Category Archives: Occupy

Also Done With Mirrors

Friday, August 1, 2014

Also Done With Mirrors

Also Done With Mirrors

From The El Paso County Jail

hipgnosis_fractal

June 2014

In jail now for contempt of court, i can only hope that i will not be punished for thought, given my intent with this piece more or less to publicly scorn the same court and many of its agents represented here at the misnamed Criminal Justice Center of El Paso County. I will concentrate on this local example for specifics because of intimacy, but recent news and broad history supports my encouragement to the reader that (s)he extrapolate freely.

I’d almost rather sleep than pace around here like a tyger in a fucking zoo, but i am as i have been formed. I really don’t think you fuckers can make me sleep without some kind of assault. It’s possible a dispassionate observer might develop the notion that you can piss me off, so to speak, that you can make me blow my Zen, but no–that was i, and i’m over it already.

Here at the El Paso County Jail, called the “Criminal Justice Center,” uniforms abound and each, of course, conveys a message. All the prisoners are color coded. The deps and “specialists’ and nurses and “contractors” are all of a feather, some with fancier tails as it were, expressive of assorted specifics. Variation is for the most part strictly verboten, (sorry to misuse the language for such a purpose, T. You know what i mean.)

Prisoners are separated by severity of “crime,” degree of danger to self or others, and some by a certain degree of “privilege” (these are called “trusty”). Deputies are generally demarcated according to “authority.” Some have little shoulder insignia indicating rank, “honors,” or extreme pathology. “Civilians” in various “house nig…um…servant,” (ahem), positions bear yet further uniform garb, while certain haughty nabobs glide around in suits carrying clipboards, heads high, presumably to be the more able to reach the rarefied air that must sustain them with their pinched aquiline nostrils.

With irony that may or may not be intentional on someone or something’s part, the same uniforms described as so expressive also squelch some communication, which would be quite freely broadcast in ordinary circles. Certainly “club” colors are vigorously banned. Stuff like those placeholders for my ears. Some shit slips by: Many Department of Corrections guys, (prisoners), are recognizable by  “penitentiary” labels on personal clothing. Haircuts, though highly imperfect at clarity, often show fondness for  a martial life. The richest bearers of information of all apart from coded wristbands we wear under a pretty fair degree of duress are tattoos, freely and openly displayed by all but the besuited clipboard crowd.

The deputies have prevented me from wearing the little protective posts made of comb teeth i put in my ears, meant to keep the piercings from closing, as an experiment in boundaries, and as an expression of my identity; a bit of communication through appearance; silent aesthetic vocalization. One pleasant deputy said to me with great concern and chagrin in both his voice and his eyes, “Oh, no! This is terrible!” I asked him about his concern and he played it off as a joke; “Sarcasm.” But to me, “this”–that is, a bit of aesthetic experimentation that serves to announce my separation  from a society i find abhorrent–is a marvelous thing, rich in multifaceted, radiating, information-bearing emanations. We all do these things, and some of us then wonder why we are rejected by those for whom we define ourselves as Other by those choices of appearance we make of our own volition.

No one can do anything about skin color, for example, and we ought not make assessments about human beings that are based on unchangeables like that, but we do anyhow. And life probably works out to support those assessments. Whether the differences are real or not, when two segments of society conspire to call one another’s members hateful names, like “nigger,” or “cracker,” or “Palestinian,” or “Jew,” the intonation of Otherness establishes a state of polarity where the prophecies inherent in the expression all become true, eventually. That’s pretty crazy in itself. At The El Paso County Jail the most desperate of prisoners–the mixed-color-teal-and-yellow crowd–are garbed thusly so that they are easily recognizable as homicidal-suicidal. They seem to live a miserable existence, isolated from everyone because of mutual fear, from which font their own dreaded behavior springs. The nurses in the medical unit where many of these saddest of souls reside sometimes and apart from regulation wear colors so similar that i have been startled by the spectacle of those shades in unexpected places. But i have had conversations with EPCO jail employees that went something like, “You should find something to do that doesn’t eat your soul.” “Oh, I’m fine–I get home and just forgetaboutit. Turn it off,” with a motion like flipping a switch. “Do you really think partitioning your personality–your life–your Self–to that degree so you won’t flip out is healthy!!? Isn’t that exactly how ‘multiples’ work things?” So just who are the crazy ones?

Division by zero.

One deputy said to me, “Sixty to seventy percent of the cops in this town are just doing their jobs.” This is so multi-dimensionally wrong: Only a mental pathology allows a guy to perpetrate violence against an unwilling subject for a mundane paycheck that is derived in part from money confiscated from that very person being so victimized. This is deeply parasitic and also pretty fucking stupid in that biologically, the most successful parasite is one that works a symbiotic relationship with its host. The relationship of our government, (and virtually all governments), to its host our society is now and will soon prove to be catastrophically vitacidal. Meanwhile, what are the other forty percent doing? My estimation figures the best part of this minority is enjoying  the sanction of the same gullible society to be violent for pay and false “honor.” Some of these two groups are actually deluded to imagine they are helping people.

“Can’t break the rules just doin’ my job nothin’ personal behind that blow to the head gotta paycheck to collect gotta family to feed….”

Assuredly history’s most spectacularly egregious crimes, and lest any reader seeks to comfort himself with false abstraction, those of this very day, this very moment, have always been committed beneath the false flag of “The Rules.”

I’ve heard it said in the context of “appearances” that the men and women of “Gateway” “represent El Paso County,” so that they are not permitted to wear a Mohawk, (or i suppose, bits of comb in their ears). Now, be alert that i am not a Gateway man, exactly, but i am here because of appearances, at least in part. To be clear, i don’t represent El Paso County, by any means and i give but the merest of fucks for appearances. I represent some higher Thing, and not by my choice at all; but having been chosen for this  i serve my purpose while Judge Williams serves his. We are what we are, and what each of us represents is so far beyond El Paso County that i can’t see its apex from here and i suspect that Judge Williams has scarcely even apprehended its Its truth, having heard of these things only in forgotten dreams. I hope you aren’t hurt, dear Judge; these lots of ours are assigned, not chosen.

