Chills. Goosebumps. Jubilation. Hugs and tears of joy. Thousands and thousands of people. Music and exuberant shouts. I literally cannot wipe the grin off my face.
I won’t lie. When my alarm went off this morning at 5, I did consider snoozing it and going back to bed. But the protesters in Zuccotti Park have done so much for all of us. If they were going to be forcibly evicted from the park, I was going to stand in solidarity with them. I felt principled and steely as I rode the subway, but not exactly hopeful.
Once again, though, the power of people standing together has surprised even me with what it can accomplish. Once again, the world of Zuccotti Park and all of its reverberations have expanded our sense of how people in solidarity can reshape the world, even in the face of resistance. Once again, we have learned that we are not without leverage to press for what we believe in.
Americans have understood for a long time now that the political game is rigged against them and in favor of corporations and big money. They’ve been working longer and harder for less and less. They’ve watched the natural environment be degraded and the era of chronic disaster get ushered in. And they’ve felt powerless to do anything about it. But that long night is finally over. It’s a new day, and this morning we all relearned what previous generations found out through their own struggles — that we can resist austerity and injustice and win.
We are finished with waiting and hoping that maybe things might get a little better if there’s a slightly more progressive president. We reject the utterly nonsensical claim that austerity is necessary because there is simply “not enough” for people to have a decent life — livable wages, leisure time with friends and family, health care, education, retirement, vacation (hell, how about a lunch hour?), clean air, clean water…There is plenty. We know it, and we demand it. We are done with accepting the ass-backward logic that people should serve corporations and banks. The economy and the banking system should serve human needs. For the first time in my life, I realistically think they could be forced to.
We are beginning to feel our strength to make these common dreams real. All our lives, we are told in countless overt and more subtle ways that resistance is futile, that the way things are is the only way that things could ever be (our general ignorance of the history of radical movements and the victories they’ve won, doesn’t help). This morning, that logic was materially smashed. In its place there is…possibility. And power.