Thursday, March 22, 2012

Judy Does OWS

Here, for what will no doubt be your immense amusement, is an excerpt from the lovely and talented Judy Rebick's book (more like a booklet, really) about her girlish, giddy adventures with the hippy dippy throng at New York City's Zucotti Park:
I arrived at Velcrow's place in Brooklyn around 6 PM, and he suggested we go eat in the park. "Really?" I asked. "Don't they want to feed people who need the food?"
"No," he laughed. "They want to feed everyone." That was my first clue. There's no charity here, no soup kitchen. Everyone who arrives is part of the community and everyone in the community gets fed. It's sharing, not charity; solidarity, not handouts. And the food was fabulous. We ate on paper plates and sat on the edge of what might have been a fountain to eat it.
Velcrow pointed out a rake-thin young woman with bleached blond hair and tattoos everywhere I could see. Lauren, who's about 20 years old, joined the clean-up team when she got to Zuccotti Park because she wanted to do something practical. When the mayor announced plans to evict OWS, claiming the park was dirty and unhealthy, Lauren and her crew moved into action. They mobilized hundreds of New Yorkers to come down and help clean. Every so often throughout the rainy night Lauren would stand in the midst of her cleaning squad and, through the human mic (where people repeat whatever the speaker says so everyone can hear), give a passionate rallying cry. "This young woman who'd never done anything like this before," Velcrow said, "became a major leader of the successful resistance against the eviction. She told me that being here has completely transformed her life."
The next day I heard a similar story more directly. We arrived at the site in early afternoon and immediately noticed a crowd gathering near the library. Every Occupy site, following the model in New York, has a library, a food service area, medics, and a comfort zone for anything you need to be warm or dry...
Don't know about you, but I'm suddenly feeling all warm and Haight-Ashbery-like.

1 comment:

Carlos Perera said...

Actually, the Zucotti Park "occupation" reminded me more of Woodstock than the 1967 Summer of Love phenomenon in San Francisco.

You might remember that, at Woodstock, the audience just showed up without having made any kind of provision for their needs . . . which the Woodstock promoters had not done either. So all of these "do your own thing" types became an enormous public charge to the locals and to New York State in general. The much-maligned "over thirty" types provided food, health care, shelter, transportation, etc., to the improvident, largely upper-middle-class young adults who wallowed in the mud, copulated like stoats, and consumed various interesting psychotropics. But the "kids," not the responsible grownups who, at considerable personal and collective expense, voluntarily assumed responsibility for their well-being, became the folk heroes, in the "narrative" perpetuated to this day by the popular media.

Ayn Rand's essay on the Woodstock phenomenon is well worth the read.