Despite my claims of ‘living under a rock’, I actually follow Happenings in the Outside World quite closely. One of the bigger happenings I’ve been keeping up with in the last few weeks has been Occupy Wall Street and the Occupy movement spreading through America and other parts of the world.
When I first heard there was going to be an Occupy Amsterdam, I didn’t know what to think. I did some online research and even sneaked it into a poll (like you do), but that didn’t really help me decide if this was something I would potentially want to be part of. Usually I’m quite good at deciding if things are for me or not, but Occupy Amsterdam kept occupying (ha!) my mind.
Asides from the “Occupy Amsterdam sounds like World War II” knee-jerk reaction, I had some serious doubts about what felt like the coopting of a movement. Call me bitter and burnt out, but it annoyed me that apparently you can’t get people in this country to care about anything, let alone get off of their couches unless it’s 1) something “invented” in Uh-meh-ruh-kah* and 2) propagated via Facebook. Add to this the fact that due to Prolonged Activisty Fatigue Acquired through Excessive Windmillfighting (a.k.a. burnt out and bitter) and my actual chronic illness I do not have the mental and physical energy anymore to get all excited about, let alone get (over)invested in, something that looked to me as a one-off thing that would lead to nothing.
On the other hand: something was happening. People were doing something, and I felt that I should back that, especially since this could be a starting point for later projects that might be more up my alley activisty-wise. It could also be the thing that reached people who are not “the usuals” and thus broadening the group of “potentials”, which is not only Buffy-speak, but also short for “peeps who might be interested in doing stuff at some point”. And last but not least: as much as I joke about it, the fact that, 5 years after leaving my highly frustrating job at a LETS community enterprise, I am still bitter and burnt out saddens me. And I really, really want (need!) to get over that and hanging out with some likeminded people could be part of the, for lack of a better word, “cure”.
I kept going back and forth and back again, and I eventually decided not to go on Saturday 15 October. I already had an appointment that day and I didn’t feel like cancelling over something I was so indecisive about. And of course on Saturday, while walking down the street with The Big Kahuna in her hometown on the other side of the country, I realised I should have been there. Figures.
*Regarding the “invented”: I was quoting what I heard people around me (in The Netherlands) say. @redjives pointed out to me on Twitter that “here [in the USA] there is explicit acknowledgement that this is a continuation of work began in Greece, Spain and the UK”.