Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break.
On Wednesday, I attended my first OccupyWallStreet meeting for my community here in Bunkerstan.
I found them on the OccupyTogether.org website where perhaps 6 people had RSVP’d to this meeting. So I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was a bit awed that in a small city like mine, over thirty showed up after only one week of someone here trying to get the thing started.
We met in a small car repair shop in downtown. The gentleman who owned the garage had initiated the effort to organize our city. On a work bench in his repair bay, he had literature from the OWS folks in New York, Occupy Together, and Anonymous. The excitement of the people there was palpable. We experienced a truly democratic meeting: many voices spoke out, and with only a few exceptions, there was no antagonism. The gentleman leading the effort was clear that we are all the 99 percent, whether Tea Party, or Progressive, and that we all have that one thing in common.
There was a lot of grey hair at the meeting. In fact, I think there were only a handful of people younger than me, and I’m thirty-nine. This photo captures perhaps a third of the attendees who were present. It shows that the meme that the OWS movement is a bunch of kids with nothing better to do is just plain fiction.
People are fired up. Attendees were passionate about democratic principles and participation in democracy. I spoke with several of them, and they agreed that government is not the problem, and that the persistent attacks upon “big government” are in part driven by those who wish to cripple government so that it cannot regulate the One Percenters and corporate interests.
We recognized the need to organize committees to tackle important needs early and sought volunteers for three working groups: media, general assembly, and security. Media would primarily involve press relations, internet communications, signage etc. The general assembly would be tasked with articulating the vision of our group in terms of what we hoped to achieve, and how we would approach the problems. And security would be tasked with making sure that our protests remain peaceful and law abiding, and that we don’t run afoul of the police. Attendees were clear that any demonstrations would be legal, peaceful, and engage in no activities that would prompt police to become involved. A specific example was forbidding the use of alcohol or drugs at the protest.
We even had a representative of the AFL-CIO on-site. She indicated that the AFL-CIO was prepared to provide resources and assistance to the OWS group here in Bunkerstan. Other union representatives may have been present in the meeting, although they didn’t identify themselves.
We’ll be meeting again this weekend to plan our first protest. I’ll keep you up to date.