Saturday, January 21, 2012

How has Occupy been able to unify without a clear goal?

An Australian reporter, focusing on one 26-year-old protester named Kanaska Carter, writes:

Kanaska wears a badge that says: “If voting changed anything it would be illegal.” She has never voted. She doesn’t see the point. . . .

Something dawned on me speaking to this group. Political protest is merely the thread that holds them together. It’s about lifestyle.

They missed the chance to turn on, tune in and drop out in the 1960s. They missed the 1970s antiwar movement and, in the 80s and 90s, they didn’t miss much at all.

The turnouts at the various Occupy sites gave them an instant society, an on-the-spot family who would look out for each other. It gave them a chance to become homeless, en masse, without the loneliness or the begging on the streets or the fear of being attacked or having to ride the freight trains south.

“My street family is here with me and they’ve got my back,” says Kanaska. She met this particularly group of three or four blokes about a week ago and they’ve been hanging out since.

They claim they’re liberating America but, really, it’s about liberating themselves.

“I’ve been homeless for a while,” Kanaska says, “on and off for two or three years. It’s a choice. I find it humbles you. I used to have my own apartment and I slowly lost my mind. I was in there with my two cats and I was just like going crazy.

“When I’m homeless I’m always surrounded by friends. There’s freedom without having to pay rent all the time to a system that’s broken, without having to work a nine to five job and being able to do what you’re actually passionate about. I’d rather live playing music, doing artwork and tattooing people.”

On this day, her entire cash reserve is one dollar. “Some days it’s hard to find food but I just put out the guitar case,” she says.