Friday, November 4, 2011

It's kind of hard to donate money to the Occupy movement.

This morning I went to the Mayor's office and I requested an appointment.  The kind gentleman who forcefully told me to go away and someone would read my letter some day was really a sign of things to come.  I then wandered off to my therapist's office for that appointment.  When I explained to her what I was doing her eyes bugged and she actually said, "Give the money to me!" It was hilarious.  In the end she said she understood why I felt compelled the way I do and if it really isn't a financial problem... she totally supports me.  That was nice.  She almost choked on her drink when I explained Noah's salary and why I'm not worried about $20,000.  It is very uncomfortable for people when I talk about money.  It's a hard thing on pretty much everyone.

I wandered back over towards the encampment.  I spent a while sitting around and feeling awkward.  I'm good at that.  Eventually I found the morning meeting.  When I asked if I could speak the facilitator first tried to tell me no but I interrupted and blurted, "I want to donate $20,000."  He blinked hard and added my name to the list.  He had me go last.  I did my little blurt thing, not the letter.  I was too chicken shit.  Gah.  But I blurted something that was less than eloquent and I was somewhat surprised to have people muttering about how I should go buy some blankets.  I responded that I've already donated multiple tents, sleeping bags, blankets, air mattresses, several food drops, and other items.  No really.  I'm giving.  She looked down and kept muttering.  Ok.

I had an earnest conversation with a few gentlemen who gave me a little bit of their perspective and that was interesting.  The big sticking point seemed to be finding someone on the finance committee to talk to.  I wandered around a bit.  I met JP Massar, who decided to mention me on dailykos, thanks.  Another gentleman thanked me for being so generous.  It was really sweet.  Other than that... folks didn't talk to me.  I wandered around.  I read.  I typed a bit.  I watched the large group of Muslims praying.  After a while one of their members started uhm, it sounded like preaching.  Am I allowed to use that word for Islam?  I don't mean to be an asshole.  Anyway.  That was nice.  I liked what he was saying.

After a bit I went and sat in the Tully's and managed to hook up with a few more people who had heard of someone on the finance committee.  I talked to a woman on the phone even!  It was exciting.  I did not manage to run into her later.  I wussed out on being on site for a bit and had to run away.  I felt lame, but I just had to get my anxiety under wraps.  I was shaking and hurting.  I came back in time for the General Assembly.

I asked around about speaking.  When I finally figured out who the facilitator was and asked him if I could speak he told me that was a bad idea.  It would create a shit storm of controversy.  He's not wrong.    I did manage to give one check away!  I felt so proud of myself.  One man used his rent money to cover the buses used in the General Strike.  I didn't think he should have to carry that load.  He has enough of a burden.  The joy on his face was the highlight of my day.  That was a real thing to do.  It's not what I mostly want to do with the money, but that's ok.

I haven't heard back from anyone connected to the city.  I'm less than shocked.  I think that instead I am going to ask Occupy Oakland to think of me as a fairy godmother.  I would like to know what their needs are and I will decide what I want to fund.  It's my decision.  This is my money.  It probably is going to piss off some people and that's ok.  I will be giving a high priority to any project that is designed to increase the positive relationship with the city of Oakland.  I think the city is bearing an unduly high cost for this protest.  That's my opinion and I don't care if anyone else agrees with me.

By the end of the night I finally met a few people and exchanged contact information.  I hope they will contact me tomorrow because I am a lazy bastard.  But I'd really like to give them some money.


  1. Are you aware that occupy Oakland has a pretty a robust web presence? Might be an easier way to find contacts/needs/engage in discussion about all this if you're getting fed up with the in-person method. Tactical disagreements aside, I really am impressed with your effort on this, and hope you have better luck soon.

  2. Yes, I'm aware. The finance committee is still hard to track down. :) I now have a few email addresses and we will be corresponding. :)

    And the fact that there are tactical disagreements is just part of the beauty of this movement. There can be and the work can still be done because the work is so big.

  3. It is hard to read about your giving, and I suspect it's because you're using real numbers. I like that you are using the numbers because there's far too much fake modesty bullshit out there, but here's my take.
    I'm trying to refinance my house right now because I need 10K for foundation repairs that can't wait. That's what I hear when you mention figures. The stress in my life that would go away if I had it. I can't even imagine having that much that wasn't attached to a need, and it's hard on my pride to admit that I will likely never get there.
    So I don't think it's the money exactly that people are reacting to, it's what that amount of money would mean in their own lives.

  4. *nod* I hear you. I appreciate that comment. I'm actually thinking about writing a follow up post about the things I am not paying for because I want to give this money away. I think that being more transparent about what I am thinking is important. I think this is a good conversation. Thank you for participating in it even though it's hard.