Friday, October 28, 2011

Occupy the World!

Alexandre Machado de Sant'Anna Carvalho, M.D., MPH
2009 Reynolds Fellow in Social Entrepreneurship
Dear all:

We are indeed moving towards a new paradigm of action, relationships and association. A new politik for society. We are beyond #OccupyWallSt right now. We became the #Occupy Movement. This poetic-political idea of becoming what we are yet to imagine is extremely powerful: it is the rediscovery of human agency, of that fire that makes us humans to begin with, in the service of hope. Not only hope, but why not, unashamed stubbornness. A courage that says i will stand my ground despite your riot gear; you take me down motherfucker, 40,000 more will rise. We are rising together in a spirit of solidarity that says, first and foremost, "Fuck the Cynics". Aye. Agreed! Fuck the cynics. Political agency as a way of life. PermaRevolution. Make it fun and creative, please! Make me dance and smile while we are at it, taking down the streets.

Let's lay down our old mental habits. A movement moves forward unstoppably when people who are the movement move beyond old frames of thought. #Occupywallst, OWS, is not enough anymore. The whole world is not only watching, it is rising. Not for NY, not for Oakland, not for Atlanta, but for their children and above all their dignity. That absolute realization that we are human, and simple for that fact, we all deserve to live. Enough of surviving in the margins of a foreclosed future. We are the 99% - we are the #Occupy Movement! :We are marching for a new system of reference, we are going where injustice is, we are taking it now to institutions - schools, hospitals, army barracks, museums, courts, buildings, markets, everything and everywhere, together! not marching for the people but WITH the people.

[In a leaderless movement, ideas lead.]

This is a radical difference, that makes all the difference.

We are beyond #OccupyWallSt!

We are... #Occupy.

Plain and simple.


like poetry. Occupy.Vacant what is rotten. Occupy the space - physical, virtual, emotional, aesthetical, philosophical, sexual, liberate the oppressed territory and then occupy it with an orgasm of life.

In a leaderless movement, ideas lead.

Vacant.Yourself. Occupy.Yourself.
Vacant.Together. Occupy.Together.

This we are doing is direct participatory democracy and much more: it's also cultural, technical, environmental, socio-economic, spiritual motion. Because we are constantly revolving everything around us, we are a revolution of consciousness.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Occupation Philly: Glossary & Working Groups

Not alphabetical. Working Groups as self-described & posted at City Hall

Not in alphabetical order

Working Group (WG
Another name for a committee. Autonoumously generated. Anyone can start one. Represents only itself.

General Assembly (GA)
Discussion & decision making body of the whole. Decisions made by G.A. represent Occupy Philadelphia

Bottom Liner
Those in a GA, through regular participation & availability, able to serve as Principle Contacts

Coordinating Committee (CoCo)
Vets & sends proposals to Facilitation, which puts them on agenda for GA & discussion. OPEN TO ALL. Voting limited to those representing WG.
Stage manages agenda for GA. Experienced facilitators available to help guide meetings in WG’s and elsewhere if needed.
The guidelines agreed to manage decision making. Not fixed. Open to revision & change by the GA.
Current Process for decision making (10/27/11).

1) Facilitator asks for QUALIFYING QUESTIONS  (what is this about? What does it entail?) STACK is taken for those who want to speak

2) Facilitator asks for CONCERNS. STACK is taken for those who want to speak

3)FRIENDLY AMENDMENTS. Suggested changes subordinate to Proposal itself. STACK is taken4)Non-Binding STRAW POLL by show of hands, first of FRIENDLY AMENDMENTS,  then of PROPOSAL 5)Binding vote. Super majority (currently defined as 2/3rd) required for approval or rejection,

6) If there is no clear majority for either FRIENDLY AMENDMENT or PROPOSAL,  discussion may be continued with additional CLARIFYING QUESTIONS, & CONCERNS, and/or BREAK OUT into small groups for discussion.

7) Begin again with Concerns...