I certainly never meant to  cause you harm, or even pain, though i can’t deny i have been quite angry; far more at your system than at you, personally. It’s up to you how much grief will be in this for you, but: Fear not, sir; for as i have said, this is all perfectly safe, And again: We are in this together. All of us. Like it or not.

*Submitted with respect to those EPCO Schindlers who struggle daily to avoid division by zero. And i’ll have to talk more about Gateway, later.

House of Mirrors

From the El Paso County Jail. There may be glitches while i learn WordPress. http://hipgnosis21.blogspot.com/2014/07/of-mirrors-june-2014-el-paso-county.html

WEDNESDAY, JULY 23, 2014

House of Mirrors

House of Mirrors

26 June 2014

El Paso County Jail

Don’t freak out now, anyone. I’m still out of jail, pending appeal, as of today, 23 July 2014.

Sorry, no footnotes in the blogger. You can get them here
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1umk-RPyxoiQTPSS84Cp4sR80UAXFzsVRpuiRBVzrdNA/edit?usp=sharing

Pogo couldn’t have known the heft and resonance of his words: “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”

I wrote a screed a while back, (Today’s Tom Sawyer), excoriating shitty Christian behavior. There’s still plenty to say about all that, and maybe some of it will come out here, but it’s not the point of this one. During that earlier rant, i promised to harp, eventually, about bad behavior on the part of pagans, dope fiends, felons, bikers, disgruntled employees, GIs, vets, and some of my other natural affinity groups as well.

That isn’t it either. Or maybe it is. But not really. Not quite. I promised to write about the Fear, too, and nor is it that, though the Fear runs through it all. This is about a war.

Many members of of various of the groups on that funny little list i jotted just now recognize and will now openly state that there’s a war looming. They’re wrong about that much anyhow–the looming is all done and the fight is on. Right now. It’s been on for decades, (or maybe forever). I’m here “jotting” because that’s what one does in the county jail, where i am a political prisoner–a POW, really, though i prefer to think of myself as a prisoner of conscience–but maybe it’s a digression to say so. Or maybe not. Let’s explore this amalgam of notions a bit, and see if we can find out.

Here at the county jail one finds a  peculiarly refined microcosm of the way the dynamics of the variously conflicting groups involved in this bizarre  war interact, cleared of much of the dross of false civility that ordinarily circumvents the fight out on the sidewalk, at least here in the U.S.A.

I know Europeans here that want to skedaddle from this place and others afraid to come here because many of them can see the shitstorm brewing and it scares them. They often seem to see it more clearly than we Americans are able to do at least in part because our access to real news is barely over nil, of maybe because as outside observers they aren’t saddled with the cognitive dissonance we sorry brainwashed frogs that live in this hot-ass boiling lake must so often suffer. I don’t know. I hope they realize this pond holds us all.

Oddly enough, while the interactions at the county jail display some of the finer points of conflict in out absurdly labeled free society, they also show some reasons for hope. There are still lights burning.

“Fuck the Police!”

I don’t know how many times i’ve heard that phrase from some of my dearest friends. I’ve uttered them myself. Often. Sometimes at the top of my lungs. Sometimes it was far more personal: “Fuck you! That’s right, you, personally, whomever you may be in your opposition to me, my pursuits, my people. Maybe i should refer to the less common; “Fuck the Pigs,’ because the police are only a fractional representation of one segment, one camp of that particular overarching social entity the hippies were talking about when they began to disparage swine so badly as to label their opposition thusly in this odd existential war from whence the flesh and blood scrap derives.

“Battle lines are being drawn,” went the line from the Buffalo Springfield some fifty-ish years back. They’re pretty well drawn, now, though they resemble lines a three-year-old might scribble. The shit’s on. People are fighting. The skirmishes often feel like some kind of kids’ game though too, involving blindfolds and billyclubs. Maybe i can’t deny swinging a stick around myself, sometimes. Maybe that’swhat this is–a chance for me to look in the mirror a little, Maybe it’s because it’s hard to sit the game out when i keep getting hit in the head. Whatever. Let’s keep on through the maze and just hope we don’t smash too many mirrors.

During the Occupation we intrepids staged a few years back, (and some of us still engage–viva la revolución and all), my son and i traveled to Denver for the final push when the cops razed the encampment there. The scene that October of 2011 there in Denver was some shit this country hadn’t seen in over forty years maybe, where armored brigades of soldiers–not cops at all but stormtroopers–rolled on a huge, disparate group of unarmed citizens. It was tragic. And beautiful. Versions of the same scene played out all around the world that fall.

There at Civic Center Park, across the avenue from the State Capitol building, the Boy and i stood in the thick of it as those battle lines sharpened, and then blew apart as the whole outhouse hit the fan.

Some thousands of us had marched boisterously through Denver’s business district, pausing for a special visit at the Federal Reserve. After completing a wide loop around downtown we mounted the Capitol steps for whatever confrontation the Denver planners had planned. They, (to claim a thing–we), had been warned explicitly beforehand to stay off that particular edifice, so the moment we took the steps and began railing through one of our ubiquitous bullhorns, the shock teams appeared, as if the bearded-Spock Enterprise had beamed them to the scene.

Honestly, i was pretty fucking nervous at that point. It’s not as though i’d never been beaten up by the cops before, but that stuff is kind of a young man’s sport, and i was never really all that much a fan anyhow. Besides, those had always been cops, not armored sci-fi gladiators. But the main thing was the Boy. He was fifteen then and down for plenty, but he looked pretty worried too, and, (the mainthing, actually), i knew i’d never live through my next conversation with his mother if i allowed him to be beaten and busted by the police. I suggested we pull back to the park and we did, but i felt pretty spineless for having done it, really.

The Boy and i had a quick consult: “You see what this is going to be, right?” “Yeah.” “Are you down, or not?” Nervous but firm, “Yeah.” “Fuck it then…God damn it; your mom is gonna kill me. Let’s get some lunch.”

