Can’t seem to find the words to describe exactly how it feels. I am proud. I am concerned. I am resolute, and resolved to an “end game” that no one seems to be able to envision.
When Dallas Students for a Democratic Society invited Unions to join us in Solidarity on May 1, 2011, the response was less than specular. They said they passed the invitation to their membership, but on the day of the march, rally, and Bar-B-Que the turnout was less than anticipated. Some blame the rain. Others say it was apathy. Yet, others in high places decried SDS, and the whole idea of street politics. Still, we marched. We were there.
Through Facebook, I met @Anon_pinko. In July of 2011, after an eleven month stint of unemployment, I got a “tweet” from @AnonymousIRC. An invitation to support something called Occupy Wall Street. It was dedicated to the goal of getting corporate money out of U.S. politics. The slogan, according to @USDOR was, “One Citizen, One Vote, One Dollar.”
As I was training for my new temporary job, @OccupyWallStreet began tweeting. Around New York City, General Assemblies were being formed. Decisions were made based on a 90% approval vote. A test sleep-in was attempted by the art’s committee. They were all arrested, needless to say. Yet, the arrests were thrown out when it came before the judge.
As the date of the September 17, 2011 “step off” drew closer I explained my situation and limitations to @OccupyWallStreet and @USDOR. People depend on my income, and could not risk my employment. I would keep passing the information through Facebook and Twitter.
When the Occupation started, I was glued to my Computer. Moving information. Replying to questions. Defending the movement ever as it was forming. Before training, and after work, I stayed up to keep track of what was happening. That week, on September 23, 2011 (the first day of Autumn), @OccupyChi (for Occupy Chicago) popped up on twitter. A new front was forming. It was here in Chicago.
More and more occupations were formed. Despite the nay-sayers and the experts, politics were again on the street and out in the open. Yet, so few knew about it. Even WGN in Chicago was ignoring the Occupation. It was not until the NY Police Department decided to riot against the peaceful occupiers that the media began paying attention. It was as if the media wanted to ignore the thousands around the nation protesting the Greed of Corporate America. The decision makes a certain amount of sense when you consider that the media is paid to keep up consumerism (the fancy word for greed). Over the short time the movement grew.
Twice in October, #OccupyChi attempted to camp over night at Congress Square (the Northern plaza at the entrance to Grant Park at Michigan and Congress). Twice the Chicago Police Department made mass arrest. The ordnance violation usually carries a citation. Rahm Emmanuel ordered otherwise. On October 15, 2011 the #Solidarity March and Occupation ended with 175 arrests. The following weekend, on October 22, 2011 the Occupation ended with 150 arrests.
Events transpired. Over the course of the end of October, #OccupyOakland was raided, at night as always, by the Oakland P.D. They ran the Occupation off using Tear Gas, Rubber Bullets, and Ballistic Bean Bags. A two tour Iraqi war veteran, Scott Olsen, was hit in the head by an OPD projectile. The movement grew again. Now police and Veterans joined the movement in force. And so did the population of Oakland, and San Francisco. People who, weeks before, cussed out Anon for #OpBART protesting BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) Police Brutality, now cheered the Occupation.
Yesterday, November 2, 2011, , at approximately 8:00 PM CDT, Occupy Oakland shut down the port of Oakland, the fourth largest container port in the U.S. in the largest General Strike in Oakland since 1946.
Most of this remains unnoticed by the establishment, as it still strives to sweep the Occupation into the dust bin, and blame the movement for any police violence. I write this because I have been here on the streets of Chicago, and I have witnessed events.
More to come ….