A Dudeist Take on the Occupy Wall Street What-Have-Yous
By Arch Dudeship Dwayne Eutsey
As the world’s slowest growing and laziest religion, it may appear as though Dudeism is really behind the times.
To the square community that doesn’t give a shit about us, we’re just a bunch of aging hippies and Phish fans who have shaked-and-baked our consciousness a little too long and are now wandering lost in some kind of out-of-touch, purple hazy thing from the past.
This prejudice is captured well in our Sacred Source, The Big Lebowski, when the millionaire Lebowski shouts at the Dude that his ‘60s revolution is over and the bums lost.
But like the Dude, we can’t worry about that shit, man. We know that when we follow the Dude-way, however out of step we may appear to some reactionaries, we always fit right in there as the folks for our time and place, no matter what the times may be.
A pertinent example of this quality today is the Occupy Wall Street protests.
They were initially dismissed as a bunch of bongo-banging, weed-toking deadbeats by the uptight square community.
Not that there’s anything wrong with either activity, that’s not what these demonstrators, or the other 99% of the country wondering where the fucking money is, are all about.
In fact, the dudes occupying Liberty Plaza (or Zucotti Park, in the parlance of the so-called owners of the area) have a basic ethos very similar to the Diggers we write about in our Abide Guide’s section on Dudeist movements throughout history:
Back in their respective frames of reference, the Beat and hippie movements were considered the cutting edge of what’s hip, cool, groovy, and what-have-you. Now they’ve been reduced to cartoonish stereotypes, largely dismissed as laughable retro deadbeats.
What happened? Well, in both cases corporate consumer culture co-opted the familiar images of countercultural rebellion and neutralized their subversive substance.
That’s probably why we don’t hear much about the Diggers these days. This anarchist collective of artists, poets, and actors weren’t hung up on making fashion statements, but they were all about living out a subversive countercultural ethos.
Appearing in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district in 1966, the Diggers took their name from a group of radical farmers who rejected money and private property in 17th century England. The San Francisco Diggers revived the original Diggers’ spirit in their time and place by rejecting a modern system consisting of “those who would kill us through dumb work, insane wars, [and] dull money morality.”
Unlike the Utopians, though, the Diggers didn’t seclude themselves in serene, bucolic settings where they sat around jerking off manually. They took their revolutionary, laid-back vibe directly to the streets of San Francisco and created new ways to provide free healthcare, free food, and free clothes to anyone who needed them while staging free community concerts and street celebrations.
Unlike with the Beats and hippies, the Man couldn’t absorb the potency of the Digger movement, which is why it’s largely forgotten today by official history. But with all the new shit involving dumb work, insane wars, and dull money morality coming to light in our society today, perhaps the time is ripe for a new generation to dig the Diggers again.
Now, not that we’re bragging or anything, but for some time now we in the Church of the Latter-Day Dude have been calling for a new movement to help all us uptight, downsized, single-minded, multi-tasking, overworked, underpaid, plugged-in, pissed-off, shit-on, run-down, zoned-out sinners out there in a world gone crazy to just take it easy, man.
Although such blathering have often led the Big Lebowskis of the world to dismiss us as lazy bums who are sadly behind the times, maybe we Dudeists are really far ahead of our times like those neutrinos that are supposedly faster than the speed of light. If we understand the quantum mechanics correctly, when you’re that far ahead of the accepted reality, you actually appear to be moving backwards in time.
The Dude of Film, Jeffery Lebowski, wrote the uncompromised draft of The Port Huron Statement. The Dude of History, Jeff Dowd, was part of the anti-war Seattle Seven in the ‘60s… and now he’s part of the 99% today.
Grooving light years ahead of our time, we’re still always able to fit right in there no matter what time and place it is.
The Dudeist impulse is always out there taking ‘er easy and reminding us all that a Duder world is always possible.
As we point out in The Abide Guide, even when it appears as though the bums did lose, that’s just the stress talking. No need for condolences just yet.
