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Final Occupy issue 3

Final Occupy issue 3

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Published by Galina Novahova

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Categories:Types, Speeches
Published by: Galina Novahova on Oct 27, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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oward Zinn is here. Dominick Dunne and om Wole, too.Ernest Hemingway and BarbaraEhrenreich and Dr. Who and Beowul: Allhere, and all ree. Barnes & Noble may beendangered and the Borders across the streetclosed months ago, but Te People’s Library at Liberty Square is open or business andthriving.Tat a lending library would spring upully operational on day one o an occupa-tion makes sense when you consider thatthe exchange o ideas is paramount here,at a new crossroads o the world. Just asoccupiers young and old mingle with Ari-cans, Jews, Algonquins and Latinas, de oc-queville rubs elbows with Nicholas Evansand Noam Chomsky.Mandy Henk, 32, saw 
call tooccupy Wall Street and drove in rom Green-castle, Indiana, on her all break to work inthe library. A librarian at DePaul University,she’d been waiting or “an actual movement”or years when she saw a photo o the library and a poster beside it that read: “Tings thelibrary needs: Librarians.”“And here I am,” she said cheerully asshe shelved books into clear plastic bins,dozens o which line the northeastern edgeo Liberty Square. Henk isn’t surprised thata library was erected so quickly. “Anytimeyou have a movement like this, people aregoing to bring books to it. People are goingto have inormation needs. And historically,the printed word has played an extraordi-narily important role.” Young readers can nd a wealth o age-appropriate material too, like A.A. Milne’s“When We Were Very Young,” “Oliverwist” and “Te Hobbit,” as well as moreobeat titles like “ales For Little Rebels.” Another volunteer librarian, Steve Syrek,33, is earning his master’s degree in Englishat Rutgers University. He has commutedto Liberty Square rom his WashingtonHeights apartment every day since Octo-ber 7. A sign he made or the library wassnapped up by the Smithsonian Institution:“Literacy, Legitimacy and Moral Authority:Te People’s Library,” it read.“More people arrived, more booksappeared, and it’s just been growing eversince,” Syrek said. “And then everyone in New  York City just
to clean out their basement,”he quipped, which would explain how inven-tory has ballooned to nearly 1,800. Authorslike Naomi Klein, Eve Ensler and Katrinavanden Heuvel have donated signed editions,and vanden Heuvel has pledged hundreds o copies o 
Te Nation
, past and present. As a result o the inux, the library hasbecome something o a clearing house orbooks. “People are shipping us stu romall over the country and we just give themout,” Syrek said. “We don’t need them to bereturned.”Volunteers log each book on Libr-aryTing, an online cataloging site, by scan-ning the ISBN number using an iPhoneapp. Tis just in: “Wicked,” “Eat Pray Love”and “Get Rich Cheating: Te Crooked Pathto Easy Street.” A blog and a Facebook pagechronicle visits rom literary luminaries andthe ormation o libraries at Occupy sitesacross the country.On a recent uesday, a ew people saton the granite benches that ace the book-shelves, so absorbed in their reading thatthey didn’t look up, despite the din aroundthem. Henk, or one, appreciates the role o escapism, especially when you consider the weighty issues that drew everyone to Liberty Square.“Stories are incredibly important orhelping people to understand the world,” shesaid. “And so this is a place to come to under-stand the world.”
In the day-breaking hours o a long nightspent scrubbing and brushing andgardening and packing, a stalwartgirl named Julia meticulously sweptthe tiniest specks rom the groundinto a dust pan, retracing her stepsthrough Liberty Square again andagain.Occupiers carried boxes to astorage space around the block,and personal stu was rolled care-ully into those ever-present bluetarps, names and phone numbersattached. Preparation o a dierentsort happened, too: some stayed putand reused to pack up anything.wo young women, in a subtleand endearing orm o protest, satcurled up in blue plastic bins wait-ing to be carried away. Tree hun-dred people occupied the square.Te day beore, Mayor MichaelBloomberg had announced that at7 a.m., the NYPD would enorce arequest by Brookeld Oce Prop-erties to clear the park or cleaning.Te occupiers, Bloomberg said, would be allowed to return, butmany worried that this was a tacticdevised to evict the occupation. A rush o activity commenced. A Facebook page, “Emergency Action:Deend Occupy Wall Street,” wasorwarded to tens o thousands.witter lit up. Emails, text messagesand phone calls spread the word.Te direct action working groupgot to it. Organizations everywhereissued statements o support and aunied call or action. And Occupy Wall Street orga-nizers put out the most urgent callor donations yet: cleaning supplies.
