At the meeting on the Upper East Side, a three-hour slot on a weekend that replicated dozens elsewhere, we are told, there were three large newsprint sheets on the wall to remind us of what we were fighting for:
- Who we are. There were some 20 separate items of who we were, among them immigrants, atheists, muslims. Not among the Magic-Markered scrawls: Jews, Christians, patriots, citizens, legal immigrants, illegal immigrants (they pretend there is no such thing as anyone here illegally -- all are bunkered into the foolish globalism "immigrant").
- What we want. Also 20 items. Lower taxes, higher taxes for the 1%, no fossil fuels, "immigration reform," renewable energy, criminal justice, lower jail sentences, fairer judges; legalized marijuana; abrogation of nuclear, oil and gas, coal and anything used by all the people coming to the meeting (except for this correspondent, the sole cyclist in the 30 attendees and two moderators), income redistribution, more regulations on Wall Street and bankers, stronger unionism. Absent from the list: recognition of the income distribution curve, knowledge of the importance of oil.
- What we dream. Some 18 items. Utopian la-di-dah: no capitalism. Lower taxes. (Except higher for the rich.) Cleaner air, water, food. Local food and goods. Better hospitals, in every neighborhood. No closings of health care facilities. No fracking to fracture the social fabric. Absent from the listing: any concept of reality.
We 30 were all Caucasian, with one Hispanic woman, and possibly one Middle Easterner or second Hispanic woman. There were at most two persons under thirty years old. The rest of the crowd were easily seen to be either late bloomers or leftover '60s radicals nostalgic for backintheday. Aside from the jaunty moderators, in their earning years, most featured snowy thatches, pepper-and-salt or fully grayed roofs; they could have been the ideal Bill Maher audience, rah rah one-sideds with blinkered social vision and hysterical claque views. Most puddled in their '60s and '70s. They seemed at or well beyond their earning years, which would account for why so few of them evidently conceptualized factories or working places to actually earn honest income via professions. Some actually thought they could do without any workplaces at all.
At the self-criticism portion of the program, where the moderators stressed that they welcomed both positive and negative feedback, toward the end of the 3-hour training, one well-dressed pewter-haired lady expressed disappointment that there was not "more diversity." Part of the problem, the leader explained, was that this meeting was in a mostly white neighborhood. Were we uptown, in the Heights, there would no doubt have been numerous examples of "diversity." "Some groups," we were told, "had filled up so fast that the group today was the spillover" and was "only accidentally" white.
We sat in a rough circle at a bright, airy (no windows, though) union hall. We divided into four color groups: red, blue, purple, brown; we could do the three training exercises in nonviolent defense via group interaction by hue. The three exercises seemed fun, though they had little spillover to actual nonviolent resistance or whatever was hoped/planned for upcoming protests on Wall Street and wherever else avaricious bankers and capitalists and 1%ers congregate evilly.