An Open Letter to #Occupy from a Crabby Old Leftist: If I Didn’t Love You More Than Life Itself, Would I Care Whether You Ate Your Peas? (1)

Come in, sit. I’ll make you something to eat, don’t be silly, it’ll take me two minutes. I wasn’t gonna say anything, but you look a little thin.  I know you had a slice of pizza at the demonstration. but that was hours ago. You’re so hopped up on adrenaline you didn’t even notice. Believe me, I remember how that feels. I still get out to the barricades now and then, but by the time I get home my hip is killing me, especially if it rains.

A couple of days ago I turned 57. I decided to give myself the gift of self-indulgence, so I started to write this post. Being childless by choice, any pseudo-maternal urges were always sufficiently met by the presence of lovers and cats in my life, and I never expected to love a movement like a mother loves her child.

But that was before your tortuous and precipitous birth! And because you were unexpected, a “miracle baby” with such beauty and promise from the start, I was flooded with love and pride when I saw you! Then I saw you start to make some pretty obvious errors which is inevitable when you are new at something, how else can you learn?

So I tried to keep my mouth shut — who cares what a (fake) mother thinks, anyway? Like most real mothers around the world though, I struggled with raging over-protectiveness when I saw you start making the kind of mistakes that can get you killed or badly hurt before you know any better. These kind of mistakes, in combination especially, are also the kind that can kill the hopes and dreams of movements, and I want you to live for a long time and be successful, only partially because your dreams for America and mine are the same.

I know you’re barely more than two months old, but in today’s world you need to grow up fast. It’s because of the internet, and everywhere there is right wing crazy these days: there are guns, except for where there are bombs and guns, and people with apparently raging hard-ons to use them. And there’s the inability to just stfu about it for five minutes.

Some of us, though aware that the vast majority of this stuff comes from the racist right, have become very sensitive to violent rhetoric regardless of the source. If you were only old enough to remember, you’d know that the last time it was like this around here JFK, RFK and MLK. Jr ended up dead, as well as others who were not so well known. We older lefties have a “compare and contrast” example in our memories of a time that’s more like the present than any other before or since.

. . wow, for someone who wasn’t hungry, sweetie, you sure ate that fast! Here’s some more…no? You sure? OK, I’m wrapping it up for you to take with you. What? What if you get hungry on the train?

So, let me finally get to the point. Basically you know (fake) mother loves you. But I see three areas where there is some room for improvement. Some of my historical examples will come from the civil rights movement because of that whole ‘refusing to learn from history dooming you to repeat it’ thing. That goes for us too, not just the other side. And if you say you’re a serious, capable and committed activist for social change but you don’t know or care that every movement borrowed or learned at least something from the civil rights and early labor movements, please don’t say it out loud. You’re embarrassing me.




They’re listed in descending order of how hysterical I get when I think what could happen! Oy gevalt! You know what, I talked so long I’m too tired to give you the details now. Here’s an idea, why don’t you stay the night, you can Occupy Your Old Bedroom? They can take the park again without you tonight. You know what will happen when you get gassed again with your allergies!

Good, I’m glad you decided to stay. In the morning I promise we’ll have coffee before you go, and I’ll tell you the rest. Meanwhile, read this, and tomorrow we’ll compare and contrast. It’s just a Wikipedia page, but it’s pretty good. At least it’s the way I remember it happening. I was about 15 at the time.

Well, I may be an old broad with a chip on her shoulder about the military industrial complex, but I’m not dumb — I just stretched my present to myself into another day! You know, my mother used to say, to my constant amusement, “I’m cold, go put on a sweater!” As funny as that sometimes was there were a few times I wished I’d listened to her. She had an uncanny ability to predict when it might suddenly get colder. I guess because she’d lived through so many more winters than I had.

Sleep tight and don’t get any nightmares from reading that page, more tomorrow…

. . read part two HERE . .


2 thoughts An Open Letter to #Occupy from a Crabby Old Leftist: If I Didn’t Love You More Than Life Itself, Would I Care Whether You Ate Your Peas? (1)

  1. avatar sage says:

    This is absolutely fantastic! Thank you!

  2. avatar nycgrlupstate says:

    TY sage for your very kind comment, it does a (fake) mother’s heart good…

Comments are closed.