Who Wants to Play “Simon Says” at Occupy the Hamptons? Pas Moi!

I know the disdain Wall Street has for the small investor. I know how financial advisers and brokers ridicule their clients and scoff at them behind their backs.  So when I heard there would be a sympathetic Occupy the Hamptons rally on Saturday at Long Wharf in Sag Harbor, I fueled up on the free coffee and pastries given out compliments of the Democratic Party at Springs General Store (thank you!), and then ransacked the house for my peace-sign pendant and headband.  (Where did I see them last?)

I felt the need to stand up and protest, personally, against Wall Street executives, highly respected by their peers, who bring in enormous amounts of filthy lucre and could care less about the negative repercussions on you or me.  And, honestly, there had been so much bad publicity and ridicule of the protesters who were on Wall Street, including some belligerent comments I overheard from guests at a get together for Republican Cornelius Kelly in Montauk the night before, that I just wanted to see for myself.

Although it had been decades, really, since I had joined any sort of protest rally, thanks to George Demos, the Conservative Republican Candidate for US Congress in New York’s First District, and his press release admonishing protesters not to defecate on police cars, litter, sell drugs, or smash windows, I knew how to comport myself. (As a precaution, of course, I used the bathroom at home.)

I parked about one-half mile away from town on RT 114. I was excited as I walked to Long Wharf.

There were very young, cute children holding placards and yelling, “We are the future.” Professional photographers were everywhere zeroing in on the most interesting signs being displayed by the crowd of about 200. It was a beautiful, sunny, windy day, and I did not notice anyone lifting his leg on a police car.

Occupy The Hamptons Rally

I felt I was helping to make history at a grassroots level. Doing something more than arm-chair complaining.

Suddenly, the crowd was directed to move to just in front of the windmill at the start of Long Wharf, and a young man stepped onto a makeshift platform and took control. This would be Matt – a smart and articulate guy who is still in college and working on a school project about community organizing as I recall. He’s a “facilitator.” We met last winter at Ashawagh Hall.

Matt can facilitate all he wants, but he cannot get me to play Simon Says with him.  I will not raise my arms high and wiggle my fingers if he asks me if I agree with what he is saying. I will not point my hands down and wiggle my fingers if he wants me to join the crowd in showing my Protesters Making the Sign of the Triangledispleasure with something someone says. I will not cross my arms, or make small pyramids with both hands, or curl my thumb and forefinger in the shape of a “C” to express myself. Simon, er,  Matt says, “Now’s the time to wiggle your fingers.”  I think not.

The other problem I had was that instead of a microphone, we were expected to repeat—loudly– every word a speaker spoke.  “I am Matt.” Chorus: “I am Matt.” “We are here to…” Chorus: “We are here to…”  Simon, er, Matt says, “Walk over this cliff.” Chorus: “Walk over this cliff.” And I will not parrot what someone else says. The last time I repeated every line that was spoken to me was during my wedding ceremony when the minister said, “Repeat after me.”   And we know how that worked out. Love, honor  . . . and say what?

So, I took a step back. And I saw others take a step back. But I also saw folks take a step forward. The man in front of me (clearly a ringer) echoed the speakers’ comments as if a human bullhorn. More ringers enthusiastically used the hand signals when requested. Somewhat hesitantly, others joined in.

The dubious few remained on the periphery of the crowd occasionally glancing at each other. We had hoped to support this new form of protest, but it was very off-putting and not a little alarming. This an attempt to manipulate and control, rather than have a forum of intelligent and spontaneous protest.

On a positive note, I did notice there was a weathered stock in front of the windmill in Sag Harbor. Stocks, you may recall, were devices used in the medieval times to physically punish and publically humiliate scofflaws. Locals tossed dirt, rotten eggs, spoiled fruit and vegetables, fish, guts, and poop at the person clamped in the stock.  Yes, I’d like to use medieval-type stocks on Wall Streeters. They have filled their Old Stock on Long Wharf in Sag Harborpockets with enough publically traded stock already.  And if we can’t drag them out of their homes on the South Fork (because that would be illegal) and clamp their respective heads and hands in stocks in front of the windmill at Long Wharf, why don’t we immortalize the Occupy the Hamptons rally in Sag Harbor by placing a giant plaque in the shape of a stock certificate at the foot of the stock by the windmill on Long Wharf:  This stock is dedicated to the men and women in our community who are responsible for worse recession since the Great Depression.  And let’s list their names.

