Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

The Evening Before …

I’m looking forward to the outpouring of solidarity tomorrow, with some apprehension of what the police will be doing when I arrive downtown Oakland tomorrow.

In the meantime, I’m drifting around various thoughts and memories and motivations.

For some reason, which I’ve never fully understood, before I head out for a protest, this tune always goes through my head as emblematic of the kind of freedom I want for the world:

I live with the Bible.  This is the part that keeps echoing in my head, over and over:

Shout it aloud, do not hold back.

  Raise your voice like a trumpet.

Declare to my people their rebellion

  and to the descendants of Jacob their sins.

For day after day they seek me out;

  they seem eager to know my ways,

as if they were a nation that does what is right

  and has not forsaken the commands of its God.

They ask me for just decisions

  and seem eager for God to come near them.

‘Why have we fasted,’ they say,

  ‘and you have not seen it?

Why have we humbled ourselves,

  and you have not noticed?’

  “Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please

  and exploit all your workers.

Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife,

  and in striking each other with wicked fists.

You cannot fast as you do today

  and expect your voice to be heard on high.

Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,

  only a day for people to humble themselves?

Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed

  and for lying in sackcloth and ashes?

Is that what you call a fast,

  a day acceptable to the LORD?

Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:

to loose the chains of injustice

  and untie the cords of the yoke,

to set the oppressed free

  and break every yoke?

Is it not to share your food with the hungry

  and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter-

when you see the naked, to clothe them,

  and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

Then your light will break forth like the dawn,

  and your healing will quickly appear;

then your righteousness[a] will go before you,

  and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.

Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;

  you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

  If you do away with the yoke of oppression,

  with the pointing finger and malicious talk,

and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry

  and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,

then your light will rise in the darkness,

  and your night will become like the noonday.

The LORD will guide you always;

  he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land

  and will strengthen your frame.

You will be like a well-watered garden,

  like a spring whose waters never fail.

Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins

  and will raise up the age-old foundations;

you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,

  Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

– Isaiah 58:1-12

I will try to make it to some of the Daily Kos events.  I definitely plan to hang out at the Clergy Tent, making ruckus with my religious peeps.  

I’m thinking about 20 years back, when I frequently took to the streets on behalf of justice causes.  Back then, I had a stronger belief that God was acting for justice in history.  I have a stronger sense of the limitations of history now, that we move in cycles of progress and regress, and that our efforts are necessary, but extremely limited.  I still ground my faith in the ethical perspective of the Hebrew prophets above all else, but with a greater sense that a spirituality of protest will always come up against the machinations of power, leaving us to start over another day.  In the meantime, I know the only place I can find the God I worship at this moment in time is in the faces of all the people who have felt the spirit of the times and taken a stand against the arrogance of the mighty.

Oh, and what the hell, one more for good measure.

But woe to you who are rich,

  for you have already received your comfort.

– Luke 6:24


  1. You know I love to protest so much I protest alone or with a little crew, but I have not yet been motivated to join OWS because quite frankly I find their tactics pretty unsound.  For example it had always been my understanding of training from the masters in civil disobedience that the idea was to provoke an ugly reaction in ones opponents then be non violent in response and wait for the great mass of moral Americans to react to that.  So, the question is, is the city of Oakland your opponent?   I understand the Mayor there before OWS was considered a progressive.  Was it the goal to tarnish her, make her react badly?

    It’s also bugging the crap out of me that so much of OWS I’m seeing has no electoral plan, no desire to support legislation like the AJA or wield electoral power.  The Tea Party who they seem to be so jealous of ran roughshod over Republican primaries not only registering but then following through and voting, it appears to me OWS is hostile to politicians even ones who were fighting for equality and justice being beaten by southern sheriffs when most of these OWS protestors parents were in the womb.

    I can’t get down with them, although I wish them success their goals seem ok although the rich people I know don’t begrudge paying more taxes and it’s a shame they appear to also be the target as they aren’t the 99%.  Oh and I get real the heck tired of so many people who don’t share my experience and sensibilities speaking for me, but oh well on that one I’ve obviously had experience with “progressives” not wanting to entertain my perspective.

    I don’t know, OWS reminds me of the underpants gnomes from South Park.

    Step 1:  incite and display righteous anger

    Step 2: ?????????????

    Step 3:  Jobs for everyone

    Mom’s told me she had to go to a class for 6 weeks to be trained to protest.  She was taught how to take an arrest how to react how to answer reporters questions.  It’s a new movement I suppose if it is to last and be of any real impact it will develop a leader.  The media seems to want to make Michael Moore one of them, and I wouldn’t follow him out of a burning building, but Van Jones is there and he definitely has my respect.

    Anyhow have fun.

  2. dirkster42

    Spent about four hours downtown.  By 2:00 there were too many people to count, it felt more like a festival than a protest in many ways.  At that point, I decided my work was done for the day.

    I was anticipating massive police presence, but I maybe saw one cop all day.

    I’ve got about an hour and half to get some shit done before I go have dinner with some friends.

  3. Reminds me of the demonstration for Oscar Grant.  The entire day was beautiful but at the end a handful of anarchist went off and tarnished the whole event.  I suppose that’s a benefit to organization and leadership.  You would have the ability to more forcefully say those people aren’t us.

  4. dirkster42

    I’m not sure how I got Brahms Op. 119 #4 in the YouTube clip.  It should have been Brahms Op. 119 #3.

    Really, you can’t go wrong with Brahms, but #4 is not what goes through my head on the eve of a protest.


    Reports are very sketchy. But something pretty dramatic seems to have happened in DC tonight with the ‘Occupy’ protestors. I’m piecing together what happened from the Twitter feed of Washington Post reporter Tim Craig.

    From what I can make out, Occupy protestors tried to blockade the Koch Brothers backed conference (Americans for Prosperity) put on today in DC – blockade in the sense of keep people from leaving the convention hall. Then someone drove a car into protestors acting as this sort of human blockade.

  6. Maybe it will stick in someone else’s head. Misery loves company.

    It’s not the whole song, either. It’s just the same refrain over and over and over… Mama said there’d be days like this, Mama said. Mama said. Mama said. Mama said there’d be days like this, Mama said. Mama said. Mama said.

  7. They were both the first AA band and the first girl band to hit the top of the charts. They are a perfect segue into some of my favorite Motown hits.

    Check out these beehive hairdos.

    The consensus #1 Motown song from the man with the sexiest voice ever.

    And one for the OWS crowd.

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