5:30 AM
 A line stretched hal- way through the park ater a mic-checked announcement: coeehad arrived. Following an earlierdownpour, clothes were hung todry on police barricades and twinestrung between honey locust trees. An olive-dressed couple wated sagealong the perimeter and a premoni-tory buoy bell rung now and thenrom somewhere too near to be on water. Five hundred people occu-pied the square.
 Mic check:
“I need (“I need”) vol-unteers (“volunteers”) to move thislaundry (“to move this laundry”)over there! (“over there!”) Tank you!” wo people splashed lea-pile-style onto the heap beore helping totake it away. eams o coordinatedvolunteers again push-broomed water across granite that was as cleanas it had ever been. Te People’sLibrary was packed into plastic binsand stacked together under a hugeblue turtle-shell assembly o tarps.Te usual vibrant sprawl o stu wasbeing consolidated, ortied. Armaments over shoulder, twooccupiers patrolled the north side- walk. “Preseeeent - mops! March!”Tree sentries were on the lookout:a Superman, a Captain Americaand a Santa Claus. Te Sauron-eyeo the NYPD mobile observationtower on the northwest corner was,as ever, mostly ignored. A bottle hurled at a congregationo uniormed and plain-clothedcops across Liberty Street ell teneet short; they shufed indoors. Anearly edition o the Daily News waspassed rom person to person. Teheadline: “SHOWDOWN”
6:15 AM
Te crowd tripled inten minutes to well over a thousand. Accredited photographers convenedat the trash can bouquet o donatedplastic brooms and snapped actionshots o occupiers cleaning, now, asperormance. On the south side o the square, hal a dozen televisionvans lined up, doors open, videomonitors abuzz. Liberty Squareneared, then exceeded, capacity.
 Mic check:
“Tis special assem-bly... is now... in session!” Crazy cheers and wiggly ngers rom all.“Tis session is being called or inpreparation or the notice that wereceived, which we know is a pre-text, to stop this movement, tosilence your voices.” Te people’smic relayed the message in our con-centric waves. “We have two agendaitems. Te rst is brieng romdirect action.”From the direct action workinggroup: “We will hold no less thantwo-thirds o our park at all times.Direct action will be coordinatingtwo lines o non-violent resistancethat divide the park in thirds.” Whenit was asked who in the crowd was willing to risk arrest, hal put theirarms in the air without hesitation.More applause. “Everyone can andshould have a role in deending ourcommunity.”Te assembly went on until a woman carrying a white sheet o paper scrambled toward the acilita-tors. Te people’s mic stopped. Faces wore conusion. Near the center: onehug, then ve more.“We have just received notice thatBrookeld Properties has withdrawn
October 15 international day o action brings hundreds o cities around the world into motion. PHOTO: Stephen O’Bryne
Love Letter toLiberty Square
Bloomberg backs down
Continued on center spread 
Despite 700+ arrests on the Brooklyn Bridge on Oct. 1, crowds surged in the ollowing days. PHOTO: Adrian Kinloch
hat it is, the demand the 1% can’t comprehend, is us. It isthe individuals and villages, the cities and peoples across the world who are seeing each other on the ar side o appealsand petition. It is the world we are becoming.Establishment polls conrm what everyone in the street already knows: a clear majority o New Yorkers, three o every our, supportthe occupation and get the “demand” in their gut. Te epicenter o theOctober 15 international day o action was imes Square, barricaded by police insistent to demonstrate their control. But our town is only onecenter. Te world is round.In the south, thousands streamed onto the avenues o Buenos Airesand Santiago. In Brazil, Peru and Colombia, in more than 20 cities o Mexico and all through our Americas, people came out. Tere was noise.More like a song.In the East, demonstrators supporting the occupation emerged onthe streets o Hong Kong and Seoul, Manila and Jakarta, Auckland andMelbourne. Days earlier, astonishingly, a solidarity rally in Zhengzhou,China supported the “Great Wall Street Revolution.” China has ralliedor our human rights. Imagine.In Arica, protestors gathered in Nairobi and Johannesburg. Teheroes o ahrir Square in Cairo have returned to battle the military regime that did not ollow Mubarak into inamy.Germany and Greece, ruled by the same banks, rose up with Spainand a lost generation o Europeans to claim a uture rom the dust o aded empire. Everywhere the lack o demands let us see each otherclearly. Across the world, as i or the rst time. And in our own backyard, in thousands o backyards, rom Augustaand Jackson, Springeld and Sioux Falls, Vegas and Santa Rosa andGreen Bay: Americans celebrated the occupation in its inancy. Jobs withdignity. Housing t or amilies. Education. Health care. Pensions. Tevery air we breathe. What can those who want democracy demand romthe king, except his crown? Regime change is in the air. America is look-ing at itsel, it’s place in the world and who we are to be.Tis is not a demonstration. It’s participation. Creation. Tis is amovement where we can be ourselves, together. In Liberty Square. InNew York City. In America. A new world.
