Saturday, December 10, 2011

Occupied Communique #1

 November 08, 2011

Dear Unity College,

I have been working as a street medic for 39 days at OccupyWallStreet. I would have written sooner but my access to computers is very limited, and free time is a luxury I have not experienced since arriving. It has been an incredible journey, and I wish you all were here with me to ride this wave of history. However, all of you back in Unity have a more important job than I do, because to be successful the Occupy Movement has to spread to every neighborhood. Wall Street is a battleground in the revolution against the global power structure. Occupying your neighborhood is the revolution realized. When the people in the neighborhoods rise up and determine their own sustainable future by solving their own local neighborhood problems the global elite will have lost all power. Whose streets? Our streets!

The occupation at Liberty Park (aka Zuccotti Park) evolves daily. Nobody can foretell what will happen next. This is what democracy looks like.

The day I arrived at Liberty Park 700 people were arrested while on a protest march across the Brooklyn Bridge. Since then I have been on many marches as a street medic, witnessed many incidents of police brutality and provocation, and many more incidents of protester courage and restraint. The occupation has remained peaceful in the face of constant provocation because the protesters are powered by love -- love of themselves, love of their sisters and brothers, love of their inherent human rights. On the other hand, the police are being paid to act the way they do. No contest, yo! Money can't touch love.

I am sure you have heard of the incidents of crime at Liberty Park, a place that offers free food, free clothes, free shelter and free medical care. Yes, there is criminal activity victimizing people at Liberty Park. Men have been bussed in on Rikers Island buses. Dope dealers and drug addicts from the surrounding neighborhood ply the edges of the Occupation community with the previous knowledge that they would be free from police intervention. Homeless people of all description have been purposefully sent to us in order to over-burden our infrastructure. Yet through all this the community at Liberty Park has not lost sight of their goals while creating new and constructive ways to deal with the constant attack upon their integrity and resolve. Through all of this we continue to provide free care and love to all who come to be with us. Through all of this, though we struggle against all the problems that have plagued society for ages. We know that the sick society that the elite have abused us with has traumatized these people. This trauma can be healed, and is being healed by the outpouring of love by the occupation community. Many times I have heard a person exclaim: "I have never experienced such love in my whole life." It is a beautiful event to witness, and always brings a welling of tears to my eyes because it is the creative moment that is the birth of conceptualizing the new society we are building. It is how we become the 99%.

All of the outside social problems afflicting Liberty Park and the Occupation of Wall Street are important aspects of the movement, and are problems we need to have solutions for when we have moved out of the parks and into the neighborhoods, but are not what OccupyWallStreet is about. What goes mostly unreported, even though sometimes it seems the press outnumbers the occupiers, are the countless daily acts of kindness, care and solidarity by the occupiers to each other, to the thousands daily who come to gawk, and even to the local and federal police charged with harming us. That outpouring of love has changed the attitude of the local police -- who were totally non-communicative and undeniably hostile when I first arrived, to the situation now where except for a few individuals the police are now seen to greet us with smiles and conversation even though they still accept money to surround and menace us. They are beginning to get it -- we are the 99%, and so are they. Soon they will reject those 30 pieces of silver, and join us. That is what OccupyWallStreet is about: enabling an awareness of how all the disparate groups we have been divided into by the 1% are the 99%.

I have been moved to tears almost daily by the joy, love and exuberance the occupiers are living life. Even though we live in a park carved out of solid rock, with no soft soil or grass to rest upon, hearts full of love cushion our existence and soften the harsh realities of living in a toxic urban environment. The river is only a few blocks away, and the view of the Statue of Liberty is inspiring, but the utter lack of water birds or of any kind of life except the blind shuffling of zombified pedestrians tears at my soul. This is Ground Zero. Yes, the Twin Towers once stood here, and the new abomination taking their place rises above Liberty Park and serves me as a landmark to find my way back home, and to remind me of the disconnect between the 1% and the 99%. Despite this, and more, the myriad, spontaneous acts of kindness by one occupier to another wipes away all the hardship for me. No matter the time of day or night there are people helping people throughout the park. We depend upon each other, and we continue to be strengthened by our love of each other. That love transforms us. This is what I have been waiting for my entire life.

Many of us come to the park trapped in our old habits, by our old ideas, and with our old possessions. Living in Liberty Park changes our habits, our ideas and our possessions. This is the revolution in action. This is the new Ground Zero.

All of us here at Liberty Park are dedicated to fighting the global power structure -- the CEOs, the bankers, the politicians. We will remain relentless in our demands of the worlds billionaires -- the thieves, rapists and murderers of millions around the world. The Occupation Movement at large is not about Wall Street. It is about your neighborhood -- whether that is in Oakland or Bangor, the United States or Palestine, the middle of Asia or the middle of the Pacific -- what matters is your neighborhood. We march against the billionaires on Wall Street so that you can peacefully occupy your own neighborhood, so that you can peacefully assume political power in your neighborhood, so that you can become sustainable in your neighborhood. Please don't let us down. Occupy Everything!

Kanye West said it best: "Don't be afraid to say the word 'revolution'."

It is revolution. It is exactly what the Declaration of Independence promised, but was never delivered. Now is the time. We are the 99%, and this is what democracy looks like on our streets all day and all week.

Please email me your questions and I will attempt to answer them in future communiques. Thank you all for your support, I am very grateful to be associated with the people of Unity College in Maine. 

Best Regards,

Ed Mortimer

"Only when the last tree has died
 and the last river been poisoned
   and the last fish been caught
             will we realize
      we cannot eat money."
            -Cree Wisdom-

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