Thursday, September 18, 2014

Occupy Wall Street 3rd Anniversary: the Few, the Proud and the Truly Faithful

  I'm relieved that the internet connection problems I've been experiencing are due to the hostel network (probably the result of hundreds of 18 year olds simultaneously using it) and not my laptop. So here I am somewhere else. OK, it's a Starbucks. I'm sorry. I know they are on the GMO don't patronize list. But I was panicking. At least it gave me some time to reflect on my experiences yesterday.

   We were 200 strong at most, by night time 50. Of course because the bigger march will be Sunday, where some are predicting 10,000. That march includes and has the support of better funded organizations who themselves are hierarchical in structure. You know they are better funded because they have nicely printed posters and signs and t-shirts. If you see people with t-shirts that all say the same thing you know there is big money involved. If you see hand written signs on posterboard, you know it's Occupy. The march route Sunday according to one speaker has the blessing of the NYPD and is planned to avoid inconveniencing world leaders meeting at the U.N. by being unessessarily in their face. Of course many Occupy people will be there too, including many Vermont Occupiers.

  Over 1400 groups are "partnering" in this endeavor (it's important to look at key words and this one is interesting) including unions and there are celebrity endorsers, like Hollywood personalities and and his royal highness prince Albert the II of Monaco. With that said, you have an idea of who wasn't at the Occupy 3rd Anniversary.

   No one was calling for revolution. But most people didn't seem to think that electing new people or writing new laws  was going to help much either. One fellow was taking a survey about "Tweeking" vs. "Revolution". I think this was on a lot of people's minds. I attended a group talking about solutions. I don't think anybody really had any, Many people spoke passionately about about the events that had lead them to activism (serving in Vietnam, losing a home, losing a job, living with police brutality.) It seems to me that the faithful of Occupy are those for whom the system has almost entirely failed, or those like me whose heart goes out to them.  I think those marching on Sunday are those who still believe they can get a hold of the system and steer it for their more equitable ends. I personally have come to believe that this has never worked, and won't work.

  But if not this system, if not this structure, then what? And how? At times I had the feeling we were just standing around waiting for a lightening bolt from the Universe. Let's hope it strikes soon.


The day began with a press conference and meeting of alternative media.

   Indeed, given the small number of actual bodies, the media is crucial. Also we need to have better communication between small Occupy groups like ours in northern Vermont.And we need to come up with more solutions that don't involve getting elected to office or getting donations and lobbying people in office. We have lessons from history to tell us which ones don't work. But what will work?

  At 12:30 a small group of us went over to the statue of the bull for an action we had heard was going to take place there. The bull was surrounded several people deep by tourists clamouring to get their photos taken with this beast. Nothing seemed to be happening so we went back to Zuccotti. Finally a group of marchers took off for the bull. This wasn't much more than a half an hour later, but when we arrived the bull was surrounded by metal barricades and guarded by several members of NYPD, high priests of the corporate idol. This didn't affect us much, as the action merely involved symbolically sacrificing pictures bankers and President Obama to the Bull of Greed, but it did inconvenience the tourists and made a great  photo op. Here, tourists on  buses get to see the NYPD guarding a big bronze sculpture as if it were Fort Knox!

   Authority just throwing its weight around. Letting everybody know it's OK to be a mindless tourist getting a meaningless photo taken. Not OK to express opinions (formerly know as Free Speech).

   Dinner, chalking, the guy with the whistle, night falls. The march to Wall Street, originally scheduled for  morning, happened at 8:30 PM. When nobody was there. Though somebody from New York told me that Wall Street is moving elsewhere and the area is becoming more residential. So maybe somebody looked out their window.

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