Proposal Item brought to GA (or WG) for general approval or rejection
Qualifying Question    See PROCESS
Concerns See PROCESS
Straw Poll                  See PROCESS
Super Majority           See PROCESS
Hand Signals              Gestures to speed decision making and discussions and take pulse
                                                of group.  Currently in use with Occupy Philadelphia:                                                 ‘applause/approval: hands-up, wiggle fingers. Disapprove: point                                                  fingers down, wiggle. Speak louder! Point upward. Move it along,                                                  you’ve made your point, rolling motion with hands in opposite                                                  directions.
People’s MIC             When amplification not used,  speaker uses short phrases (4 words                                            are optimum) & whole group repeats to create human                                            amplification
Stack                           Facilitation role. Takes names of those who want to speak
Progressive Stack         Favor those who have not spoken, women, people of color—                                                                       anyone who might otherwise be marginalized by domination by a few

Working Groups (Committees)
Direct Actions                                     Coordinates Marches and Rallies
Food                                                    Accepts Food donations/ prepares meals
Comfort                                              Accepts & distributes tents, blankets, clothes…
Medical                                               Provides basic medical support
Donations & Resources                      Accepts & distributes donations & resources
TECH                                                  I.T. support
Facilitation                                          Organizes GA/ provides facilitation service. Meets daily at                                                              6 PM. Open to all
Environmental                                     Present focus—Stop Fracking/ Tar Sand/ Mt Top Removal
Homeless Outreach                             Support citizens without homes
Outreach & Solidarity                         Works with different WGs – intra Occupy Philly
Media                                                  Press dept (seeking camera personalities)
Information                                         Provides schedule of events & general information
Communication                                   Improves inter WG communications & public relations
Legal                                                   Legal support
Arts                                                     Crafts signs –Occupatioin Art/Poetry
Education & Training                        
Coordinating Committee (CoCo)       Receives reports from WGs & selects proposals for GA.                                                                   ALL WELCOME. Meets daily, 5 PM
Festival, Events
Safer Spaces                                        Develop community norms so we all feel safe
Friends Center                                    Coordinates Oph with FC
Occupy Housing                                 Harvey’s Homeless Tour
Sharing Our Community                     Translating real democracy to our government
Move Your Money                             Promotes moving money from banks to Credit Unions
Music Collective
Philly Occupy Together                      Cross-Occupational/Regional/National/International                                                                         expansion of Occupation movement


Messaging                                           Surveys, develops talking points

Violence/ non-Violence

Violence begets hierarchy (the biggest thug wins).
Organized violence REQUIRES hierarchy. (The War Lord becomes King)
Violence and democracy cannot long endure together.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Letter to a Frustrated Occupier

What's our mission here? What is this all about? Why aren't there clear statements telling what we're doing? Why is everything all bogged down in "process?" And what is this about, anyway--this "process" stuff!?!

The 'mission' is what we decide it is...not a script handed down from above or written ahead of time that we then dutifully follow. That's what all this bothersome 'process' is about... an orderly way to arrive at general consensus. First in a working group (or 2 or 3)... where you--and anyone else, can contribute ideas.

Then if you have something you believe the whole Occupation should endorse or do, come up with a proposal.

Then bring that to the Coordinating Committee (which is just reps from other Working Groups who want to attend--not a fixed member thingee)... there, vet the idea and be sure there's someone who understands it well enough to decribe and explain it at the G.A., & when there is... it's sent to Facilitation (who meet back to back with CoCo, & who put it on the agenda and get a team together to facilitate the G.A.)

Everything about the process can fit on two pages (compare that with Roberts Rules of Order ! & every single point of process has gone through the G.A., beginning with the 1000 who decided to Occupy City Hall on Oct. 4... & every single point can be reviewed and changed by the G.A.

Opponents of democracy like to say that letting peeps decide is 'mobacracy'.. that have to have bosses and leaders to tell peeps to keep in line and what to do. Gotta have some kinda order to get stuff done, to not turn into a mob, to keep headstrong lone-rangers from hi-jacking the process. I'm old enough to remember when the Weathermen hi-jacked SDS & SNIC... and people died because of that when they set off bombs...this is a serious undertaking... don't underestimate the ways it can go wrong. Respect for the process WE have chosen together is respect for one another, and respect for democracy.

