This Wednesday my guest is Carleton College Senior, Rebekah Frumkin who has been active in the Occupy MN movement. A movement echoing the concerns of Occupy Wall Street. We’ll talk about that and a play she wrote and produced called “Security” about the ENRON debaucle. She describes being struck by a publication called, “ADBUSTERS” that inspired her and others to check out the Occupy movement. We also talked a bit about the next steps for “Occupy (OWS)” as cities across the country seem to be cracking down.
Rebekah has become active in the “Teach-in” aspect of the movement and enjoys sharing the research she has done not only on ENRON but also the 2008 banking crash both resulting from as she describes “Corporate Malfeasance.” Listen in Wednesday at 6pm to KYMN radio 1080 on the AM dial. Or catch it on line, I think you’ll find Rebekah refreshing and articulate. She is someone who believes strongly in the democratic principles of the protesters and has done her home work about what went wrong in our economic and political system at the same time looking for ways to improve it.
I’d say if there’s anything this movement sorely needs, it’s a sense of humor. It may be hard to imagine Zapatistas in Chiapas chewing on cigars and making puns, but it’s certainly not impossible – humor really brings people together, and #occupy’s primary aim is bringing people together. And the quality or sophistication of the humor doesn’t necessarily matter. For instance, I was driving across Minneapolis with a group of fellow protesters, and we were all freezing (a long day of November frigidity had really gotten to us). Everyone was really somberly talking about their plans for winter. Were we going to sleep on the plaza in pup tents? Get space heaters somehow? Someone half-jokingly suggested that we make igloos, and one of my very serious, very dedicated friends expressed her approval of the idea of camping out on the frozen surface of a lake once we got kicked out of Government Plaza. Someone else said, “Yes. This could definitely work. Minnesota has over 15,000 lakes.” I sensed that the conversation had taken a turn for the absurd, so I began a chant of “Take your money out of the lakes!” It wasn’t funny in principle, but it got a car of exhausted protestors laughing. Contrary to what some may think, humor doesn’t detract from our political goal – it hones our focus, makes the long hours of protesting more bearable, and makes a loose association of people into a real community.
Rebekah has also been writing stories and you can find one of her stories, “Monster” in the 2009 collection of “Best American Non-Required Reading” edited by Dave Eggers.
Also if you are interested in learning more about Occupy Northfield here is a link to a story on Northfield.org