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Derrick O'Keefe's blog

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former rabble.ca Editor Derrick O'Keefe is a writer and social justice activist in Vancouver, BC. He is the author of the new Verso book, Michael Ignatieff: The Lesser Evil? and the co-writer of Afghan MP Malalai Joya's political memoir, A Woman Among Warlords: The Extraordinary Story of an Afghan Who Dared to Raise Her Voice. Derrick also served as rabble.ca's editor from 2007 to 2009. Topics covered on this blog will include the war in Afghanistan and foreign policy, Canadian politics, media analysis, climate justice and ecology. You can follow him at http://twitter.com/derrickokeefe

An open letter to the 1 per cent: You cannot evict an idea whose time has come

| November 15, 2011

To the 1 per cent (you know who you are),

I write to you, as a lowly ninety-nine percenter, to offer both my congratulations and my condolences.

First, my congratulations on sending in the NYPD to clear out Zuccotti Park in the wee hours of the morning today. Congratulations for demonstrating, with this cynically timed manoeuvre, that when push comes to shove the police exist to serve and protect your vested interests. Congratulations on teaching a new generation this painful but necessary lesson about the true function of the police in a capitalist society. You deserve thanks for proving that when consent falters you'll resort to force to maintain your hegemony -- liberal democracy, when it is by and for the 1 per cent, must have its limits. 

Congratulations are also in order for the seamless way you have deployed your media and your legal system against the Occupy encampments around North America. From Oakland up to Vancouver, all the way over to Halifax and many places in between, injunctions and smear campaigns have paved the way for evictions. Congrats all around on the super job you've done reminding us of the ultimate purpose of our society's superstructure.

I also write, however, to offer my condolences. Because, for you, the sad truth is that you can evict an encampment, but you cannot evict ideas whose time has come.

As it was with Cairo's Tahrir Square, I know that we, the 99 per cent, will be back in New York's Liberty (Zuccotti) Park. And even if that takes some time, I'm still sorry for you and your tiny minority, because you cannot evict these ideas: they are simply too important, too long overdue, and too big to fail.

You cannot evict the idea -- at long last expressed in no uncertain terms -- that you, the 1 per cent super-rich, have been getting away with crimes against the people for far too long.

You cannot evict the idea that the rich and the powerful are responsible for the social and economic crisis we face.

You cannot evict the idea that money must cease to dominate and corrupt politics.

You cannot evict the idea that everybody, all 100 per cent of us, deserves a home, a permanent, safe and comfortable roof over their heads; this is an idea that you cannot evict no matter in how many places you try to evict the homeless who have joined our encampments. You cannot evict from sight and from mind the social problems that your 1 per cent centric system has created and perpetuated.

You cannot evict the idea that the environmental crisis is driven by the insatiable and irrational system of capital accumulation that you sit atop.

You cannot evict the idea that the war machine is paid for with the blood and treasure of the 99 per cent, and yet serves only your 1 per cent interests.

You cannot evict the bonds of international solidarity that have already been forged, with actions like the Egyptians' sharing lessons of struggle in New York or the Boston Occupation of the Israeli consulate in solidarity with the Freedom Waves flotilla to Gaza.

You cannot evict this rebellion because it has become global, beginning in Tunisia and spreading from there and picking up People Power and indignation along the way.

You cannot evict the joy we have all felt in joining a movement that has finally spoken to class injustice, and to the exclusion of the 99 per cent from power at all levels.

You can clear out a park in the middle of the night, but you cannot evict Occupy Wall Street, and you cannot evict this political moment and these movements that have emerged.

My condolences, again, to you the 1 per cent. Now that we've finally got these ideas in our hearts and in our minds, you can never again evict the 99 per cent from political life and from the struggle to create a better society and a better world.

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