Sunday, October 9, 2011

An Overview of Occupy Wall St, From a Fledgling Protester

After briefly visiting OWS earlier this week, and having friends visiting from Boston [and attendees of Occupy Boston themselves] we decided to return to the epicenter of the movement. 

I can’t even begin to express my awe of the “village” the protesters have built and their near-impeccable organization. The People’s Library, the buffet-style food distribution [free and warm meals], the sleeping arrangements, and the seemingly infinite signs located everywhere. It was beautiful.

Recycling, sharing, and music were some of the things that stood out to me the most. The generosity and, well, solidarity displayed by the 99% is so apparent. The peaceful nature and creative ways to circumvent and still obey regulations was probably the highlight of it for me.

Whenever someone would ring out “Mic check!” among us, we were sure to reply in kind, in order to get the message out due to the inability to use megaphones.

As I sat on the wall with my sign [“Can’t afford a $ign”] and like minded people, the idea of nobody listening or paying attention seemed ludicrous. Honestly, if I had a dollar for every tourist/citizen/spectator who made a comment about or took a picture of me and my sign, let alone the entire movement….well, I’d probably be in the 1% right now. Throughout the march, our chants and invitations to any spectator to come join us filled the sidewalks [we didn’t want another Brooklyn Bridge incident on our hands] almost as overwhelmingly as our presence. The NYPD, thankfully, was peaceful and I didn’t witness any altercations or words exchanged for my time there. 

The only time I really felt insulted or heated was when someone felt the need to comment to me to “get a job”, to which I yelled back “I have two and I’m still in debt, what’s your excuse?!” Really now, critics have been so quick to assume that the movement is a bunch of jobless whining brats who won’t get anything done. And I agree, there are plenty of those, and trustafarians whose parents corporate jobs are allowing them to come out, but those are not a reflection of the whole. This issue affects 99% of us after all, so we need to start acting like it does. 

This has already spread nationwide, and I’ve had friends go to Occupy Boston, LA, and Miami. I’ve read accounts of Denver, Seattle and Tulsa. We are growing. It’s already been proven this is more than some angry hippies in a park. If you haven’t stopped by a protest near you, at least research the movement. It’s pretty amazing, and worth looking into. Even if you don’t agree. Hell, especially if you don’t agree.