Day One of the Anniversary weekend was intense, peaceful and renewing. If your news comes from the media, all you will have heard about was a wildcat march to Liberty Park, where people were randomly arrested by the NYPD, including legal observers from the National Lawyers Guild. Such arrests were intended to keep attention away from a long day of meetings, discussions, and non-violent direct action trainings.
My day yesterday: I arrive in the Washington Square Park about noon to distribute Tidal. There’s already a positive feeling, with lots of tabling and people circulating. A little while later the shout of “Kitchen’s open!” gave me chills of recollection back to the occupation.
1.30pm Thematic Assembly. By now there are hundreds of people and the square is buzzing. At the Assembly there are people present from California, Maine, Georgia, Spain, Canada, Boston, Los Angeles, Delaware. Lots of energy.
2-3.30pm Debt Breakout. A large group of people, mostly not from New York, all energized to hear about Strike Debt and what we’ve been doing. There was also what we have come to recognize as a to-be-expected emotional outburst about the need for immediate action now, and no discussion. The difficult realization for debtors is that, as much as action is totally needed, it has to be organized. Still, the theme of the assembly turned out to be that we need to create a way to organize debtors to set aside the shame that debt brings: each place where people start to organize around debt will have to engage with this fundamental work.
3.30-4pm Report backs to the main assembly
4-6pm Direct Action training: a very large group of people took over the north-east corner of the park to learn tactics like Civilians and how to form Affinity Groups. A little repetitive for those of us who have done a few of these, but for new people it was clearly just as energizing as I remember it.
7.30-11pm Launch of the Debt Resistors’ Operations Manual in Judson Church. Here was a real surprise: about 250 people turned out on a warm Saturday night in New York to talk about debt refusal. A series of presentations on the themes of the Manual and Strike Debt organizing were followed by breakouts and report backs. The evening ended with some lovely videos from a year ago, reminding us of all that’s been done.
11pm Trying to get home, I find myself in a long discussion in the street.
Sorry, one per cent. Occupy is not dead. It’s not even declining. You don’t get it and you never did.