Written by Lynne W. Scanlon and originally published as “Not Willing to Play ‘Simon Says”‘ in the October 10th, 2011 Edition of “The East Hampton Press.”

 

16 Responses to “Who Wants to Play “Simon Says” at Occupy the Hamptons? Pas Moi!”

  1. Joanne Says:

    Brava! Reads well – passionate, perceptive, pointed.

  2. Richard Says:

    Read it. I disagree with some ofthe points you make about “Wall Street”, but I agree with some.
    I agree completely with your aversion to follow the dictates of the mob leaders and become a herd of sheep.
    I am completely against most of what they stand for, led by intellectual dwarfs like Ty Wenzel, an ex fashion coordinator and bartender:

    “We are here to change how our government works,” protester Ty Wenzel explained as she addressed the crowd, which echoed each speaker, sentence after sentence. “For the past 30 years we’ve watched the 1 percent vacation in our backyards. Our beaches are no longer ours, our schools are overcrowded, our teachers are underpaid. We need to do something.”

    The “rich”, her 1%, use mostly private beaches, are either too old to have school age kids, or send their kids to private schools. The local teachers are overpaid, thanks to their unions. She is a jerk. To many of this movement, the”1%” and “the rich”, are code words forJews. Fuck them.

    Note from Lynne W. Scanlon: I do think it is important to get out and see and hear for yourself. I cannot tell you how many people I suggested join me in Sag Harbor, only to be told no thanks. These same folks have barraged me with emails and phone calls asking me what the experience was like. Find out first-hand and judge for yourself. An offspring of Occupy Wall Street may well be going to your town square, too.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Read your piece on the Flea Party types currently annoying everybody, and can find nothing redeeming about them other than their dislike of the money men (like Geithner and many other Obama supporters and staff). But these greedy cretins are, after all, only taking advantage of the cash and (taxpayer-backed loan guarantees that Obama is throwing at them.

    Crony capitalism is indeed a problem, but its source, its fountainhead, is in DC, not Wall St. As to who is really behind all this tumult, (yes, George Soros and even the Muslim radicals are heavily involved), please read 2 articles from the NY Post: “Stockholm Syndrome” by Charles Gasparino (10/22) and “What Occupy Wall St. Really Wants” by David Haqrsanyi (I believe 10/21). And from this weekend’s WSJ, “Occupy Wall Street’s Crony Capitalism” by L. Gordon Crovitz.

    Also, Check out Aaron Klein’s website–he’s on ABC radio right now but show ends at 8 (770AM).

  4. Reggie Cornelia Says:

    This “movement” is entirely a child of the Far Left, though many of the participants are somewhat well-meaning dupes or ignorant stoners. That’s why the media are being so kind to them, wildly exaggerating their numbers while ignoring their outrages.

    Contrast this media coverage with the insanely negative coverage of the initial Tea Party rallies. First they tried to ignore them, then totally lied about them when the movement grew too large to ignore. They gladly repeated false charges of racism, etc, and ignored the exemplary behavior displayed at every event, including clean-up and the ousting of any offensive, vulgar or shit-stirring signs. There were many attempts by union thugs and professional anarchists to infiltrate the rallies and perpetrate offensive or violent behavior, another fact ignored by the press.

    I believe this is all a warm-up for what they will launch next year when the warm weather returns and the Obama re-election campaign is in full swing. We are in for some troubling times. The Left never loses gracefully, and this bunch is Far Left.