A New World
Rule of law vs. the forces of order
ccupy Wall Street, withits deant style o non-violent protest, has con-sistently clashed with the NYPD’sobsession with order maintenance,resulting in hundreds o mostly unnecessary arrests and a signicantinringement on the basic rights o ree speech and assembly.Prior to the massive protests atthe WO in Seattle, protest policingin the U.S. was a largely casual aairpunctuated with isolated outburstso police misconduct. Ater Seattle,police departments embarked on amajor rethinking o how to handleincreasingly large and militant pro-tests and, most importantly, how to handle the growing use o largecoordinated direct actions. Withouttoo much concern or First Amend-ment rights, police departments havetended to take one o two approachesand sometimes a bit o both.Te rst is the strategic repres-sion o direct action movementsin particular. Beginning with theMiami police’s aggressive responseto the FAA protests in 2003, many departments resorted to using sur-veillance, agents provocateurs andnegative publicity beore an event,ollowed by massive deployments,“less lethal” weaponry and restric-tion on protest permits, includingthe creation o isolated “protest pits.”Similar problems emergedin 2004, during the RepublicanNational Convention in New York City. Permits were denied to useCentral Park and other traditionalprotest locations; barricades wereused extensively at peaceul, per-mitted demonstrations; and over athousand people were preemptively arrested, with all the charges eventu-ally dropped by the Manhattan DA.Te other approach has beento attempt to micromanage dem-onstrations in such a way that dis-sent becomes a tightly controlledand dispiriting experience. Tis isaccomplished through the use o large numbers o ocers, extensiverestrictions on access to demonstra-tions through choke points, pen-ning in and subdividing crowds with barricades, heavily restrictingmarch permits, and making mul-tiple arrests, sometimes using exces-sive orce or minor violations.Tis latter strategy is especially common in New York City, which hasan almost limitless supply o policeocers (upwards o 30,000) to useor controlling crowds. During theOccupy Wall Street demonstrations, we have seen a gross overreaction topeaceul demonstrators engaging inminor violations o the law, such asusing a megaphone, writing on thesidewalk with chalk, marching inthe street (and across the BrooklynBridge), standing in line at a bank to close an account, and occupying apublic park past closing hours.Te eect o this has been a low-level criminalization o dissent thatserves only a limited legitimate pub-lic saety unction. Te importantthing to keep in mind here is that while some protests have been ille-gal and disruptive, they have beenconsistently nonviolent in character.Tis raises the question o whetherthe tight and expensive control o these demonstrations is an unwar-ranted intererence in people’s rightto ree expression that exceeds any legal objective.
its—” Te rest was indiscernibleover cheers, yells, whoops, howls,banging drums, clapping hands,and the sight o thousands o peoplehugging strangers.
