Two nights ago I watched what news-stories and photograph and film DemocracyNow.org (Amy Goodman the woman at the desk) could get together about the destruction of the Occupy Boston and San Francisco encampments. There was apparently (after all) felt to be shame and distress in the public at the way the NYC, Ohio and other sites were destroyed, and what got onto TV, so the Mayors and powers that be did this in an apparently civilized fashion -- no harsh beatings, no pepper-spray, not overt cruelty in the early morning when the police again came out in the same way. Again all the property of the people there, whatever had been gotten together was thrown away as garbage The Mayor of Boston professed to regret the destruction and hoped the values of the people would have some effect. What he didn't say. The San Francisco Mayor thanked the occupiers for their restraint and professed himself pleased at how the police had acted. He worried about the large gay population of his city worrying.
A photo from Occupy Boston:
Adelaide Anne Procter (1825-1864) was supported by Dickens as a publisher and her poem is as relevant as ever:
It is cold dark midight, yet listen
To that patter of tiny feet!
Is it one of your dogs, fair lady,
Who whines in the bleak cold street? --
Is it one of your silken spaniels
Shut out in the snow and the sleet?
My dogs sleep warm in their baskets,
Safe from the darkness and sow;
Al the beasts in our Christian England,
Fine pity wherever they go --
(Those are only the homeless children
Who are wanderng to and fro.)
Look out in the gusty darkness --
I have seen it again and again,
That shadow, that flits so slowly
Up and down past the window pane: --
It is surely some criminal lurking
Out there in the frozen rain?
Nay, our Criminals all are sheltered,
They are pitied and taught and fed;
That is only a siter-woman
Who has got neither food nor bed --
And the Night cries 'sin to be living,'
And the River cries 'sin to be dead.'
Look out at that farthest corner
Where the wall stands blank and bare: --
Can that be a pack which a Pedlar
Has left and forgotten there?
His gods lying out unsheltered
Will be spoilt by the damp night air.
Nay; -- goods in our thrifty England
Are not left to lie and grow rotten,
For each man knows the market value
Of silk or woollen or cotton ...
But in counting the riches of England
I think our Poor are forgotten.
Our Beasts and our Thieves and our Chattels
Have weight for good or for ill;
But the Poor are only His image,
His Presence, His word, His will --
And so Lazarus lies at our doorstep
And Dives neglects him still.
I reported this on WomenWriters on Tuesday, our poetry day there, A member, Rachel Y, answered. She was an eye-witness to what happened in Bostom:
Responding to Ellen's comments about Occupy Boston. Menino (mayor of Boston) certainly made an effort to avoid looking like Bloomberg. I think it was strategic. But he really wanted Dewey Square cleared. It made him very nervous. I was in the camp on Thursday night when the eviction was supposed to take place at midnight. Between 2 and 3 thousand people showed up after about 10pm following an intense general assembly. There was a brass band and dancing and the police backed off. Earlier the camp was mostly being voluntarily broken down. Police on the scene were extra chummy and some were reported to have danced (I didn't see it) with the occupiers. During the raid on Sat AM a woman police officer was reported to have wept (again, no proof).
Someone livestreaming with an i-Phone was addressed by his first name by a policeman--eerie, because it reflects the extent to which police infiltrated and learned names and so on.
The camp was cleared out in the wee hours Saturday when there were no commuters coming through the train station across the street. 46 arrested. Remember that 129 had been arrested in the early days of the encampment, and treated brutally, property thrown in a dumpster.
The really sad thing is that now several homeless people, some with mental illness, who had been camping in Dewey Square were confused and wondered where everyone would be going next. If a bunch of people can voluntarily and spontaneously pull together minimal resources, not only pitch tents, but create a working community with a kitchen, a medic tent, a library, a central meeting area, and an information center, and provide homeless people with rudimentary shelter and community, why can't this country address the problem of homelessness in at least a similar manner? The Boston camp was an inspiration--such a wonderful community and so well organized. I haven't seen the Democracy Now coverage but will look for it.
I'm now researching an artist from West Sussex who was born in 1835, and I'm reading about the Swing Riots which took place there & elsewhere in the 1830s. The wealthy then said the same specious things about the poor, that for example not to end the centuries-old tradition of rights of common would lead to their "indolence" and so on, a la Newt Gingrich. The Duke of Wellington boasted about his "private army" (a la Bloomberg) who on horseback chased and beat protesting laborers "like beasts" and so on.
Yes, the poem by Adelaide Proctor is as timely as ever."
In response to Rachel, I was also each time startled to see how easily the mayors closed down subways, bus systems, all transportation around Philadelphia and New York City: this was to prevent thousands of people from coming to the aid of their fellow citizens. I had almost said victims and don't know why I avoid this term since for example the US government has now poured millions into the coffers of "these banks" too large to fail which becomes the excuse to cut our pensions, libraries, social services, jobs, schools.
Six days ago in San Francisco
The New York article I wrote about a couple of days ago ended on Ray Kachel wandering around on Brooklyn Bridge again an isolated homeless person. It mentioned other homeless people now again without help or world to belong to and help. It did not bring up the destuction of property of those who were there who had things. I saw some of those in New York. People without jobs and couldn't afford the high rents where they lived in NY or other cities and who had taken their little all and set up a tent. Now all gone, everything they had.
What is hard for us to realize is the powerful and rich want people to go hungry and be desperate. I agree one would say how can it be the unorganized can do this, when the gov't with all its taxes and employees, armies of people (pun intended) seems unable to. It's obvious they are not unable to, they don't want to. The rich and powerful now think they can again get away with what they got away with until the early 20th century. They feel they have the new dreadful military machinery, have destroyed all our unions, have taken over the media, have learned how to shape school agendas so nothing is learned (at a meeting of composition people two days ago I was again told my business is not to teach content, I should not be assigning books was the implication).
It is a nearly open class war which has now spread from 30-40 years abroad to inside the US. The aim to make and keep most of the world abject; to keep all the goods of the world for themselves to do with as they wish, and exploit others as they wish. Gingrich is not kidding when he wants to fire the janitors and thus impoverish more families and force children to work. Commecial advertisements are now found in schools.
All the liberal rhetoric of the 20th century was only mouthed by the few who probably hated it. FDR was loathed by the newspapers and media of the US during his 4 terms, just hated. We still have the vote even if nullified -- though now also under severe attack.
Amy Goodman, the anchorwoman (she does not use this term) of her hour long news shows shows totally different news than is usually seen. She said (in a brief asking for money for the first time I've seen -- Xmas time) that most news-hour shows have as large contributors the health care industries and oil. I bought some items to help support them.