Saturday, October 15, 2011

OWS occupy wood shop...

There is a rule that I remember from my undergraduate days in political science. No political system can rule without the consent of the governed. That means that you can rule most of the people most of the time if you can muster enough resources against them to force consent. It is best when governments earn consent. Unfortunately ours has not been performing that way lately.

I'm not mocking and I'm not joking, but perfectly serious. Today I am staging a sympathetic work-in occupying my wood shop in complete sympathy with the occupy Wall Street movement. At some point in our past, our nation made the decision that banking and stock manipulation were more important than actual productivity. We set up our schools to bore most students and leave them creatively disengaged. Our nation's financial meltdown left millions out of work and without resources. Lobbyists and big money interests took control of the government. Many representatives of the financial and political aristocracies characterize the Occupy Wall Street participants as a mob, but they miss the point. They fail to see that there is a productive urge, and a physical and psychological imperative that we be enabled to feel power in our own lives, in our own hands, and that healthy human beings in a democratic society will not accept complete control by a monetary oligarchy.

The Federal Reserve System and the government bailed out the banks and neglected to bail out the people, did nothing to restore them to creative, productive lives, and this is what we get. The results could be explained by poli-sci 101 but these guys are completely out of touch.

I have great sympathy for the occupiers and the movement as it has spread. The US government is in the hands of a very small, very rich financial elite that manipulates the voter to get their stooges in office, and then bribes their proxies with campaign donations to keep them in line.

It is pleasant and rewarding on the first cold day of fall to be in a wood shop. I'll be sanding, finishing things that I can sell to reinforce family finances, and American economy. Sanding is a seemingly mindless task. It is meditative as my hands pass objects through carefully choreographed sequential steps. My mind to wanders toward concern for our nation.

Much of what we have witnessed is the result of a disconnect between the hand and mind. We allowed a two-tiered educational system and watched as they killed the woodshops and the arts in most schools. We allowed a financial elite to be trained to have little respect for the intellectual capacity required to make beautiful useful things. We have allowed a two-tier societal structure that assures a sense of entitlement within a monetary aristocracy who push aside common human values.

Today I occupy my wood shop in complete sympathy with OWS. As there is no one here to try to throw me out of my own wood shop the level of courage required is not the same. Craftsmanship is more of a Cal Ripkin kind of heroics. We show up each day and try to try to put people out at 2nd or 3rd base.

Wouldn’t it be better if we put people to work? And prepared them to be creative and productive in their own lives? It is a challenge. We need to fix schools, we need to fix banks and we need to live democratically. And that means there are a few bums that need to be thrown out.

Make, fix and create...

1 comment:

Will Simpson said...

Yes indeed. I'll be in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street while I join you in Occupy the Wood Shop. Today I'll be working on breadboard ends for a hickory cutting board and roughing our some spoons out of some fresh birch.

Keep up the good work and spreading the word. I've really enjoyed watching your video series at Fine Woodworking. It is very encouraging.