Monday, October 17, 2011


          Individuals have the capacity to deeply explore the essence of their being and fundamentally alter their perception of reality.  In other words, people can change.  The possibilities of what that change may entail are limited only by motivation and imagination.  A tsunami of tweets, an avalanche of blog posts, and a flood of status updates got me thinking if this limitless capacity for change can be manifested collectively.  Do communities, societies, and nations, have the ability to look deep down inside, observe, question, understand, and change the way we together experience our world?  

The aroma of incense that permeates the cool crisp air of an autumn afternoon and the bright visual palette that accompanies the festive beats from the drum circle assembled at one end of the square can be a bit misleading.  This is no block party.  Occupy Wall Street is a nonviolent resistance movement that for nearly a month has been the loudspeaker through which many disenfranchised, oppressed, and ignored voices of society have and continue to express their dissatisfaction and frustration towards the current state of affairs.  Inspired by the wave of revolutionary uprisings that rocked the Arab world earlier this year, groups of demonstrators from all walks of life have taken over Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan and converted it into Liberty Park, a space to discuss and publicly express their sentiments on topics ranging from religion, gender, race, politics, sustainability, and even the independence of Puerto Rico.  Among the cacophony of concerns aired by these well-intentioned individuals and organizations with ideas on efficient transportation infrastructures, alternative fuels, and participatory governance there is one overarching theme, a thread that weaves together this revolting amalgamation, the economy.  The current economic volatility, triggered by corporate greed and irresponsible government policies has made many question who is running the show and whose interests are writing the script.  Why are there billions of dollars to ensure the smooth operation of a predatory financial system and no money to generate jobs, provide healthcare, improve infrastructure or support veterans?

“Banks got bailed out, WE got sold out!”

As the sounds of dissidence echo through the concrete canyons of capitalism I realize that I am not the only one with questions.  Even amongst the adversaries of the demonstrations, which have also made their presence felt, there is common ground: it’s rough out there and things must change.

After marching, screaming, and soaking in the scene, I leave Liberty Park on a subway heading uptown to meet friends for dinner.  The clamor of the masses still rings in my mind as I realize that everyone around me in this subway car is at this moment, through this struggle, connected to me. We are together questioning, exploring, understanding and experiencing change.  With a deep sense of interconnectedness I get off at my stop.  

“We ARE the 99 percent!”

A week since I first occupied Wall St. I go back to Liberty Park and it doesn’t seem like much has changed, other than a few stations with cameras that are streaming the event online.  I don’t spend much time there since it is a menacing shade of gray overhead.  I sit in a coffee shop banging on the keys as I notice that I’m low on juice.  I approach the only table with a power outlet and ask the gentleman sitting there if I may join him.  The current comes with a conversation.  My booth buddy works as an editor for one of the crews with a very loud presence in Occupy Wall Street.  Without wasting a breath he tells me that the Park would be cleared tomorrow.  Sanitation, it has to be cleaned, the city, the codes, who knows.  “The bottom line is” he says “you can’t fight the NYPD.  It’s one of the largest military operations in the world.”

I wake up to a gloomy sky and rush to get plugged in.  The hope for collective transformation lives to see another day.  Wall Street remains #occupied.  

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