An Occupy Wall Street Memoir
I sat in Liberty Park on Saturday, March 17th, watching the St. Patrick’s Day passersby, using a Direct Action Flaneurs typewriter, stopping to meditate with OccupyYoga and say hi to friends I haven’t seen in a bit. It was sunny and warm, much like today, the first day of Spring.
Every human body is subject to the influence of the seasons, and so it goes, that a movement would also be influenced by the subtle shifts of winds, length of days or changes in temperature. As some people put their hopes in an American Spring, I put my hope not in protest or against it, or in emulating a particular type of bloody uprising. I put my hope into the desire for us to create and prosper. I put my hope in the lessons of the Phoenix.
What the Phoenix Teaches
We’re the ones who for a while, got the absolute best of the Industrial Age and we’re the ones suffering the birth pains of the Information Age. From the age of plenty and constant growth is coming an age of sustainability and recycling.
The Phoenix myth isn’t about taking on the slight pinpricks of others and then re-birthing. The Phoenix is powerful because it relates powerful sufferings and therefore powerful transformations. For every new iris scan of an Occupier comes a change in how we perceive ourselves. In every confrontation with police come the cameras. This isn’t about the fight. This is about the terrain of bodies, of earth and the paradigms that we use to support our understanding of where we are now historically. It’s about the shift that we like to chart with infographics and headlines, but which we’ll not clearly see with anything but our witness. This is how we are all representative of this symbolic creature.
Saturday March 17th, I saw things soft and clear. I saw drunk people dressed in green, according to statistics, most of them depressed. I saw cops checking their cellphones and laden like pack animals with tasers, sprays, batons and guns. I saw J, with her glittering smile, and K who picked me up and spun me off my feet in a hug. I saw small children playing with chalk, drawing pictures alongside the adults. In those moments of family and tribe I heard laughter and I saw smiles. I heard who smokes what how and how often. I heard others talk about how they did, too, back when they were young. I saw faces painted on skin of many colors and ages and watched waste bins transform into drums, with their vibrant and messy presence, which six months ago, signaled the initial breaths of this movement. I did not see, sadly, the bagpipes, because I got hungry and left to feed myself. I remembering walking with K, giggling like truant school girls.
Now, as I did on Saturday night. I need to go grab some food and take care of some other things that are part of my life. Then, I’m going to join the folks in Union Square and welcome the change of this experience that goes beyond movements and brands, this, our Phoenix Spring.
Note: I’ve spent the winter writing about the implications of OWS, Anonymous and other groups that I believe are keys to understanding paradigm shift. For the Spring I will move to a deeper experience of the people and the experience. I hope you’ll enjoy.