7:00 AM
— Te sun rose over Lib-erty Square, and it was still very,very loud.***It matters that the occupierscleaned like gangbusters. It mattersthat it was always pretty clean tobegin with. It matters that so many organizations o all stripes steppedup and showed up. It matters thatelected ocials called in their sup-port. It matters that thousands woke up early and rallied to deendthe occupation.Te mayor’s oce and BrookeldProperties and the NYPD engagedin machinations behind closeddoors. Tat matters too. Te threealigned themselves with an ultima-tum against the occupation. Tatmatters more.But this very simple thing mat-ters most: Tey backed down. Teostensible owners o a very preciousspace and the captain o the captainso New York nance and this coun-try’s most robustly armed policeorce joined orces in a showdownagainst the young at heart, and they blinked rst. For one crazy-impor-tant moment we held the place thathas become, or many dierent peo-ple and in many dierent ways, ourhome. And the very big, very loudsunrise party that ollowed was alove note to a democratic momentat Liberty Square.
On Oct 13, Mayor Bloomberg announced plans to “clean” LibertySquare, pushing occupiers out o the park. Thousands focked to clean it themselves.Brooms, mops and others supplies were donated. And in the morning, Bloomberg backeddown. PHOTO: Mike Fleshman
Continued from front page 
PHOTO: Vanessa Bahmani
A volunteer sets the open meeting schedule or working groups in Liberty Square.
 PHOTO: Mike Fleshman
With a large college and high school student contingent, occupiers rom all over the city have repeatedly marched to Washington Square where at least two generalassemblies have convened. PHOTO: Stephen O’Byrne
Serving and protecting.
mong the remarkable developments at Lib-erty Square have been the Working Groups,created by occupiers to orward the move-ment’s goals. In these groups ideas are exchanged,strategies are collectively shaped and the uture o theoccupation is being written. Here are dispatches roma ew…
Since the best place to reach the 99% is on the sub- way — where 10 million New York commuters traveldaily — Occupy Subways is turning New York City’sunderground into a democratic platorm. Elsewhere inthe city, Outreach has helped general assemblies con-vene in the Bronx, Harlem and Brooklyn. Eorts willculminate in a day o service bringing Occupy WallStreet supporters into communities as volunteers.
Staed 24 hours a day with 15 to 20 volunteers, thegroup ranges rom nurses and doctors to street med-ics, herbalists, chiropractors, EMs and acupuncturists.No one is turned away. “We practice the ethics o medi-cine,” said Pauly, 27, “meaning everyone will be treatedno matter i they’re a police ocer, active drug user or wearing a suit and tie. We run a city within a city.”
Holding daily training sessions to assist occupiers navi-gating the choppy waters o public debate, the group“uses direct democracy and the acilitation process cou-pled with some inclusive radical concepts,” said CraigStephens, 24. “Mediation in large groups is very hardbut it’s very rewarding.”
Te Food group, which began on Day 1 o the occu-pation, has received hundreds o donations rom localarmers to sympathizers in Europe and Asia. “Yester-day we had a thousand people at dinner alone,” saidLaura Gottesdiener, 24, and “we’re serving more thantwo thousand meals per day. Something we’re tryingto ght against is the notion that, in this country, yoursocioeconomic status determines your health.” All are welcome and all are ed.
wo weeks into the occupation, POC emerged in aneort to reach out to those who elt alienated by themovement. “Communities o color have historically been at the bottom o the 99%,” said Sharon, 23. “We wanted to make Occupy Wall Street more diverse inleadership, voice, perspective and participation, and asaer space or marginalized communities.” With about250 members, it operates as a caucus with a variety o subcommittees that engage with other working groups.
Helping people acclimate to the realities o living andsleeping in a park, the group has distributed hundredso donated blankets, sleeping bags, jackets and reshpairs o socks. “We’re here or people’s comort,” saidChristine Rucker, 22, who has been occupying since week two. “I people orgot something, we’re here toprovide those things. We’re amily.”
Perhaps the most visible eature o Occupy Wall Streetare the signs held up by occupiers conveying messagesthat get beamed around the world. “Graphic designis sometimes called ‘communication art,’” said Emily Schuch. “I hope this group can help oster commu-nication between working groups and especially helpOccupy Wall Street communicate to the world at large.” Working in print, web media and graphics, members o the design group have produced posters, inographics,banners, stickers, buttons...and anything else you canname.
global democ

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