Well, it’s been a week and a half since my first post on the Occupy Wall Street protests. In that time, people have started to pay a lot more attention. Not that the coverage is good or necessarily fair, but the Occupiers can’t be ignored anymore, especially after the arrest of 700 peaceful people on the Brooklyn Bridge on October 1st, and then a march of more than 10,000 people on the 5th. (Estimates of attendance that day range from 2,000 to 30,000 people. I’d split the difference; in any case, it was enormous.)
I’ve stopped by Zuccotti Park/Liberty Plaza a couple of times, donated some simple supplies I could gather from my home, and took part in the October 5th march. And I’m planning on being there–hopefully with the Dude this time–on October 15th, when the next large-scale event is planned.
You should be going, too. The last march, though slow, was peaceful. It’s was also incredibly exhilarating. Thousands of people of all ages, races, and professions were in attendance (don’t be fooled by “trustafarian” rhetoric). There were a number of people there riding coattails to promote pet causes (anti-circumcision, pro-vegan, etc.) but they were also carrying signs and voicing their support for the larger message that corporate influence over the US political process has to end. My favorite chant was that of a group of pre-K children, marching with their mothers/caregivers, proudly shouting “STOP! BEING! GREEDY!”
While the coverage of the protests has necessarily increased, the tone of that coverage still leaves a lot to be desired, even from those who should be sympathetic to the cause. The GOP (and a number of Dems, but they’re being much more circumspect, generally speaking), which today I read now stands for Greedy One Percent, are fuh-reeking out. Please see Jon Stewart on their inherent absurdity.
I’d also recommend David Sirota’s piece at Salon about what’s behind conservatives’ hand-waving criticisms, like calling the protests “riots,” and bandying about that already-tired term “class warfare.” The money quote: “the modern Republican Party doesn’t just object to 1960s-style imagery, tactics and political performance art, it objects to the concrete legislative results of 1960s mass protest.” In other words, they’re scared because public activism, long and slow though it may be, can change policy.
So get on it. Educate yourself by going down to an Occupy event near you. Livestream one of the talks going on at OWS–Slavoj Zizek‘s (transcript at link) this weekend was pretty great–and there’s one today about how income inequality is bad not just for the people suffering in poverty, but for the entire system. Get out in the streets: Occupy Together has all the basic info to help you find a demonstration near you.
Have you been involved in actions in your neighborhood. Please fill us in! How is it going? What do you need?