We need your voice, your ideas, your passion! Help us prove the Patriarchy wrong! Let's make democracy work!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Camped at City Hall

October 24, 2011
Camped at City Hall, sea birds
     … hover under iron
     pilings, stone blocks massive labor’s
     hands calloused, nails ragged washed
     under water drawn from distant rains
     rivers – waiting supper in a row house kitchen

     buried now, or lost, or burned -- workers – ashes scattered
     built this – the masons, stone-cutters
     glaziers, carvers
     of lions heads/ Justice
     above our tents
     tattoo of rain

     wait out the night
     & know -- that history huddles here – in the cold
     listen –
                 listen to their cries --
     white wings by morning light
     open to the sun

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Let's ackowledge our own vulnurability...

This is an email I sent to the Facilitation List. It pertains to the whole community. We have a commitment to transparency & I see no reason to hide our growing pains. I trust we will address and overcome them, &--they may help others.

We have--with almost 500 tents, close to or more than 1000 people living on the plaza. Counting those who come and pass through, thousands more. This is a potent and volatile force. It's not entirely overreaction that so many police are monitoring what happens here. Not one of us know where they might go, what they (we ?) might choose to do with our newly felt power.

I'm old enough to remember when the Weathermen hi-jacked SDS, taking advantage of their tolerant democratic process. People died because of that. The wide ranging progressive movement they had been building was lost--ended with the end of the Vietnam war.

We--I mean, everyone on this list, knows this is serious business. That where this energy takes us ... could be lost, soaked up into the broken electoral process... or blow up into violent fragmentary explosions of rage & violence.

But not everyone out there appreciates this. We saw tonight someone with a personal agenda, with nothing but contempt for democratic process, nearly high-jack the G.A, single handedly--and seriously embarrass what so many have so carefully and selflessly helped to craft. His interests didn't happen to go beyond using our Commons for his idea of a multimedia rock festival. But if one person--running lead to bring in a bunch of bands and performers, can come that close to disrupting, and disrespecting our democratic process--we have got to give some serious thought to what might happen if a few more savvy minds bent on using the movement for more dangerous adventures should decide to intrude.

This many people... means we aren't playing games, this isn't a one-shot protest. Lives are potentially at stake--ours, and those our power-in-numbers might unleash.

If it had only been about music versus one night's GA, what happened tonight wouldn't have bothered me that much... I came home, lay my head down on my arms and wept.

This was really disturbing.

We need--despite the 'festival' tomorrow, to hold that fac training, and more important than ever--figure out how we can restore the noon GA so it functions to include our Tent City... or we are in deep trouble.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

New Working Group

6:00 PM, Friends Center, 1501 Cherry. First meeting of Occupy World, cross-occupation working group--building strategies and structure to create an international web of occupations.

Tentative Agenda!
Thursday October 20, 2011

Remember—we have ONE HOUR before GA! Let’s have someone remind us of time…
Introductions. Each of us state in single sentence if possible, what we imagine this Working Group to be.   
Ask if everyone is familiar with Occupation facilitation and decision making process—how proposals are selected for GA. If some here are not—briefly go over process.
Present some possible working ideas—see the following:
1)      Messaging Letter as brought to and endorsed by GA. Called for ‘regional assembly’ but Absent plans for implementation or structure.

            They are compiling list of Occupations and contacts. Should coordinate with them            & update them on our meetings and decisions, along with other pertinent       WG’(Tech) -- request they do same with us.

2)      Need someone to volunteer (from this group or outside), to begin gathering info on what other Occupations have done or plan, to set up WG’s with objectives in line with ours

3)      Do we see a need to encourage meta-discussions, and the means to implement them—with goal of imagining models for the transition from local to regional/national/cross national representative assemblies, encouraging critical thought as to how such proportional changes might effect the underlying commitment to democratic process?

            We might, for instance, set up on-line forums for such meta-concerns, which          could in turn lead to physical conferences. As the indispensible nutrient for     decision making in local assemblies are the on-going face-2-face discussions,            conversations and WG decisions, so too, these conversations need to take place on   an expanded scale to ground larger structures in an open, inclusive democratic       process.    

Page 2: Agenda 10/20 Occupy Global

4)      Cross-national, cross-occupation information service to relay key events, actions, ideas & decisions made around the world. For this, we need Translation Teams in cooperation with Tech.

