People Power post #1 – Equality for All

I am so inspired by the current Occupy Wall Street protests, that I’d like to start an “official” series of posts. Nothing spectacular. Just my reactions to events. I name it “People Power” because to me, everything comes down to this: equal power to all people. It’s an ideal of the Enlightenment, a modern notion that’s relatively new. Prior to the modern era, people believed they were born powerless, would live powerless, then would die powerless, passing their powerlessness on to their children and their children’s children.

These people, despite their powerlessness within the system would nonetheless find ways to empower themselves, to live with deep meaning and purpose. Our modern struggle for power has been fraught with difficulty and pain. “All men are created equal,” wrote Thomas Jefferson, from a desk set within his fine house on his plantation where women cooked his meals and black people performed his manual labor. In other words, it’s been easier to set up “equality” as an ideal than it has to practice it.

How do people get power? They take it. That’s what has emboldened everyone from the Middle East to middle America (where I happen to be at the moment). It’s that simple. And it’s that difficult, because to gain power, you’ve got to risk losing what you’ve got, including your life.

I didn’t think we had it in us. I was wrong, and I’m happy to admit it. Excited. No one knows what will happen, but already the protests are making a difference. The Democrats just got brave enough to stand up with wobbly knees and quietly propose a millionaire tax. President Obama, who rejected such an idea a year ago, has endorsed this as a possibility. Every day that they protest will make a difference. Everything you do to protest. Every positive comment on Facebook. Every conversation you have. Even if you don’t agree with everything that we radical leftists stand for. Speak out against exploitation. Speak out against those with power. Stand behind giving more power to the people, even if you are a conservative Republican, because Big Government is just as much a problem as Big Business. In fact, they work together. So we need everyone on board here.

Occupy Together

Power to the People.

Published by

Jonathan Erdman

Writer. In the summers, I live and work in the incredible state of Alaska, in the bush community of McCarthy, as the Executive Director of the Wrangell Mountain Center. When not in McCarthy, you'll typically find me in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California, writing and working with local activists. My primary writing project right now is a novel set in remote bush Alaska, of the magical realism genre wherein an earnest and independent young woman finds a mysterious radio belonging to her grandmother, a device that has paranormal bandwidth and a disturbing ability to mess with one's mental stability.

2 thoughts on “People Power post #1 – Equality for All”

  1. Now that there have been a number of murders, deaths. drug overdoses, rapes, public shitting in public areas where Occupy protests are occuring, violence towards TV reporters and police, property damage in the $10 millions along with harming 1,000s of local businesses who have been harmed by the activity of these Occupy protests – what do you think about it now?

    I have no respect for anyone involved with any of the Occupy protests. They have done absolutely no good and only harm. The longer they camp out and treat public property like they are treating it the worse they look and the more the public hates them. As they should. When a group of people tries to block Wall Street or attempts to block a road, the only good response to that is a negative one.

    Somewhere close to 99% of the country is laughing at them for their stupid, pointless actions.


  2. Quinn,

    What are your sources for the above negative assessment of the Occupy movement?

    As for the impact of Occupy, I think that it is clear that there are many people who feel threatened by the Occupy movement. It has opened up conversations about the gap between rich and poor as well as the revolving door between government and rich corporations. That, of course, is only the beginning. The Tea Party was not nearly as committed to their movement, but they registered fairly significant political results. I’ve already seen Occupy movements begin to translate their energies into grass roots movements of both political and economic varieties. It’s too soon to tell. Yet the problems we in the Occupy movement are taking note of are as obvious as the color of dirt, and so many people are on board with being disgusted by the system. It’s difficult to imagine that we will not have a fairly significant and permanent effect.


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