Monday, October 31, 2011

Occupy Wall Street Bloomington

[Editor's Note: This exchange happened after the appearance of an article on Counterpunch entitled "The Revolution Started without Me" by Jack Random. It offers a glimpse of what OWS is dealing with on the front lines of the streets of protest.]

Subject: Occupy Wall Street in Counterpunch
Date: Wed, 12 Oct 2011 00:20:22 +0000

Hi Jazzman Jack Random,

I read your excellent article in Counterpunch and showed it to some people at People's Park here in Bloomington, Indiana, where we are occupying it in a spin-off of the Wall Street Occupation.

Someone asked, "is he joining us?" and I said I'd write you to ask.

Are you in this movement?


Dave Stewart

Sent: Tuesday, October 11, 2011 9:56 PM
Subject: RE: Occupy Wall Street in Counterpunch

Dear Dave,

Thank you. I'm impressed that the movement has made it to Bloomington and that there's a People's Park there. The short answer to your question is: No, I am not. As you might have gathered, I'm an old timer. (To me, Dave Stewart is a great pitcher formerly of the Oakland A's.) My obligations and circumstance don't allow me to engage and occupy as the movement requires. I'm with you in spirit. I believe a cultural revolution is badly needed and that it is primarily a movement of the young.

I will offer you some points of unsolicited advice that I considered including in the piece but decided against. I would emphasize the fifth point.


1. Learn to police yourself. To the extent you are viable, you will be attacked. Those who oppose you will hire thugs to infiltrate, to pose as allies, to win trust only to cause trouble and trigger retaliation and backlash. Do not let the movement be hijacked by traitors.

2. Remain peaceful. Your enemies want you to be disorderly and violent. They want a reason to suppress you with force. Give them no reason. When they move on you, as they surely will, retreat and wait. When they abandon territory you wish to occupy, move back in. When the police attack, film it from a thousand angles and points of view. Let there be no doubt as to the nature and intent of police brutality.

3. Focus on the major cities with an established activist community. Use the universities as centers of organization and communication. Occupy the parks. Remind the nation that Hoovervilles sprung up in parks across the land during the first Great Depression. Feed the people and provide for the homeless.

4. Remain open and tolerant. Don not allow the cause to be taken over by those who would exclude others on the basis of ideology. Be engaged in political discourse but do not become political.

5. Invent your own rules and don't listen to old timers like me.


Ray Miller, aka Jack Random

P.S. It's too bad Howard Zinn is no longer with us. That's one old timer I'm certain would be with you and fully engaged. For myself, I'll find my own ways to lend support as we move along.

Subject: RE: Occupy Wall Street in Counterpunch
Date: Wed, 12 Oct 2011 13:09:38 +0000

Dear Jack,

I watched Dave Stewart pitch (on T.V.).

I am 56. I have a good job and am secure financially, etc.

I have slept 'there' theese past nights, as well as hanging out and enjoy talking to all.....people seem to enjoy talking to me. I listen a lot. I don't give advice about "the olden days" (how could I?). It is heartbreaking to hear their stories about how they've tried to do everyting they've been told and yet it has not worked and now they are in a lot of debt and cannot see a way out of it.

I'll take your points to the next meeting (today).

I am certain you will help others (not only me).

When I woke up today, I thought that this was just like a "Hooverville". We ARE encouraging the homeless to join us (they are doing so), and are feeding them. Actually, so far there has been food for all.

IF that is all that this is (we had this conversation last night)...well, that's something. However, we are all trying to 'communicate'...first with each other and then convey that to others. What is going to be interesting is whether all (meaning the homeless) are going to join in our meetings and whether all are going to join the 'community' (while retaining their individuality). In point # 1 you mention 'traitors' and I am glad you did so... In the movie "Battle of Algiers" it can be seen that one of the first steps is to get everyone to 'clean up their act' (no alcohol drunkenness, no prostitution) and that conversation is going to take place today.

