Unoccupied. |
by J. James

The one year anniversary of the Occupy movement has come and gone I doubt there is anyone who would read this who is ignorant of what Occupy is; September 17th was the day a large handful of people stormed the stock market demanding what is rightfully theirs, and also rightfully no one’s. Occupy stood as a wake up call to America and the world of the unbelievable yet understated reign of control that corporations have upon all of our lives. In that right, Occupy was more than successful. By the end of the year, by Christmas, there was not one American alive who did not have an opinion of the Occupy Movement, generating everything from unsung anthems to viral internet memes. Occupy woke up America to it’s shackles. But I write this, not regarding it as a success. I write this as a disillusioned and distanced member who finds it, a year later, to be a failure.

While I sit here, picturing the hundreds, possibly thousands of people carving beelines
around Wall Street and Zuccotti Park, picturing the simultaneous view of love and hatred, of
hope for a better future and fear of dystopian world, I can’t help but label it all as a failure in my overly cynical mind.

It’s a day of celebration, of revival. I can’t help but ask, what is to celebrate? Was
anything accomplished other than a surge of awareness on a dire issue, which was immediately cast off as nothing more than a “group of hippies and crust punks” who cut the system down with a refusal to work, as they tweet about the revolution with their iPhones.
I see no reason for joy. The world remains largely unchanged from how it was a year
ago. In America, we still fight for our rights. We still fight for our freedom of an overpowered
government and overarching corporations. We still fight for the environment. We still fight for
equality, for our own choices and our health. We still fight for education. We still fight just to live.The problem is, the majority of us don’t even actually fight.

Self Portrait of an Escape Artist

I want to see change. Everybody does. We are still caught in a game that gives us a
sense of freedom, that blinds of from the truth. The presidential race, one of the least importantmatters you can vote for, but the only one that most people do, has people voting less for who they want to win, but more for who they think will win again the person they don’t want to win. That’s not freedom of choice. That’s mind games for people who are too preoccupied with a thousand other problems to see the truth of the matter.

You don’t pat yourself on the back if you call your high school bully out in the cafeteria
to a room full of applause, and he continues to beat you and steal your lunch money everyday.That’s not success. That’s acknowledgement of an issue. If you acknowledge an issue, and do nothing about it, what is success in that?

I’m not writing this to ignite a new flame, and I’m not writing a love letter to revolution. I’m
writing to call out on feigned celebration and unrealized dreams. You can’t praise a priest if he tells you about faith and doesn’t help you gain it.

The Essayist: J. James resides in Brooklyn, where he works as a freelance writer, musician and actor. He is currently working on a comic series which is slated to begin printing in spring of 2013.

The Artist: Katrina Pallop is a playwright, photographer, and actress based in Brooklyn, NY. She is a graduate of NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. Her photographs have been published by a number of independent magazines, among them The 2River View, Calyx, and OVS. Her online portfolio can be found here.