The drama of Occupy Wall Street has changed many lives and only now are the stories becoming public.
This poignant account of the forced re-education of a corporate executive who informs his Ivy League preppie son that he too will be forced to join the revolution, has now been made public in this letter sent from father to son.....
Together they face the evil of capitalism and the need for transformation
You have not heard from me for several days. Well - here is the story.
Get ready for a shock...
The radical element of the Wall Street protesters kidnapped me on the way to the office and are forcing me to become a shoeshine boy.
Yes, your former corporate executive father is now a shoeshine boy!
Here is how it happened: I stepped out of the Mercedes on the way to a conference and a crowd surrounded me yelling that I must be transformed. I tried to get away but they grabbed my car keys and something hit me on the head - and I woke up in their camp. Big changes are on the way!
They have given me a new life.
My name is being changed from Trevor Wellington to Rocco Kaminski and my new overalls and work boots have arrived.
I have to donate the John Lobb shoes I was wearing to the needy radicals - yes the pair I bought in London. My three piece Saville Row suit, silk socks, Turnbull and Asser shirt, wallet, Coach briefcase and Hermes tie will be burned. I have to grow a beard.
My former career is over.
My re-education program began immediately.
Some mild medications helped! I spent many hours without food or sleep in a sensory deprivation room watching films about the evils of capitalism. How wrong I have been! I resisted shining shoes until they finally broke me down and realized they were correct!
I am now listening to subliminal tapes that are repogramming my mind. Great idea!
I have renounced my capitalist life and my education and all of my values and I'm learning to serve the people.
My mentor is great - he is a former shoeshine man and he will be wearing my John Lobbs! As he said to me - How the mighty have fallen....
I am being forced to start work in the lobby of my own former office building. Shining the shoes of my former colleagues on my knees, dressed in overalls, for the rest of my life! A great idea, don't you think?
I will become a Victim of the System that I once used to suppress the masses! That will show me the evils of capitalism and strip me of my arrogance!
The house, the Mercedes, the Porsche and all of our assets - stocks, bonds, savings - have been confiscated. The beach house too. I left the Republican Party.
Your mother will no longer get alimony.
NOW FOR YOU, SON: I have big news. READ CAREFULLY!
I agreed that you would join their movement as part of my re-education.
Like father, like son.
You are guilty too, it seems. I told them you are going to be a banker and that you had graduated from prep school and that you are about to graduate from Princeton. They didn't like that. You must be taught a different way of living.
The plan is to convert me into a menial shoeshiner for the rest of my life and YOU into a committed full time radical and leftist living on the streets.
There is to be nothing left of our former existence. Your trust fund is gone. Sounds exciting, doesn't it?
New Plans for School:
Of course, you'll have to leave Princeton immediately and join the radicals here.
I know you were planning on graduating in a week but that's the way it goes! You really won't need that education now.
They plan to use the brilliant mind that would have been wasted in finance and living an affluent and selfish life to plan the revolution! THAT IS YOU!
Now about your NAME:
You might notice that I have not used your name Chip.
Your name is being legally changed from Chip Wellington to Che Kaminski.
I gave permission. Chip didn't seem like a good name for an anarchist. I know that you are 22 and can fight the change - but it is better to surrender. I have been changing your name on all legal and financial documents so Chip Wellington won't exist anymore.
At first I was outraged - turning my own son into a radical whether or not he wanted to, stripping him of his name, taking him out of his life and giving him a completely different future! - but now I know that it's right!
I hope you will forgive me, son, for pampering you and giving you a life of privilege. But it's over now!
After all, I am doing the same thing. This re-education is very powerful!
Now about your car:
Sorry. The BMW I gave you for your birthday is being traded in for a 1974 VW bus. The VW doesn't run as well as the BMW but it does run.
The Beemer and the Porsche and the Mercedes are being donated to the leaders of the Revolution for their private use.
By the way, they demand that you let your hair grow and not to wash it until they give permission. At least that will save on haircuts. Sorry.
And you're forbidden to shave at all.
Now for clothes:
Bring all your business suits, neckties, khaki trousers, sport coats, button-down shirts, belts, polo shirts, crewneck sweaters and every pair of Brooks Brothers tasseled loafers, wingtips, golf shoes, riding boots, tennis shoes, LL BEAN boots, boat shoes and every pair of socks you own with you. Your formal tuxedo and patent leather pumps, too. And your golf, riding and tennis clothes.
Your clothes will be placed on a public bonfire and burned as a symbol of your hatred of capitalism and your former life of privilege. But your tux will be used for another purpose
Except for your shoes. Every pair of shoes you own will be donated to the radicals and you will have to do it persnally.
You will be given tie-dyed tee shirts, burkas, and jeans and I'm afraid that you will have to go barefoot at all times, as a symbol of your commitment to the humble people of the earth.
Also - bring your tennis rackets, golf clubs, wristwatch, your overcoat, cufflinks, wallet and all your luggage. They will be auctioned off with mine.
I admit I was angry when they demanded your car and your clothes and your possessions and even your shoes, but now of course I see that it is only fair! They are taking mine as well.
After all, son, think of it this way - you won't be playing golf or tennis anymore, and cuff links and business suits really don't go well with bare feet and a ragged beard!
You're not a Princeton man anymore, Chipper! I mean Che! You must be humbled!
I know it's a big change: from a preppie business major at Princeton to a re-educated radical. But that's the way it is! We must pay for our evil ways!
I suggest you start NOW as you read this, Chip - I mean Che:
TAKE OFF THOSE BROOKS BROTHERS SHOES!
- Yes, I KNOW you're wearing them, old sport - I mean Che, so kick them off NOW, as you read this - and your socks, too - just find the courage - throw away your razor and the Wall street Journal and cancel your job interviews at the banks.
You can forget all about becoming a banker.
You will be selling Grateful Dead memorabilia on the street for a living!
I'm sure you won't care once your intensive re-education starts.
Your mentor is an elderly anarchist who hates and despises capitalists and Ivy League graduates! Quite a challenge, don't you think? Now he has a real Princeton man to work on! He's looking forward to breaking down your former paradigm of upper class privilege and replacing it with a proletarian spirit!
By the way - he will be getting your golf clubs, your Swiss watch and your BMW. And he's also the one who will get your tuxedo and most of your shoes. It's a great honor for you!
I hope you have been reading carefully, Che.
If you have, you should be barefoot by now, son, those capitalist shoes should be packed away, and you should be starting that letter telling Deutsche Bank you won't be applying for that job…
Remember - DON'T take a shower before you drive up here.
Also - Don't call me "Father" or "Dad" ever again. I am Rocco to you.
Well, that's all for now. I start shoeshine training! I still have my business suit and even my tie on and they don't like that. After all - I'll be spending the rest of my life cleaning other people's shoes! My new life is waiting. And so is yours, Che.
your father and former financial executive,
Rocco (once known as Trevor Wellington)
Long live the Revolution!