Monday, October 10, 2011

A Report from Occupy Boston

Yesterday's events were fairly mellow, but the crowds were huge and the momentum is clearly building.

While the bulk of the people camping out were twenty somethings and college students, it's clear the movement itself is much larger than that.

People run the gamut in age, race and ideology, but are friendly and welcoming. I'd say upwards of half the total people there were seniors and young families, many with kids, so it's not just college students and twenty somethings, even if those are the biggest groups camping out.

There's also a wide variety of backgrounds, from Cornell graduates with degrees in engineering to the unemployed and everything in between.

It's a little crunchy granola, but you can't help but feel empowered and inspired by the people participating together in the movement. There's a real sense of community in "Tent City," not to mention the sense that everyone is a part of something much bigger.

Everything was very peaceful and people were greatful that the police have been accommodating thus far. There were certainly constant efforts to keep it that way, with lots of self policing and reminders from members of the community if you were doing something that could attract police attention, even mundane things like not leaving room to pass through the sidewalk.

There's also worries that the Mayor's recent antagonizing comments could change things in regards to the police. The protesters are prepared for that, but have made every effort to avoid it.

They've kept the camp contained to just the square, even though they're at capacity in "tent city" and would like to expand to more of the greenway. There's been little impacts on traffic and lots of effort has been made to keep things safe and sanitary - both of those issues have entire working groups dedicated to them.

Yet, there are also daily work shops for legal training so people know their rights and know what to do if the situation changes and there are arrests. Numbers are given out on who to call if legal help is needed and people are told to write it down on there persons, not just their phones (which can be confiscated), should they think there could be arrests.

Getting Involved

There's going to be a 3pm march today sponsored by several organizations, including labor. It will start with students at the band stand on the Commons at 2pm (gathering at 1:30) and from there, meet with the rest of Dewey Square and the unions for the big 3pm effort. There should be literally thousands of people there.

The General Assemblies are daily at 7pm and are a true experience in democracy to be witnessed. Specifics can be found at the Occupy Boston website beyond that.

These are great opportunities to come and be a part of it all - one of the 99% - as the normal go of things is a much quieter, more subdued affair, with some work group or presentation usually going on every hour or so, but otherwise just lots of people gathered in clusters, holding signs or doing other mundane things.

Those quieter moments are what you make of them. If you want to stay busy, you need to get involved and volunteer.

There's dedicated areas to get involved in their working groups, find out more information, a place to stay at night or grab something to eat.

If you come in to visit, consider bringing some donations, like food and water. At the General Assembly, the food services group specifically asked for vegan salad dressing and a large coffee maker. These are the things that keep people - and therefore the movement - going.

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