Having just returned from Occupy Wall Street – NYC, I have learned much about the capacity of people to cooperate and connect. Finally, I see the end to the tunnel of citizen apathy, diminished expectations and assured mutual self destruction. Finally, I see young, old, able, disabled, fortunate and unfortunate sharing, caring and working in the streets for a sustainable future. It is wonderful to witness and more wonderful to participate in.
The permit to occupy Liberty Park (Zuccotti Park) didn’t include P.A systems or megaphones. Thus, people use people to transmit speakers’ words and phrases during General Assembly each evening. The speaker stops often for various parts of the crowd to echo the last spoken clause, before resuming. The crowd reverberates the words and soul of the speaker. We are joined, listening carefully, responding carefully, caring considerably.
If a person wishes to speak or interrupt, he or she or she/he yells out “MIKE CHECK, MIKE CHECK, MIKE CHECK”. The crowd noise invariably lowers, and the new speaker begins to lead the discussion. Interruptions are infrequent, but honored. The mutual respect is palpable.
Each morning at nine, representatives from the various “working groups” sit cross-legged on the concrete under a large red sculpture that to me resembles a spinning gyroscope. Members of the clean-up crew weave around sleeping bodies and this small forum of consensus elected reps. Here too, one hears a muted “Mike check, Mike check, Mike check”. In this case, the caller can’t hear the current speaker and signals to the person to speak up. Courtesy abounds here. Many working groups report – Coordinating, Internet, Sanitation, Art and Music, Outreach, Logistics, Disabilities, Public Relations, Financial, etc. All are given opportunity to share their concerns, aspirations and daily accomplishments, but kept on point and within time constraints. These people are organizing for the long haul, but keeping the short term problems center stage. They sense time has arrived for them to build a movement from the ground up and are taking their role in it seriously.
It is time for us, however we can, to “MIKE CHECK, MIKE CHECK, MIKE CHECK” and take our time to speak out or, at least, make sure we hear and transmit the messages coming from this growing movement. We all can do something, here, there, at work or at play to keep the momentum growing. Wall Street is finally getting nervous and it’s not from regulators in NYC or Washington, DC. It from activated citizens who are standing shoulder-to-shoulder in the streets worldwide.
The “99%” have more power than the “1%” who own most of our country. We just need to collectively exercise that might through non-violence and focused action here and now.