#OCCUPY NEW YEARS

Occupy Wall Street has blown me away again. Celebrating the New Year in Zuccotti park was such a simple and wonderful experience. Being surrounded by so many beautiful revolutionaries in their most joyous state was something I will certainly never forget. During a wonderful action like this makes me completely forget all of the quarrels and discontent I had for the movement. Although I know this is hypocritical, I will gladly take take hypocrisy in my jovial state.

The day began for me around 5:00pm. I arrived at Zuccotti park to a little under a hundred people gathered together in celebration for the park, the New Year and the ideology which we hold so much love for. I sat around playing mandolin, singing Auld Lang Syne with tweaked Occupy lyrics and feeling what it must have felt like while the encampment existed. When I close my eyes in the park and try to envision it, although I know it’s not there, I feel something so spectacular that I can hardly describe. I believe in ghosts, but not in ghosts belonging to a single person. When a person leaves a place I feel that they leave something behind. I have done a lot of Theater in my life and when you exist during your “Stage Life” you leave a very pure part of your soul on the stage. The people of Occupy left everything at Zuccotti.

It was my understanding from various rumors around the Twitter-verse that we would be re-Occupying the park, although this was not a planned or consented action (but honestly a consensus is completely unnecessary, re-occupation is unanimous).  So of course I brought a tent and sleeping bag! It is my opinion that no Occupation can call themselves an Occupy if they don’t make an attempt to actually OCCUPY! And thus far I had yet to see a single tent go up at OWS, or more correctly WS. So, naturally I was very excited to see how OWS could get their infrastructure up and create a functioning camp before an impending raid came through.

Unfortunately, the only tent that went up the entire night was a tiny tent set up by a pair of four year old twins. This was a very powerful action though. The cops saw the tent go up and began storming the park immediately, until they realized that they would be raiding children. There was a human barricade set around the tent and the twins were having an amazing time in their little sanctuary that so many had been refused over the past month. The cops in turn shut down the park for any entrance and a large crowd that had been growing outside the park began marching around, shaking barricades and demanding entrance.  Eventually the relatively futile effort to keep up the tent and get people in was given up and the tent was handed over to the police. This was the most powerful part of the action. I don’t think any of these police were prepared for taking away an adorable four year olds tent and making them cry. The look on some of the officers faces were actually more heartbreaking than the look on the faces of the children, they obviously did not sign up for this.

After that PR stunt had been finished a couple friends and I went over to the precinct for a Noise-Demo in solidarity with the prisoners locked up there. I always love a good DA march, those guys know how to have fun! We heard the action way before we saw it; wolf cries, banging pots, horns, and various mic checks here and there. We decided to start making some noise to join and rose our voices to the concrete walls and bars that held so many unlawfully arrested victims of a corrupt system. We joined the noise demo of about a 150 people and gave those prisoners one hell of a new years. The windows of the prison, though barred were filled with people holding “peace signs” flashing their lights on and off and one man simply holding his hand to the window with his head pressed up against it.

I wish that I had the powerful speech that we eventually mic checked to the prisoners that brought howling from within the prison. I don’t fully support releasing every prisoner from jail and “burning the prison to the ground.” But, I cannot support in any way a system that is so inherently evil and racist. While in one hand claims to do service for the people by ridding us of undesired elements and in the other hand enslaving the population with the fear of the same fate. When we allow common practice to take away the freedoms of the marginalized than we can fully expect that they will come for the freedoms of all.

When we had sufficiently demolished enough noise at the precinct a spirited march was lead through the streets and eventually back to Zuccotti. The march came under attack about half way through, marching through China Town. Three people were arrested for being in the streets, as well as one person on a bike. The march eventually ended up back at Zuccotti Park, where a swarm of people had shown up and began tearing down the barricades around the park and piling them in the center. The ranks from the Noise-Demo joined in, empowered and enraged and began dragging blockades by the dozen into the park. Pretty soon we had a mountain of defeated oppression piled high in our re-claimed park. This didn’t come without fight from the police, they were pretty brutal and flexed their tendrils a couple times by forcing themselves into the park with about twenty officers at a time, pulling out a couple victims and retreating back. On one occasion we all got pepper sprayed, but that just made us more empowered and made me slam on my mandolin even harder.

When the clock struck midnight all heaven broke loose as cheers and drum circles erupted in a glorious chorus apexing in a singular voice echoing “whose year?, Our year!” It was such an honor to celebrate that New Years in one of the most important places in the world, and certainly one of the most important places of my life with such spectacular people. I kissed and hugged and danced like I never have before, with tears streaming and heart swelled.

The joy didn’t last. Either this was the work of an agent provocateur or just a not very intelligent (yet influential) person. But, this person decided to lead a march from Zuccotti… to Times Square… All I could say was “WHY?” We had claimed the park. We had sufficiently agitated the police presence by dismantling about eighty barricades. And we needed everyone to stay put and defend the park, but over half of our numbers left. After a quick moment of frustration and shock a couple friends and I decided to chase after the march and turn them back around, but apparently the march had turned into a jog and were all the way in China Town when we decided to go after them. This put us in the worst position ever. The march was apparently being broken up and mass amounts of people were being arrested, and behind us Zuccotti park was being broken up. We made a decision to trek back to Zuccotti and when we had arrived back there the park was completely cleared out and they were hauling people off.

All in all, it was a symbol. We were showing the NYPD and the public that we are still here and we are still mad. We got out well over a thousand people for the reclamation with no advertisement, no plan, and nothing to lose. They are scared of our power and this was just a reminder that we still have the power to show them for the monsters they are, to radicalize the everyday person, to inspire the people to rise against their forced and corrupt system no matter how badly they beat you back down. No matter what, we will rise again. This is not over.

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