we tackle it.”

    Three years ago, From the Wilderness’s science editor wrote: a lot more at stake here than just a continuation of the cold war or U.S. imperialistic greed. There is enough energy remaining in the world right now for us– the people– to take control and ease ourselves into a democratic, egalitarian, stable-state society. Or there is enough energy for the elite to build a feudalistic, fascist, police state with themselves at the top. This is the choice facing us right now, and this is what is truly at stake.”

  5. Raul M. says:

    Chant that the police are of the 99% was right to my ear. Right on.

  6. Bill G says:

    Are you all “lost”? Is life all about making money and buying more and more and more stuff?

    Is all this stuff making us happy? If you look at the amount of psychological illness in the US, look at the amount of meds we consume, look at the way we try to fill a void with consumer goods – probably not.

    This seems like the perfect time to think this all through. Besides, Mother Earth has given about all she can give for satisfying our frantic efforts to get more stuff.

    So, you may not be lost but on the verge of finding something valuable.

    Use the opportunity.

  7. Mr. Cannuckistan says:

    There’s a movement to find a new slogan for the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations. How about…

    “One person, one vote… NOT… One dollar one vote.”

    For me that optimizes the struggle between wealth and power vs the weak and the poor.


  8. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    That’s not ‘savvy’, that’s simple ideological bias. The MSM is completely controlled and oligopolised by Rightwing Big Business. Those owned to do the propaganda work that is the MSM’s main raison d’etre, twist the news and the facts to suit their owners’ ideology, or they look elsewhere for over-remunerated employment. The powers-that-be loathe the rabble, and, if they grow restive, every means available will be mobilised to crush them. Ignoring them is followed by ridiculing them, and already, increasingly, by the type of nasty abuse that is the Right’s preference. The Murdoch Evil Empire is right in smear mode (they love it!) over here at the moment. Then come the police riots, the harassment and the definition as ‘economic terrorists’. It’s as predictable as the rising of the sun.

  9. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Cynthia, it’s a no-brainer, really. Unless people wake from their stupour regarding the true nature of the rapacious global parasite class, we will certainly get the neo-feudal fascist state, and a deliberate, neo-Malthusian cull of billions as well. The evidence is ubiquitous that the pathocratic elites will do anything to preserve their dominance, yet they are still spoken of as if they are decent, rational, human beings who are simply ignorant of the facts and susceptible to reason. Until we wake up to the reality of elite misanthropy and psychopathy we will get precisely nowhere.

  10. Jeff Huggins says:

    Bravo to Gail, to Hannah, and to the little girl with drumsticks — and others.

    Best wishes from California,


  11. Nancy Theriault says:

    Hi Gail, Thank you so much for the interview with Hannah – she’s my daughter!! She and my other daughter Sophie have been there for a couple of weeks now. I’m so darn proud of them. If you see her again, please give her a big hug!
    Thanks for your work,

  12. Gail Zawacki says:

    Thanks everyone for your comments and…Wow Nancy I am so please to make your acquaintance! You should be so proud of your daughters. I am regretful that I didn’t get an email address for Hannah, who was so gracious to let me film her – so I have had no way to follow up. Please write me offline! witsendnj at yahoo. I have a daughter named Sophie, too!

  13. kermit says:

    “also consider Peak Oil and GW are two ways of looking at the same problem of overconsumption, since our monetary system is predicated on ever increasing growth.”

    It is not surprising that the same sociopaths in power are as little concerned for their own grandchildren as they are for yours and mine.

    I think if most people were successfully informed on these issues, they would happily accept a tighter belt now rather than face increasingly dire circumstances over the next few decades for themselves, and increasingly worse for their immediate descendants.

    The hoi polloi have been bamboozled into thinking that the right beliefs identify them as the right kind of people – tribalism processed through propaganda.