5)      Ask for volunteer to take notes, and post to list

6)      Move to open discussion/ brain-storming.

7)      Last of all-- Make such decisions as we agree are needed for THIS MEETING.
            That would include at minimum: Setting time & place for AT LEAST next             meeting… perhaps deferring decision for regularly scheduled meetings till we see         if more peeps join us
             Someone to volunteer to bring report to TONIGHT’S GA
            These are only my suggestions. As in all matters, I defer final decisions to the wisdom of
            of the collective. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Reply to a letter of concern from someone who has left Occupy Philadelphia

If you want to know who the people are who are camping, talk to them. Ask them.

This is not a protest. This is a deliberative, decision making, community building body. Protests and actions and demands may flow out of those decisions. They will change over time as needs and concerns change--that's why the Occupations can't be pinned down to this or that specific statement. And that's one reason why, in 4 short weeks, they've become a world-wide movement. This would never have happened had they been narrowly targeted 'protests.'

As a community, music, art, dance--and drum circles that announce our presence--are no less a part of the movement than specific demands for change. You want real action? We are feeding hundreds of homeless men and women every day, and working to find them places to live. Does that not count as real action?

We can no longer pick out this or that concern or problem and expect to bring about meaningful change, not when they are linked in a complex economic and political power structure that can never be altered from within--hence, we reclaim Commons as outside space to begin a larger, overall challenge to entrenched power.

We do not need a 'permit' to occupy what is ours. No one grants the people rights. The rights belong to the people. It is up to us to claim and seize them from those who pose as our caretakers and benefactors, while working only for the benefit of the few and the servitude of the many.

The police may well crush this movement. I suspect it may come to that. But our roots sink more deeply every day and if they crush us in one place or many, those roots will spring up and grow into another wave and another.

We need faith in ourselves, in the power of our decision making bodies and our creative spirit--faith to overcome our fears, for fear is the only effective weapon they have. Not their pepper gas or billy clubs or jails--not even the power to kill--none of this can stop us if we cast off the inhibiting shackles of fear.

Come back to City Hall, Paul. We need you. We need your creative love, your art, your voice, your beautiful self. As you need us. We will be there for you--all of us, in love, brotherhood, solidarity--and belief in freedom for all human kind.

Jacob Spirit Stick

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Philadelphia, Occupy the World!

When I first posted on this movement, Zuccotti Park had only been occupied for less than a week, main-stream media was pretending it didn't exist. There are now more than 1500 occupations; it's become a global movement impossible for press or politicians to ignore. Here's Huff Post's review, with many links and videos, on Occupation, one month old.

Much of the info and the links in my earlier posts are already out of date--and stands now as a small part of what may be the best documented movement in history.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Poem Tree pics!

Poem Tree Images thanks to Lillian Dunn!

Occupy Philly: Philly & New York

Richard, of OHTARZIE, responded a comment I left. Here’s my reply, highlighting what may be some features specially characteristic of the Philly Occupation.

>Richard wrote:

What you describe is very different from what I see here and what I hear about from other cities. i am not simply speculating that there are Obamaphiles here. There just are. Nevertheless, what I see and hear is certainly more radical than anything Americans have done since the 60s. There is no question of that. I think you may be onto something with self-generating momentum to greater radicalism. It could be that everyone’s heading toward the same place but at different speeds.

I am curious, are they using the Horizontal leadership meeting facilitation stuff in Philly? Have been wondering if that’s been embraced all over. Would also like a little more details over what is specifically radical about the Philly group and what is their general movement bent: anarchism? socialism? Are they inclined to agitate for policy changes like tax hikes on the rich? Criminal investigations of the banksters?<

The only apologists I’ve heard for Obama have been from a few Afro-Americans, who want to give him some slack for being asked to do an impossible job, but even there–his Wall Street cabal comes up. Over all I’d say he’s held in about as much esteem as Jr. Bush.

Philly has it’s wealthy enclaves and suburbs, it’s hipsters and yuppy micro-brew beer bars,, but is overwhelmingly a working class city with a long festering discontent with the political establishment, local state & national. Mayor Nutter is a pro-business Democrat who’s in deep trouble with the unions–a potent factor in his kid glove treatment so far–the unions love us. TWU (public transit) is paying for 2 PortaPoties–and have their ear close enough to the temper of peeps here to have one of them wheelchair accessible.

