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Thank you Occupy Wall Street

Thank you for celebrating your birthday in such a breathtaking and classy way.  It was also fiendishly clever, considering how many Verizon workers were marching with us.

The most amazing thing about walking about a quarter way over the Brooklyn Bridge and then looking back was not that we made that bat signal happen.  It was that we were extending the occupation to everyone in the city and everyone who was coming into the city from Brooklyn.  And they took up the invitation with gusto, cheering and honking from their cars.  Not at *us* but for themselves.  They got to be part of a most wonderful day.  I will never forget it.

The occupiers of Zuccotti Park are very brave people.  I suspect that they knew that they needed to sacrifice themselves.  And in that sacrifice, they brought everyone together.  We all grew up thinking that we “could say whatever we want” because “it’s a free country”.  Admit it, you used to say that in the playground to your friends turned suddenly enemies (but you made up over a shared popsicle).  But saying anything you want, whereever you want, has dire consequences these days.  It can also bring out the courage of your friends.  I sprinted from Union Square to Foley Square with thousands and thousands of students who were surrounded by police but managed to occupy the streets anyway.  Then I stood for hours with the most cheerful bunch of musicians, local 802.  It was a pleasure to spend the evening with Aurora and her friends.

But the “bat signal” will be hard to top.  Projecting the aspirations of humanity on a symbol of corporate overreach was a stroke of genius.  And there I was, on the Brooklyn Bridge for the first time in my life, cheering along with the cars down below who were amazed and delighted to be a part of it all.

This is not the beginning of the end.  This is the beginning of the beginning.  The occupation of Zuccotti Park was a transient event.  The occupation of our hearts will live as long as we do.

Subvert the dominant paradigm.

Happy Birthday to all of us occupiers no matter where we are.

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43 Responses

  1. Thank you sssooooooo much RD for your running dialogue today, because you were my link to what was happening… and being in L.A., I really wanted to be there! I did go to livestream. but it was so chaotic I couldn’t watch much of it for too long. I loved how you barely made it out of the barricades, before they started arresting people. But most of all I l admire you. because you went there and you supported this most important event. You’re right, “it’s no the beginning of the end, it’s the beginning of the beginning”

  2. RD,

    Thanks too for being there. Would have been there myself, but I injured my ankle. I was at my local pharmacy a few days ago
    and I overheard one of the pharmacists speaking loudly to a customer
    over the telephone and this is what I heard (close to verbatim):

    Pharmacist: Yes, it will now cost you $1500 a month. Your insurance will no longer cover it. (repeated several times).

    Pharmacist: Please do not yell at me, I work my ass off here.

    Pharmacist: This country is no longer rich, all the money went to Wall Street.

    Pharmacist: You are not happy ? Then go to Occupy Wall Street.

    Pharmacist: You have not heard of Occupy Wall Street ? Then turn on your TV.

    I said to the pharmacist that I could not help but overhear the conversation and asked what that all about. She said that due to a change in Medicare, customers were finding out that some of their medication was no longer covered.

    I have also noticed that a number of local stores have OWS flyers posted by or near their front entrance.

    • Dang! How did you mess up your ankle?

      I hope you caught a glimpse of the Verizon building.

      • Hi RD,

        Thanks for your concern. What happened was that I twisted my ankle getting out of bed. Nothing serious, but it was enough that I was hobbling about for a while and so long walks were out of the question.

        Unfortunately, I can’t see the Verizon building from where I am, but your photos made me smile.

    • Good story. The pharmacist should have said “turn off your TV” however – maybe “turn on your computer”

      • NYS,

        Thanks. I am also wondering how common signs/flyers/messages about OWS are in areas well away from the the various occupation sites.

  3. Glad you got to experience that and that you are home safe to the kid. Thanks for covering it. When you get a chance tell me if my donation went through. My name actually is Teresa but my last name is not Inpa.
    Some people were wondering where all the protesters got to when they left Z park. I think I will go let them know. = )

  4. I was impressed by the strategy throughout. The direct action people were like generals sending armies into battle. They were dispatching several groups at a time, in different directions, making sure there were no conflicts. Everything they planned to cover was covered! Besides, they were clever enough to adapt their strategy to any change of circumstances. Of course the tabloids will scream “Chaos!”
    http://edgeoforever.wordpress.com/2011/11/18/tabloids-do-ows/
    Don’t buy it! It was a coordinated ballet and a show of force!

    • Yup, that’s what the organizers at Z park told me. They had coordinated with the marchers to Union Square. There were to be multiple routes to the square and each marcher was assigned a route. And it made perfect sense. Because you could be just milling around, eating your lunch from a street vendor or dropping off your dry cleaning and at the right time, end up in Union Square. And that’s exactly what happened. We got there a few minutes before the march started and thought the crowd was a decent size. Then all of the sudden, people started pouring into the square from all directions. It was stunning. They kept coming and coming. And traffic came to a complete standstill. I was marching between cars for block after block. In fact, I think we picked up people on the street as we went. And EVERYBODY in the city was either watching from their windows several stories up or from their storefronts or from their cars or from the taxis and buses.
      I heard only one negative comment. Some guy leaned out of his window and screamed, “Go home to your own country!” We all looked at each other in puzzlement and said almost in unison, “We ARE home. This is our country”

  5. thanks for the report sure I saw you on TV.
    glad that you are home safe RD.

