Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Imperious at Occupy

I lingered outside the Logistics Tent at Occupy Boston to observe a demand for community funds. The gentleman to the extreme right of this picture is dressed in black; he insists he must have more black clothes. He has no cash, however, so he expects the lady manning the Logistics Tent to give him some money. Right now.

Shakedown at Occupy Boston

One way to get money in a group such as OWS, where everyone is supposed to be equal, and issues are decided collaboratively, would be to wait patiently until the next General Assembly meeting. These happen twice a day at the occupy thing at Boston. Various people would  persuasively present divers ideas, and presumably, the group would discuss the relative merits of the various demands for money. Then the group would put up their hands and wiggle their fingers and give UP TWINKLES if they like the idea of spending their limited resources in that particular way. Or DOWN TWINKLES if they did not like this way of spending the money.

The Logistics lady tells him she cannot help the man clad in black. She has no money; if she did have any money, it would be locked up. She has no key so it would be impossible for her to get the money and give it to him.  But he insists. He has to have the money right now, because he needs to buy black clothes because he is going to do an action. This action absolutely has to  happen right now.

The world is full of such people who horn in on the front of the line and who get what they want or need despite the fact that others are patiently waiting, or despite the fact that others are in need but are too embarrassed to ask. I think many OWS people might protest against such behavior, calling it "greed".
There is an imposing statue of Gandhi at Occupy Boston.
People will say "meet at Gandhi for the 3PM meeting". Gandhi was not a big fan of Greed.
Whatever you call it, there are plenty of people in the world who have enough arrogance and enough drive that they are going to lean on people until they get their share (or more than their share) of the world's limited resources.

It's human nature. Some systems recognize this trait and harness self-interest for the public good. Apparently OWS has not found a way to overcome this particular trait of human nature. The man wearing the black clothing never did take no for an answer. The logistics lady pointed to the donations box at the neighboring tent. She said they were collecting donations through the day, and perhaps when they had enough money in the box, they would be able to give him enough money to fund the "action" he felt was so important. But again, the man in black got more agitated, and refused to be pacified with vague promises of later consideration.

So another young lady came up and spoke very nicely to him and agreed to take him to some authority figure in the camp (I don't think they are supposed to have those) and make a special immediate request for the money.  I had to go off and watch an important race on the Charles River, so I don't know what happened next. He probably got his funds. The arrogant and self-important always find a way to the money, no matter what kind of society they are living in.
Also happening at Occupy Boston:
Find out what happened when it came time to pick up the trash.

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