While there seem to be a significant number of the occupiers in NY from around the country–Philly is overwhelmingly local, with many of us regulars commuting daily from neighborhoods, making for a strong organic outreach that helps spread the word and draw in new people (We had 310 tents as of yesterday’s morning count–hard to say how many overnighters–some tents have 4 or 5 peeps, some are one person mountain tents–but has to be over 600 and could be as many as 1000–which makes our actual occupation quite a bit larger than NY). And neighborhood support in Philly means labor unions & working class–a strongly disaffected demographic that doesn’t blink at radical, militant proposals. The young tattooed mufti-pierced kids here (they're kids to me! I’m 70 years old!)… don’t look like that cause they have corporate management jobs in mind for their futures). I’d guess that might be true in NY as well. I can’t offer any statistical verification, but in conversations I’ve had–they are always from working, low middle class, municipal service families. They don’t have now and don’t envision having any sense of entitlement or stake in what they see as the established order. This is not movement of future young Democrats!

We use pretty much the same process model as OWS. Working Groups (committees–about 40 now in Philly) send reps to the Coordinating Council (CoCo), if they want to bring proposals they’d like to present to the GA. CoCo votes on those they feel are ready. Basically–if the purposal is clear, the WG is well able to explain and defend them, they are put on the agenda for the WG. CoCo meets two hours before the GA. They take the proposals to Facilitation, whose sole purpose is to step back from advocacy and guide the meeting through the agenda, and see that Process is observed. It takes a team of 6 to 8 facilitators. We make an effort (so far pretty successful), to have different faces up front for every meeting, and bring new people in every GA. Both Fac and Coco are open to anyone to participate fully. WG’s also bring brief reports (& appeals for Occupants to join) to every GA.

Transparency is a huge issue–peeps come from outside with near paranoic fear of hidden power in any form whatsoever. City wants to meet with us–GA has rejected proposal after proposal for how to do this, from a liaison committee with legal team, to a select group to “listen” & explain to them our process.. why we take so long to make decisions (clash of horizontal and hierarchical power cultures) … seems to have come down to–they can either just be part of the GA, observing process like everyone else–or agree to a meeting preferably livestreamed, or at minimum, with a video posted and available immediately after. The more we learn to trust one another, seems the less trust we have for THEM.

As for the general bent–there’s a handful of very genial anarchists, fully committed to democratic process. They all of them came before the GA, introduced themselves–this, to reassure everyone and defend themselves after one or two trolls attacked them on the web, accusing them of all sorts of nonsense. Everything else you can imagine. It’s a VERY big tent. Ending corporate personhood would prolly get unanimous support–strong recognition of linkage–that we can’t isolate cause from cause. Everything is related. One reason why no specific set of demands or manifesto has come out of this. This will take time… we’ve been at this less than two weeks, and have managed to build a community, 300 + tents, feed 1500 peeps a day, including several hundred homeless–many of whom are part of the camp (they lived around City Hall before we came)... all from the ground up. If there are 'leaders' here in any traditional sense, I couldn't tell you who they are. I don’t think anyone can say where this will go or what its limits may be. We’re really breaking new ground. .

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Occupy Wall Street

A good post on OHTARZIE, acutely observed impressions and measured and thoughtful critique of Occupy Wall Street.

I left the following thoughts in a comment.
Seeing less of the managerial face up-front here in Philly. This sprang up so fast–tents covering Dillworth Plaza, which is 4x the size of Zuccotti Park–that more truly marginalized peeps have stepped up out of dire need–far too exhausting for any elite to hang in there without major help from the ranks… so necessity comes to the aid of ideology.

I want to see the international connection grow as fast as possible–it’s our only hope. I don’t mean just ad-hoc digital communications–plenty of that already. I mean, building a movement that can maintain itself OUTSIDE the established order, resist being co-opted and absorbed into the fucking bad joke of electoral politics. We’ve begun organizing an Occupy Internationale here with that in mind. .

I’m not wildly optomistic about what’s going to happen to us… power don’t give up power willingly… but feeling deep down it don’t matter what happens to us. This will live past us.