  6. Here’s the video with the whole message bat-signaled on the Verizon building

    • This is AMAZING!! It must have been astonishing to see it actually happening! …. Verizon didn’t do it though, did they?

      • Fuck no. I’m sure Verizon was as surprised as we were.
        The funny thing was that we had no idea what was happening until we were actually on the bridge. There were people coming off the bridge from the opposite direction and all they said is there’s a message waiting for you and to walk over and turn around. They had these little knowing smiles but never said what the message was. It was the biggest well-kept secret. So, we started to walk across and then heard all of the cars beeping and people yelling out of their windows and someone pointed back at manhattan and said “LOOK OVER THERE!”
        We all just gasped, our jaws dropped and then *we* were whooping and yelling and waving down at the cars and they were beeping and yelling and it was like a big party. The best party I’ve ever been to and absolutely no alcohol.
        We were so tired and cold and numb and then saw THAT and suddenly, it was like a weight lifted from our shoulders. It was like the perfect ending to a perfect day. All that was missing was the hot chocolate.

        • I love it. Thanks so much for sharing a great day!

        • Great interview at Boing Boing with the creator of the bat signal. A poor single mother of three living on the 16th floor in public housing across the street made it possible and wouldn’t take a cent. She said it was “for the people”. I wish somehow we could start something to help her and her kids have a wonderful Christmas.

          Here’s the link.

  7. Can they hear us now?

  8. Joe Cannon has a bit up mentioning how the print and broadcast media is lying about the OWS protesters. Why should anyone be surprised about that?

    If some media brain washed loon brings the bad behavior of a few of the protesters (plants) up just ask them where Saddam’s WMDs are, then tell them to STFU.

    • they can lie all they want. Who’s going to believe them after the bat signal?

      • Who?

        The same folks that believe Al Gore is a serial liar, Hillary Clinton had Vince Foster killed, or Bill Clinton committed a crime when he lost money on his Whitewater investments. That single payer in Canada, France and Germany is a failure, and that Iraq had WMDs aimed at our shores.

        Canards all foisted on the public by the print and broadcast media. Now they want you to belive that OWS is a bunch of dirty, smelly, rapist hippies too lazy to find work.

        • You’re right, Mr. Mike. But the thing is, we’ve all wasted too much time and energy thinking that some combination of logic, reason, appeal to conscience, common sense would magically bring sight to the willfully blind. It’s like the wife of an alcoholic hanging on hoping something she says or does will do the trick. What I love about OWS is that they said, “No more talking! Let’s rumble!” And, the amazing thing is, that once they did that, it triggered an unstoppable tsunami sweeping over everything…the bickering left, the incoherent left. Manifest proof of Michael Moore’s hypothesis that this is a liberal country. Moore’s had some dumb ideas….O was one…but he was right about that. I expect the police to defect. It’ll be slow at first, then it’ll reach a tipping point. Same with the military. Same with small businesses.

          Go, RD! Sent you a little cab fare yesterday too. Wish I had more to offer. You’re the greatest!

          Go, Conflucians!

      • Bat Signal?

        Watch how quickly NYC enacts an ordinance prohibiting laser devices.

    • Market Ticker has a good piece up too about the 1st amendment and rights of protestors vs. non-protestors

  9. The person who donated the use of her apartment for projecting the bat signal is a poor woman in a housing project, Denise Vega. She wouldn’t take money from OWS because “This is for the people.” But maybe she’ll take it if we all send her a dollar each….

    • When I saw that boing boing article, I thought the same thing.

    • Do you have a link so we can figure out how to get something to her?

      • See the boing boing article for the name of the guy who set it up. Maybe we can find her address from him.

        • For security reasons, maybe someone should rent a Post Office box and give her the key. Then no one person, or OWS, would be responsible for the money. And her home address would not be made public, which might attract trouble. (If it’s already been outed, still her mailbox at the project is probably not very secure.)

          I’m on the wrong coast.

          • There was so much info about her in the Boing Boing interview, it wouldn’t be hard to find her. But I think a PO box is a good idea.

  10. Without OWS I doubt that this You Tube video would ever have existed:

  11. Thank you for going to OWS and representing so many of us who are not able to attend an Occupy group. I am too far from Dallas, Austin, Houston or any other group in Texas to attend any protest to let them know in person that I admire them. I cannot walk more than a block without having to sit down so I appreciate all who march on my behalf. I would love to cheer everyone on and say you have many supporters in the hinterlands.

  12. Thank you for your 1st hand, 1st person account. I’ve read enough of the naysaying, OWS-haters today to last a lifetime.

  13. Great report, RD. Nice to see a positive response to OWS, for a change. It’s interesting to see so many liberals and Dems being so judgmental of this nascent and effective movement — they sound, gasp!, like the parents of 60s kids. The irony is thick, to say the least.

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