Why I Occupy: A Call for Essays

Photo: Jed Brandt

Every person has a story to tell about what is important to them. A story about decisions they have made and the motivating factors for those decisions, whether it be family, friends, economics, ethics, or some other reason. Every person has a story to tell about an event that changed their life. A turning point when they decided to get involved in something or a time they turned away. Every person has a story to tell that that they think is important enough that others should know about it. Perhaps it is a cause they hope will change the lives of others.

We are all storytellers. Each of us has a unique voice and each voice has value in the world; each voice imparts a perspective unlike any other person in the world. We at the Portland Occupier want to hear your voice, your perspective on why you are involved in the Occupy movement. We would like you to tell us in your own words “Why I Occupy.” If you want your story heard, please email us at [email protected] and tell us why you Occupy.

Here is an essay written by one of our editors to get the ball rolling.

by Vargus Pike

I can feel the walls and ceiling closing in. They have been closing in on me my whole life, confining me to an ever tighter box. It’s no wonder I am claustrophobic. The world just gets smaller and smaller and I find it harder and harder to breathe. Conform, conform conform. Mass-produced insanity killing innovation and individuality–in the schools, on the job, in our government. People telling me what to wear, what to watch, who to vote for, when to cross the street, when not to cross the street, what to learn, what to say, how to smell, what to eat, what to like, who to hate or fuck or marry. I can feel the walls and ceiling closing in, tighter and tighter, choking me, choking my soul. All my life putting me in a box that is not of my making, not of my design, not of my color.

1984, Animal Farm, Beneath the Wheel, Steppenwolf, Brave New World, Brave New World Revisited. Sucks when you find yourself in someone else’s dystopian novel. Protagonist crying out and fighting the inexorable forces of conformity. I can feel the walls closing in, year by year, week by week, day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute, second by second. Inching inward to squeeze me until I die. Until my soul can struggle no more, until I am defeated by the overwhelming power and weight of society’s insanity. “We are Borg, resistance is Futile.”

Well I say fuck that. Fuck that with a spoon. Resistance is not futile. Like Dylan Thomas I prefer to rage, rage against the dying of that light. I will not go down easy, I will not go down without a fight. Just because the powers that want to be tell me to do it, it doesn’t mean that I have to listen. It does not mean that I have to bend over, bare my ass and cry, “Thank you, sir, may I have another!” I am not a sheep to be sheared and slaughtered, to clothe and feed a bunch of greedy bastards. I am not a horse to be ridden, to be beaten until I die. Carcass sold to the hacker man, made into glue to hold together a shit-pile society of petty tyrants. I am not a tool to be used, then broken and thrown away. I will not be marginalized! Try to push me into your little box–just try. I have pushed back all my life and I am not about to stop now.

The harder you push in the walls, the harder I will resist. The harder I resist, the more I will enlist those standing beside me to push back too, because we are not just numbers in a game. We are not tallies on a sheet. We are not cattle to be bred and slaughtered by the machine. We are Humans beings. Human beings who breathe and think and love; human beings who work and struggle and survive; Human beings who dream and plan and strive. Human beings being human. That’s right, human beings being human! Without us, the all is nothing. Without us, nothing is possible. Without us, where would anyone be. So I fight; I fight and I rage. Every time I speak out against the Unpatriot Act or the NDAA or SOPA, I rage against the dying light of freedom. Every time I support a local business or artist, I rage against the dying light of individuality. Every time I resist social pressure to do what’s fashionable or popular just because it is popular or fashionable, I rage against the dying light of self determination. I rage for myself. I rage for my children. I rage for those who have no rage and I rage for those who do not understand, I rage for the sake of my state, my country, my world. I rage because this is what I do. It is what I am meant to do. It is what I have to do. I rage, I fight and I OCCUPY.

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