Sunday, October 16, 2011

@ Occupy Seattle: Protesting is Good, Coopting is Very Not Good.

First a little history.

Seattle has a long standing (heh) community of homeless tent dwellers who have to pick up and move every 90 days (I think it's 90) to a new spot of private land donated by a church or other organization. The fact that they get the 90 days took a decade of wrangling.

You want to talk about organization, they've got it. You want to talk about long term struggle with the city over the basic right to cover your head at night, they've done it. Long before the protests that are making waves now, these actual homeless folks got familiar with the police kicking down their tents in the middle of the night. They are organized to provide cooking facilities, bathroom facilities, cleanup facilities, etc in an urban environment.

They fought for years with various mayors over their simple right to exist and find shelter in a city that didn't offer enough services for the working poor. Because of their epic battles with Seattle's last mayor, Greg Nickles (douche supreme, btw) they renamed their encampment "Nicklesville" ala the Hoovervilles of the first Great Depression.

So now that we've talked history, let's talk the Occupy Protests.

Last night was supposed to be the night of a 1000 tents at Westlake. There weren't a thousand. There were quite a few, but not a thousand. And near the podium where the GA is held is a sign "Welcome to Nicklesville".

Uhm no.

First of all- NO. You all haven't been sleeping rough though 10 fucking years of homelessness. You all haven't invited any members of Nicklesville to show you how deal with the sanitation/food storage & prep/ police resistance issues that these people much further down the food chain have mastered in all their experience.

You all didn't join Share in protesting in front of the Gates foundation a few nights ago (Share is one of the non-profits that helps advocate for Tent City residents). It's just a little mile march into Queen Anne.

You haven't dealt with fucking Mayor Nickles. Who was a giant pimple on Satan's ass. You all have dealt with Mayor McSchwinn, who really isn't giving you too much grief. A little, yes. But he ain't Nickles.

You all really want so lateral, non- elitist change, start from the bottom up by including the much more experienced folks in the process instead of just stealing their fucking name.

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