I am disturbed by an arrogant disregard among common folks as they consider the Occupy LA movement. I am troubled by their underlying assumption that this movement has no logical core and that what the “protesters” are doing is wrong or pointless. I have been searching for ways to involve myself and to express my assent with their activities and thoughts. I am particularly in agreement with the view that the authority and power of banks and corporate interests are disproportionately exploitive, and these entities operate freely to the detriment of the majority. In this sense and for that reason I proudly pledge my membership in the Occupy movement.
Today, I believe I was able to contribute to the movement in a small but hopefully good way. Today, I am substitute teaching an Art class at Palos Verdes High School. My motivation was fueled by an article that I read, a very disturbing article, in the LA Times:
In this article I learned about the ferocious power of LRAD technology, albeit a technology and weapon that can also be used in a good way (fighting sea piracy, etc).
The LA TImes article reveals a very serious ethical decline by our law enforcement authorities. There is a major ethical problem in my view as LRAD weaponry is used by LAPD as a way to suppress and remove dissent, such as that which is happening this week in LA and elsewhere.
Turning such weaponry upon our citizens is a frightening, unethical response by authorities, in my view. Turning this technology against some pirate in the Indian Ocean or the Straits of Malacca is debatably acceptable, but to use it against dissenting civilians in downtown areas of the USA is absolutely not OK.
In my class today I opened up a discussion about LRADs, about the largely misunderstood or maligned activities of the Occupy movement, and about the relationship of art and society. As a substitute I am probably not supposed to enter risky, no-go areas–particularly when those issues shed a critical light on mainstream authority. My intention was to provoke deeper and more critical thought among these students, all of whom come from relatively privileged backgrounds, but it is likely that I could be reprimanded for such intentions.
I did proceed to open these topics today in this class and was pleased that some students showed some curiosity and insight into these issues, while others remained passive or silent. I do not interpret their silence or inaction as a show of disinterest, but it does indicate to me that consciousness about our society and its inequities are not regularly discussed, at school, at home, or among friends. In a place like Palos Verdes Estates it is easy and encouraged to remain detached from the plight of the poor and the historic formula of inequality that is rigidly applied today.
I am not sure what these students will do as a response/action from our “conversation” or dialogue but I asked them to at least inquire, question, and observe more closely what is offerred in the mainstream. This is particularly important for Artists because they are an important key for illuminating and clarifying the messages at the heart of dissenting views such as those from the Occupy movement. Art is perhaps the best way to critique, express, and effectuate change in our society—all of which are sorely needed.