The park itself  was packed with crowds of Occupiers, some having returned with us from the march and probably harboring thoughts similar to mine. The encampment had been there for a good while by then, and the Black Flag Anarchists’ Free Kitchen was in full flight. It had already been dismantled more than once as a special preparatory project for the cops–kind of a warm-up. Knowing well what was coming, the no-nonsense scrappy men’n’women in black behind the table were all assholes with elbows, flying around in a frenzy with grim serious joy in their eyes as they did their level best to sling as much great tasting free food as possible before the inevitable hammer fell. Those guys were freaking awesome sauce with motherfuckin’ cherries on top!

Rather than spark an actual and possibly justifiable war on the Capitol steps, even the most radical and adrenaline-blinded of the group holding that position chose to retreat and quickly joined us at the park. The scene was oddly festive, with tents and art projects and folks dressed for carnival. The mid-autumn day was one of those beautiful Colorado Indian summer affairs with pristine blue skies through which flitted happy and blissfully oblivious birdies merrily on the lookout for delectable kitchen scraps. But wait! What the hey!!? The second the steps were abandoned and that contingent joined those meeker souls at the park, the rest of the cops in the danged known universe materialized in a huff and began setting up for some sort of paramilitary invasion. No shit–we all saw pretty quickly what the Denver PD had in mind for all those fun military vehicles and equipment they’d been collecting.

The scene changed dramatically there on the sidewalk where the Anarchists’ Kitchen was set up. There was plenty of action before then, but the top-gun radicals had been at the Capitol along with most of the cops. Now a phalanx quickly formed four deep with armored, shielded, armed, dangerous, implacable, and apparently stoically unflappable police stretching all around, up and down–all over the fucking place. Where the Boy and i stood a few sidewalk squares south of the Kitchen the scene was still like a carnival spreading away and outward into the park in every direction save the east, buy more like something Ray Bradbury or John Clifford might have dreamt up. Moving east to west one would have passed through four rows of cops in a formation that i’d only seen before in movies about Fascist  takeovers where American patriots saved the day by vanquishing some identically clad and positioned foe as we occupiers faced that day, armored only with our damn-the-torpedoes ethical certitude. Stepping by the entrenched police if one were to dare it, one would have passed a modest tree lawn, an ordinary sidewalk crowded with dark festival-goers, and could then step up to the folding table that served as the Anarchists’ ordering counter and serving table set up facing east from the immediate western line of the sidewalk across from the antiMayberry lines facing the stubbornly unaltered scene in the Kitchen.

The cops just stood there for what seems to memory like hours, but it couldn’t have been all afternoon or anything. Maybe so. The Boy and i milled around a bit getting a look at the overall scene and scoping out the various sections of the park. Behind the Kitchen to the west were the bulk of the tents, say a hundred or more, though others were scattered about. Further  west a concrete round with maybe a fountain or something hosted a bunch of info tables, some artsy hippies working on various projects, a triage setup, some chanting Hare Krishnas. More cops surrounded the camp, even more moved to close off the farthest reaches of the west side, We all saw we were utterly circumscribed and our physical position was hopeless. There was plenty of Hope, mind you, but all of it founded on our spiritual position, see.

As we awaited  what everyone knew to be inexorable, not so many of us remained quiet, (by “us” i mean Occupiers here; the most visible government employees were silent). I did mostly, and so did the Boy, he for his reasons and i for mine. The whole scene produced its own racket, but the most noticeable volume arose from the collection of spirit-moved Occupiers working the lines of eerily insensate gendarmes. Each was moved by his or her own personal spirit, few of which were very friendly toward the collective juggernaut we faced. More than one strode frenetically up and down whichever line was convenient  hurling f-bombs and spittle with as much force as he could muster. You know: “Fuck the Police!!!” and,“Fuck Yoooou!!!” from distances as close as the collected officers’ gear would allow. The pointillistic rows of cops, each in his own world, stared into space, eyes forward and directed at some Unknown, refusing eye contact. Only God and each man in his solitude knew what blackness filled his vision, (and possibly anyone operating one of those guv’mint mind-reading gizmos, if you’re into that sort of thinking).

Sensibly, few of the “non-violent” protesters were mad–that is crazy–enough to attempt to get physical. Those that did were promptly stomped, smashed and removed from the game. Otherwise with many pushing the envelope right to its most extreme limit, the arms-down-and-rigid-face forward-inches-from-any-nearest-random-cop’s-shielded-face stance of extreme and barely checked agitation rapidly became familiar. I for one was amazed at the extraordinary and rather creepy restraint the beleaguered police were displaying, though few shield-screened eyes could keep from betraying internal turmoil. Virtually none of the cops would assent to eye contact.

As this scene played itself out, a few Occupiers attempted to convince their fellows to mellow. In the midst of the very front and most electrical line of all this, there in front of the aforementioned Kitchen, one lone Occupier was working the line of gear-laden men, moved by a different spirit indeed. He was preaching it, baby. Pleading. Begging. Beseeching. As near to tears as i am now as this scene spills its way from my fingertips, fluid in his expressive motion to and fro as any practiced Sunday morning crowd-pleaser can i get a amen. “Don’t you see it? You are us! We are you! Please, stop this! We are one–we must stop fighting!” And in some brilliant, divinely inspired voice, “Lay down your shields! Join us! Put down your clubs and have some lunch!”

And then …right there in front of the Boy and me…with the scene in the actual Kitchen production area behind the table unchanged from before the lines formed…one of them did exactly that.

There was actually a fat queue at the Kitchen counter that parted like the Red Sea, astonished, for this newborn brother of ours to step up and claim his serving. He ate his food in silence and retook his spot in that other line which remained unaltered as his fellows stood unmoved, apparently in both senses. The Boy and i collected our portion of genuinely bomb-ass risotto and began to  eat with more on our minds than i can possibly describe. Before we were half through our plates the order came and we found ourselves dining amidst a police riot, our rice flavored by tear gas. (I got off the hook before, when the story remained vague. I suppose his mom is going to kill me now, after all).

