Monday, November 21, 2011

The New Occupation of Wall Street

About a month and a half ago, I visited Zucotti Park. It was kind of a mess. I had a pair of German reporters pull me over and ask me why I was protesting. I told them I had been in the park roughly five minutes and would be leaving to get to my next appointment soon, and that honestly I was there to ask other people the same question. I didn't know what they were really doing down there. But they had some great signs.

Several weeks later, I visited again. The place had transformed. Maybe evolved is the better word. There was a formal nurses' station for all medical needs. There was a kitchen. There was a power station, where people biked on generators to charge all lights, equipment, and whoever's cell phones needed charging. There were cleanup crews and equipment, posted rules about noises and a complaints hotline for the park's neighbors sponsored by a community liaison. There was a shelter full of books with a large sign that said "Library." The signs had been replaced by posters explaining the movement, some of their ideals, and facts they wanted to bring to light.

They also had some oddballs. I had my ear talked off by a man trying to promote the letter ə in popular use as a way to change the world. Another had posted signs about 9/11 conspiracies and his campaign for president. But these were a lot more rare than the New York Post and other city tabloids would have you believe.

And the "people's microphone" is a lot of fun to watch in action. Heck, if they can bring a campaign speech by Michelle Bachmann to a halt, then they're obviously onto something.

So now that the occupation has moved away from Zuccotti Park, it's going to be showing up in some other interesting ways, including these:
 ...scattered Occupy events continue to take place in New York City. Protesters gathered near Mayor Bloomberg's home Sunday, there will be an Occupy Wall Street benefit show Monday night featuring Ted Leo, the So So Glos and Titus Andronicus. A group in Duarte Park has developed the idea of "Tenting," in which protesters, as Gothamist explains, "will set up tents in public spaces around town and decorate them with messages... then leave them behind. The tents will be uninhabited on the inside, but bursting with ideas on the outside."
Read more here:

So I signed up for some mobile alerts from the New York general assembly tonight. Even if I'm going to be in Seattle for the next few days, I don't want to miss what happens next.

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