Home after a full day of OWS-related activism, I want to share with you all what I did today and what everyone else is equally busily doing to get ready for S17 and the formal launch of Strike Debt.
First thing this morning I checked on the “Stand With Occupy” site and it was great to see signatures building and many thanks to those of you who signed (if you haven’t had time to sign, click here.) There’s also a great new piece on the Strike Debt action last Sunday in the Village Voice. You have no idea how much email comes out of Occupy. As so many active people are young, there’s always a tide of new posts from the early hours to be read, Facebook posts to be checked, tweets to be looked at.
Out of the door, off to an interview with for a Brazilian documentary about the legacies of the Iraq War. In some ways that was the theme right there: a British author being interviewed by a Brazilian in New York about Iraq. It’s amazing to think that it’s almost ten years since that fiasco began and it’s harder than ever to explain why and what it was about. I do think the rise of citizen media would have made it harder to sell the whole ludicrous venture. Not impossible.
I grab the car and head off to Bushwick to meet with Tidal editors Amin Husain and Rosa Luxemburg (I use people’s names if they have publicly identified themselves as active). Over an excellent papaya shake in a local café–where monster portions of arroz con pollo were being consumed all around–we discuss Tidal distribution and the Strike Debt video the two are working on. Thousands of Tidals go into the trunk and off we go: Riverside Church, Columbia, Labyrinth Books, CUNY Graduate Center, NYU. Bundles of magazines are dropped off at each place.
While I drive the others maintain a constant dialog with others by text, voice and Facebook. I stay with the car when we stop and do the same. Since the post on Clint Eastwood went viral, the Huffington Post has reposted my piece on Occupied Language, and I’ve fielded some other requests. I mention this out of sheer vanity, of course, but also to show why I keep doing this every day. It has built slowly but seems now to be of use to the movement, which was the goal.
Park the car and then down to Zuccotti. I touch base with Marissa Holmes, with whom I will be co-facilitating the Debt Assembly in Washington Square Park on Saturday, NYPD permitting. We already have a good framework and establish some action items to get it done. As one of the leading lights of the occupation, Marissa was just off a CNN Radio interview and all the attention seems to be fulfilling the expectation that S17 gives OWS a platform, even if only for the day.
We moved into a training for the days of action. The trainers concentrated first on establishing friendship among the group by some games and then talked about how to stay calm and goal-focused in the streets. One of the NYPD’s goals is to scare and intimidate protestors, first from attending the action at all and then from carrying it out. It’s a good lesson to relearn and I realized that I had been feeling nervous. It’s a shame you have to be aware of how to act to sustain your physical safety in the streets of New York if you choose to demonstrate dissent. But it’s a fact.
At this point, the fact that I had forgotten to eat all day made me tired and I headed home, knowing that I’m going to another training tomorrow. Good day.