Thursday, May 26, 2022 |
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A protest primer
Reading the stories and looking at the pictures of the Occupy Kaua‘i event I have mixed feelings.
The fact that over 100 people took the time to go to the street last Saturday to demand some changes is very positive. Getting together even this amount of people took a lot of work and organization. Compliments to the Kaua‘i Alliance for Peace and Social Justice and thanks to those who participated.
The “Occupy Wall Street” initiative is turning into an international movement, but there are big differences between the various protests and demonstrations around the world. The intent to bring about changes in the capitalistic societies is well justified, however the expected outcome is very uncertain, especially in the U.S. Why?
The major problem with a “protest” like this is that it looks and feels like a social event where people gather to have a good time. Did you notice the faces of the protesters in the photos in the TGI, on Island Breath, and in the Honolulu Civil Beat? Almost all of them are smiling, and smiles mean happiness! Which banker will worry about happy protesters? Which government official will start to mitigate the problems voiced by smiling faces?
Compare the faces in the protests in Europe and the Arab world with the ones you saw here! They are angry, and we are happy, but protesting. Even if some protests got out of hand elsewhere, being angry does not mean that you have to be violent, but you need to show your anger to be taken seriously if you say that you are protesting.
The other sign of the hopelessness of the outcome is the laundry list of slogans and grievances displayed. In order to bring about the desired changes, you have to concentrate on a few and target those. When you talk about generalities to unnamed individuals or organizations, nobody will take it upon himself. Those who are responsible for the ills in the society, will not volunteer to make changes unless you name them and present your specific demands to them.
Consequently, if you want to end the wars let’s protest against the warmongers at the right location with the right slogans. If you want to a change in the banking system, let’s protest against what hurts you in the banking domain, and name the change you want, because if you generalize you may end up with a higher fee on your checking account and the banker will say: “Oh, well, it is a change! You did not tell what kind of change you want.” If you protest against a policy let your voice heard as to what and how you want it changed specifically.
I have participated in many protests not only here, where you are allowed to do so, but also in countries where it was forbidden, and I am a firm believer in non-violent civil disobedience, but please, if you organize a protest, make it a protest. The time for celebration comes after you have achieved your goals.
János Keoni Samu, Kalaheo
Wasting your time
What a great letter Desiree (“From Wall Street to Kaua‘i’s streets,” Letters, Oct. 15)! We should all support the Wall Street occupiers any way we can!
Why are you going to work on Saturday? You should be at Safeway yelling and screaming with the rest of us wonderful, articulate, down and out occupiers. Fire your boss and just don’t show up for work. Are you really one of us, or not? You deserve to be at Safeway, and you deserve much more money than they’re paying you to work on a Saturday anyway!
In fact, we should voluntarily take all of our money out of the horrible banks and put it under our mattresses to make them pay. No one should get a car loan, house loan, child education fund, business loan, or any thing else that has anything to do with banks. Let the villainous banksters all collapse and we’ll be a lot better off. It’s time to stamp out evil!
Everyone should also sell all their stocks, bonds, fund investments, and pull all of their money out of Wall Street. It would collapse and the horrible Wall Street supported businesses would all die! Then wealthy people wouldn’t be wealthy any more and we would all be in the same boat! After all it’s the banks and Wall Street that are responsible for making the extremely wealthy people wealthy.
When those wealthy one percent people finally don’t have anything either we could all just have the government create millions of jobs to make up for it. Yes! The tens of millions of people who work for banks and Wall Street supported businesses would lose all their jobs! Yeaaa…!! Then we can finally all be equal and work for the government! We could just print money any time we want to pay all of us anything we want! Let’s see? I want a million dollars a year so why shouldn’t I just have it? What a glorious world it will be!
Whew; there! Now we can all feel better.
Well, enough of the mental masturbation. Why don’t we just take it upon ourselves to do something constructive for our economy?
We could create a business for ourselves, get back to work, quit whining, quit pointing our swords at windmills while demanding “free stuff”, and vote in the next election for people who have the experience to begin fixing the problem.
We could move our disorganized and pointless Wall Street demonstration to the White House where it would have much more meaning, and where it belongs!
The one thing we should not do is continue to blindly follow the Executive Branch and Congressional neophytes running things now who have made every horrible decision possible to exacerbate the problems in our economy and make them even worse.
You do have a choice in the next election, Desiree; and it will have much more meaning than wasting your time at Safeway.
Gordon Oswald, Kapa‘a
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