Opinion: Failure within Occupy Eugene

Author: Reid Kimball
Editor: OE Communications
This opinion piece was approved by the OE Communications committee by receiving the minimum number of at least 6 votes needed for publication.

When I was a young boy skating during ice hockey practice I pushed myself beyond my limits to skate as fast as I could. I ended up falling down and crashing into the boards of the ice rink.

I wasn’t hurt in the slightest bit, but it was embarrassing. I knew my coach would be upset that I had failed to skate correctly. After I finished the drill behind the others, he skated over to everyone and looked at me straight in the eyes.

“Did you all see what Reid did back there?”

I knew it. I’m toast.

“He fell down, but he didn’t care. He got back up immediately and finished strong.”

I did?

“You can’t be afraid to fall. Every chance you have on the ice, you push yourself harder and if you fall, you get back up and try again.”

I was smiling.

He finished, “If you aren’t falling, you aren’t trying hard enough.”

This last statement has stuck with me ever since and I think it applies to Occupy Eugene in spades, because within OE we have a problem with accepting failure.

Many of us are young and inexperienced; I am one of them. I have made lots of mistakes, some small, some rather large. I see lots of my brothers and sisters also making mistakes. It’s not because we are unorganized, don’t care, or agent provocateurs. It’s because we are trying and working our asses off. When we do this, we push the boundaries of what we are capable of and undoubtedly, we sometimes fall.

If we aren’t falling, we aren’t trying hard enough.

Despite our efforts, instead of helping each other when some of us fall, I see many within OE verbally attack one another. These attacks do nothing but demoralize and humiliate hardworking, well-meaning individuals from working towards creating the world we all want to see.

Is this what we need? To make everyone fear the opportunity that exists within each failure?

Some see Occupy Eugene as failing. Ignoring the debate of what equals a failure; in my opinion any failure is OK and is necessary. Without failure, we remain stagnant, quickly becoming old, and ineffective.

Within my professional career of video game development we have the philosophy, “fail fast, learn faster”. This is because video games are very complex to create and it is not easy to plan ahead what the end game experience will look like.

Instead of spending two years and millions of dollars on one core idea, we crudely implement many ideas as fast as possible, fully expecting that most of those ideas will be utter failures. But each one will help us get closer to our end goal of creating the best game we can.

Those who embrace failure, welcoming it with excitement, tend to grow the fastest.

It is said that Thomas Edison was interviewed by a reporter who asked him if he felt like a failure for having created thousands of light bulb prototypes that did not work. Edison answered, “Young man, why would I feel like a failure? And why would I ever give up? I now know definitively over 9,000 ways that an electric light bulb will not work. Success is almost in my grasp.” And he was right, because after surpassing 10,000 attempts, Edison invented the light bulb and our world has never been the same since.

With each failure we grow stronger. We learn something new about ourselves, our community, the Eugene police, the city council, and more.

But we won’t be able to grow unless we can accept failure, and we won’t be able to do that if we continue to attack each other for our well intentioned efforts.

The story of our hopefully future triumph will include all the obstacles and adversity we faced along the way, each failure will enrich the tapestry of our collective experience. Let’s not knock people who have fallen down, but help them to their feet when in need. Their failure should be seen as a success to be celebrated.

If we all knock each other down, who will be left standing to help us up when we fall?

Opinion: Wake Up

Author: Lotus Occupied
Editor: OE Communications
This opinion piece was approved by the OE Communications committee by receiving the minimum number of at least 6 votes needed for publication.

Hey you! Yes, you. I want you do do something for me: REVOLT!!

Wake up. Wake up and join the revolution!

Wake up and realize that unless you get mad at the system, you will never be able to break out of this docile little box you’ve been numbed into. Turn off your television–better yet, KILL YOUR T.V. It is the single most hypnotizing tool used by the 1% to keep you ignorant of the current state of our world and the more you allow its images to permeate your brain and consciousness, the further from revolution you will find yourself.

I laugh to myself now because I know that far from the revolution is right where you would like to be–pushing reform, much to the chagrin of the 99%.  I get it that you disagree with situations, actions, and disobedience of those around you; I know that you disagree with the current trajectory and actions of Occupy Eugene; I get it that you would like to see an end to the tension between the governments you reside under and your fellow community members but I CANNOT and WILL NOT sit around and listen while members of the community I live in are torn down for their courage and asked to PLACATE the “powers that be” in the interest of “respect and trust”.  No.  My answer is no.

