Corey Robin in his excellent book, The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin, noted that conservatism is "the theoretical voice of... animus against the agency of the subordinate classes. It provides the most consistent and profound argument as to why the lower orders should not be allowed to exercise their independent will, why they should not be allowed to govern themselves or the polity. Submission is their first duty, agency, the prerogative of the elite."
From the very beginning one of the things that excited me about the #occupy movement was the potential it had to create spaces to empower disempowered individuals and give them room to develop and nurture their own voice, join together with others, and organize around their own issues rather than around issues or actions given to them from on high.
As someone who has run for public office I can tell you that the majority of people I came across were either completely detached from the political process all-together (a conservatives dream come true) or dissatisfied with the status quo-- where their only option is to ratify decisions made by others and choose from doctrines chosen by superiors and elites far off in think tanks and law firms in Washington DC. Most of the important decisions that impact people lives are made in boardrooms and back rooms where the subordinate classes are never allowed and people across the political spectrum realize this. People are desperate for some actual democracy and the explosion of energy all across this country with occupations and direct actions popping up-- even in the least expected of places-- speaks to that.
Rudolph Rocker reflected that "the art of ruling men has never been the art of educating men and inspiring them to a new shaping of their lives." Occupy, the general assembly process, feeds the flames of autonomy and self-rule--the art of educating and inspiring, if you will--in the minds of working class Americans and it feels wonderful to be smack dab in the middle of it.
From the very beginning I struggled with explaining to people what camping out in a park had to do with Wall Street, improving the economy, or improving the political process.
I remember rushing back to the suburbs late for a dinner date with friends because I hung around an extra hour at the General Assembly the week before Occupy Atlanta occupied Woodruff (soon to be renamed Troy Davis) Park wondering how I'd explain to my friends what we were doing and why it was so damn inspirational.
As someone, who because of untreated mental health issues, woke up in parks on park benches from time to time; whose entire political involvement (as a legislative aide, campaign manager, candidate for State Senate) has been energized around building the political will to get people out of sleeping in parks and into treatment and the health care they need and deserve; the very idea of sleeping in a park seems as anathema as it does to most people.
But I knew over time I'd get opportunities to connect the dots for my friends. Occupy AT&T is one of those dots i'd like to connect.
I want you to take a moment to listen to this statement from a man named Ed Barlow...
Conservatives will tell you to trust the boss, trust the corporation (at this point i'm not sure why anyone would, but I digress...). I'm asking you to consider something truly radical, put your trust in a worker within the company--who actually does the job and sees the challenges his company faces on ground--rather than the CEO and his top notch Public Relations staff.
Right now, Occupy Atlanta has joined to stand in solidarity with the Communication Workers of America Local to fight the layoff of 740 workers in the Southeast and we need you to join us in voicing your support for their efforts.
There is no inherent reason why the general public should believe the CEO-- who isn't on the ground seeing the inefficiencies and rooms for improvement that could make AT&T a better, more vibrant company--over the voices of the employees themselves. In fact, when the average wait time is 10 days for repair services, when AT&T consistently ranks last in customer service, the general public actually has an incentive to take the word of the workers on the ground who say there is work to be done.
So my question to you is this--do you want better customer services and shorter wait times? Right now the CEO of AT&T is pulling in $27 million a year. He's making more by lunch then you'll make in a year and as a thank you he's going to add to your wait time and give you worse customer service so that you won't even have time to call AT&T during your lunch break.
If you live in Georgia or anywhere throughout the southeast do you want to see more foreclosures, layoffs, and people on unemployment? Or do you want to see small businesses in your community with your local AT&T employees spending their hard earned money?
That's the bigger picture, 740 people in the southeast are saying they want to work, they want to earn a living and not sit on unemployment. They aren't looking for a handout and we need to show them some support because in the end we all pay the cost in longer wait times and weaker local economies--believe me, the top brass at AT&T aren't going to come into your local communities to spend their hard earned [sic] money or the bonuses they'll receive from increasing "profitability".
I'll be going out to join the occupation next Thursday night in support. But all you need to do is show support by posting news and updates on Facebook and Twitter to let people know you support the efforts of CWA and Occupy Atlanta. Let people know you want AT&T to show the love and keep 740 of their employees on the job--cause there is work to be done!
Here are a few links you might choose to share...
Together we can raise our voices to save 740 jobs across the Southeast. Won't you join me?