What started as an awareness raising and ethnographic styled walk through Sierra Leone, this site now details the encounters of a not so academic academic who spends more time occupying Wall Street and squats than a university...

Monday, September 17, 2012


September 17th was great...  Occupy's one year anniversary was a truly festive day that I didn't know how much I'd be able to be a part of.   After getting hit on my bike again (yes, again, coming back from going to the hospital to get checked out from the first time), I was pretty tense and sore.  Neck, back, hip and now knee.  I thought for the day that I'd sleep in and see how it felt when I woke up/if it was swollen, and I didn't even go to sleep until almost 2am.  But wouldn't you know, that my soul knows better that to take such absurd precautions.

I was already partly awake at 5:45 when my friend texted to see if we could go in together.  I wavered for a sleep deprived moment thinking of my plan to be prudent about my knee.  But I quickly found absolutely no reason not to get my ass up and get in there.  Passion is passion after all.  I mean, its the year anniversary!  I/we put so much into this, and it means so much to me.  My body, heart, and soul knew what my mind was trying to rationally ignore: nothing was gonna stop me from being there.

I had this song coursing through my head all day....

So the Think Tank crew met up around 7 at 55 water street as part of the debt area protest.  Lower Manhattan was divided into four areas, the 99%, education, eco, and debt.  We sorted out our crew, took our precautions, and started off with everyone else.  The morning was planned to be pretty open and fluid.   We were going to keep people from getting to the stock exchange.  But I'm not as much of a direct physical action type and not interested in getting arrested, so I didn't get to far into all that.  As people saw the next day though, there were a lot of arrests.  Many for people sitting down in the streets or blocking the way to the exchange (typical civil disobedience ala Ghandi style), but sadly most of the ones I saw were pretty random and absurd.  Grabbing people out of crowds on the sidewalk and arresting them seemingly just for being there.  But that is an old and tired discourse. The police are absurd, and the media's coverage of it all are of course going to be as well.  Again, we know this.  So lets talk about things we don't know!!

My feeling from that morning as I limped around lower Manhattan was that there were swarms of occupiers on every corner.  Around every building we turned, swaths of people.  Yes, I know the media will say there were 100 people marching and 180 arrests.... but I swear to you that something within that statement is inherent false!  There were a couple thousand people down there in the morning probably.  The point of the whole protest though was for them to be dispersed and to not move as one large mass.  The groups just kept moving and swirling their way away from cops and blockaids. 

It was a really good and inspiring action as I saw it.  But one that will not get good press given it seeming smaller than it was and fragmented - even if by design.  After a while I sat down with my co-occupier (who recently found out that she was being occupied by a little mini occupier!  Yes, be wary, we do multiply!!  ;)  Anyway, we caught a rest and then headed back out for some fun and excitement.  We walked around for a while, getting back into the flow of the day and the different actions.  

Eventually a number of us settled into liberty/zuccotti park and started up a Think Tank discussion.  WOW!!!!  We went for FOUR AND A HALF HOURS!!!  Talking about how to reach the 99%.  There was so much interest.  Our group varied from about 40 to maybe 70 people at any one time.  Such incredible insight and vantage points.  You can see notes here and someday audio will be up there as well.

The Think Tank discusses reaching the 99%

After this I poked around the park for a few hours.  Meeting new people, catching up with old people.  It was great.  We then had a popular assembly to discuss the day, what people thought of it, and what they did.  My group had a guy that had come up from New Orleans, one in from London, four more local stalwarts, and a new older woman there for her first time.  Everyone had different expereinces of the day and different perspectives to add.  you know the media has complete over blown the hurricane issac story?  That's the word on the street...  London can't do like we do in NYC, but their doing it like they do and are doing it, doing it, doing well!!  (yeah, to the melody of LL Cool J...).

It was getting late at this point and we were over 12 hours straight with little rest or to eat.  We wanted to stick around for the OWS Birthday cake, but that was apparently coming much later.  We slowly started to disband, but two of us ended up grabbing some of my favorit indian food around the corner and talking Occupy with the owner.  I've been going there for a year, and as I do, am tight with the owners.  Good perspectives to be learned there from local business owners.  In it for the long term, they agree with teh cause and the issues, but still, have additional issues with the methods of the movement.  Time to make the think tank happen!!

Home I went.  I was asleep 20 minutes after I got in the door.  Exhausting, invigorating, and inspiring.  I am so glad I was there for it all, and so glad that Occupy will be around forever.  

Yup!!  Free Kisses!!

No comments:

Post a Comment