So me and my sister Buffy took our un-ironed selves down to the First General assembly of Occupy Wall Street at Washington Square Park last Saturday, Oct. 8, 2011.
Buffy made us two matching signs that read: “I Am The 99%” — this is her picture from before we dove into the gathering, standing at the famous Washington Square arch:
And this is her picture that showed up on the famous website Gawker when they reported on the event later that day:
(In case you can’t read the sign, here’s a close up:)
Her sign — I Am The 99% – means, of course, that we are of the 99% of Americans who did not rape our beloved capitalist system of the USA with fraudulent and criminal bank loans/steals, yet we are the 99% being held accountable financially and politically for the devastation that has ravaged our society for these past three years (and for generations to come).
BTW, these are the sign boards that we carried to the Jon Stewart Rally for Sanity Washington DC last year, re-purposed for today. They are my sister’s own design, in that they pass muster for those rallies where the cops won’t allow you to carry a sign on a stick (D.C. and NYC). They have a strap in the back for ease o’ carrying to and fro, and for when you aren’t waving them in the air, and are made of foam core so they are light and portable. My sister’s a genius!
See that guy in the yellow shirt (in the Gawker photo above) standing behind Buffy? This is how he looked to me as I sat right behind him during the speeches of the General Assembly:
This is the Occupier “wave”, the way we all signify that we like what the speaker is saying — raising our arms and wiggling our fingers — instead of cheering or clapping. It’s very restful, and makes you laugh when you see all those arms shoot up and all them digits flapping in the breeze. (There was no breeze on that day BTW. It was hot and sunny, and Buffy and I were glad to use or signs as shade devises.)
A lot of people asked if they could take pictures of me and Buffy holding our signs (Did I tell you that Buffy is my identical twin sister and we both had khaki pants and white shirts on? Yeah. Cute.) These guys (see below) were standing next to us right before the General Assembly began, and they asked Buffy for a pen so they could write “I Am The 99%” on their coffee cups, and hold them up to let their freak flags fly:
Once the General Assembly began, we were asked to sit down in front so that the thousands in back of us could see. This is what I call my “Occupy Wall Street” neighborhood (the people I stared at for the next hour or so, during the speeches):
Buffy and I both thought this was the cutest guy in the neighborhood:
As you can see, Buffy and I were right in the front of the Assembly. We could hear the speakers just fine, but as the speakers were not allowed any amplification, we were part of the Human Microphone that, in a chorus of 200 or so, repeated every few words of speech so that it could be heard, and relayed, to the back of the crowd. (There is an excellent description of this phenomenon in this week’s Talk of the Town section of the New Yorker Magazine.) It was a HOOT to be part of a chanting crowd.
This is the guy (see below) from Egypt’s Tahrir Square who came all the way from Cairo to add his support to Occupy Wall Street — the things he said got a lot of “Like” signs, even though he mentioned revolution:
OK, you can’t really see Mohammad in this shot — but you can see the speakers facing us, and although I have a lot of photos of the scrum of photographers who were crowding the speakers area you can’t really get a good idea of how many media-types there were, snapping photos like crazy. HUNDREDS. Maybe dozens. About 40. A lot.
So I wasn’t surprized that we made it into the official photo for the Wikipedia entry for Occupy Wall Street:
This was taken from way behind where we were sitting, but you can still see us. See? (See below)
Whenever you see two rectangles of white in an Occupy Wall Street General Assembly photo, you’ll know that’s us.
As in this photo from the New York Post, taken from the opposite direction, facing us from across the front of the Assembly, on the opposite side from us:
See us? Everybody in this Post photo is waving YES YES YES to the speaker who just encouraged us all to OCCUPY EVERYWHERE.
See? Doesn’t that look like fun?
I was glad to see so many Baby Boomers finally getting off their asses and coming out to support the Occupiers last Saturday. When the Assembly broke up after an hour or so, we were encouraged to form small discussion groups to get to know one another and talk about our issues, and find like minds. There are a number of Working Groups down in Liberty Plaza/Zucotti Park (“Working Groups” is what they use instead of “Committees”, to avoid any sense of hierarchy) and you — and you, and you, and you — are invited to come down and find “your” Working Group and hang out and talk and change the corrupt political system that isolates the thieves on Wall Street and the liars in Congress from accountability.
Now, I haven’t been to Zucotti Park since it was occupied, but I know Zucotti Park and it’s nothing even close to a “park”, by the way. Even in the best of times it’s a shitty paved plaza with some crappy potted trees, so don’t worry that it’s being trampled to death. In fact, I’d love to see how it’s been humanized, colonized by My People. I want to go down and hang one day soon. You too!
Come on down!
We Are The 99%.
We’re Too Big To Fail.