We just returned from adding our support and thanks to the hundreds of people who are occupying Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan. They are among the kindest, most polite people I’ve seen in a long time. The park was immaculate. Volunteers were sweeping the pavement, others were quietly playing music, a few were holding signs. All we said was, “Thanks,” each time we met someone new. Gorgeous smiles erupted, “When people like you thank us it makes sleeping in the rain worth it.”
Sometime during the morning a reporter stopped to ask the usual questions: Where do you live? Why are you here? What do you think about this? But then she asked what we thought of the fact that this revolution had no leader, no real focus, no consistent message. What did we think of that?
Of course there is a clear focus, but it doesn’t fit into the neat formula that the media wants. Our democracy is being eroded. We are the 99% of the population who have been steamrolled economically, socially, politically, culturally by the 1% who use money to wield power. You may hear about particular concerns, we told the reporter, but do not be fooled into thinking that we do not agree on common grievances.
GoingPublic.org supports and embraces the concerns of the #occupywallstreet movement, because public education is part of the big picture too. The myth of the charter school is based on a manufactured crisis, the same as the crisis middle class workers are facing when they learn that their pensions have been raided. Same as all workers who woke to the news that they are no longer part of a mobile society they believed was their right.
We who have played by the rules never thought that there were another set of rules that didn’t include us. Now we know.
The good people in Zuccotti Park need donations, they need food, they need showers! But they mostly need to know that you support them. Social networks get the news out quickly, but nothing replaces real bodies next to other real bodies. Come to the Park, say “thanks,” ask how you can help. Your democracy is counting on you.