There is a firestorm right now on Twitter. Apparently #OWS released a statement condemning anti-Semitism, yet removed a tweet about #freedomwaves (there is a new boat to Gaza, if you hadn’t heard) and Gaza.
Yesterday’s Guardian ran an article on a growing controversy among the ranks of OWSers. Apparently, a working group in New York has been established to put forth a set of demands.
On Tuesday night they will hold what could be one of the most controversial mass meetings at Zuccotti Park so far when the general assembly discusses whether the movement should officially call for a massive public works programme with government employment, paid for by ending all of America’s overseas military operations.
The substance of the demand is not the subject of the controversy. Rather, it is the principle of adopting a demand, and the process for doing so, that have opened a rift between “purists”, who favour consensus-building, and those now arguing for majority rule on some decisions.
The underlying force of the movement and its ultimate goals (inasmuch as “social revolution” is a goal) come from a collective understanding that radical social upheaval (revolution) is necessary to guarantee long-term sustainability and security. But this is a long process.
My intention was to head to Boston today to Occupy our fair city of tea parties and revolution, but it is dreary and raining and I know, I know, I am lame and so not hardcore. I’ll embrace my role as an armchair activist.
Until I get off my tuchas (sp?), look what’s lacking at Occupies Maine and Baltimore.
Overcast and chilly, it was a real New England fall day. The crowd was small but dedicated, and more than willing to talk. We talked about Obama and Ron Paul, about minarchism and anarchism and socialism and capitalism. It was the most intimate Occupation I’ve attended, and though not particularly inspiring as far as the scale of participation it was meaningful to see familiar faces.
I love being in Philadelphia. I love everything about it. I love that it smells like pee and beer and dirty city grime. I love that it is so diverse, so proud, so hard-working.
Philadelphia was pretty much everything I think an occupation should be. Sprawling out from the west side of Philadelphia’s majestic city hall is a city of tents, a network of pop-up alleys and fabricated quiet corners. There is a family section, where children are welcome not just to protest during the day but to join in the full-time occupation. There is an arts section that occupies a whole row of benches in the square, and the entire northern end of the square is dedicated to the “cafe”: the 24/7 access to food and drink donated by insiders and outsiders. They’ve located themselves in just such a way so when you emerge from the City Hall subway station, you find yourself smack dab in the middle of the largest people’s movement in this country since the 1960s or ’70s.
“The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it’s profitable to continue the illusion. at the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will take down the scenery, pull back the curtain, and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.”
Occupy DC is small, way smaller than New York. But that’s unsurprising. I saw a baton twirler I had seen in New York, though, so that was cool. Small world, I guess.
The scene in New York is a mix of “dirty hippie,” hipster Brooklyn-ite, and nondescript people of all ages, shapes, sizes, and colors.
DC is a little heavier on the “dirty hippie” thing. It doesn’t have the same sardines encampment feel, although the park is bigger and there is more grass. A much more pleasant sleeping arrangement, I can only imagine.
“Over here are the Occupy Wall Street protestors. They’re awesome. They’re doing a great thing. If I didn’t have this job, I’d be down there with them.” Cue gestures of solidarity.