October 2011


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Mitchel Cohen <[log in to unmask]>
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Science for the People Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 31 Oct 2011 04:33:56 -0400
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Here's my report for today, which I wrote for the Radical Philosophy 

Well, today was a completely full day.

Environmental workshops starting at 11 a.m. and going on all day long 
at Liberty Park and in a public atrium on Wall Street itself near 
wbai. Fine speeches and discussion.

Then at 3 pm a pick-up acoustic band performed and gathered a crowd, 
singing for hours. Great stuff! A few of us added new verses to old 
civil rights standards. My contribution was to "We Shall Not Be 
Moved," which went "We're Occupying Wall Street, we shall not be 
moved; Occupy Wall Street, we shall not be moved, just like a tree 
that's standing by the water, we shall not be moved." (I never 
understood why a tree standing by the water would not be moved by 
tsunami, etc., but what the hell ....)

Before that, Loudon Wainright III performed (boring, at least to me). 
At same time, many committees were meeting. And then Alex Callinicos 
spoke at 5 pm (using "repeat after me", aka "the public mic"). At 
same time, a group of 200 or so religious folks walked across the 
Brooklyn Bridge and arrived after church, led by Rev. Daughtry and 
City Council member Charles Barron. Many Black churchgoers. So Barron 
started speaking (also "public mic") 15 feet away from Callinicos, 
each facing away from each other at a 30 degree angle, and it was a 
wild hodgepodge of call-and-response from two different large groups 
trying to talk in the space left by the other!

Also at 5 pm, Angela Davis spoke at OWS at Washington Square Park, 
followed by separate General Assemblies in both parks. My friend 
Johanna went to that; I took off uptown to the Upper East Side to a 
protest called against Mayor Bloomberg at Gracie Mansion, where the 
Mayor was hosting a number of US Senators and Congress people, and 
the CEOs of some of the Wall Street companies who were demanding 
another $4 billion in cuts (or was it trillion? It almost doesn't 
matter at this point). Many older activists came there, around 100 
people, which was great for that well-heeled area of the City. Marie 
Antoinette and Louis XVI were asked to speak before being beheaded, 
and Marie brought a terrific wedding cake ("Let them eat cake") we we 
promptly devoured.

This was organized mostly by leftish Democrats, but lots of others 
showed up. I gave an impromptu speech (and also asked if anyone had 
brought the guillotine), and the FOX-TV camera guy asked, "Didn't you 
go to Stony Brook?" I said yes, and he knew me from there 30 years 
ago, saying that he was involved in the periphery of the Red Balloon 
Collective (my collective) back then, and that he's still radical 
even though his job is working for FOX. Great seeing him! (We did a 
good job at Stony Brook all those years.) We then marched out of the 
police cage and up to the Gracie Mansion corner, but the cops were 
aggressive in not letting us stand or picket there. They arrested one 
woman who led us there. Meanwhile, a fellow I met showed me 
individual pictures he'd taken of every cop that was there!, for 
which he had developed an app to throw them all into a poster 
together, automatically, on his cellphone. It was great. We marched 
around in circles for 1/2 hour eating cake (we should have more 
catered picket lines, it's great for us and drives the cops crazy 
with hunger!) before going our separate ways.

Got home to Bensonhurst on 2 trains and a bus in record time from up 
there, an hour and 10 minutes (instead of the usual 2 hour trip). So 
here I am, ready to crash but also too excited to do so.

Every day's a left soap-box circus (in the best sense) at the Occupation.

- Mitchel

Ring the bells that still can ring,  Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack, a crack in everything, That's how the light gets in.
~ Leonard Cohen