What happened during The Sixties and early ‘90s wasn’t just confined to those times and places. The Dude spirit that emerged then abides throughout time, sometimes going underground, sometimes shaking the foundations, but always keeping the whole human comedy perpetuating itself down through the generations.
It’s there in our basic human need to belong to inclusive communities where everyone is free to share some burgers, some beers, a few laughs, and whatnot.
It’s there in our fragile yearning for peace and our desire, regardless of whether you have a pair of testicles or not, to do the right thing, whatever the price.
It’s there in the vision of a free society that (SDS co-founder) Tom Hayden and Jeff Dowd lived out, the one that says it’s not as important to get one’s way as it is to create a truly meaningful way that is one’s own.
That’s what the Dude did, even when he was working as a roadie for a bunch of assholes. He always followed a path that was his own. He rejected the radical extremism of the New Left as much as he rejected the grey flannel conformity it sought to liberate.
Amid life’s strikes and gutters, through all his bowling, driving around, and occasional acid flashbacks, the Dude always had the courage to remain true to his deepest, abiding humanity. In a world where political and economic systems that are supposed to serve humanity end up trying to control, exploit, and even crush our humanity, that’s a revolutionary act.
When we follow our own Dude-like paths, we ensure that revolution is far from over.
We have taken comfort in all the many Dudes who have abided before us in their times and places and shown us that a Duder world is possible.
Now it’s your roll.
If you live it, dudes, it is no dream.
[Excerpts from The Abide Guide reprinted with persimmon]
The similarity to TBL is striking, when you think about it. The economy kidnapped it’s self and the Big Lebowskis ran off with the money meant for children. Then they turn around and call us the bums.
It’s all about taking a stand against unsustainable consumerism, immoral wars, and the greed that drives that package, man…
The Archdudeship says
In the Abide Guide, we also go into more detail about SDS, the Port Huron Statement, Jeff Dowd’s anti-war activism, and Dudeism’s prophetic dimension (which isn’t about The End Times as it is in other religions…it’s about how to sustain your Dude-like ethos in These Here Times).
Rev. A Da Fino says
Fucking interesting AD, many good points. Funny that some days ago I’ve written about those dudes down at Zuccotti Park too.
Waves of change all around the globe even if I doubt those nihilists will leave their thrones without figthing. But, well, the last French king didn’t left his easily too. And I doubt also that they’ll leave us to live as we want to. Our lifestyles are different but they have guns and laws.
There is one thing that I find very, very interesting: those who rule the world now are those who in the ’68 were more or less 18 years old. What happened to their ideals and ethos? Why has it became so twisted today? Probably it’s true that power corrupts those who hold it and those who desire it.
Oh well, that’s human nature. Anyway there are also those guys of the Pirate Party who are working toward freedom. At least there is hope for a better tomorrow.
Rev. CraigB says
@Rev. A Da Fino
I think that it is still important to abide by ones ancestors, though. That previous generation grew up in a very different world from the new crop starting their first occupation. They had broadcast media, we had the internet. The people on TV ran out of believable lullabies and all the internet offers is postmodern editorialism and cold, hard statistics. Is it any wonder that they are afraid of the world as it is now?
Also, have you head anything about a national pirate party? I would love to hear them out.
Rev. A Da Fino says
You’re right Rev., nevertheless it seems that for a big part the ’68 people ideals have been twisted. Like if The Dude with time would have become the old man.
I don’t know about USA but here in Europe there are Private Parties in many countries, even in Italy. And that’s cool. Imdo.
Rev. Jerry Rickard says
For those of you who want a better future, who feel like this consumerist society is not enough to appease you, just know you’re not alone.
yeah, consumerism is still ‘out’; info, choices, and joints still ‘in’. In the ol days (1966) I wuz pissed about all the straights & squares joinin us, cooptin, waterin down, ‘popularizin’ – but now I see it as a goodun cuz the values get injected inta society-at-large. Just like happened w/da Greens decades ago. It goes worldwide, not just on the acreage (take the Cohousing explosion). Yeah, a mere shadow of a real community (the Drop Zone, Hog Farm, etc) but better’n suburbia…