I recently had a dinner visit with a conservative friend. It’s not often that I unmask myself as a former “occupier.” He seemed surprised that I took part in the movement. When people ask, it can seem hard to explain why Occupy Wall Street took place. In my mind, it is harder to understand why the occupation didn’t start sooner. Some say we failed, or that we disappeared. In reality, many of the 99% could not understand who we were because of the twisted stories the media produced. In actuality, we did not disappear, we just “occupied” the role of problem-solving. Many of us continue to work for the common good.
I recently found an old copy of The Occupied Wall Street Journal. I was thinking of throwing it away, as I disdain clutter in my life. But this artifact bears a bittersweet memory. This article does a good job of articulating the reason Wall Street was Occupied: Why We Fight.
Here is another excerpt from The Occupied Wall Street Journal that I could not find online to link:
THEY TELL YOU WE ARE DREAMERS. The true dreamers are those who think things can go on indefinitely the way they are. We are not dreamers. We are awakening from a dream which is turning into a nightmare. We are not destroying anything. We are only witnessing how the system is destroying itself. To be engaged in fighting for freedom, you have first to free yourself from the chains of ruling ideology. When you criticize capitalism, don’t allow yourself to be blackmailed that you are against democracy. THE CHANGE IS POSSIBLE. – Slavoj Zizek, Liberty Square, NYC, October 2011
As I think back, the other amazing thing about Occupy, was the direct democratic vote by consensus. When we would tell police officers that we had no leader, they found it hard to believe. And yet, even leaderless, we made decisions as a group. The process was pretty amazing. This article explains how we were Enacting the Impossible.
Printed is also a timeline of the global Occupy Movement, but again, not digitized – so I go to the web logs.
- 17 Dec, 2010: Tunisia
- 25 Jan, 2011: Egypt & The Arab Spring
- 17 Feb, 2011: Wisconsin & Ohio
- 15 May, 2011: Spain
- 25 May, 2011: Greece
- 17 Sept, 2011: OWS
- 29 Sept, 2011: The Declaration of Occupation
- Oct 5, 2011: Labor Moves
- 14-15 Oct, 2011: The Sweep
- (24 Sept) 25 Oct, 2011: Police Violence
- 2 Nov, 2011: General Strike Thousands march in solidarity across the country.
- 15 Nov, 2011: The 1% Attacks Oakland mayor admits she was on a conference call strategizing with mayors of 18 cities, while an official from the DOJ indicated that each action was coordinated with help from the DHS and the FBI along with other federal agencies.
And then The Protester occupied TIME Magazine. Wow, I made Person of the Year! What an honor🙂
You might say I’m a dreamer – but I’m not the only one. We get our strength while living in the reality of the present moment. And the compassionate heart wants kind justice. When the goal becomes to change the world, or even just another person, or ourselves – the challenge is overwhelming – and as such, the reaction can become aggressive. Change happens naturally – reality is always in flux. We must never stop asking ourselves what makes reality a reality. It is then that we discover that reality is fluid, not concrete. When we live kindly and fearlessly, the outcome is compassion and peace.