Tuesday, December 27, 2011

From #Ur-Occupied Boston (#Ur-Tomemonos Boston)-This Is Class War-We Say No More- Defend The Occupy Movement!-Defend Our Unions! - Defend The Boston Commune! Take The Offensive! - General Assembly Blues- A Cautionary Tale

Click on the headline to link to updates from the Occupy Boston website. Occupy Boston started at 6:00 PM, September 30, 2011. I will post important updates as they appear on that site.
An Injury To One Is An Injury To All!-Defend The Occupation Movement And All The Occupiers! Drop All Charges Against All Occupy Protesters Everywhere!

Fight-Don’t Starve-We Created The Wealth, Let's Take It Back! Labor And The Oppressed Must Rule!
Peter Paul Markin comment:

I had never seen my old friend Josh Breslin so irate (Joshua Lawrence Breslin for those who know him under that moniker through his various commentary columns in all kind alternative press operations over the past forty years or so). Or rather more correctly I had never read anything of his that practically steamed off the page, the computer screen page, that early Monday morning (December 19, 2011, let’s see the time stamp, oh yes, 5:14 AM, Ya early, definitely early for Josh) when I was casually perusing my daily e-mail delete slaughter-house. It seems that he had attended an Occupy Boston General Assembly (GA) meeting the night before over at the hallowed Community Church on Boylston Street (hallowed in leftist circles, I had first gone there long ago to attend a commemoration program for Sacco and Vanzetti). Since the police raid on the Occupy camp at Dewey Square in the early morning hours of December 11th the GAs have been assembling helter-skelter at various locations from the Parkman Bandstand on the Common to various sympathetic indoor as winter sets in locations, mainly churches, in order to keep some continuity during these unsettled times.

At that meeting the main order of business was a simple proposal submitted by the OB Socialist Caucus, a loose group of organizationally-affiliated and unaffiliated people who identify themselves with the socialist cause. The gist of the proposal was to make a forthright statement that Occupy Boston was to be clearly identified, more clearly identified than in any previous document, as independent of the main bourgeois parties, the Democrats in particular, and by implication was not to be a front or voting cattle bloc for any particular organized political operation ready to move in like hungry wolves looking for an easy meal. This proposal never reached a vote, a yea or nay vote, that night because it was “blocked” well before such a vote could be taken by, as Josh called it in his e-mail, the “Rump” assembly (see said e-mail posted below, the gist of it anyway). The Rump being a minority of those eighty or so brethren in attendance that evening whose maneuver in the consensus-addled GA world stopped the proposal in its tracks. This series of events triggered in Josh some kind of previously well-hidden verbal explosion about the trends that he had witnessed developing in the movement, and that had disturbed him previously. Naturally he had to send his old compadre Peter Paul his bilious e-mail as the first step in his “campaign” to get things off his chest.

A little explanation is in order to gauge the seriousness of Josh’s maddened impulse and, as well, for why I have taken the time to write this little commentary up and pushed it forward. Josh and I go back a long way, back to the summer of love in San Francisco in 1967 when I was on Captain Crunch’s merry prankster magical mystery tour freedom bus and I met Josh, then going under the moniker “Prince Of Love,” on Russian Hill in that town. Ya, I know, we were just a little too self-important on thechanging the name changed the person thing but that was the way it was. I was, for a while, known as "Be-Bop Benny," among other names. He had, after just graduating from high school up in Olde Saco, Maine hitch-hiked across the country to see “what was happening.” We hit it off right away, probably because my being from North Adamsville here in Massachusetts we were the only New Englanders “on the bus,” even though I was a few years older. In any case our friendship survived through thick and thin, even in spite of his “stealing” my girl, Butterfly Swirl (okay, okay I will stop with the a. k. a’s), from right under my nose during the first few days we knew each other. Part of that thick and thin has been involvement in a long series of left-wing political struggles where we have not always seen eye to eye but have generally been “on the right of the angels.”

And that, roughly, brings us to the present. Along the way, for a number of reason that shall not detain us here, I increasingly came to socialist conclusions about the nature of American society and the ways to change it. Josh, while always on the cutting edge of those same conclusions, never crossed over and has maintained a studied non-socialist radical position very similar to many that I have run into as the Occupy movement has gathered steam. Although as a paid political commentator for various publications he has always kept a certain skeptical distance from going overboard every time there is the slightest left breeze coming in over Boston Harbor. Until now.

As I have written elsewhere Josh, now retired, still likes to keep his hand in the mix and so has been working on a project that may turn into a book about the Occupy Boston experience. When he first he crossed the river from the wilds of Cambridge he held himself pretty aloof from the doings but soon became totally enmeshed in what was going on. I was, and still am, a lot more skeptical about where the winds are heading. Josh though spent some nights at Dewey Square and got involved in the camp life. He marched up and down the streets of Boston in every possible cause. Brought food and other goods to the site when he came over. Donated money and other resources to the efforts. He even told me that he washed dishes (once) to help out in the kitchen one day. And believe me in the old prankster days the Prince of Love was, well, too “important” to bow down and get his hands wet doing anything as lowly as dishes. So this new experiment (or rather a chance to make up for those youthful mistakes) really energized him.

So when Joshua Lawrence Breslin, on a darkened Monday morning, signals that something is wrong, something is politically wrong with the direction of the movement I listen up. And, perhaps, you should too.
Below I have placed the substance of the e-mail that Josh Breslin sent to me that fateful Monday December 19th morning. This is my summarization of the document which was written by him in our usual “code” and with his usual excessive use of expletives to normal ears so that it would be not understandable to “outsiders.” In short I have edited it as best I could while retaining the political direction. If Josh doesn’t like it then he can, well, sue me. Ha ha. Or better, write his own damn translation. Peter Paul Markin.

December 19, 2011, 5:14 AM to PeterMarkin@yahoo.com:

Pee Pee, [The reader is hereby warned no to make anything out of this old-time nickname, old time going back to childhood North Adamsville working-class neighborhood days, or else.] You won’t believe what those arrogant airheads did last night at the so-called GA. I call it, and you can quote me on this, the “Rump” like back in Oliver Cromwell’s time when a bunch of cronies controlled everything, or else. They “blocked” the proposal to have a clear statement of independence from the damn Democrats (and Republicans too but we know who really wants in on this movement).

What they did was get together enough people to "block" the thing even though with a simple majority it could have gotten through. So much for democracy. For once you are right on this blocking and consensus b.s. Now when Miss Betty [Elizabeth Warren] comes a-courting she will have a field day. You and I have disagreed on many things but keeping the bourgeois parties the hell away from our movement (except maybe to do “Jimmy Higgins” work putting up chairs or licking envelopes, stuff like that) has always been something that has united us ever since Chicago in 1968.

You should have heard the reasons given. Naturally the old chestnut- “we don’t want to alienate anyone” (anyone to the left of Genghis Khan, I guess). “It’s too negative.” Like the bourgeoisie gives a damn about negativity as long as they keep their moola and their power. “The statement we have already posted about transparency and independence is good enough” Like that flimsy one-size-fits-all statement has any political meaning at all. And it degenerated from there. I was so mad I had to walk out and get some fresh air.

I am far from giving up on this Occupy movement but in a lot of ways it really is like that guy, that homeless camper guy, I interviewed over at Dewey Square in early November when the weather got a little cold said. He said the place was a Potemkin Village. I thought he meant about people not staying there overnight. But now I think he meant the whole experiment. They, we, are generals without any army right now and nothing that is being done lately is calculated to break out from that situation. Were we this ruthlessly obtuse back in the days? I hope not- Josh

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