Monday, October 17, Brattleboro, Vermont
The people on Wall Street are cold, so I just sent some money for sleeping bags for the protestors in their dandy little plastic handcuffs. In general I believe in the religion of revolution. I’m going through one myself right now, which comes on the heels of a tremendous amount of pain. And pain, I’ve figured out, is really the only way the spirit or society can get us to revolutionize. That mediocre place of mild satisfaction is an anesthetic that does violence to the soul. This makes revolutions confusing. We can all wish we were braless and high in the 60s but we forget Kent State has been called a massacre, and that era was full of deaths including a very peace-loving man named Martin Luther King Jr. It’s interesting to me that this revolution comes almost ten years to the day after someone else threw a bitter and very violent type of their own revolution at that end of New York and perhaps this is all happening now because we didn’t wake up then, we just padded ourselves with a tremendous amount of fear and moved on.
This revolution is particularly hard because we live in the techno age where just about any fat Wall Street cat can be your friend on facebook, especially if he has a blog he wants you to read. Back in the day when America was in revolution against those funny-speaking blokes across the pond, the rich people were just figureheads in palaces with diamond headdresses. But this revolution is not so clear. I, too, have stocks I am hoping will bounce back, and I adore my broker, one of my very close friends makes his money working for a hedge fund, and it’s easy to hate Newt and Perry, but on the whole I sort of love my politicians. I’ve been at parties with my governor, and Obama and Michelle seem like the couple next door that we keep forgetting to invite for dinner. It’s all very incestuous and hard to figure out. A straight line of hate say for someone like Noriega or Hitler or a queen who eats cake is easier.
Of course the techno age might not be as random as it seems. The lines to who we are protesting might be more concrete than we think. If you google: What Do the Wall Street Protestors Stand For, you get that eery feeling that suddenly big brother or the Pig of whatever literary reference you are making actually has a clear face: the first ten posts are from Fox news, The Global Christian post and other religious right poopskies.
The biggest challenge these folks have to the movement is the idea that these folks don’t know what they want. That doesn’t bother me at all because I know from personal experience that’s the way revolutions start. Revolutions are emotional. They often don’t begin with clearly thought out agendas, they begin with a feeling of dissatisfaction, then anger, and finally with desperation. Only then do goals begin to emerge. A wife doesn’t calculate her divorce. First she feels depressed, anger builds, she gets pissed off, she throws her wedding china, and then she sits down and decides she wants the house and the dog. In hindsight it looks like those hippies, hopped up on LSD with peace signs on their foreheads, were just ending a war in Vietnam, but really they had to sort through a bunch of things that were wrong back then: our black brothers needed to be able to sit at the lunch counter with us, women needed more rights, we needed a complete turn-around of post-war values and we were tired of being made to fight a terrifying war in southeast Asia.
I dare say a clear agenda is starting to emerge on Wall Street. The nurses who marched last Wednesday want a financial transactions tax, others are protesting the injustices of the foreclosure crisis, still others are looking at work place discrimination and more at student loan debt. Librarians and teachers are out there, so you really can’t doubt they’ll come up with some reasonable requests. As in most revolutions, it’s the middle class that finally has the means and the intelligence to organize and say what they need.
Over here in Brattleboro, where it’s legal to burn your bra and bare your breasts, where art is everywhere and people grow armpit hair and shop at the co-op, we’re all cheerleading the revolution. Me, I’m starting a revolution of my own. Right now it sort of looks like lazing around in my pajamas doing nothing. Fox News would have a real field day with that, but I have faith that revolutions have their own energy and their own agenda. As soon as we manage to say aloud we want change, the universe miraculously springs into action.
And that brings us back to my grandma Maggie, as it always does. I’m sure she would get a huge kick out of the folks on Wall Street with their homemade signs. Not that she was opposed to Wall Street, she made a little fortune picking stocks out of the newspaper for fun, but she’d like the energy, the pizzaz and rara of it all. She’d probably go down there in her velvet housecoat and feed them all champagne. She’s in NYC right now as a matter of fact, way back in 1937, when the world was about to enter it’s own scary revolution of sorts. Let’s go to Saint Mark’s place and see what the heck is happening down there in the Big Apple! And if you want to send a sleeping bag to someone on Wall Street, here’s the donation address: http://nycga.cc/donate/. One sleeping bag is only twenty bucks. The price of a good pizza and a Vermont brew at our very own Fireworks. Whatever you do, whether you are a tea party fanatic or a Wall Street protestor, don’t live a life without revolutions, however minor and pointless they seem at the time…
March 5, 1937 Saint Mark’s Place, New York
Uptown to lunch with Bobbie Sutton who is running around arranging the entire stock for branch of one of the stores in Cavendish which is to be opened in Asheville–entire stationary and cosmetics, that is–and afraid may forget toothpaste or some such item. Took evening coat back to Russkes to be shortened. Bought nursing brassieres at Beats– $1 each for exactly what Wanamaker’s charge $2 for. Home by bus and saw Edith trotting home from Hearn’s liquor store with package of bottles under arm. In evening Creighton and Bertha Anne came down, taught them to play sticks which they seemed to enjoy. Bertha Anne brought three copies of Spur in which she put announcement of baby’s arrival. She has article in it and also does the shopping column in front. Looked sentimentally at baby. Told about Edith saying, “Why, we couldn’t have baby. We would have to take down all our books!”