  5. Rosalind Brenner Says:

    Lynne,
    Interesting. I was there, and though I found the repetition slow and annoying, it is, however, my understanding that the reason this method of communication is happening at many of these rallies is that the police in NY took away the right to use bullhorns and mikes in NYC. Correct me if I’m wrong.

    Rosalind Brenner

    Rosalind Image

    Note from Lynne W. Scanlon: Rosalind is a local EH artist and poet, and owner of Manor Art Glass Studio. Check out her website at rosalindbrenner.com.

  6. Sara K. Says:

    I can understand your being uncomfortable with what you feel is a cry for mimicry at this protest. However, what you’re calling “Simon Says” is nothing more than what began as the “human microphone” at the original Occupy Wall Street near Wall Street. It’s not indoctrination, or any such thing, but rather a means of amplifying a speaker’s words throughout a crowd without a standard microphone or bullhorn—both of which are banned at Zuccoti Park. It was a technique born from necessity—though I don’t know if it’s necessary—or desirable—elsewhere. It also would make sense for the speaker to announce the reasoning behind using the human microphone, so that people at least can make informed decisions about why they approve of it or not.
    ****
    And for the allegation that Occupy Wall Street is funded by George Soros, see this piece in the New York Observer:

    http://www.observer.com/2011/10/reuters-and-the-occupy-wall-street-connection-to-george-soros-the-reviews-are-in/

    but I suppose the Right won’t be happy until they find incontrovertible proof that the Anitchrist is a direct funder of the movement! And no doubt they can manipulate facts until they do.

  7. Russell Bittner Says:

    Nice job, Lynne!

    A well-written piece, as always!
    Russell

    Bittner Bk Jacket

    Note from Lynne W. Scanlon: Russell’s first collection of short stories (plus one novella), “Stories in the Key of C. Minor.”, was published by Faraway Publishing in 9/09. “The Dead Don’t Bitch,” is a second collection of short stories (also including a novella)available at both Amazon-Kindle and Smashwords. “Girl from Baku,” a memoir published online by ISMs Press (U.K.) in September, 2010, is now also available at both Amazon-Kindle and Smashwords.

  8. Gina Burgess Says:

    It isn’t a giant leap to connect Soros with this movement. The organization says it has no leadership, yet it has minutes of their meetings on the website. An organization shouts leadership because that’s how it is organized. Duh. It says it has no leadership, and yet the protests have been ongoing for more than two weeks.

    How does something keep going without the rah-rah of leadership? Think: Scott Walker and the labor protest. The fundraising must be incredibly awesome to support people for this long, and for people to come from different points of the U.S.

    Soros is affiliated and a donor for so many groups from A-Y. The types of groups and his agenda is quite clear just from looking at the list from Discover the Networks. (http://discoverthenetworks.org/individualProfile.asp?indid=977)

    Gina
    Gina Burgess Bk

  9. John D Says:

    You’re at it again I see, and in fine fettle.

  10. Michael Says:

    Hi Lynne:

    I couldn’t be any more anti-government and anti-Wall Street.

    Keep up the great work and keep me in the loop.

    A fellow American,

    Michael

  11. Mary Laspia Says:

    Liz,
    You really have no idea what this group is about.

    It is ignorant of you to consider this movement a collection of childrens games. Of all people I would think you would understand the need for organizing a group of people in a fashion that is horizontally ordered and communication between people can be effectively achieved.

    This is not Matt Laspia’s movement but he volunteered to train people interested in how people are organizing at Occupy Wall Street…since he has been very involved there.

    It’s time to put your ego aside and stop playing YOUR childish games!
    ****
    Before you join Lynne on her fantasy trip to Occupy The Hamptons or for that matter Occupy Wall Street be sure you also talk to someone who accually understands what the movement is about and why the system of communication is the way it is. None of it is frivolous or meant to be a game. Serious business is being conducted, in ways that eliminate top-down leadership.

