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Sunday, October 16, 2011

A Firsthand Report

By my good friend Plague, unwitting guest blogger this morning: she's already given me permission to post her writings....

"Well, it was something less than an Occupation. Still, it wasn't nothing. Not at all.
"I was relieved to see that it wasn't co-opted by some sort of Kum-ba-yahing ickiness, with Alex Gyori at the head of the line. ('The Occupation, brought to you by your local food co op, long time supporter of worker's rights!" ed. note- this is heavy sarcasm) It was the basic Wells Fountain formula- a hodgepodge of humanity jammed into that little pussy-shaped wedge between two lanes of traffic, holding aloft signs. People honk if they approve. They give the finger or heckle if they don't.
"There were...between fifty and a hundred at the time (her son) and I arrived. (Her son) was very cooperative once I picked him up, but with the time frame, we arrived about an hour and a half into it. I could have dealt with a lot more people, and I particularly wish I'd seen signs of an occupation- a tent city set up, people determined to camp the night, and therefore, almost inevitably, putting themselves in a position where the police might haul them away, food being set up for the occupiers. Still- while I haven't ever been a sign carrier at Wells Fountain before, only a passerby, I did notice a certain intensity.
"While it was a diverse group, comprised of both young, loud, anarchisty kids and people my age, everyone had a singleminded feel, and was very intent on what they were doing, rather than milling around and catching up on local gossip. (Her son) and I quickly found his best friend and the kid's parents, but interestingly, he and the kid both held their signs with deadly seriousness. No one was doing the usual hobnobbing and shmoozing- at all. The passersby honked out all sorts of melodies of honking approval, waved, called to us, and gave the 'power' sign. It was dizzying- at one point, it seemed as if the whole world were erupting in enthusiastic honking.
"I could not have been more proud of (her son). A half hour into our stay, it started raining with a cold, pouring autumn rain, the kind that freezes your bones. Everyone quickly left except a core group. (Her son) elected to stay- he was being front man, holding his 'WE ARE THE 99%' sign, waving to everyone who honked. He got drenched with freezing rain, and he was just utterly, cheerfully into it. It turned out that with his good nature and loud mouth, he's a perfect protest front -of -the -line guy.
"After a while the sun came out, but I still felt like a clattering skeleton. There were only about five kids left, with two older people, one of whom was a woman who had spent her life in the army- I had an interesting conversation with her. She said it was the first protest that she'd ever been to in her life, and that she'd spent the day crying about everything that the movement brought up for her, before deciding that she had to come.
"So that was it. It could have been A LOT BIGGER. And I want OCCUPATION, damn it. I want an occupied Downs, Rachlan and Martin! But it rid me of that terrible, skull pounding feeling of frustration, that something was happening all over the world that I believed in so utterly, and yet I lacked all power to get there and be part of it. It was something. I've never felt so compelled to take part in something. I felt like I would have had some kinda cerebral aneurism, or gotten ragged, like a salmon swimming upstream, if I could not have protested.
"I pray that this is the bare beginning. I can't believe I hear the media asking, 'These are revolutionary times, but is THIS the revolutionary moment?'
"Oh yeah. My sign? It was; MOTHERS OF THE WORLD UNITE.
                                          FOR YOUR CHILDREN'S BIRTHRIGHT
                                          END THE WARS
                                          EDUCATION !
                                         END POVERTY FOR OUR CHILDREN
"As the rain ran down, the letters smeared just like blood.


CarrieBoo said...

That was amazing. You can't beat a description written by someone who is actually there. Brings tears to my eyes that.

Austan said...

You really can't. And Plague is a marvelous writer. Wish I'd been there with her!