By now, the Occupy protests are ubiquitous enough that they have effectively stretched to all corners of the country, even reaching a town so small that the progress of the firearm deer harvest easily makes front-page news (I mean, who doesn’t need to know the effect of wind conditions on patterns of deer movement?). So why shouldn’t we get to take a part in the action (again)?
Today, at 4PM, likeminded 99%-ers and our sympathizers (come on now, we can’t ALL be the 99%) gathered on the steps of Olin for a heady 45-minute march through campus to voice our frustrations to whomever would listen–er, I mean, our corporate masters.
Meanwhile, Ezra Silk ’10 takes on the Occupy movement firsthand: the former Argus editor and founder of Big Dog barbershop is is traveling around the country to write about the Occupy Wall Street protests and writing about it on America, Occupied, along with Ashik Siddique ’10, Gianna Palmer ’10, and Ryan Villareal. We’ve blogged about various Wes alums weighing in on the movement, but this is different. Silk writes:
Coverage also from our very own Ezra Silk ’10 (former Argus editor), Ashik Siddique ’10, Gianna Palmer ’10, and Ryan Villareal at America, Occupied (and, for more extended coverage, at their blog of the same name)
Hearkening back to my post earlier this week on the eviction of Occupy Wall Street comes today’s previously planned day of action in New York City, marking the two-month anniversary of the beginning of the Occupation in Liberty Square/Zuccotti Park. Thus far, today, upwards of 200 protestors have been arrested, thousands have marched, and this is only the beginning. (Where might the city’s illustrious mayor be at this climactic time, you ask? Why, meeting with business leaders, including Rupert Murdoch, of course.)
Other events planned for today include an occupation of the subway, a rally at City Hall, and, subsequently, a march to the Brooklyn Bridge.
If you’re feeling a little “Che” today yourself, be sure to join the Occupy Wesleyan demonstration, starting at 4pm at Olin (for more information, check out DMZ‘s baller post). Viva la Revolución!
For more information on today’s actions in the city, click past the jump.
Amanda Palmer of the Dresden Dolls recently visited seven Occupy sites in Los Angeles, Oakland, Portland, Vancouver, Seattle, Boston and New York. Afterwards, she worked with Boston filmmaker Michael Gill to produce a video paying homage to the protesters. It features a montage of photos documenting the movement, as well as Palmer’s ukelele rendition of the 1975 Leon Rosselson protest song “The World Turned Upside Down”.
Click past the jump for the full video, and click here, here, here, or here for more high-profile Wesleyan alums weighing in on the OWS protests.
[A-Batte edit: If you’re curious about what’s happening for today’s #OWS Global Day of Action on campus, check out the march this afternoon.]
Editorial update, 4:06am: For those who haven’t been frantically reloading the livestream over and over again the past 2.5+ hours like me, I thought I would contextualize the situation a bit. Around 1:15am or so I received a text from the emergency mass text number warning of the impending raid (incidentally, I had received texts earlier in the evening regarding nonviolent action workshops in preparation for an eventual eviction action).
Unlike the evictions that have occurred at other #occupy sites around the nation, this one came without warning or official statement, and appeared carefully crafted to prevent a counter-protest like the one that prevented the previous eviction attempt in mid-October (with closures of the subway and the Brooklyn Bridge, for instance). After calling everyone I know in New York and going a bit apeshit with the facebook updates, I found my way to the livestream, along with 25,000 other viewers (at the peak).
Tensions have run high all night since the police first arrived, with complaints centering on the harassment/obstruction of journalists, the blatant disregard for the property of the protesters, and, of course, the legitimacy of the eviction itself. Apparently, via texts from friends (and friends of friends)–who arrived by cab due to the blockade of public transportation–police officers were witnessed indiscriminately pepper-spraying crowds, who massed outside of a 2-4 block radius established around Zucotti Park/Liberty Square. Various gatherings have sprung up in the vicinity.
So far, according to accounts from protesters, among those arrested are at least one journalist and one city-councilman, who suffered a head injury; in addition to pepper spray (and possibly tear gas?), a sound cannon/Long Range Acoustic Device may have been deployed. No confirmation yet on the fate of the 25-100 demonstrators corralled within the park, though I assume they have all been arrested (@JoshHarkinson reports “all around me, protesters were being pepper sprayed and zip cuffed”).
What better way to take advantage of the weekend respite from rain than “using the original social media: chalk” (yeah, I didn’t know Facebook and calcium carbonate were equitable, either)? Straight from Zucotti Park comes this urgent message to legitimize the message: there’s no way the “traditional media” could possibly “ignore[ ], ridicule[ ] or demonize[ ]” chalk drawings, right?
As we all know, “nothing is more raw, more visceral than using rock on rock to communicate.” So, chalkers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains.
And remember, WesKids, “there’s something about sidewalk chalk that makes every passerby want to take a look.”
“I was puzzled by people’s puzzlement over it, because it seems pretty simple to me.”
Last month Lemony “Daniel Handler” Snicket ’92 joined the laundrylist of WesCelebs weighing in on the Occupy Wall Street movement, publishing on the Occupy Writers site a characteristically titled list of “Thirteen Observations made by Lemony Snicket while watching Occupy Wall Street from a Discreet Distance.” The list, which Rachel Maddow describes as “at the same time somehow heartbreakingly earnest and the opposite of earnest,” contains such smartly phrased capsules of timely wisdom as this: “If you work hard, and become successful, it does not necessarily mean you are successful because you worked hard, just as if you are tall with long hair it doesn’t mean you would be a midget if you were bald.”
This week, Handler appears on the Rachel Maddow show, discussing the list’s genesis while swimming laps at a community pool alongside a wealthy donor who refused to share a lap. On the OWS movement, Handler explains: “It seemed pretty simple to me. [ . . . ] It seemed to me like maybe if I said it in the form with many examples using cake, then maybe people would get more relaxed about it.” Handler also gets a bit WeSpecific in the interview, namedropping Wes sociology professor Rob Rosenthal and giving Wesleyan partial credit for his ease with the Occupy movement: “I grew up in San Francisco and then I attended a snooty liberal arts college, so I’m not afraid of patchouli and people holding signs at all. That’s just been part of my whole life.”
In a recent post, though, @heems gets a little more serious and talks about Occupy Wall Street, supposedly responding to numerous questions on the subject in his askbox. His post includes the following about his time at Wes:
In 2007 I graduated from Wesleyan University where I paid entirely too much money to be taken from Queens, New York to isolated Middletown, Connecticut to be surrounded by white people and other people of color who hoped to learn their extremely profitable codified language.
Suri goes on to describe his time working on “the periphery of Wall Street”, sheds some light from the perspective of a kid of immigrant parents and concludes that the current problems extend beyond Wall Street itself: “The sentiment is the same but the semantics aren’t – occupy wall street is confusing”. Click through here for the original post; it’s definitely worth a read.