I’m writing this at the end of the twelfth day of #occupywallstreet about a place many people are calling Zucotti Park. I know it as Liberty Square and so should you.
The best part about this movement is twofold for me. That the 99% – everyone but the greedy and corrupt 1% – can come together and begin to build momentum is astonishing to me, especially since after years of rancor this now seems totally possible. Second, that the fact that it will not be televised much does not matter since most of us hold Twitter and YouTube in the palm of our hands.
I stopped by Liberty Square this afternoon around noon during a lull from the tremendous excitement that has taken place there over almost a fortnight. I saw a beautiful mix of occupiers of all stripes and ages, construction workers, tourists and office workers having a dialogue. The protestors have set up camp; there are mattresses, tents, and a kitchen where pizza boxes are saved and turned into signs of dissent. A sign read, “Lunch @ 1:30.”
Nearby was a truck that said Wikileaks on it with what looked like correspondents on mattresses inside. At the eastern end of the park the double-decker tour buses and Christian Walking tours happened upon shirtless radical types yelling and holding signs that said, “Please consider joining us. We Love you.”
All sorts of folks have showed up to rally the protestors, like Cornell West, Susan Sarandon, and Michael Moore. Columnist Chris Hedges gave a popular hour long live stream Q&A from the park’s media center. Tonight is the monthly Critical Mass bike ride, which is likely to be #occupywallstreet themed.
One of the fascinating things for me – having grown up here and watched many acts of dissent and experienced police brutality first hand – is watching in real time all the niches under the 99% umbrella find their voices under the respective city’s #occupy hash tags on Twitter. This is the connector that was missing. I’ve set up streams to read what's going on in major cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland, Boston, Chicago in addition to New York, and they are all buzzing along, connecting folks who give each other permission to be angry. Meanwhile, the cyber radical group Anonymous is making videos aimed at getting the attention of alienated youth.
It’s no surprise, however, that much of the televised news media has a blackout on the coverage of this and most dissent, they know if they show it, they will perpetuate it. The major news outlets are now merely part of entertainment divisions that write narratives and parameters for discussion, all while we thought that was just on primetime. One canary in the coal mine was Lawrence O'Donnell on MSNBC; wait till America sees this.
One anonymous source told Crain's that the #occupy movement is getting too big to ignore. Let’s prove them right, let’s all join the 99%.
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“I think a lot,” laughed the artist Itziar Barrio, stationed at the desk in her fifth floor studio at CSV (Clemente Soto Velez) on Suffolk Street in Manhattan. “That’s my job!” We were discussing her past eight years working as a full time artist – six of them in New York …