The rest of the action went down as one would expect, with ample blood, outrage, and pepper-bullet injury and indignity and tears and drama. It was all on the news, with much expansion available on YouTube. You can look it up. None of that is the point.

I heard that one cop was fired perfunctorily that night.

We were there. Right fucking there. It really happened. It was so surreal i almost have to ask the Boy if it actually wasn’t some kind of dream.

Those two guys, though. That cop! When we all do what he did, just maybe then the war will be over. He looked up  and noticed he was looking in the fucking mirror.

The thing about all this is that the crowd of Occupiers was a full-on quorum of average joes with representation across several spectra. There were Christians, pagans, dope fiends, felons, bikers, disgruntled employees, GIs, vets, blue-collar Barney Rubbles, Republicans, Democrats, hippies, neo-hippies, and chanting, jangling Hare Krishnas, The cops were disguised as an invading foreign force but we all know they were really just a bunch of Christians, pagans, dope fiends, felons, bikers, disgruntled employees, GIs, vets, blue-collar Barney Rubbles, Republicans, and Democrats. The only groups lacking representation really were the hippies and the chanting, jangling Hare Krishnas that stayed with the rest of us till late into the night serving free food as a replacement for the Anarchists who had been quite the hell shut down. Oh yeah–there likely weren’t too many Anarchists on the cops’ side of the lines. I’m pretty sure  those differences are significant. Maybe the cops would be better if they got some of those groups they were missing. The janglier the better.

Back here at the county jail where i’m still Occupying, there’s lots of conflict, though not nearly so boiling hot. The old standby, “Fuck the Police,” is scrawled or carved around and about and plenty of folks on either side of whatever line each has drawn are fully prepared to swing  clubs at one another. Many of the sheriff’s deputies and sad, paycheck-to paycheck “detention specialists” are happy to evoke a very dark spirit indeed in their efforts to control us inmates who represent Other to them. I have been struck by the observation that these obnoxious fucks are the respected  representatives of a society that so many of our deluded citizenry expect us of the criminal class to emulate.

Ha! I may be an asshole myself, but no thanks: I have no interest in joining your obnoxious and shitty club.

Meanwhile, virtually all of us prisoners, including myself sometimes, react…”Grumble grumble fuck the police why i oughtta etc. etc. ad nauseum” Various of us slink around and steal or fight among ourselves or in general practice a sort of blindfolded subservience to Self. (Marco! Polo!…Ouch! Motherfucker!!!). We’re fucking obnoxious. We want the cops and the guards and judges and bankers and presidents to act differently but…why would they want to join our obnoxious and shitty club? When they do we wind up with a spectacular clusterfuck like the found at the Denver county jail last month, where a dep was helping a banger sling dope and administer beat-downs. Happens all the time. In every kaleidoscopic variation you can imagine.

Pogo couldn’t have known the heft and resonance of his words: “ We have met the enemy, and he is us.”

I wrote a screed a while back, (Today’s Tom Sawyer), excoriating shitty Christian behavior. There’s still plenty to say about all that, and maybe some of it will come out here, but it’s not the point of this one. During that earlier rant, i promised to harp, eventually, about bad behavior on the part of pagans, dope fiends, felons, bikers, disgruntled employees, GIs, vets, and some of my other natural affinity groups as well.

That isn’t it either. Or maybe it is. But not really. Not quite. I promised to write about the Fear, too, and nor is it that, though the Fear runs through it all. This is about a war.

Many members of of various of the groups on that funny little list i jotted just now recognize and will now openly state that there’s a war looming. They’re wrong about that much anyhow–the looming is all done and the fight is on. Right now. It’s been on for decades, (or maybe forever). I’m here “jotting” because that’s what one does in the county jail, where i am a political prisoner–a POW, really, though i prefer to think of myself as a prisoner of conscience–but maybe it’s a digression to say so. Or maybe not. Let’s explore this amalgam of notions a bit, and see if we can find out.

Here at the county jail one finds a  peculiarly refined microcosm of the way the dynamics of the variously conflicting groups involved in this bizarre  war interact, cleared of much of the dross of false civility that ordinarily circumvents the fight out on the sidewalk, at least here in the U.S.A.

I know Europeans here that want to skedaddle from this place and others afraid to come here because many of them can see the shitstorm brewing and it scares them. They often seem to see it more clearly than we Americans are able to do at least in part because our access to real news is barely over nil, of maybe because as outside observers they aren’t saddled with the cognitive dissonance we sorry brainwashed frogs that live in this hot-ass boiling lake must so often suffer. I don’t know. I hope they realize this pond holds us all.

Oddly enough, while the interactions at the county jail display some of the finer points of conflict in out absurdly labeled free society, they also show some reasons for hope. There are still lights burning.

“Fuck the Police!”

I don’t know how many times i’ve heard that phrase from some of my dearest friends. I’ve uttered them myself. Often. Sometimes at the top of my lungs. Sometimes it was far more personal: “Fuck you! That’s right, you, personally, whomever you may be in your opposition to me, my pursuits, my people. Maybe i should refer to the less common; “Fuck the Pigs,’ because the police are only a fractional representation of one segment, one camp of that particular overarching social entity the hippies were talking about when they began to disparage swine so badly as to label their opposition thusly in this odd existential war from whence the flesh and blood scrap derives.

“Battle lines are being drawn,” went the line from the Buffalo Springfield some fifty-ish years back. They’re pretty well drawn, now, though they resemble lines a three-year-old might scribble. The shit’s on. People are fighting. The skirmishes often feel like some kind of kids’ game though too, involving blindfolds and billyclubs. Maybe i can’t deny swinging a stick around myself, sometimes. Maybe that’swhat this is–a chance for me to look in the mirror a little, Maybe it’s because it’s hard to sit the game out when i keep getting hit in the head. Whatever. Let’s keep on through the maze and just hope we don’t smash too many mirrors.

During the Occupation we intrepids staged a few years back, (and some of us still engage–viva la revolución and all), my son and i traveled to Denver for the final push when the cops razed the encampment there. The scene that October of 2011 there in Denver was some shit this country hadn’t seen in over forty years maybe, where armored brigades of soldiers–not cops at all but stormtroopers–rolled on a huge, disparate group of unarmed citizens. It was tragic. And beautiful. Versions of the same scene played out all around the world that fall.

