What started as an awareness raising and ethnographic styled walk through Sierra Leone, this site now details the encounters of a not so academic academic who spends more time occupying Wall Street and squats than a university...

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Stepping Back, but Never Away

So I woke up this morning in a melancholy and dreamy state.  It was all Occupy.  I really miss being able to push on with the movement right now.  I have had to put all of my efforts into trying to sustain that involvement.  This summer has seen me either have to work or push to find work, and I've had to step back from the movement, sadly.

I had this sort of sinking feeling this morning about the others in the movement that are my friends and I have worked with for a long time now.  I had this feeling that they were thinking that I am somehow one of the many people now that has moved on or past it in some way - slowly disappearing in to the crowds of people that no longer show up to rallies, meetings, and events for whatever reason.  A feeling of letting them down.  But this is not the case.  I will be an Occupier for life.  I made huge sacrifices to be here and do this, and will always stand behind them to see the movement through till my last day.  It is because of what I see as this life long commitment that I am able to take this step back I guess.  In a movement that I have always said will not be worth judging until ten years in, what is taking a summer away to try to solidify life for the longer term?  To try to be able to more consistently engage?

This is where I am.  I have no choice and had to take care of my own personal situation: everything from emotional to financial and physical  issues.  When I left my job to go to Occupy, the movement could provide all of that.  Now it can't.  I have tried to start a research project that would seek to address these issues.  But it didn't get enough participation, in no small fault to everyone else is doing the same with their immediate personal lives.  So I have had to throw myself into solving this immediate problem for myself, and to be able work on the bigger picture once I am stable.  That is where I am right now.  Still trying to solve this, and once I do, I will be back to working for the movement.

I can assure you the need for Occupy hasn't gone away.  I read it everyday in the newspapers. And despite how much I like the people and the community, I am in it for the movement itself - because I believe in the message, I believe in the critique, and the need for change.  I took a lot of flack for "quitting a job to protest against unemployment".  But that is an ignorant critique.  As if a job is the be all and end all of our social ills, rather than the outcome of those jobs.  That job I had did not allow me to live on my own and to pay my own bills.  I was underemployed and underpaid.  Like so many people.  It is in-fact exactly that very reason why it was so important to stay involved.  Because this problem is not about jobs, it is about a system that creates jobs that do not meet our needs as a population and society.  Creating 700,000 jobs sounds great, unless they are all minimum wage jobs that don't pay a living wage.  Our society is in trouble, that is why I Occupy, and why I will always Occupy. 

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