How can the days keep getting better? A horrible urge is arising in me to hope the change never comes, that we never resolve the issues, so I can continue coming back to the square everyday and marinating in the good feeling. No matter how much wealth the 1% take, they will never have the fun and feelings of solidarity we’ve all had over the past week and a half and continue to spread daily. Even Burger King gave in on the bathroom issue!
Today I was told of the difference between C and C++, an alternate history of partical physics, saw an old English professor, and spoke to several citizen journalists who had driven in from nearby states to write their first ever news stories because they wanted to make sure their community knew about the wonderful things going on in Liberty Plaza. I was as psyched to talk to all of them, maybe even moreso, than I was to speak to a German radio station, several Columbia students, and the other numerous groups that did interviews with me.
There were two marches today, one of which I was at this morning, and one of which I missed because I was being interviewed when the marchers left. The morning march was very relaxed, and the police made no arrests. Several in fact were smiling and gave us thumbs up openly as we marched. The 6pm march was big, at least 500 people, impressive for a Monday, and again, no arrests were made. We were right, the cops didn’t want it to come to that. They are at the bottom end of the wealth distribution with the rest of us.
The city instruction to the cops not to speak with protesters has either been rescinded or is being ignored. A very friendly officer, who, to keep both of us out of trouble, I’m going to dub “C”, came over to the information booth while I was working. He spoke to one of our work groups who was having a meeting first, and even tipped his cap to them. I’m going to paraphrase what he said to us at the booth from memory.
“Hi there, I just wanted to say I love you guys. They reassigned me here, but this is so much more enjoyable than it was driving in a car scanning the radio. Don’t worry-I wasn’t one of the guys on Saturday. It was a shame what happened then, but it broke the media blackout! I was telling my girlfriend and my friends ‘Why isn’t this on tv?’ When Michael Moore showed up tonight I was on security detail for him, and a CBS camera was in my face for a bit. Gonna have to make sure my girlfriend DVRs tonight’s news!
“I know you guys are probably mad at us, but a lot of us try to help you guys. The ones who stay back here watch your stuff so homeless guys don’t steal it.”
I told him, and I am telling you now, the night cops have been remarkably chill. It’s the truth.
“We’re all sorry what happened Saturday, we were just afraid it was going to become what happened in London.
We know better now,” he added.
I and my two colleagues at the information/greeting booth wished him a good night and told him we appreciated the fact he’s been keeping an eye on people’s stuff. Somebody has to.
Misleading fliers have been circulating. This morning one was posted saying a second section of the protest was meeting in “Ferry Plaza”, attempting to divide the group. The media center in the square collected all of them and threw them out. We’re not fooled that easily.
A fellow from Baltimore who manned the booth with me for a bit, and who had been jobless since moving to Brooklyn, was offered a job by one of the passerby’s who wanted to sign the petition asserting our legal right to demonstrate in the park.
Karma must have been in effect, since I right after met an Amherst native who had moved to Beijing in response to the passage of PATRIOT ACT and the American military actions in Iraq. He co-organizes the Beijing Independent Film Festival, so I gave him a copy of ‘Acquaintances’.
Traffic at the desk, though more plentiful than any day previous, slowed for a bit and we traded names and descriptions of awful films. The BIFF apparently has a day devoted entirely to showing the absolute worst of the worst of their submissions. While I offered him such stalwarts as “Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny”, he offered up the following:
-“We got a movie…it was a musical about kamikaze pilots. All the Japanese speak English, and the only Japanese spoken in the entire film is by American Soldiers.”
-“Redneck Parking Lot. Description would be gratuitous.”
In two minutes we were explaining the Glass-Steagal act to two Columbia undergrads who showed up. That’s how dynamic this event is.
I traded 4 Loko stories with a guy named Freddy who works as an apprentice stone mason.
“I got stoned and drank 4 Loko when I was camping. We had stuff to make s’mores and we had stuff to make cheeseburgers. I couldn’t decide so I put chocolate and graham cracker and marshmallow on each half of the bun of the cheeseburger and ate it. I called it a s’moreburger.”
“Oh yeah?” Freddy is from the Bronx and has a second generation Russian accent (inflection really) in his voice. “I got stoned and drank 4 Loko and then me and my friends went out to play Football in this blizzard in Manhattan, cause there was just nobody in the street. Except this ABC news truck. They said they wanted to interview us, so we were like ‘Yeah sure!’
So they say ‘Why are you playing football in a blizzard?’ and I was like ‘It’s a beautiful day out. Blizzard. 4 Loko!’ while my buddy is screaming ‘Fuck American Imperialism!’ in the background. It got on the news.”
The goodwill from passerby’s is palpable. A guy from Baltimore I’ve been chatting with the past couple days who’s been out of work forever got a job offer from a guy signing the petition just randomly off the street.
And no drugs. No violence. Nothing but good food, goodwill, and good conversation. It’s the best party I’ve ever been to in my life, and it just keeps growing.