There at Civic Center Park, across the avenue from the State Capitol building, the Boy and i stood in the thick of it as those battle lines sharpened, and then blew apart as the whole outhouse hit the fan.

Some thousands of us had marched boisterously through Denver’s business district, pausing for a special visit at the Federal Reserve. After completing a wide loop around downtown we mounted the Capitol steps for whatever confrontation the Denver planners had planned. They, (to claim a thing–we), had been warned explicitly beforehand to stay off that particular edifice, so the moment we took the steps and began railing through one of our ubiquitous bullhorns, the shock teams appeared, as if the bearded-Spock Enterprise had beamed them to the scene.

Honestly, i was pretty fucking nervous at that point. It’s not as though i’d never been beaten up by the cops before, but that stuff is kind of a young man’s sport, and i was never really all that much a fan anyhow. Besides, those had always been cops, not armored sci-fi gladiators. But the main thing was the Boy. He was fifteen then and down for plenty, but he looked pretty worried too, and, (the mainthing, actually), i knew i’d never live through my next conversation with his mother if i allowed him to be beaten and busted by the police. I suggested we pull back to the park and we did, but i felt pretty spineless for having done it, really.

The Boy and i had a quick consult: “You see what this is going to be, right?” “Yeah.” “Are you down, or not?” Nervous but firm, “Yeah.” “Fuck it then…God damn it; your mom is gonna kill me. Let’s get some lunch.”

The park itself  was packed with crowds of Occupiers, some having returned with us from the march and probably harboring thoughts similar to mine. The encampment had been there for a good while by then, and the Black Flag Anarchists’ Free Kitchen was in full flight. It had already been dismantled more than once as a special preparatory project for the cops–kind of a warm-up. Knowing well what was coming, the no-nonsense scrappy men’n’women in black behind the table were all assholes with elbows, flying around in a frenzy with grim serious joy in their eyes as they did their level best to sling as much great tasting free food as possible before the inevitable hammer fell. Those guys were freaking awesome sauce with motherfuckin’ cherries on top!

Rather than spark an actual and possibly justifiable war on the Capitol steps, even the most radical and adrenaline-blinded of the group holding that position chose to retreat and quickly joined us at the park. The scene was oddly festive, with tents and art projects and folks dressed for carnival. The mid-autumn day was one of those beautiful Colorado Indian summer affairs with pristine blue skies through which flitted happy and blissfully oblivious birdies merrily on the lookout for delectable kitchen scraps. But wait! What the hey!!? The second the steps were abandoned and that contingent joined those meeker souls at the park, the rest of the cops in the danged known universe materialized in a huff and began setting up for some sort of paramilitary invasion. No shit–we all saw pretty quickly what the Denver PD had in mind for all those fun military vehicles and equipment they’d been collecting.

The scene changed dramatically there on the sidewalk where the Anarchists’ Kitchen was set up. There was plenty of action before then, but the top-gun radicals had been at the Capitol along with most of the cops. Now a phalanx quickly formed four deep with armored, shielded, armed, dangerous, implacable, and apparently stoically unflappable police stretching all around, up and down–all over the fucking place. Where the Boy and i stood a few sidewalk squares south of the Kitchen the scene was still like a carnival spreading away and outward into the park in every direction save the east, buy more like something Ray Bradbury or John Clifford might have dreamt up. Moving east to west one would have passed through four rows of cops in a formation that i’d only seen before in movies about Fascist  takeovers where American patriots saved the day by vanquishing some identically clad and positioned foe as we occupiers faced that day, armored only with our damn-the-torpedoes ethical certitude. Stepping by the entrenched police if one were to dare it, one would have passed a modest tree lawn, an ordinary sidewalk crowded with dark festival-goers, and could then step up to the folding table that served as the Anarchists’ ordering counter and serving table set up facing east from the immediate western line of the sidewalk across from the antiMayberry lines facing the stubbornly unaltered scene in the Kitchen.

The cops just stood there for what seems to memory like hours, but it couldn’t have been all afternoon or anything. Maybe so. The Boy and i milled around a bit getting a look at the overall scene and scoping out the various sections of the park. Behind the Kitchen to the west were the bulk of the tents, say a hundred or more, though others were scattered about. Further  west a concrete round with maybe a fountain or something hosted a bunch of info tables, some artsy hippies working on various projects, a triage setup, some chanting Hare Krishnas. More cops surrounded the camp, even more moved to close off the farthest reaches of the west side, We all saw we were utterly circumscribed and our physical position was hopeless. There was plenty of Hope, mind you, but all of it founded on our spiritual position, see.

As we awaited  what everyone knew to be inexorable, not so many of us remained quiet, (by “us” i mean Occupiers here; the most visible government employees were silent). I did mostly, and so did the Boy, he for his reasons and i for mine. The whole scene produced its own racket, but the most noticeable volume arose from the collection of spirit-moved Occupiers working the lines of eerily insensate gendarmes. Each was moved by his or her own personal spirit, few of which were very friendly toward the collective juggernaut we faced. More than one strode frenetically up and down whichever line was convenient  hurling f-bombs and spittle with as much force as he could muster. You know: “Fuck the Police!!!” and,“Fuck Yoooou!!!” from distances as close as the collected officers’ gear would allow. The pointillistic rows of cops, each in his own world, stared into space, eyes forward and directed at some Unknown, refusing eye contact. Only God and each man in his solitude knew what blackness filled his vision, (and possibly anyone operating one of those guv’mint mind-reading gizmos, if you’re into that sort of thinking).

Sensibly, few of the “non-violent” protesters were mad–that is crazy–enough to attempt to get physical. Those that did were promptly stomped, smashed and removed from the game. Otherwise with many pushing the envelope right to its most extreme limit, the arms-down-and-rigid-face forward-inches-from-any-nearest-random-cop’s-shielded-face stance of extreme and barely checked agitation rapidly became familiar. I for one was amazed at the extraordinary and rather creepy restraint the beleaguered police were displaying, though few shield-screened eyes could keep from betraying internal turmoil. Virtually none of the cops would assent to eye contact.

