I first meet Andrew Lynn when I participated in a fun action where we walked around Kmart in the East Village and didn’t buy anything. This was part of an anti-consumer form of street theatre called Whirlmart. Since then Andrew has been super active in bicycle issues, working upstate with Troy bike rescue and one of the film makers behind “Still We Ride,” which diligently exposed the hardcore repression of the NYPD against the peaceful critical mass bike ride since 2004.
Andrew has been taking time to participate in the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations where people have been camped out for almost two weeks, blocks from the financial epicenter.
Normally I wouldn’t necessarily use this blog as a platform to blatantly champion an action, but I was recently moved by a mass email Andrew sent out about his thoughts and experiences participating in this growing movement.
I felt so strong about his conviction and belief in what’s going on across the country, it just seems like the right thing to post this and be another place people can read it.
Andrew’s experience with Occupy Wall Street and a call to action.
This is a communique intended for you individually. I have been extremely busy, and have had only time to post to Facebook regularly, but not to further networks. I hope that this note can be shared more widely. (so please do your part)
first off… if you are in the dark, I highly recommend checking out some videos on these links
and then google or youtube search “occupywallstreet” or twitter users search: #occupywallstreet
Where I am…
As many of you know, I have been part of the group of people occupying a park in the vicinity of wall street. The Occupation is 13 days in and shows no signs of slowing up, but rather signs of growth. I meet people from all over the place who are new here everyday both from within NYC, but also as far as Georgia, Wisconsin, Michigan, Philadelphia and more. Moreover, this model of occupation is being replicated in cities all over the country as citizen activists begin occupations in places such as Boston, Sacramento, Chicago, San Diego, Phoenix, Portland, OR, SF, St. Louis, Detroit, LAâ€¦. and that is just off the top of the heads of people sitting around me right now.
what is happening
In short ‘future kulture’ is happening. We have organized a micro city on purely democratic principles in which anyones voice can be heard. There are two General Assemblies per day and many meetings of separate working groups, some discussing solutions, demands, and tactics on a global and local scale, and others managing operations of our camp. Working groups include but are not limited to Food, Comfort, Sanitation, Medical, Library, Media Production, Streaming Media, Media Relations, Finance, Direct Action, Security, and many more. I hesitate to call this a protest. It is an Assembly and a Call to Action. Three days ago, I would not have necessarily believed that I would be writing this, feeling the way I do about all of this, or even still here. This is real. It is growing, and it IS the beginnings of a new, young, social movement that has real potential (and those of you who know my typical cynicism will be surprised by this) to steer our country towards the necessary General Strike of working people, unemployed people, owning class people, students, and everyone else.
a call to action
I want to personally urge people to come here. On first reading that, the impression might be that we need more people on the ground here. That is only partly true. The camp grows to multiple thousands of people everyday, and more every day. However, that is a small part of why your presence (even for a day) is useful and necessary. Really, what is going on here is political education of a profound and new kind. Activists and concerned citizens need to witness the model that is happening here in order to replicate and allow the Occupation of the US to virally grow as quickly as possible. The virus will mutate. Occupations will look different as they spread, but to those of you within traveling distance of NYC, please hear me that this is something like I have never experienced and it has changed my life, and I would like to share that experience in a deeper way than posting to Facebook and telling people about it.
who is here
all kinds of people are here, and as I said more and different people every day. the overwhelming majority at this moment are young people who have never been part of past actions or movement. That alone is jawdropping to me. it is not the typical lefty crowds that are found at peace marches etc. it is those folks too, but it is more far-reaching, and i think that is highly significant.
what to expect
expect to be fed for free as much as you can eat. expect to witness true democratic decision making. expect to have genuine conversations about everything that matters to you about the future of our society and planet with fellow occupiers, passersby, and police. expect truly horizontal organizing and decision-making expect participate teach-ins. expect to lead teach-ins if you so desire. expect to work (join a working group and help with whatever your particular skillet provides). expect to be slightly overwhelmed at first. expect to be interviewed by television stations, radio reporters, and writers. expect to participate in different kinds of peaceful marches. expect to march in solidarity with unions (CWA, Airline Pilots, Postal workers, etc) expect to meet a LOT of people. expect the unexpected.
when to come
I have put my life on hold and taken considerable risk personally to come here. I intend to leave to rejoin my life of employment and local activist responsibility Saturday night. I urge people to come here on Friday night or Saturday. If you come Saturday, try to arrive early as marches generally leave at 9am, and activities build from there. The weekday climax of events tends to be in the after-work hours when thousands of people converge here for a daily General Assembly in which anyone can have the ‘peoples mic’ (a system of human amplification) that can be witnessed on various youtube videos out there. I don’t know what specifically will be happening on that day, so I can’t provide any more detailsâ€¦ but I don’t think it necessarily matters. This is ongoing, daily, and is not stopping. It is building, and in a few months this will be bigger than you or I can imagine. it’s not a promise, but it is an honest predictionâ€¦. and I would not have predicted it 4 days ago.
I need to go. Thanks for reading. Please share this out….