Category Archives: ows

Signs of the Times at OWS

I attended OWS again on Oct 22. The occupation is now in it’s sixth week. It has spawned countless other occupations in the country and worldwide. It has survived a serious attempt by Mayor Bloomie to evict the occupiers, and after that they have truly set up camp. The numbers of the true occupiers, those who brave the fall NY cold has grown as well. When the occupation started, they were not allowed to pitch tents. Then the medical team setup a tent. The city tried to make them take it down, but lost to the occupiers in that effort as well.

This tent is fully equipped for anything short of mayhem. Donations of medical doo-dads arrive every day and are stored a block away. The tent is run by RNs 24/7. These RNs are donating their time of course. One said to me that although the medical field has avoided the massive decimation of jobs "you never know".

After that, people set up tents and the little city bloomed.

Just one little corner of the city of Liberty Park. Besides these tents, there is an area to feed people, a press center, a comfort center (with warm clothes) and even a library! The library had everything from books on organizing to mysteries!

As far as people spouting political stuff, there seems to be a contingent of Ron Paul supporters desperately looking for some sort of support. “End the Fed” is their theme.  They are loud, they do not get stacked at a  GA, so they are mostly an annoyance, no one gives them much attention.

There was a story in USA today about a 25 year old woman who graduated with $50,000 in student loans. She accepted this was her “fault”. She had gone to Penn State instead of staying home in Maryland to go to school. She had a low paying job, without any health benefits, and was making payments on her loan, being responsible. Then she got mugged. Her medical bills were $30,000. Now she is without a job (she got fired for missing a couple of weeks recovering) and $80k in debt. So she came to join OWS.

I was there on a Saturday. Even though technically I too was a tourist, the numbers of tourists sort of made the place seem like the Disneyland of the Revolution. There were Japanese tourists running around with their cameras  pointing at people and laughing while they snapped away.

All this extra-curricular activity truly crowded little Liberty Park and made it very difficult to have meaningful discussions.   So I just watched and took my own photos.

The signs people are making remain both to  the point, and usually quite creative.

I had to laugh at this guy.

I think this boomer has the right idea. This revolution IS what we can do for our country, IMHO.

A little grim, but it raises little grins. In case you do not know, not a single person has been brought up on any charges for the collapse of the economy due to the mortgage scandal. Not one.

Yes, true. Now let us take this resolve and use it to solve the problem!

These guys just do not look like unwashed hippies to me. YOU?

I was on my way out of the park to go home and watch game 3 of the world series ( I still have some priorities right) when I saw this person, so I did not get to ask what she meant, or what a house elve is.

It takes all kinds to make a revolution. I cannot imagine a revolution without clowns.

Two authors I am shamed to say I know nothing of have become cultural heroes in the park. Zinn is one, and the other is De La Vega. Looks like I have some serious reading to do

As the occupation grows, the park fills, and the winter arrives, people are housing "out-of-towners" through an organized effort. This is just another group that exists in this city-in-a-city to make it self sustaining.

This display of union workers hard hats was established in homage to the liberty tree in Boston where the elite of the first American Revolution met with commoners to talk about freedom from England.

A version of the American flag. It should be noted that not a single flag burning has occured, and the GA has determined that old glory cannot be flown up-side-down. The occupiers love America, they just want the American dream for anyone willing to work for it. They do not want hand outs, they want good paying jobs with health insurance,

If not us, who? Who indeed.

Yes.

Of course the NYPD presence is incredible. They stay outside the park. It is almost like they have the occupiers in a corral. If they decide to make a march on something, they do not ask permission, but they do say “We are marching on blah de blah at 1 p.m. The police all seem to be in a good mood. They too are just “watching the freaks”.

Of course they have everyone on film. I do not think anyone cares. I just waved and remembered to "smile at the camera".

I do not know, in fact I doubt, I will be back at the epicenter again. I have made my small monetary contribution. Monetary contributions now have passed a half million dollars. Add that to the tons of supplies and enough food to feed a division, and this movement has some serious footing.

Thanks for reading. Pass along this new reality to your friends. America is OCCUPIED!

As occupied as this restroom across the street, Mickey is open 24/7, and is doing land office business, so they keep the toilets open for us. People go in, buy a coffee and use the toilet. Life could be worse.

The Largest Small Place in America.

Zuccotti Park, in lower Manhattan is less than what you would call a square block. But the vibes it gives off are huge.

I am staying at my sis-in-law’s pad in Harlem, If you know NYC, it is 147th and Broadway.

The easiest, cheapest and quickest way to get anywhere in NYC is the subway. I took the storied “A Train” to lower Manhattan and switched trains to a Wall Street stop. I was actually wondering how I was going to find the park. I thought I would have to ask a cop “Which way to the revolution?”

I got off the train, walked up the stairs to the street and was immediately drawn by an energy force. Honestly.  I did not even have to look. I just walked two blocks and there it was. The epicenter of a new America.  All the reading and watching videos did nothing to prepare me for the next 8 hours of my life.  An old saying is you cannot write what you do not know about. I can update that and say you cannot understand a movement, a community or a people until you personally experience it with your eyes and your feet.

Now, I must write about it. The energy force has occupied every pore of my body. I am determined to try to spread the word. So friends, please keep reading and try to excuse the hyperbole I will definitely use. If you had been there, no matter your political persuasion, your age, your race, creed or planet of origin,   you would get hyperbolic as well.

