In about five hours, I'm going to be getting on my bike, riding in the general direction of downtown, armed with a bunch of packing tape, and about oh....I don't know...600-700 flyers? Earlier this evening I had put the final details on the flyers I'd come up with, printed them out, hauled them to a local copy servicing place and proceeded to see what they all looked like on pretty neon colored paper. They looked fabulous.
There's a special bond between aging punks and photocopier service stores, based on the realization that we'd have been lost without them back in the day. It's been 10+ years since I found myself arguing with whiteout and battling paper trays for supreme dominance, but man it was worth it. I loved every second of it, and was very thankful that the owner didn't kick me out right at six o' clock, being it was a Sunday and all. I guess the photocopier, like rock n' roll, never forgets.
I'm dead beat from working on this project for the past two or three weeks solid. I may try to sleep before it's time to hit the streets, but I still have to write this here article, plan my route around the city, making sure to hit symbolic locations, put a couple more tshirt and hood designs in my spreadshirt store and then make sure all my pages know about all the other pages. I know, it's a lot of work and it might bomb hard and amount to naught which would be really embarrassing at the very least. Or who knows, maybe it'll do some good, make something happen, get some people think. And I also know what won't cause ANY of these things to happen and it starts with an "n" and ends with "ot doing a damn thing."
See, it all started with when I decided that I was going to monitor the debate in Washington over Obama's American Jobs Act. You know the one that he urged members of Congress to "pass right away", and they proceeded to not do that at all. I was revisiting the subject a couple weeks ago and I was trying to make sense of it all, but meanwhile I was keeping on top of the Occupy Wall Street phenomenon. I was so stoked that FINALLY, the left was doing something to make itself heard!! Nice going y'all... high fives.
Yet in Washington, we have democrats trying to pass mere crumbs of the original jobs bill only to meet with a complete collapse of compromise as soon as the republicans see the phrase "tax hike" and it is obscenely obvious that the whole thing is just DUMB. Meanwhile, our OWS friends had spawned tent cities all across the country! Yeah bros, way to show! But my fears of these occupations scattering across the nation's city parks were to some extent confirmed when I visited my home town's Occupy movement. It was nice and clean, very peaceful, there were organized talks and demonstrations, signs everywhere and programs for people to be fed and all kinds of good stuff like that. But if I could have hung a huge neon sign over the entire complex that said, "NOW WHAT, Y'ALL??" I would've. And please don't say, "Why a drum circle, of course!" That's a subject for another article, another day.
Not to say that the Occupy movements have been completely displaced by the crust punk eco hippie party zone, or that there's no thought, ambition or action going on, because I'm confident there is. I just didn't see much evidence of it the couple times I went through. So I'm not trying to bash anyone's sacrifices or aspirations. But I guess I started to see a common thread running through the efforts in Washington and the efforts of the Occupy movements: everybody wants SOMETHING to be done. But no one has the faintest clue as to WHAT should be done to fix this godforsaken bitchface of an economy, so that the phrases "99 percent" and "1 percent" can be dropped from our vocabulary once and for all. So with that in mind, I tried to think of ways we would get around that hurdle. I know, it's a doozy.
Well, as you know, the Holiday season is upon us once again, and to the delight of some and the chagrin of others, Christmas music has found itself back on the airways, and at some point, while I was wrestling with all this economic stuff, I remembered John Lennon's Happy Xmas (War is Over) Song. A little history super quick. The single was released in 1971 by John & Yoko/Plastic Ono Band and featured the unbelievably adorable children of the Harlem Community Choir singing in unison. But it was also referencing a 1969 worldwide billboard campaign that John and Yoko had created in reaction to the hugely unpopular Vietnam War and just war in general.
The concept behind it was hard for many to swallow. Well duh, of course we ALL want war to be over, but so much for that having any effect - there's still a war! But I think about how Lennon chose to say "If You Want It" as opposed to "If We Want It" Well do you? Yes, you there, eating the sandwich, do YOU want war to be over? Of course, right? Well then just what have you and your sandwich done?
Maybe it's not a fair comparison for me to make between the millions of people trapped by an economic crisis and a country entangled in an un-winnable foreign crisis 40 years ago. And the economy and war - those are some pretty big things. What can you do?
Well I gave that song some more thought, and I decided that one person actually can do something, and maybe that person turns into 10 persons and that turns into a thousand. It's happened before. Civil rights, womens' suffrage, environmental law and rights for the working man did not start as hugely popular concepts. But when people witness action having an effect, some crucial things begin to happen in a society's psyche: the belief that change IS possible, because we are NOT actually as at the mercy of the Powers That Be as we thought. And building upon that collective belief to band together to fight for the same goal doesn't require holding political office, or having 100 lobbyists working for you, or heading up a SuperPac or being the CEO of a Fortune 500. Nope, you just need an open mind, a vision of the direction that you'd like yourself, your family and the nation as a whole to start moving towards, and the BELIEF that it can be so. And that's where my little ol' Occupy The Economy idea comes in, and also when I realized that "War" rhymes with "Poor." I never said that the re-enfranchisement of the American People wasn't gonna be cheesy.
Anyways, that's just the beginning. So please stay tuned, I WILL explain these ideas in the next couple of days and I hope that maybe some of my thoughts make you think and then you say something and so on and so on and so on!
But tonite my friends....we ride.
Very nice to meet you all. If you like to show your support or join in the fun, please look us up at http://www.facebook.com/OccupyTheEconomy.