Wednesday, October 19, 2011

it's been raining, cold and hard, for a couple of days now and the police have cleared out the dozen or more tents on the occupy carbondale site outside of quigley hall, near the bucky-dome frame. i can't give you the details; i guarantee the kids were mad, and the police weren't all that happy either, and somebody at the university ordered it done, but i don't know any of this, don't know how it happened, or what was legal and what was not. it was not violent as far as i know. the news media picked up nothing of it, nothing at all, as far as i can find.

the protesters had found this place, in front of the bucky-dome, perhaps because the frame dome made good pictures and could be seen by a lot of traffic; in addition, they were across from gaia house, a funky old building that we use as quaker meeting, which sympathizers could let them into thus letting them use the bathroom in the middle of the night or perhaps make a cup of warm tea. there were as many as fifteen or twenty tents there, even at the peak of the cold rain, but this probably upset the university grounds crew who were doubtless worried about the effect on the grass and the appearance.

as i scan the world of images in order to make my pop art i'm struck by how the protesters like to go right up against these wonderful old buildings that invariably house the federal reserve, or the big banks; these guys own the best of the world's architecture. we in this tiny town are architecture-starved, so that to me the best part of scanning images is finding fine old buildings to feast my eyes on. there's no shortage of fine, old stone work contrasted with young fresh angry faces. but, in this town, there was an absolute lack of two things: fine old buildings, and, and actual financial district. we don't have either. there wasn't even anywhere they could march; no repository of anything more than a month's pay. their choice of the bucky-dome was interesting because quigley, that ugly old 50's era building, actually houses the architecture school, and that's ironic; then, bucky himself, who favored sustainability and right design, well who knows what he would say about a score of muddy tents outside his aluminum dome-frame. it made a good picture, yes, but as far as i know the press didn't even catch it.

while cruising around the web i encountered this interesting article that is now buried in thousands of words, most angry, directed at the protesters by the financial community. quick to point out the financial and economic ignorance of the vast majority of protesters, and be offended by nose-rings, ipods, etc., but then, this writer was also keenly aware of the billions that had been stolen from the american people on wall street, and even eager to give them tips on where to look for it. i have said for many years that if you live in this country and you are not angry at all the money that has been stolen, the billions in wars gone to halliburton, cheney and friends, the vast sweeping hand that, in the name of the american taxpayer, parks soldiers in korea, germany, uganda, iraq, afghanistan, etc., most of the time not bothering to ask for permission, granting fortunes to gun dealers and leaving people starving, oh well don't get me started. anyway what struck me about this article again was the contrast: one guy, right in the middle of it, angry at all the loot stolen over the years; thousands of protesters, also aware, believe it or not, of how they've been fleeced, they and their children, and their grandchildren, and they have nothing else in common, except that anger.

i also had and raised five children in confidence that, with the u.s. as my home it would have a bright future for them and their offspring, a place of hope and rebirth and genuine good attitudes about a multitude of things including equality, peace, racial harmony, civil liberties. i have begun casting my eye at places that seem to hold more hope in the long run, in terms of being able to promise and keep these things; it seems to me that, when a few hundred trillion in debt, you've kind of sold a little too much of your future. in greece protesters demand simply going bankrupt and forgetting the debt, forcing the banks and the world to just shove it. this, if i'm not mistaken, might cause the whole system to come tumbling down, but worse, if it gave us ideas, and we were to do it, then it would be another world war two. we may have forgotten, but whole sets of devastating wars were caused by basically the economic squeezing of entire peoples, who in their austerity, frugality, lack of money and lack of hope, began to lose everything except their sense of nationalism, and who then simply turned that anger on those around them. could it happen again? in the big picture, i have no doubt.

in this sense, learning and knowing history hasn't helped me much; it's given me a bleak sense of foreboding for all the suffering to come. i have hope in some ways: that if stealing continues it gets increasingly harder to do under the watchful eyes of populist occupiers, in league with the voices from within that identify the thieves and even have some idea of where the stolen loot is (switzerland no doubt, right next to gaddafi's loot)...back here in carbondale, however, i feel helpless to do anything except make pop art, and, as i did today, accidentally reroute my chauffeur-driving tour (dropping off & picking up kids from school, etc.) so that i can see a lone bicycle, unlocked, next to the bucky-dome frame, a chair nearby, not sat in, signs gone, and a hard rain falling.

the kids have taken to rancorous baiting of each other on the way to school, rain or not, they're back there in the back seat, calling each other names, being mean, and doing whatever damage they can without being seen in the rearview mirror. at one point i threaten them with radio or bluegrass or something, and the little one likes that option; in fact, he even listens carefully to talk radio and picks up a few ideas. there is so much water in the street, it threatens to turn into one of these small-town floods, where a small-town sewer system just can't handle it all at once, but the car handles it ok, and everyone is orderly on city streets, which is actually better than such places as boston, or bangkok, or mexico d.f., where you take your life in your hands every time you step out. at home, we change the furnace filter and turn on the heat. i work, i eat, i rest, i yell at the boys, and i occasionally check in on the turmoil on the golden continent, or maybe i could say, the hungry continent. i'm grateful, again, that i've had my dinner, that i've even had dessert, that i sit here warm inside a spacious house, with lots of clothes, a couple of cats prowling around too lazy to hunt for the mice. another holiday season rolls around, grandchildren coming, but the winter is coming too, and that means, i suppose, that occupy the north will turn into occupy the south, or, the hardy will get real hardy, and real clever about their protest tactics. somehow i don't think it will mellow out and float away; it certainly hasn't in greece.

the rainbow people used to come through this area in the fall; they'd have their fall gathering deep in the shawnee and use carbondale, or perhaps harrisburg, as a meeting point and a place to panhandle or dumpster-dive before grabbing a can of beans or two and heading back into the forest for a few weeks. they'd often leave here the minute it got cold, telling everyone they wee headed for key west or some such rainbow gathering-point, but who knows where they'd end up or even if they could be said to "end up" anywhere. the other day when my son walked over to the occupy encampment he said he ran into a couple of old rainbow guys, but then, this was sunday morning, not a good time to catch the young student crowd at their best. the reason i mention it is, the two cultures have a bit in common: their own language, their own communal lifestyle and way of doing business, and communicating; a global network, and global ways of reaching out to it; and, a fairly loose, even maddeningly vague program in spite of a long-term commitment to change and survival. when the weather changed, around here, you'd see these folks passing through town, and everyone recognized that as a sign of fall. the leaves come loose from the trees, and in their greenish-orangeness, turning toward orange, drift down and share their color for a spell. it's show your colors month, which, as you may be well aware, is not, to me, the most beautiful (easily eclipsed by the understated brown hues of november)...but, in any case, makes for a bit of raucous interaction, out there in the world of human experience.


Blogger Unknown said...

those who fail history are bound to repeat it!

3:28 PM  

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