On our role as citizen journalists -
We should not be surprised or discouraged by lack of main stream media coverage. Corporate media has an incentive not to cover these protests – they are perpetrators of this broken system. While I am primarily a researcher, my role as a citizen journalist is in the tradition of those who so bravely faced the brutality of the Iranian government in the 2009 crackdown on post-election protesters. If I can honor them in any way, this is it: by documenting the occupation. I recognize that my challenge, and that of all citizen journalists, is to both report and rally.
“Make it Culture, make it accessible.” – from a friend
I see beauty in Occupy Wall Street. I watched the sun rise over the Ground Zero construction site on the first morning and I truly began to feel like we are creating something beautiful and sustainable. So much of the criticism about Occupy Wall Street stems from the apparent lack of one unified demand. While I know that others disagree, I see this as a strength. While holding steadfast to one demand may lend itself to easy soundbites, having an open movement welcomes any one of the millions of Americans who no longer feel this system is working for them.
Why should we seek to impose a single demand on the 99%?
I recognize that, as part of this movement, I cannot be completely unbiased in my reporting. I don’t believe this to be the job of a citizen journalist. We are as much cheerleaders as we are reporters.
“If I can’t chant ‘spoon’ and dance down Wall Street, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.”
Is this culture? Yes, I believe so. Is it accessible? I know I make a point to tell the police I love them, that they too are the 99%. Yesterday 1,000 people marched on Wall Street after a group of Troy Davis protesters joined forces with Occupy Wall Street protesters. We have a former Wall Streeter among us, fed up with seeing unhappy faces every day. Four months after Kenneth asked me to go dancing with him, we finally did – on Wall Street, Monday morning. My dear Sonya has been topless for days, inspiring other women to join her. There are hippies and anarchists, members of Anonymous…and there’s me – I wear Lily Pulitzer and cashmere. I watched a tye-dye wearing blonde kid give a passionate interview in perfect Spanish. It ended with him and the reporter hugging and crying. A 91-year old man marched with us and told our friend Ayesha that he couldn’t stand to see ‘what’s happening to the kids’ anymore.
Is it accessible? Come join us, you’ll see.
On Liberty Plaza -
“Dear governments, you might want to stop using names like ‘Revolution’ Square and ‘Freedom’ Park.” – seen on Twitter after the toppling of Hosni Mubarak
We call our site, Zuccotti Park, by its original name – Liberty Plaza Park. Driven here after being denied our initial goal of occupying Wall Street, we have begun to function as a microcommunity – an example of democratic collectivism – full of individuals with diverse backgrounds, varied ideologies, and different strengths. As a community we benefit from our differences and hope to inspire future cooperation.
While I was at first frustrated with the slow progress of the General Assembly, I am now humbled by their ability to function and progress while still holding true to their principles. Liberty Plaza has functioning committees in the areas of media, safety and protection, and outreach. It has been streaming live for several days and thousands of people have viewed the proceedings. Reportedly, one of the first actions of the Occupy California group was to set up their own General Assembly. There must be at least some merit to their methods.
The plane I’m on is experiencing quite a bit of turbulence at the moment, but I’ll shortly be returning to Home Sweet Wall Street and cannot wait to continue this journey.