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In November, I spent a week in downtown New York City. I’ve been there a fair few times before, though this time I had made myself a mission to go and learn as much as I could about what was happening on the ground at Occupy Wall Street. I left Urbana days after the encampment had been raided, and after traveling, I was nervous in a way that I had never been before to get off the subway at Wall St. When I walked up the concrete stairs, I looked around and saw all men. Some in suits, behind the police barricaded New York Stock Exchange, some in uniforms, enforcing that the barricades remain where they are, it looked barren, desolate and guarded. I’m not getting arrested I told myself. I’m not doing anything wrong- I wasn’t, though similar to how I slow down on the highway when I see authority even though I am not speeding, I had the same reaction to seeing police and stock brokers uFor more information, we would love to see you there!pon getting off the subway the first day I got to New York.
Not every subway stop that one can walk up from is this heavily guarded, I think my luck was just that I landed at one with a particularly heavy police presence that day. Nevertheless, there is a lot of police presence down there, and only some of them are in uniforms. I found my way to Liberty Plaza, the center of where it all started. I found myself discouraged after not too long from the lack of organizing that I encountered there. Then I found the “people’s librarian” and he directed me to 60 Wall Street- the Deutch Bank lobby where a large majority of the meetings were happening.
I felt pretty well at home at that first meeting that I went to. It was a movement building meeting that attracted a lot of new comers on the monday before thanksgiving. The new comers were from other city’s GA’s mostly, though some had never been. It wasn’t a huge, meeting like Direct ACtion or Facilitation, though the spirit of excitement was the same. There was a woman from Italy who spoke about getting outreach and sang the praises of motivating power of real people sharing why they are there. The why that keeps people coming back through lines of cops, even when it’s scary, the fear of what may happen if we don’t do this, and the feeling all throughout their being that the time is now.
When I returned, I shared my experiences with others at The School for Designing a Society and we began the work to host a local event; Truck Stop for the Long Haul. This would allow for reexamining the whys of Occupy, and focusing in on our what so that we have a better chance of making this a lasting movement that brings about the change that we want to see. The Truck Stop for the Long Haul included workshops, eating, and networking with all kinds of folks here in CU. Some of the workshops included the following:
*cybernetic approaches to consensus
*alternative structures to hierarchy
*tech in and for the movement
*caring for the social environment
*making protest alluring and enchanting
*occupy the heart yoga (yep that’s right, yoga)!
To hear more about what happened at Truck Stop for the Long Haul, pick up next month’s issue of the public i!