Saturday, March 24, 2012
We Are The People I Have Been Waiting For
I stopped by New York's Union Square on Monday night to see a new incipient occupation run by some OWS folks. I had some mixed feelings about the small encampment, but the bricks next to the encampment were filed with lovely chalk graffitti, "We Are The People I Have Been Waiting For". Just about sums it up.
"People Have The Power," of course. One of those clichés that, well, if people really listened to, things would be a whole lot different.
Every night this week Union Square became the scene for a confrontation between cops who vastly outnumbered the number of people wanting to stay in the square, with some moments of grotesque brutality. There was a scene of an activist having a seizure while handcuffed on the ground while the cops stood around doing nothing. Midweek the same space was the scene of a few thousands-people strong rally of support for Trayvon Martin called the Million Hoodie March. By the end of the week the city installed sadly hilarious new signs around the park with a long list of "don'ts," each one accompanied by an icon, that ended with "no unpermitted rallies allowed." Pardon my french, but fuck you Bloomberg.
There's so much more to the Occupy movement right now than this bit of daily theater between demonstrators and cops. Neighborhood assemblies including the one I participate in are building up across the city, and daily actions and meetings display deeper concerns and visions than does this battle for public space. But Spring is here, and the voices shouting for justice are still being heard, and that is very good news indeed.