To those who prefer to “reform” the system instead of feed the “revolution” I offer this:

Tell me how many people were evicted from the camp that had no where else to go, how many lost their homes (tents), how many starved because they did not have regular access to food, how many froze into the cold evenings following Christmas because there was no more shelter for them, how many scurried back to their bushes and bridges alone, and dejected, and REjected, and then tell me that you don’t think we need revolution.  Look into the eyes of children who spend their time playing video games instead of spending time with the family at dinner and SEE the dysfunction, look into the eyes of the elderly who are stuck eating cat and dog food because they are too poor to support themselves, look into the eyes of the addicts and alcoholics wandering rootlessly, look into the eyes of the upper-middle class glazed over with consumeristic stares while they buy more CRAP they don’t need, look at the way our men drool over our women, and the way little girls grow up thinking they’re fat while little boys beat them up on the playground, look into the eyes of the zombie in the mirror and ask yourself WHY?!  WHY DOES IT ALL FEEL *SO* WRONG?!

I’ll tell you why:

Our food is poisoned and full of chemicals, our water supply is tainted and will soon be owned by huge corporations, some people don’t have enough energy to heat their homes, our marine life is dropping because huge corporations like BP pollute our oceans illegally which are now covered in slick oil, forests are being torn down for their timber and never replaced, wildlife is dwindling while cattle is bred for mass murder, human beings are getting sicker and sicker while pharmaceutical companies invent more and more “miracle pills” with side effects a mile long, health care is a joke and owned by BIG PHARMA who prospers on–you guessed it–illness.

Our corporate governments have been weaving this tight little nest of laws that actually work to suppress your constitutional rights, but before I get there, lets talk money.  You wake up one day and find a job so you can go out and support yourself and have a family…you know, house, car, job, wife (husband), 2.5 kids, picket fence, the works.  The American dream.  So you get the house, wife, and subsequent *stuffs* and raise children who also want to grow up and live the American dream, and then one day you realize that you were born into this giant, disgusting, continually cycling machine that keeps people as slaves to capitalism by encouraging breeding (sexualizing EVERYTHING) and consumerism (selling EVERYTHING). You realize that when you walk into that job you perpetuate the cycle, you must check your morals at the door, forget you make $8 an hour and then help *huge* corporations swindle your fellow human beings out of their HARD EARNED money and hand it lovingly, and with a smile, over to the 1% and their corporations…and then teach your children a good work ethic.  It’s revolting in that I-just-threw-up-in-my-mouth kind of way.

The money they get is used to buy influence on legislation–they buy votes, they buy congressmen, they buy anything and everything they can–“they” get bigger and bigger.  You realize that your time is valuable–corporations want it.  They want you to spend it making money to buy their things, they want you to spend it watching T.V., they want you to fetter it away on meaningless Big Macs and fries, while they addict you (and your children) to cheap food with chemical additives.  Yellow #5 anyone?  Laws are passed like the Patriot Act and National Defense Authorization Act allowing your fellow Americans to be indefinitely detained without trial or even charges simply because they are “suspected of terrorism”.  Terrorism is anything said or done that can be perceived as “against the government”.  PIPA and ACTA seek to censor your internet, penalizing you and protect corporations.  You see your local Eugene councilman (I won’t mention names here, lol) call a group of silently protesting topless women “TERRORISTS”, and their acts “TERRORISM”, right before you see American cops BEATING peaceful people protesting those same corporations monopolizing your time and the confusion sets in. Protesting is terrorism? or is it a constitutionally protected right called *free speech*?  Who do the police work for?  How can the government imprison its own citizens–doesn’t it work *for* the people?  How can local CIVIL SERVANTS be so blind to wars and real terror and so bent on fear-mongering that they call breasts terrorism thereby marking the breast owners enemies of the state?  What if that was your wife, aunt, friend, daughter?  What if these elected officials bending to corporate will are your grand-father, father, uncle, friend, or son?

One day, there isn’t enough money for you or for your children and you lose your home which was illegally foreclosed on by Bank of America.  After that, you find yourself sleeping on a bench in a park and your children wards of the state.  You are now a criminal considering you don’t pay monthly rent nor do you have a physical address.  As if that weren’t bad enough, you’ve become “what’s wrong with the world” and you didn’t even know it was coming.  It slowly invaded while your children were being sold into the same capitalistic slavery that put you there.  It is a system of oppression and control sold to you for three monthly installments of $9.99, expressly delivered to you at the low price of your free will.  No thanks necessary, just your loyalty will ensure your “regularly scheduled programming”.

So here you sit while so many of your fellow human beings eat shitty food, watch violent television full of hyper-sexualized images, and view the world from Facebook, happily numbed from the brain down, while real activists are on the streets revolting against the state, being chased by the Bicycle Brigade, and reacquainting themselves with their civil liberties.  They realize that this system of slavery with its oppressive laws must be torn down because it *IS* slavery, it is corrupt, and it is *too big* to re-form into something good for humanity. They rage against the machine. They are not afraid because they are too many to fail. Join them.

Occupy. Revolt. Smash Capitalism.