As this scene played itself out, a few Occupiers attempted to convince their fellows to mellow. In the midst of the very front and most electrical line of all this, there in front of the aforementioned Kitchen, one lone Occupier was working the line of gear-laden men, moved by a different spirit indeed. He was preaching it, baby. Pleading. Begging. Beseeching. As near to tears as i am now as this scene spills its way from my fingertips, fluid in his expressive motion to and fro as any practiced Sunday morning crowd-pleaser can i get a amen. “Don’t you see it? You are us! We are you! Please, stop this! We are one–we must stop fighting!” And in some brilliant, divinely inspired voice, “Lay down your shields! Join us! Put down your clubs and have some lunch!”

And then …right there in front of the Boy and me…with the scene in the actual Kitchen production area behind the table unchanged from before the lines formed…one of them did exactly that.

There was actually a fat queue at the Kitchen counter that parted like the Red Sea, astonished, for this newborn brother of ours to step up and claim his serving. He ate his food in silence and retook his spot in that other line which remained unaltered as his fellows stood unmoved, apparently in both senses. The Boy and i collected our portion of genuinely bomb-ass risotto and began to  eat with more on our minds than i can possibly describe. Before we were half through our plates the order came and we found ourselves dining amidst a police riot, our rice flavored by tear gas. (I got off the hook before, when the story remained vague. I suppose his mom is going to kill me now, after all).

The rest of the action went down as one would expect, with ample blood, outrage, and pepper-bullet injury and indignity and tears and drama. It was all on the news, with much expansion available on YouTube. You can look it up. None of that is the point.

I heard that one cop was fired perfunctorily that night.

We were there. Right fucking there. It really happened. It was so surreal i almost have to ask the Boy if it actually wasn’t some kind of dream.

Those two guys, though. That cop! When we all do what he did, just maybe then the war will be over. He looked up  and noticed he was looking in the fucking mirror.

The thing about all this is that the crowd of Occupiers was a full-on quorum of average joes with representation across several spectra. There were Christians, pagans, dope fiends, felons, bikers, disgruntled employees, GIs, vets, blue-collar Barney Rubbles, Republicans, Democrats, hippies, neo-hippies, and chanting, jangling Hare Krishnas, The cops were disguised as an invading foreign force but we all know they were really just a bunch of Christians, pagans, dope fiends, felons, bikers, disgruntled employees, GIs, vets, blue-collar Barney Rubbles, Republicans, and Democrats. The only groups lacking representation really were the hippies and the chanting, jangling Hare Krishnas that stayed with the rest of us till late into the night serving free food as a replacement for the Anarchists who had been quite the hell shut down. Oh yeah–there likely weren’t too many Anarchists on the cops’ side of the lines. I’m pretty sure  those differences are significant. Maybe the cops would be better if they got some of those groups they were missing. The janglier the better.

Back here at the county jail where i’m still Occupying, there’s lots of conflict, though not nearly so boiling hot. The old standby, “Fuck the Police,” is scrawled or carved around and about and plenty of folks on either side of whatever line each has drawn are fully prepared to swing  clubs at one another. Many of the sheriff’s deputies and sad, paycheck-to paycheck “detention specialists” are happy to evoke a very dark spirit indeed in their efforts to control us inmates who represent Other to them. I have been struck by the observation that these obnoxious fucks are the respected  representatives of a society that so many of our deluded citizenry expect us of the criminal class to emulate.

Ha! I may be an asshole myself, but no thanks: I have no interest in joining your obnoxious and shitty club.

Meanwhile, virtually all of us prisoners, including myself sometimes, react…”Grumble grumble fuck the police why i oughtta etc. etc. ad nauseum” Various of us slink around and steal or fight among ourselves or in general practice a sort of blindfolded subservience to Self. (Marco! Polo!…Ouch! Motherfucker!!!). We’re fucking obnoxious. We want the cops and the guards and judges and bankers and presidents to act differently but…why would they want to join our obnoxious and shitty club? When they do we wind up with a spectacular clusterfuck like the found at the Denver county jail last month, where a dep was helping a banger sling dope and administer beat-downs. Happens all the time. In every kaleidoscopic variation you can imagine.

Sorry, reader; a glitch is preventing the end of this from displaying just now. I’ll fix it, but meanwhile, this link is better for the footnotes anyway. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1umk-RPyxoiQTPSS84Cp4sR80UAXFzsVRpuiRBVzrdNA/edit?usp=sharing

Although those of you that have read or will now read the other stuff here on hipgnosis will easily recognize the common ground that one may imagine stands to be found on the lawns inside the moats of our adjacent castles in a neighborhood full of loons, all built on air, i am deeply indebted to Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason for some of the truly fine and beautiful language i snatched more or less wholesale to help me build the last four paragraphs here. Even though their book,The Rule of Four is a best-seller of a popular genre, i highly recommend it as the best book i’ve read produced during the twenty-first century. I wish i had written it myself, (while noting the title of this piece). Everyone should read this book.

POSTED BY STEVE BASS AT 9:45 PM

Homeless Colorado Springs man emboldened by Occupy effort appeals jail time

from the Colorado Springs Gazette

http://gazette.com/article/1534440

By Jakob Rodgers Updated: July 28, 2014 at 2:07 pm

Nearly three years ago, Steven Bass’ tent led to a police ticket – a ticket that led to a trial, an appeal denied and 160-day sentence in El Paso County jail.

Bass, the first person cited under Colorado Springs’ camping ban, remains mired in a legal battle backed by a University of Denver assistant professor working for free.

He represents a small segment of the homeless issue – a man on a personal crusade against the camping ban emboldened by the Occupy Colorado Springs movement. His case is not emblematic of others who have been cited for camping on public property; rather, it is more of an outlier.

While people ticketed for camping typically include the chronically homeless – people whose only home is a tent, and who often rebuff police officers’ offers of secure housing – Bass wants to make a point.

