Your Hobo Addresses the Bangor City Council

The guy from the Bangor Daily really didn’t like what I said, and covered it correspondingly.  I think it was at 39:00, the part he didn’t like.

Anyway, I wasn’t thinking of it as a photo op.

Click to play the video. (At Bangor's website.)


Open Letter to the City Council – re: bust of Occupy

Gentlemen and Ladies of the City Council,

Regarding the recent police action against Occupy, I thought I would direct to you some public comments I have made recently on BDN’s public BBoard.

I think I do not exceed my authority as the Encampment Legal point person in saying that, while we all consider this police action to be very unfortunate, we nevertheless remain guardedly optimistic about working with the city to find a mutually satisfactory solution within the existing legal code. Continue reading

I was misquoted

 *correction to the Bangor Daily article* Alba Briggs said that uprooting the camp would mean throwing away the last month of work we’ve put in.  Not me.

I said that, yes, we may be the top-clicked story on the Bangor Daily website (partly no doubt because of all you beloved “Get A Job” trolls venting your spleens) — but we pull up our tents, we’re a flash in the pan and forgotten by Bangor.

America is sick.  Terribly sick.  It should be possible for a man making minimum wage to support a wife and three kids, without a dime of government assistance.  We had that once.  But now, minimum wage isn’t enough to support yourself.

We need to *push* American society off its present self-destructive course and onto a more reasonable one.  This takes *time*.  We *need* to keep at this.

Our white-collar organizational leaders, who put forth the proposal to pull up the camp, without actually *telling* anyone who lived at camp ahead of time, tell us maintaining the camp takes too much time, too much energy.  Some of the ones saying this, like Valerie, really put their heart and soul into keeping the camp alive. 

Now I know something about photography, and this picture -- in that light? -- is a real accomplishment

Other of those leaders, I can’t tell you what they do to keep camp running.  Sunny once called the encampment the “heart and soul” of Bangor’s Occupy movement.  Was up in arms when the city wanted us just to apply for a permit.  Now she wants us shut down.

What I said was, we decamp, and we become just another white-collar activist group doing deskwork and promotional stunts.  Camping out in Maine weather *means* something, and this is what has the nice old women from the Peace and Justice center running scared.  Trying to uproot our camp for our own good.

It’s amazing to me that we have to fight not only City Hall, but our own leadership to stay alive.

(open letter to the city council) Thanks for, and thoughts on, the recent workshop

Gentlemen and Ladies of the City Council,

I want to thank you for having the workshop, inspired by the desire to be a fair umpire to Occupy Bangor and in general.  I want to thank you for everything from the rousing speech about our nation’s origins in the early pilgrimages to this land, to the quiet expressions of determination to uphold the law, to the counterpoint that you are a policy-forming committee.  And I appreciate equally those moments of legal clarity from the city attourney, particularly in reference to the law of unintended consequences.

Please understand that I have no position of authority at Occupy Bangor, and everything I say here is from me, as a citizen who is deeply committed to the peaceful protest that has formed in this city.

This is simply my view of the matter.

There were only a few focused, specific questions which you asked of us, the public.  These I can address, and the concerns from which they seem to spring.  I can also address the questions I imagine you might ask.  But there are undoubtedly questions you have not asked, which I can not anticipate, and I would encourage you to publish them with the announcement of the next meeting’s time.

One question Mr. Sprague asked was, “How long do you intend to be there?”  Another was, “How is being limited to park hours ‘onerous’?”

The group has not reached consensus on a time-frame.  The brave reply you may get from people is, “As long as it takes!” 

My reply is, “Until spring.” 

One passerby asked me, “What happens in spring?”

I told him, “We come up with another plan.”

This is Maine.  Camping out will be safe — if there is any risk to life or limb, I personally promise I will lead the retreat into a headed structure — but miserable.  Utterly miserable.  It will be a hardship.

As a hobo, I have a notion of what deliberately going through a hardship does to a person’s character, as a matter of choice.  It tempers your character.  It causes you to live in reality and not fantasy.  It wakes you up wonderfully.

You learn, in other words, something about what you can personally accomplish under your own power simply by being determined.  I want this for these people.  I want the college kids who have an interest in political activism to be tempered in this way. Continue reading

A Worried Citizen

Rather than fight an enemy tribe directly, primitive peoples know it’s a good trick to work them into war with another enemy tribe.  Two tribes fight over nonsense, and the third gets a free ride and a free show. The U.S. has in the past shamefully been accused of providing weapons to both nations in certain military conflicts: same trick.  The third tribe benefits from engineering war between the first two.

Recent event in Portland, OR.

Occupy Bangor got a few calls of “support” that really sewed suspicion and distrust between them and city officials. When the city began to enforce its park ordinances, finally, after cutting them remarkable slack — Occupy Bangor asked people to call the city to support them.

Occupy got a few calls to them, saying: “I just called a city councilman and asked his true motives for shutting you down. I asked if he’d received any big donations lately. And his answer seemed fishy to me.”

Clearly this has put suspicion in the minds of Occupy.  A third tribe couldn’t have done better.

The real motive for the city Continue reading