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Occupied Occupy, No Occupation

I’ve been wanting to comment on Occupy in my town because it’s been such an educational thing.

For my own part, I decided to do some cooking to help out. Reason being: I know how to take “ingredients” – some of which were being donated to the house of a volunteer – and make them into something edible.  Also, with my family obligations and my advancing age, well, let’s just say I’ve done enough camping out for a while. And I’m always skeptical nowadays.

A few things I’ve noticed:

(1) The Occupy Minneapolis and the Occupy St. Paul started in really different ways, as far as I could say. Occupympls began in a park, spitting distance from downtown, just after dark one evening, with an earnest group of mostly young people with strong ideals and goals and a near-reverence for a decentralized democratic process. There was someone from New York’s Occupy there to say howdy. A set of general shared goals was debated and voted on. There were, as far as I could say, no members of the press there.

Occupy St. Paul just had its first meeting in a well-heeled local suburban library during the day, a library where I’ve had weird computer-security problems. Not only did a print reporter from the local paper ask me pointedly if I’d been involved with any political groups in the past, there were several high-end video cameras moving about the room to catch the action. The timekeeper made it clear he thought even the Klan should be welcome. The middle-aged man who sat next to me for a while – he left early – was sporting a forearm tattoo of a machine gun. Several attendees mentioned spirituality, and the young girl to my left, who said she was attending as part of a civics class, appeared from her notebook to be from the one of the most Conservative Catholic parishes in the Twin Cities. Interesting, yes?

I find the whole process quite unique, from the standpoint of American history, and yet there are parallels to things, usually for me they are 19th-century echoes. I’ll return to that later.

In the meanwhile, I’d like to say that the food committee I joined has had people, well, people of the female persuasion, burn out or disappear. It now seems to be loosely headed by a man with a South Florida area code.

I’m not going to speculate, most likely he’s displaced and unemployed, but right before the third position at my former employer, where I was cyber-harassed and sabotaged before being let go, I got a cryptic and menacing call from that area code. At my desk. One of many jarring and inexplicable weird things that have happened to me and led to my complaining to Employee Assistance and the next day being marched out the door.

Do you know that Jeb Bush has come to Minnesota to tout his educational system? I know this because I’ve been starting to follow the ALEC-flavored bills cropping up for the next legislative session. I also attended my town hall and heard some scary stuff about so-called public servants who want to create a manufactured crisis to avoid talking about a real budget.

I’ve noticed during election years the variety of state license plates change around here. Lately, it’s not Florida I’m seeing, but Texas. One of the people down at the Minneapolis Occupy site when I recently dropped off some spicy beans talked about looking forward to eating them since he was from Texas. There have seemed to be Ron Paul bumper stickers around the Minneapolis site. I’m not sure what to make of it.

I had joined a Nation discussion group but it seemed to contain a lot of older maybe-libertarian types. When there was discussion of the Occupy movement from that group they were mentioning a different day and location from the info I received from other sources. They decided to meet out of town the night Occupy was actually starting. I’m not in that group anymore but I still read The Nation.

My second Occupy Food Committee chair seemed to be organizing things, but her list of restaurants that wished to be listed on the web site apparently disappeared when she went downtown. There was some unhappiness with the first web site, so a new one came online. Later I saw this woman in person and she complained about interference from one of the other members – interestingly it was the person who was later touting Occupy Saint Paul as an alternative.

The one thing the Occupy Saint Paul group had a big, angry discussion about was whether Occupy Minneapolis representatives should be allowed a five-minute announcement period at their next meeting. They decided not to put that in the agenda.

I’m just saying.

Finally, there are these worrisome reports out there, maybe rumors? Is there a militia contingent in Las Vegas bearing guns? And what is the black bloc? That’s an interesting one for me, because ever since this started – and that’s a longer time for me than most people, I think, since my experience of workplace bullying goes back more than five years and the cyberharassment continued for quite a while at my home – I’ve been writing down the strange things I observe and …

September 13, almost two months ago, I noticed something in the driveway a few doors down that was so odd I made a note of it. I went out the car, and decided to light a light. As I reached up to do so, here’s what I wrote at the time: “I saw!!! some small person, all in black, begin to move out into the ______’s yard, then (as if it saw me when the light came on) it bounced back toward the house and disappeared. Weird, is what I thought.” The next day, I noticed someone had opened the locked windows in our little potting shed.

Friends, I’ll tell you what I thought. The house in question contains some young boys-to-men, and I thought one of them was just kind of a weirdo, playing ninja before Halloween perhaps? But it’s not the first odd thing that’s happened in my backyard.

I’ve had a SWAT squad invade my backyard several years ago telling me they were looking for a carjacker. They were armed and kept telling me and my daughter to go indoors. There was a carpetbag on my swing for while – they seemed to be doing something back by my shed. When I called later to ask what they’d found or what happened, no one would talk to me.

I’ve found a man in my yard who, when challenged, said he was doing a telephone pole inventory and he had terrible anti-Obama, right-wing bumper stickers on his truck. I asked for his badge and according to that he worked for a company way down South. I asked my city councilperson if there were such a phone pole inventory going on. He checked, said no.

I’ve gone out to find slices in my windshield wipers, etc.

So what’s going on?

I really can’t say, I can only say that Occupy has lost its purity of intention and, as often happens, it has attracted with groups of people with varying fixed ideas.  Some of them may be more organized than others. If I stay involved, keep on cookin’ as they say, I think I’m going to gravitate to the older groups that have an established track record.

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