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
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.
"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."