I hope that's not too much information.

Believe me, I do more listening than talking. However, when people ask me about stuff I tell them a little and when they ask "how did you learn about that?" I recommend that they read Counterpunch.

I have always enjoyed your postings and hope to read more in the future.

All the best,


Sent: Thursday, October 13, 2011 1:48 AM
Subject: RE: Occupy Wall Street in Counterpunch

I'm very much impressed. Can I post your words?

I have a notion to share with you: a lot of politicians are expressing sympathy. Ask the local council to lift the curfew on the parks. Ask them to sanction the cause. If you get anywhere, spread the word. It might start something.

My best to you and the cause.

Peace, Random

Subject: RE: Occupy Wall Street in Counterpunch
Date: Thu, 13 Oct 2011 14:41:35 +0000

Dear Jack,

Sure, you can post my words. Though I 'just' wrote it to you, perhaps someone will enjoy reading it and perhaps (the goal) check out

It is my opinion that this nascent 'movement' has the potential to lose its way or get co-opted by the Democrats.

For example, in the 'outreach meeting' I proposed that not only should 'we' attempt to spread the word to others who have not attended yet, but to outreach WITHIN others we have not met, and while meeting others discuss whatever issues.

To me, the biggest issue is that "we" are protesting events as they stand now. We are NOT bitching about Clinton (NAFTA/Glass-Steagall, to mention only a couple), Bush I or II, we are protesting what is going on NOW.

Therefore, we're not 'hoping for change' in 11/12, nor is the current President helping us (otherwise, we would not be in the situation we are now).

And than, (and it might be prissy), there is the important issue of cleanliness (picking up litter, keeping our bodies clean) and not using the drugs (alcohol, tobacco) which are used to keep us unable to think beyond the present.

These thoughts met with a lot of resistance.

It is my belief that the powers that be are more than willing to allow us to implode, fracture, and then 'admit' that the present power structure is the best.

To ask for a permit is to admit that we are acting under their authority, so I most respectfully will not make that suggestion, but I'll mention it to others.

We have already had a heated discussion about accepting money. Many were vociferous of refusing money IF the Dems offered it to us, but all were willing to accept from local businesses and people. So far, the Dems have been defeated, but daily representatives drop by, as are the Christian kooks wanting to 'pray for us' and last night they set up a hot dog stand, which, of course, is pork and simply awful nutrition.

But I cannot tell those who are hungry not to eat.

Jack, I am totally honored you wrote me back. As I wrote earlier, I have always completely enjoyed your Counterpunch postings.

All the best,

Bloomington, IN.

Sent: Friday, October 14, 2011 12:09 AM
Subject: RE: Occupy Wall Street in Counterpunch

Dear Dave:

It is a delicate balance between inclusion and control. I certainly understand the alcohol ban. It introduces behavioral consequences best avoided. The exclusion of tobacco is a bit trickier. Marijuana introduces a whole new set of issues you may wish to avoid or not.

My suggestion for gaining a waiver on curfew in the parks was intended to either abandon pseudo support or if granted to avoid a conflict with the police. Once again, a delicate balance. You're right not to seek permission.

The issues you're confronting are not easy. The trash issue has become important as it is currently being used in New York and elsewhere as an excuse to clear out the protesters. The money issue is also complex but I support your position.

Time permitting, I appreciate the information and will offer any ideas that may occur to me.

It is a great endeavor you're undertaking. Keep the faith.

Peace, Random

Sent: Friday, October 14, 2011
Subject: RE: Occupy Wall Street in Counterpunch

Dear Jack,

I am so honored you have written me several times, and truly have appreciated your thoughts and suggestions.

You have been very helpful in many ways, and, time permitting, if you happen to have other thoughts I would be happy to hear from you.

I will, as I have in the past, relay your thoughts to others.

Thank you very much for the encouragement!!

And, I look forward to future postings of yours in Counterpunch, whether on this topic or any other.

All the best,

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