Taughannock Falls

Taughannock Falls
from: althouse.blogspot.com

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Electric energy in the Big Apple

So the people on the street here in Gotham City are ready for change. When I wear my Jobs with Justice "Stop Corporate Greed" t-shirt, I am peppered with requests from folks who want to know where they can buy one. Hint: not at Walmart!! Even some of the pinstripes in midtown wink and share conspiratorial little grins with me as we pass on the sidewalk. I had one gentleman on 7th Avenue offer me $40 to sell him the shirt off my back. I should talk to the JWJ people, and see if they can't produce some of these treasured items for sale to all the occupiers and sympathizers in town!

People in the U.S. (not just NYC) are pretty much fed up with the status quo. They have no faith in either of the two major parties and the moment is ripe for new parties to emerge. One such party in New York State is known as the "Working Families Party." here's an account from Mathew Cain of the WFP, describing his recent visit to the Wall Street area:

I just got back from the march. The energy was palpable before we even arrived at Foley Square. Taking the subway from the office, it seemed like everyone else in the car was headed to the march.

When we got to the square around 4pm, people were streaming in from all directions. Literally thousands of people. Across the square, several WFP field staff were standing on the steps. For some of the staffers, it was their first time at the square, but for many others they had already spent nights sleeping in the park. Even those who have been there for two weeks or more have not seen their spirits diminished – they’re every bit as committed as they were when they first showed up.

WFP staff in the crowd

During the march, I talked to the people around us, to see what motivated them. There were a lot of students and recent college graduates, worried about loans and job prospects, but there were also climate activists, public health workers, and housing advocates (“Homeless shelters, not tax shelters!”). It’s clear that, while there is no one unifying demand, everyone was brought together out of a desire to see a more equitable society that treats all its members fairly.

Whenever I broke out of the stream to take pictures, it was obvious that it was a big group. A huge group. The street was packed in both directions, as far as I could see, with people holding signs and chanting: “We are the 99%!” “The people, united, will never be defeated!” “Show me what democracy looks like! This is what democracy looks like!” “How do you fix the deficit? End the wars and tax the rich!”

Intensely yet peacefully, we marched from Foley Square to Zuccotti Park, Occupy Wall Street’s home base. The overflow crowd milled about as organizers prepared for the General Assembly, practicing their “people’s mic” – a process where everyone within earshot repeats what the speaker said to spread the word to the edges of the crowd.

As I left to head back to the office close to 8pm, marchers, undiminished, were still pouring into Zuccotti Park.

Here's an idea for all my peeps in the heartland. Why not find a Bank of America Plaza, or similar symbol of corporate greed, to occupy in your hometown? It's fun and good for the soul!

1 comment:

Ulysses said...

You don't have to "occupy" for days and weeks, a few hours is enough to make the point!