Occupy Wall Street Thursday
Open thread, please add links and comments.
1. Here's an article by Amy Goodman from the Guardian.
2. Yahoo blocking: "False positive" my sweet Aunt Fanny.
Every afternoon, the group convenes at the centre of the plaza for what they call a "General Assembly," a meeting during which they map out their tactics for the next day.
Forbidden from using a microphone - they don't have the proper permits - the group got creative [#180].
"What we do is a people's microphone," Reed said. "So the person who's speaking says a couple of words and then the whole crowd repeats it so everyone can hear. It's actually beautiful."
4. A fascinating take from (I think) the right side of the student world. "Not even hate in their veins."
5. Media station with portable generator. Awesome:
Working the informal kitchen area, 36-year-old Seattle resident Galen Prouty said that efforts are being made to "formalize the encampment" [#174] by designating certain areas for sleeping, eating, demonstrating, and relaxing. A media station powered by a generator has been set up to continue a live stream. Asked about a lack of leadership, Prouty said, "Exactly. That's how it should be. We hold general assemblies [#48]. That's how decisions are made."
Protesters today were arrested for putting up tents to weather the rain [#158].
New York's law [against "masked gatherings] dates back to 1845, when lawmakers tried to quell uprisings by tenant farmers who "used disguises to attack law enforcement officers," according to a later U.S. Court of Appeals ruling. A dip in the price of wheat left many in debt [plus ça change!] to landowner Stephen Van Rensselaer IV.
After Mr. Rensselaer moved to evict tenants, disgruntled farmers disguised themselves as "Indians," [like the original Boston Tea Party] dressed in "calico gowns and leather masks" and attacked agents of the landlords. The court papers said the tactics adopted by these rebel groups ranged from "tarring and feathering" to murder, including a sheriff.
Here again, I'm at a loss to classify the technique using Sharp's 198 categories. The masks are remind me of 35, "Humorous skits and sketches", except without a narrative. However, as with caravans, we're looking at Symbolic Public Acts that seem to occur in the American context only. Dunno.
A few comments:
1. Try something! Bold, persistent experimentation. It's great what they're doing.
2. The stories that are floating to the lazy surface of media attention are (a) cops vs. kids and (b) ZOMG!!!! Media blackout, as in Goodman above. Those are the obvious narratives, and therefore not interesting. I mean, of course, and of course to both.* They are also misdirections and distractions, in that they have nothing to do with who the
kids protesters citizens are, what their work is, where they are doing it (not only the streets), when they are doing it (not only the streets but also in the general assembly), or why they are doing it (policy goals). So, the story is being "non-covered" as it were (DIScovered and UNcovered both not being available).
3. I think the real story is connections made on the ground, and lessons learned tactically (Wall Street is not the central square of a great Mediterranean city) and to-be-learned strategically. That story isn't visible in our famously free press. It's probably implicit in the twitter feeds....
4. What I'm not seeing -- and maybe I'm missing it, since I'm not posting on this 24/7, as I did with Egypt -- is the expressed sense of joy at coming to "the square." I think that's important, and perhaps even critical (especially as occupiers fan out back to "RL"). If what I am not seeing is in fact not there, I wonder if it's a function of the Manhattan canyons, a lack of critical mass, police tactics, not "all walks of life," or what.... ) Readers, please correct with cites; I could well be wrong and would be happy to be. I mean, setting up a portable generator is totally cool.
Again, try something! It's all good.
NOTE * As others have pointed out, lack of media coverage makes it harder for non-violence to achieve its ends. MLK is hard to imagine without Life magazine, and Tahrir Square without the Al Jazeere live cam. So media FAIL (or success, depending on where you sit) is a huge strategic issue, for sure. But nobody goes to the barricades for meta.