Saturday, October 29, 2011

Rained On But Not Rained Out

It rained Wednesday night and all day Thursday here in New York. I was grateful to have a warm, dry, comfortable place to spend the night—thank-you Karl and Mary! Karl made us a hearty and delicious breakfast. Later I took the “train” uptown to the Interfaith Church Center to meet with Yvette Moore, Editor of Response Magazine, for lunch and conversation. I now have two new assignments for articles, including one on this coming Sunday's “Day of Faith,” when church groups are planning to march across the Brooklyn Bridge to Zucotti Park and participate in an Interfaith service there.

From there I took the subway down to the park. It was pouring rain and everything was soaked, but the occupation continues on. The biodiesel generator was still running. The kitchen was still functioning. People were meeting inside tents and under tarps. Many were still standing in the rain with their signs.
There are some very dedicated people here.

Reinette and I ate in the upstairs alcove of a deli across the street, where we could look out over the park. While eating, we got into a lively conversation with two young New Yorkers and a couple from Brazil about this movement and the potential for global change. (Now we're all friends on Facebook.) Looking out over the park, it seemed like a patchwork of tarps and tents, people with umbrellas and rain ponchos blowing in the wind, vulnerable to the elements, there in the shadow of the highrise buildings of Wall Street, surrounded (as always) by police. Vulnerable, but strong.

It brings to mind the words from First Corinthians: “God chose the weak things in the world to shame the strong. God chose the foolish things in the world to shame the wise. God chose those things that are low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are so that no one might boast in the presence of God.” The “foolishness” of this peoples' movement has revealed that the generally accepted “wisdom” of this world's dominant system is a sham—exploitive of humankind and the earth. The spell that has kept people feeling helpless and hopeless is broken. People are waking up.

I have also spent many hours in the Atrium at 60 Wall Street, the huge public space with plants, tables, and moveable seating at 60 Wall Street. It's a far cry from other subway entrances, which are far less “sanitary” than Zucotti Park, especially with the Sanitation Team always cleaning up the park with their brooms and Simple Green. (I hear that a “Clean Up Wall Street” action is planned using the same tools.) Sitting there in the Atrium, participating in focused discussions and Working Group meetings, gives me a sense of how things are organized here. It's remarkably sophisticated considering that the occupation is just six weeks old.

Friday was sunny, beautiful, and cold. Last night (Friday), the Structural Working Group proposed to the General Assembly that we create a Spokes Council made up of working groups and caucuses, to make day-to-day and financial decisions about Occupy Wall Street in New York, and let the General Assembly focus on decisions that relate to the movement as a whole and relationships with other occupations. It passed through a process of modified consensus. In other words, since there were several blocks to consensus, it went to a vote. It needed to pass with over 90% of the votes—the final vote was 17 opposed and over 280 in favor. There had been many more people there earlier, but the GA went pretty long. This was the fourth time the proposal had been brought, and it had been amended many times in response to concerns. It seems like a very democratic process, and I support the Spokes Council model, which I have participated. To see the exact proposal that was passed, go to

Well now it's snowing, and I'm going to figure out how to get some boots so I don't slip and slide in the snow. I miss you all and look forward to coming home and getting to work. Love....

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