Right now, he is free while appealing the jail time. Bass lives with a fellow veteran of the Occupy movement and blogs occasionally on what he sees as injustices in the world.

“I contend now that this thing has burgeoned well beyond the camping ban itself, and has now become a giant discussion of principle, and just what the hell we’re doing here in the United States of America, and the whole world,” Bass said.

Police issued the ticket in October 2011 when he pitched a tent on a sidewalk in Acacia Park, despite warnings from police that doing so would lead to a citation.

For Bass, the ticket and the Occupy gathering proved an opportune time for a stand against the city’s camping ban – an ordinance passed by the City Council in 2010 that outlawed camping on public land. He said he has volunteered at soup kitchens and for other homeless services for about 30 years, and he lives homeless – usually by couch surfing.

“Just because they don’t have any money, poof, they are made criminals,” Bass said of people affected by the ban.

Eleven tickets have been issued under the ban through June 5, with the majority coming in 2014, according to the Colorado Springs Police Department.

The ban came as camps swelled along Monument and Fountain creeks amid the Great Recession in 2009 and early 2010. So many people lived there that bystanders dropped off donated food and clothing along the creek beds – philanthropy that proved overwhelming to the point of concern, some homeless advocates say. Sanitation issues also arose.

City Council member Jan Martin said she voted for the ordinance for the safety of people using creekside trails, along with concerns about the image that such tent cities would create for the city, she said Friday. Proponents of the ban said it is a tool to get people into more stable housing.

“In my opinion, it’s not a matter of out of sight, out of mind,” Martin said. “It’s just trying to find resources that can help people get back on their feet.”

Because of Bass’ indigent status, a judge decided against a fine in favor of a 60-hour community service sentence for the citation.

Bass said he almost did it – he planned on helping Pikes Peak Habitat for Humanity – until a DU professor offered to help. With the pro bono advice of Christopher Lasch, who teaches at the university’s Criminal Defense Clinic, Bass appealed the case.

A district court judge upheld the municipal court’s decision – a blow to the notion that the ban is unjust.

A subsequent appeal to the Colorado Supreme Court was denied in March, said Rob McCallum, spokesman for the Colorado Judicial Branch.

Through it all, Bass contemplated his 60-hour of community service sentence. And in an April hearing before Municipal Judge Spottswood W. H. Williams, Bass said he will never complete the requirement.

Identifying himself as an Occupier, Bass wrote to Williams that the camping ordinance is “effectively status-based incarceration,” because forcing people into shelters could be another form of incarceration. He also said he already does community service but railed against the court forcing him to do so.

“Therefore, i (sic) am here in front of you forcing your hand,” he wrote. “You must now either acknowledge the ethical poverty of the ordinance, or prove my point.”

In June, Williams answered Bass’ statement with a 160-day jail sentence for contempt of court.

Bass is appealing that sentence with Lasch’s help after having served more than a month in El Paso County jail.

Lasch said the jail sentence was excessive because jail time for failing to pay a fine is usually half of what Bass has served.

Even if he serves all 160 days, Bass has no plans of completing the 60-hour community service order – a requirement that remains.

Lasch wants all of it thrown out.

“The fact that the government would go to such lengths to punish this activity certainly supports Steve’s position that this (ban) effectively punishes being homeless,” Lasch said.

“In this case, it certainly punished him for speaking out against the ban.”

Contact Jakob Rodgers: 476-1654

Twitter @JakobRodgers

Facebook: Jakob.Rodgers

Read more at http://gazette.com/homeless-colorado-springs-man-emboldened-by-occupy-effort-appeals-jail-time/article/1534440#TIqUcdEm4KE8udlJ.99

