Rain is coming. In addition to tents here at Zucotti Park, people have put up tarps to protect the library, media and legal booths, information tables, and the food preparation and serving tables. There are several large indoor public spaces nearby where we gather for discussions, trainings, and working group meetings throughout the day, but I don't know how the General Assembly will meet in the park after the rains come.
Reinette arrived last night and dropped off her backpack here in Brooklyn, then we headed back over to the occupation, where we met up with Jason. A film maker who lives here in New York is following her around, making a film about Occupy Wall Street by focusing on Reinette's impressions and actions during the week she is here. I think this will make for a more viewer-friendly film because there are so many competing images and so many things going on here. As of today there are 66 working groups. (See http://www.nycga.net/groups).
How do I decide what to do each day? I want to contribute what I can while I am here and bring home what I can to share. I've been focusing on facilitator, nonviolence, and direct action training in order to update my organizing skills. I've taken lots of pictures and had lots of conversations. When I walk past people who are singing, I can't resist joining them. (I guess I take after my mom that way. She loved to sing.) Plus, songs are a part of the “cultural commons,” which are wonderful to learn and share.
I've gone to General Assembly every evening. Tonight we had about a thousand people gathered to discuss several agenda items, including two emergency items related to Occupy Oakland. You may know that many people were arrested at Occupy Oakland over the past two days, and many injured, including a veteran who is in critical condition with a fractured skull. Tonight we passed an emergency measure to send $20,000 to Occupy Oakland to help with bail and medical expenses, and also to send them 100 tents to replace the ones the police destroyed. Contributions of money, food, tents, and other goods have come in from all over the world to Occupy Wall Street, and we agreed through consensus to show solidarity with Oakland in that way.
We also agreed to march here in New York to City Hall tonight at 9, while simultaneous marches are taking place in Oakland and in Washington, DC. We stopped our meeting early and headed out to City Hall. Instead of describing my experiences to you, I'm just giving you a link to Starhawk's blog, which describes how she felt on a similar march yesterday. http://starhawksblog.org.
I, too, prefer disciplined and restrained protests, even if I'm risking arrest. I prefer having clear guidelines that all participants have agreed to—that makes me feel secure. I didn't witness violence at the march, but I witnessed anger, and I'm not sure whether the majority of people have had nonviolence training. I did feel compassion for the young people in the march who are fed up with the way things are, including police brutality. I do understand.
I was one of the older people on the march. I stayed out of the center of things, I stayed safe as I promised my family I would do, and I came back to Brooklyn when the march was over.
Reinette's not back yet, but she's being followed around by the filmmaker, so I'm not worried about her.
I left her a message on her cell phone, but I think her battery is dead. I hope she's not worried about me.