Despite the enormous strength evidenced in the (multiple) police raids two weeks ago, followed by a massive day of actions on November 17th culminating in a jubilant march across the Brooklyn Bridge, it is easy to feel apprehensive, disheartened, and angry about the destruction of Liberty Plaza–and the subsequent resurrection of the far more bland Zuccotti Park–after all, there was a complete and coordinated demolition that included a heart-breaking bibliocide and a staunch reminder that though small in numbers, the top political and financial 1% is protected by hired authoritarian thugs.
Personally, I took a break–from both #OccupyWallStreet and the Internet–and spent the holiday in California with my family. It wasn’t soon after landing that I was on a BART train to go to #OccupyOakland, but–though taking to the streets, blasting homegrown music and chanting “Hella Hella Hella Hella Occupy” made it feel good to be home (and convinced me that despite appearances, #OccupyOakland is alive and well), I couldn’t help feeling eerie about the desolate Oscar Grant Plaza.
New friends told me stories about the way things were, and showed me pictures of taking the port on their smart phones. They had bought gas masks from army supply stores and were fully prepared for clamp downs from the riot police.
I came back to New York, having undeniably mixed feelings about activism, #occupy, and the importance of space. On one hand, thriving protests are happening with CUNY, the UC Campuses and the #OccupyColleges movement. On the other, occupations are being cracked down upon right and left, and occupiers are scattered, scared and forced into new places. On the other hand, these crackdowns are eliminating the pettiness that many occupied occupations were becoming–and putting an end to the frustrations of the bureaucracies of the mini tent cities. On the other hand, leaving my comfortable one mile radius from the heart of Occupy Wall Street showed me that many Americans are still asleep at the wheel, leaving Thanksgiving Dinner with their families to line up at Black Friday for a cheap flat screen TV to silence their families.
On the other hand, we have been waiting for this moment, and waiting for this moment to turn into this movement. There may be fewer and fewer tent cities–but there are more and more Google searches on “corporate greed” and “income inequality,” less and less money stored in the big banks, and more and more Americans who have realized that politics doesn’t have to be an indecipherable game of deficit reduction and inescapable budget cut negotiations by bought-out Congressmen, but is an idea that we can seize for ourselves, translating it for one another into understandable language to re-claim democracy the way that we see it, screaming until our voices are blasted throughout the media and linking arms until the corporate elite is blocked by our people power.
Occupy 2.0 is now the catchphrase of the hour. It will be fueled by more demonstrations and demands, less petty personal bureaucracy. It will be about our struggle as Americans, not our struggles amongst each other as occupiers, and we will use the lessons we learned from Chapter One: Tent Cities to mobilize Chapter Two: Who The Fuck Knows Yet, But Better Than Before to be more united, more inclusive, more directed, and more ultimately powerful than anything we have seen yet.