Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Occupy Wall Street and the meaning of Bread

First day in New York City . A little challenged by having a cold, probably attracted in Santa Fe and of course exacerbated by the second hand air in the airplane. However today I made it to Occupy Wall Street and I was impressed with OWS: its chaotic ramshackle tents, its attempt to find organization in the midst of an overwhelming amount of interrelated but at the same time disjointed issues, its ability to recognize intelligence in methods of communication that will eventually tie one another into a real community of intent and purpose -- something historic is taking shape here. Inevitably they (OWS movement) are under tremendous commercial pressures and also political pressures from people that one way or another want to co-opt the movement --even unconsciously. Some celebrities don't just want to be part of OWS --they want to carry the flag and be recognized for it, because they are conditioned to do so. The large spontaneous public discussion was on the meaning of the cult of celebrity, and what role it has in the 'movement'. I think the larger question should be: what role does celebrity have in a system that fosters inequality and marginalizes most people ? We never quite got there, but people spoke up eloquently one after another. When a celebrity did show up (Johnny Simons ?), and expected to speak before everyone else, he was told to wait his turn and so (predictably) he left. Habits run deep on all sides. I spoke too: "there is no revolution without bread --there is no solution without breaking bread". Then magically I pulled one of the Cloud Cliff Nativo Breads out of my bag and we broke and ate it together as strangers no more. Made me think about the symbolism of bread. In the past 6000 years or so bread was recognized as the staff of life, because it fed plebs and nobility alike. It was the common denominator. Our bodies then, were recognizably made of bread (perhaps more so than now). So bread as a symbol is the great equalizer. That is why bread is so revolutionary: it focusses us humans on our commonality. "We all have red blood" the native American elder Corbin Harney used to proclaim. Forget celebrity, let's get to know ourselves, let's enjoy each other --as is......

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