Tea Partying With the Freak Brothers By: Steve Bass

http://hipgnosis21.blogspot.com/2012/01/tea-partying-with-freak-brothers.html

FRIDAY, JANUARY 13, 2012

Tea Partying With the Freak Brothers

BY: Steve Bass

Whew! These Occupy posts are far more difficult to pry from myself than their predecessors; the hands-on mechanics of putting the earlier stuff into practice in the present world, amongst the isolated pools of individuated consciousness we humans represent, each with his or her own vision of the whole, has been at the very least disorienting. I’ve lately revived an old motto i swiped from the good people at Oat Willie’s down in Austin, Texas: Onward Through the Fog! How odd is it that i’ve recently connected with some folks that hark back to that place in ways that are deeply surreal. Oat Willie’s and Fat Freddie will seem to be completely out of place in this bit, in which i mean to address the notion of cooperation amongst disparate factions, but not permanently i hope. By the end of this post, i hope to connect Occupy, The Tea Party, disparate passions, and yes, Hippies. It will be necessary to engage in some relatively surreal thinking.Last night on a new Facebook page, “UNITE: OCCUPY,” (cap lock and all), i got into a conversation about this stuff started by a guy that asked whether anyone thought a joint event between Occupiers and Tea Partiers might be possible. Sure, i said, our Colorado Springs group had lots of Tea Partiers among its earliest enthusiasts, and although many have pulled away, there still exists a close association with many that veer sharply toward the Te Party camp, especially among Ron Paulsupporters. The common ground Occupy shares with the Tea Party, at least t a grass root level, is substantial. There can be no doubt of the equally substantial differences. I suspect that it would take some pretty serious ideological barnstorming to bring the two camps together, but nothing prevents the groups from at least tentative discussion to find commonalities.Tonight our Occupy group staged a talk by Tea Party stalwart, Constitutionalist Mike Holler. Mike seemed for all appearances to be an earnest and well-versed supporter of Constitutional “fundamentalism,” if you will. He peppered his talk with lots of my favorite quotes from my favorite founding fathers. He got a little testy about the revisionist history his kids bring home from college early on–perhaps indicative of one point of separation between Occupiers and Tea Partiers. Some of those are important. Occupy is international, where the Tea Party can display degrees of jingoism. I, personally, respect the earnest efforts of our Enlightenment founders, but recognize that they were flawed, and aver that their document was dated by racist, sexist, and elitist provisions and thinking that they might be excused from by noting their temporal milieu. We don’t have the same luxury. Occupy is legitimately grass root, supported by sweat and blood more than funded, where TP is, or at least became very quickly corporately funded “AstroTurf,” disingenuously proffering libertarian ideals as a smoke screen for corporate license to plunder. Occupiers are  in my experience far more diverse than Tea Partiers. Socialist and Anarchist Occupiers are common, as are assorted races, genders, orientations, and religious persuasions, where Tea Partiers seem to my limited observation to be relatively homogeneously white Christian capitalist patriots. Mike interjected that both groups had been misrepresented by the media, and that seems likely to be so given that mainstream media seems content to misrepresent ’bout anything they report in this country, but Fox news and the rabid right like the Tea Party so much i have to wonder if he’s fallen victim to a personal soft spot.Mike spoke eloquently enough in his effort to simplify the Constitution, focusing on issues of freedom, and state’s rights. He said very little with which i could find disagreement. He pointed out two major points of confluence between Occupy and the Tea Party–personal liberty, and a rally-cry, “No more Bailouts!” I suspect he fastidiously avoided some points he knew or at least feared might be contentious, like for example the ludicrous assertions i’ve heard often that environmental warnings from the scientific community stem from some kind of Satanic control scheme from the–well just whom is never too clear. The Vatican or something. Commies, i guess. That just maybe the best way for Tea Partiers and Occupiers to interact, though, for now, concentrating on the common aversion to what amounts to Fascism. Interacting from that perspective could exclude much conversation. It could put the Tea Party in the same position as the Occupy movement, after their Fascist sponsors withdraw in horror. Whatever. We Occupiers got on just fine with Tea Party Mike–“Mr. Constitution.”Mike largely expressed notions we Occupiers could embrace. I suppose he could have done a bit of research and tailored his speech toward that  end, but i think we just agree; he seemed a grassroot kind of guy, to me. He briefly alluded to schisms within the Tea Party, and there’s no sensible reason to avoid acknowledging the same within Occupy. Last night’s event was attended by Occupy people that have had such extreme altercations in their attempts to wrestle a semblance of ideological unity from a stubbornly liquid platform that it could easily enough have disintegrated into bedlam. I attended with my dear friend Thomas, with whom i often disagree. In fact, he and i often disagree so strongly that sometimes i feel like smacking him in back of the head. I expect he feels the same way about me at times. Maybe much of the time. Take note, war-mongers of the world: Thomas is a great guy, and even though we disagree with one another, sometimes strongly, neither of us has smacked the other in back of the head. Get it?So here we were last night, disparate Occupiers engaging a Tea Party mouthpiece in a room full of people that have all experienced the vagaries of human interaction under a fairly pressurized circumstance over the past few months. No butterflies fluttered around the room, but no one worked up a bickering session, either.  We worked together. All of us. One could recall the old adage that “The enemy of my enemy is my friend,” but that would be devolution. I prefer to imagine that those with arguments present recognized the futility of scrapping amongst friends, if only below the radar of their Egos. Whether my nobler hopes for those pained souls in the room last night are valid or not, the assertions i made in these non-pages well before Occupy began remain true. The system we wrestle against is collapsing around our headsAnd the solution is spiritual, to a far greater extent than it is temporal.Fat Freddy is a comic book character that lives in Denver. Seriously. I met him a little while ago. (This only seems out of place, i promise.) Mr. Constitution Mike Holler expressed the opinion last night that our American republic, our constitutional federation of states, is in its final throes; that we are in a position where, ” it’s too late to save the country, but too early to start shooting.” Mike seemed tentative in expressing his hope that God might pull some kind of supernatural rabbit from his celestial hat to resolve our monumental national woes. I expect he feared perturbing the often non-Christian sensibilities of the Occupiers. He needn’t have worried quite so much–we may be largely skeptical of literal interpretations, but we’re pretty tolerant of that sort of thing. When i met Fat Freddy–an icon of counter-cultural activism important to me since childhood, an old-school Hippie with connection to the most famous and infamous of that crowd–he singled me out and pulled me aside to explain in some detail his expectation for a spiritual upheaval in coming days. Freddy’s taken up with the Urantia Book, a tomei’ve heard Christians disparage as devilish. I couldn’t see anything devilish about what he showed me. He earnestly explained his expectation for resolution. Soon.We had come to Denver to talk about foreclosures and bank jiggery-pokery with another guy, and pulled up at Freddy’s house without knowing it. It just happened that way. These old Hippies like Tea Party fave, Ron Paul. (Follow along, now, i know it’s weird, and yeah, i know a lot of Occupiers don’t like Paul; i’m not sure about him myself). Also in attendance at that meeting was a woman i had been conversing with on line for quite a while in the context of Occupy. It took me nearly through the whole meeting to recognize her, because i knew her to live down in the Four Corners neighborhood of Colorado. She lives at Freddy’s now. This juxtaposition is so weird that now i’m expecting the Mad Hatter, or Lewis Carroll himself to pop up at some meeting quoting from Jabberwocky. Mike Holler holds out for resolution to  the country’s woes in a traditional Christian context. My own suspicion, shared with J.B.S. Haldane,  is that the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose. But somewhere in the mix i am convinced that some divineThing many of us think of as God is deeply interested in the little proceedings here on our little blue marble and that our interactions are subsequently and necessarily thus influenced.

We live right here. We have no choice but  to manage things on a coarse, physical level; but we also live, i think, on an overlapping and  less tangible plane, where we have more influence than we might ordinarily imagine. At the same time, things seem to occur there without our conscious direction. We’ll need to keep plugging away at things like grasping the Constitution, and taking on massive, quixotic quests like fighting banks and a world full of renegade, intransigent governments and power brokers, not to mention our own internal battles, as finely defined as within our own Souls. We’ll need to recognize the Truth in one another, even when it’s obscured by a bunch of worldly disagreement and fog. And so far as i can tell, were learning. Whatever that means.

POSTED BY AT 10:45 AM
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