As part of a larger interview on her upcoming work on Green Arrow, and a larger look at her career as a while, I had the opportunity to ask Ann Nocenti about Occupy Wall Street. A significant player in the comics industry in the 1980s and into the 1990s, editing the Uncanny X-Men and writing Longshot and Daredevil, amongst other projects, Nocenti spent her downtime from the industry over the past decade working in decidedly more political realms, including doing work for MoveOn.org and for The Nation.
Nocenti's view is the polar opposite of the one recently expressed by Frank Miller, who stated that, "'Occupy' is nothing but a pack of louts, thieves, and rapists, an unruly mob, fed by Woodstock-era nostalgia and putrid false righteousness," and that Occupiers are "iPad wielding spoiled brats." She told Bleeding Cool;
Many people have trouble understanding the Occupy movement, because it is something quite new. It's decentralized. It's not a "protest" movement; it is amorphous, like the Internet. It is, in some ways, a lifestyle. It is supported by Union workers, sympathetic cops, the elderly, the rich, the poor, the right, the left… and, increasingly, by the "1%" themselves. It crosses all lines of class, gender, race and politics. Of course right wing radio is full of the "spoiled brat, louts and mobs" etc. descriptions of Occupy, because people fear what they don't understand.
Occupy is a seismic shift away from being hoodwinked and towards taking control of life. That something is wrong with this country is undeniable. That students graduate from colleges with law degrees and huge debt yet can't get a job is just wrong. That good healthcare can only be bought by the rich is just wrong. That we pour money into wars we can't "win" is just wrong. I spent time in al-Qaeda country. American dollars fuel everything; American dollars end up funding Taliban training cantonments. Winston Churchill said long ago that, "Western eyes will never understand the ways of tribal culture." "The War on Drugs," the last pointless "war" that further bankrupted our country, was recently declared an unqualified failure.
When I wander Occupy Wall Street I can't help but think of the tent camps in Haiti. I spent 4 months filming in those camps, and watching a kind of cooperative societal order rise. Despite the violence and filth of life there (no one actually WANTS to life in a tent camp) there was strong communal efforts to divide chores, protect and help the weak, have an economy of sorts. The General Assemblies at OWS are inspirational. Everyone has a voice; it is an equalitarian movement. In a sense, I feel like I am at a history museum looking at a display, a model, for something new. And out of this come ideas… a recent one being a suggestion to take savings out of the big banks and put it into credit unions.
It is too easy and too lazy to just run down and criticize what the Occupy movement is doing. It is much more difficult to support and try to understand that this is a symbol of a natural sea-change in our society.