I do not even know where to start. Let’s cover that age, creed, race and planet thing first. I would hazard to guess that average age was 30 to 35. 80% white folk including people in Yarmulkes. There were lots of Latinos and blacks and a handful of Asians.  Next time someone tells you this is just a bunch of young white hippies skipping class, they are either lying or ignorant. As far as extraterrestrials go, yeah I figure a few of the people I saw did not exactly get there on the subway.

Political persuasion? Well, I approached dozens of people and asked questions like “on a sliding scale 1 to 10, with Adam Smith at 1 and Karl Marx at 10, where do you put yourself?” The average answer was 7, I say average. There were a couple proud 10’s and quite a few 3’s or 4’s.

I asked if they were going to vote in 2012. Most of the people were hesitant to say yes. Many said that they were so disappointed in Obama that they wish they had another viable option. I must say, no one I met there is going to vote for any of the clowns the Republicans are pushing. But I think Obama is in trouble. As the realities expressed in the voices of this movement reach more people, they are going to just stay home in November 2012. There is nothing Obama can do about it either. He cannot reach this new community. He does not speak the language.

Wow, the language. First, I do not think I heard the F word used in anger once in 8 hours. I did hear people say “I hope this makes American wake the f up”. But out of the hundred or so possible uses of the F word, not a single “F’n wall street” or “F’n government” and certainly not a single “F you”. The overall civility of this community is not only impressive, it is inspiring.

Much more to come on the language. I will incorporate the language into my snapshot views of events of the day. It might sound like I have stopped speaking English.

I went to two GAs. I did not get stacked. I participated in the mic checks. OK, in English.

A GA is a General Assembly, but no one calls them that. These were both special GAs to deal with an impending invasion of the park by Mayor Bloomberg’s forces at 7 a.m. the next day. This is a really big deal. By the time you read this the community may be gone. Here is the situation, and believe me this was the topic everyone was discussing. Some background. Zuccotti Park is a privately owned piece of land. It is open to the public to enjoy and eat their lunch. It is a hangout for wall street brown baggers, you know, the little people without expense accounts. The company that owns it wants the stinking hippies gone. On the board of directors of the company sits Bloomies girlfriend. So, he is taking the boys in blue, making them wear brown shirts on Friday morning and invading the park. We shall see what happens.

Getting stacked means being put in the queue to speak at the GA. The facilitator stacks you, and you will get your turn.

When your turn comes, you yell out MIC CHECK. Then everyone around you yells MIC CHECK. Then everyone further out in the crowd yells MIC CHECK. Then you say GOOD AFTERNOON. Then everyone around you yells out GOOD AFTERNOON. Then everyone further out in the crowd yells GOOD AFTERNOON. Then you say WHAT I NEED TO SAY IS. Then everyone around you yells WHAT I NEED TO SAY IS. Then everyone further out in the crowd yells WHAT I NEED TO SAY IS.  Basically you speak in short phrases, and a thousand people repeat what you just said very loudly. A woman said I LOVE YOU, and a thousand people yelled out I LOVE YOU. She just needed to hear it!

There is a form of communication which I think is based on American Sign Language, but I’m not sure. If someone is speaking, you do not clap or yell “right on” or boo or anything, because you are too busy participating in the MIC CHECKS. So if you like something you raise a hand and wiggle your fingers. If you like it a lot you raise both hands. If you don’t like it, you point your fingers downward. The MIC CHECKS are made necessary because the cops outlawed bullhorns, or any form of amplification, probably because of all the businesses surrounding the park. So…they have to put up with a couple thousand people screaming everything. HA HA

I had lunch with a guy my age who is in charge of sorting and delivering contributions that are coming in literally by the ton. People across the country are sending stuff to a UPS office a block from the park. The manager of the office supports OWS, but all of a sudden his facility is chock full. The local teachers union had some basement space warehouse nearby, and now it is getting full also. People are sending in everything a community needs from drinking water to blankets to Imodium by the case. The biggest problem they have is money orders. They are at a loss as to what to do with over $100k seems how anything they could buy is being donated anyway.

All these facts and figures and short stories do nothing to convey the sense of “WE THE PEOPLE”, the feeling of ‘THIS IS THE BEGINNING”  and the awe at the fact that what started as a small group is now a nationwide happening, and still growing.

And to sum it all up, the beautiful thing is nobody is making demands, there are no leaders. To the establishment OWS is an enigma wrapped in a puzzle. To the people in the country, they are hearing the basic fact that it is time to WAKE THE FUCK UP BECAUSE WHAT WE GOT IS NOT WORKING ANY MORE!

I honestly can say I watched history being made.

Worldwide press coverage and the site is so small it blows your mind

This is the guy I mentioned in the story who handles the contributions.His activism goes way back.He loves this stuff. As experienced as he is, he acknowledges that OWS is something new and different.

An RN at the medical table

Finally I am on the same sideof an issue as the hardhats! At lunch time there were many workers from the 9/11construction site (a block away) who came over in support

And yes, there are quite few people from the planet WTF

There was not a single "official" T shirt to be had. But if you went across the street to aa men's store and bought one, you could get this guy to spray paint a slogan with a stencil.

That’s it folks. If you liked this post, go to occupywallstreet.org and make a donation. Thanks for reading.Welcome to the new world!

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