    Mary Laspia

    Mary Laspia Painting

    Note from Lynne W. Scanlon: Mary is a fine art painter located in East Hampton, NY. Check out her website: http://www.marylaspiastudio.com/

  12. Simon Says (Matt) Says:

    Hey Lynne,
    It’s too bad you didn’t research anything about the movement before you came. The little bit of “control” I exercised had to do with establishing a horizontal system at OTH identical to the one at OWS. The human microphone is sound amplification, not indoctrination. I repeat shit I don’t agree with at GAs all the time. Amplifying each other is practical since we need sound permits to get microphones. It was windy. I though using the peoples’ mic would be appropriate since it was windy. It is also symbolic of how we give each other a voice, which is another prominent aspect of horizontal systems. The hand signals are there so that not everybody is yelling out.
    Matt Laspia at Occupy the Hamptons Protest

    If we don’t like the democratic system, than we can change it. See, the thing with you and some others I have noticed is that you would rather stand around and hold signs without any sort of organizational framework so you can complain enough to get media attention and maybe blog privileges on a few obscure websites.

    Speaking of media-attention mongering, how is your group Springs Homeowners Alliance doing? You know, that top-down organization you started that hasn’t done anything to scratch the surface of how to address EHUFSDs dysfunctional spending practices? The 3 Rs right? Yeah, good luck with that. Maybe when you snap out of it you’ll realize that the implications of the Occupy Movement stretch far beyond your shallow interpretation of what needs to change. What I just read seems to be a lot of words for “I’m taking my ball and going home :-(“.

    Here’s a question, I hope you answer it. Since OWS did such a poor job of providing a directly-democratic system, what would you propose we do instead? How should OTH organize itself?

    Matt Laspia Photo

    Note from Lynne W. Scanlon: Thanks for dropping by, Matt. I welcome your comments. I give you enormous credit for having the guts to to tackle hugely controversial causes and impossibly difficult projects. By the way SpringsHomeOwnersAlliance was established for one reason only: To let the Springs School Board know there were plenty of residents who were outraged that 75% of their property taxes were going to the 2011-2012 school budget to underwrite usurious teacher’s contracts and wasteful spending. Result? The biggest turnout of voters in recent memory. We had no plans to tackle the school district consolidation issue. I recall it was you who called a meeting last spring at Ashawagh Hall to facilitate such an effort as part of your school project.

  13. Lynda Edwards/Tea Party Patriots Says:

    You can please none of the people all of the time. While I don’t agree with the way the Occupy Wall Street is being handled, they have a right to protest, just like we did with the TEA Party (without the violence, garbage and profanity). Some of the goals are the same, others diametrically opposed to the TEA Party. You handled it well, the comments were interesting.

    I’ve taken it on the chin for my opposition to OWS but that is ok, I don’t care if I am not popular, just want the truth out there, and the facts don’t lie.

    Lynda
    East Hampton

    Lynda Edwards

  14. Simon Says (Matt) Says:

    Lynne: The meeting wasn’t about consolidation, and it wasn’t for a school project, so no, you are not remembering correctly. You didn’t answer my question, all you did was patronize me. I’ll ask again: How should OTH organize itself?

  15. Jamie Says:

    There are elections taking place on November 8th. Who from Occupy the Hamptons is running for any office anywhere? Give us the names and we can vote for them. Quit flapping your gums and waiving your hands.
    Announce your political platform, get elected and keep your promises.
    I was in Sag Harbor, too.

  16. Walt Says:

    Perhaps it’s time to occupy social programs like welfare offices and anything else the gov’t. thinks is ok to give away on the back of the taxpayers.

    The solution seems simple enough. Our government leaders need to be held accountable for their actions and start working for the “working people,” not special interests. The new robber barons are not controlled by laws already in place and the government must stop pissing away money that’s not rightfully theirs on programs that, in the long run, help no one to become self sufficient.. If things keep going the way they are, the poor will forever complain about the rich, the wealthy will have more control on the poor and the middle class will be a thing of the past, brought to extinction by the actions of the both with the aide of the government and the elected officials.

    Note from Lynne W. Scanlon: November 19, 2011 — This is a positive that has come out of Occuppy Wall Street. See link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojVJbd1i9GA

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