Make Art, Not War

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Occupation begins at home...

Ok, ok, ok, so with the violent raid of Zuccotti Park, the eviction of Oakland and our own "no sleeping, no signs" restrictions going into effect downtown, I feel like I need to regroup, take a moment with my own thoughts and address that pressing question of "What now?"
What is next for this movement, and for my own involvement in it?
Occupy Wall Street is a global movement. All of the sudden, people everywhere (and I mean everywhere) have found that they have a voice, and regardless of the physical space they occupy, they have woken the minds of the masses. We are shaking the foundations of this corrupt system- and what's really amazing- people are paying attention. ("We are unstoppable, another world is possible.")
The local face of this movement has certainly been it's own live stream saga. For my own small part in that, it is like nothing I have ever seen, or been a part of before. I went there that first day, just to see for myself what would happen. I ended up spending the night beneath the starry sky, and every night after that for over two weeks. In that time, I met and talked with so many people. I marched and made signs. I shared my poetry (well suited to this crowd). I made a lot of friends. It's a different place, down there at the people's plaza. I can't say that enough. I struggle to convey.
But-I'm not trying to start from the top and cover everything right now. It is November 15th, and there is a chill in the air tonight that reminds me that, like it or not, winter is coming. Sleeping at the Plaza, tents or no, is not sustainable for a Minnesota winter. I'm not saying it can't be done, I'm saying that I'm not up to doing it. This whole time, we have been putting all our energy into basic survival out there. The tents for shelter, the generators to keep in touch with the world, to heat the food we eat. We are looking to replicate some of the comforts of home in an environment that is increasingly more difficult and inhospitable. Do we accept defeat? Do we just walk away? Of course not! But, as the winter sets in, and the strong arm of the law comes down, I think it's time (for me at least) to reconsider the nature of my own participation in the occupy wall street scheme.
And what I think this movement needs now, is to go home.
Here me out.
We keep talking about how we need to get the message into the neighborhoods, we need to do out reach to our own communities, more than just hanging up flyers. Well, your neighborhood starts at your own front door, doesn't it? I think it's time we bring the movement home with us, and have these conversations in our own living rooms. Start talking to the people who consider themselves supportive of the movement but who would never participate in something like the plaza, or the foreclosed homes. What might they do?
Wouldn't it be wonderful? if over the next few months we planned and plotted for a revolution of our own come spring? Think about it, we're all going to be homebodies anyway. Why not spend the time organizing? This is the perfect time of year for friendly gatherings, indoor activities, and taking on long term projects.
So, that is what I am suggesting. A series of potlucks, parties and discussions that address the needs of the community and develops these new connections we have made. These gains are amazing, no one can take that. The world will never be the same. But to start again, we need begin with ourselves and our friends. Turn off the miserable news and start the conversations.
In that spirit, my roommates and I have decided to dedicate our housewarming party to the Occupy Wall Street movement. We're calling it "occupy our livingroom" and we're having it the day after thanksgiving, to detract from the frenzied, nasty consumerism of black friday and the kick-off of the holiday shopping season. Wait, did I just make a sports reference? (ugh, I think I did).
Anyway, that's my big idea. Take the movement home with you. Have a party.

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