Thoughtful observation and critique like your post here is needed and welcome!
Peace & Solidarity!
–Jacob Spirit Stick

Occupy Philadelphia: Power doesn't surrender power willingly

The GA's go late... 2 really difficult meetings in a row--really long, I mean. I take morning off now--feeling my years. Need to pace myself to recover. The City making-nice like the wolf at the door of the 3 pigs--they want to 'talk.' The GA says, you want to talk, come to the GA! This is called Freedom of Assembly--deal with it!

I never thought I'd be in a group this large more militant than me!

I know the big crush is coming--not just here, I mean the BIG crush. There are hundreds of Occupations now in Europe--who knows how many world wide. Demonstrations for decades now have been easily distracted, corralled & contained or ignored. This is not going away and not being ignored anymore. Power don't surrender power willingly. At some point it's going to be about filling all the prisons and stadiums and detainment camps as fast as they can build them... Fred only knows what comes after that.

When I said I'd give my life for this, it wasn't out of blind optimism. If I were taking bets--that's how I'd wager where this will go, dead or in prison. I need to take mornings to put my things in order.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Plans for International Occupation

We would like to see an Occupy Philadelphia Working Group to
1)      Begin plans to establish a regular, trans-Occupation WG
2)      …to set up communications & Tech infrastructure
3)      …to plan for   Regional
            Occupation conferences to discuss Meta issues
                        … and begin the process of how to formulate
                        Cooperative  Plans of Action
                        we can bring back to our local sites.
We are already an international movement.

It’s time to take the next step

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Broadside Release, Damask Press...

From Book One of my Poem to the End of My Days: Chronic Chronos Kairos Broadside, with chapbook sampler to follow. Damask Press

Monday, October 10, 2011

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Occupy Wall Street: small changes...
A couple of us had a chance, pre-dawn conversation with Chief of Police Ramsey Friday morning. This was standing in Front of City Hall--he'd come out to take a look at the Occupation. He was genuinely open--not that kind of 'official friendlyness' that's all about maintaining distance. Told us he'd call the head of Sanatation and ask if they might be able to send a truck to do a trash pick up once a day.

Yesterday we were were told, there'd be pick-up every day, at 8 AM, Noon, 4 & 8 PM. ... and the beginning of every shift in every police precinct in the city began yesterday with a reading of the 1st Amendment.


Occupy Wall Street: Log

We have LIVESREAM feed now.
Day 4? I lose track of time. Home to do laundry. Can sleep out till Wednesday when rain predicted. Need someone to donate an arctic sleeping bag and one-peep tent. My cushion and quilted blankets have been fine, this mild weather.

Too busy with Food Station to go on any of the Marches. The Family Area--with children. Do a daily Kid March around City Hall

Food Station has become the de facto feeding place for City Hall plaza pre-Occupation residents.

I think I'm going to set my schedule to the 6:00 pre-breakfast Snack table set up, and fill-ins other times for food. Want to spend more time with the Art group and sit in on morning facilitator meet & training

So many wonderful conversations... they go 24 hours a day...


Friday, October 7, 2011

Occupy Philly: Daily log

Thursday, 10/6/2011
Up at 5:15. Pack my shopping cart with cushion for sleeping, sign boards… on Dillworth Plaza at 7 AM. Police—a strong but discreet presence. Not quite invisible, but ‘show of force’ not in the plan. Entrances to City Hall courtyard closed. Glassy towers gleaming in morning sun. Sky absolutely clear. In the 50’s. Weather report: be in the 70’s by afternoon. Waiting for peeps in the Food working group.
TV news trucks more visible than cops.

5 PM … took a brief nap on the cushion I brought. Helicopters overhead. Drums, People talking, talking. People talking everywhere. Face to face. Not on face book. Not typing up petitions for MoveOn….
11:45 PM
Last meeting after breakdown—food put away as best we could manage, boxes stacked on tables. Worry about rats. This morning we had bread, two small jars of peanut butter, apples—not a lot more. Tonight—three 6 foot tables loaded with boxes of produce, canned goods, bread.. most of it dropped off corner of Chestnut and Broad—people stopping, unloading from their cars. Discuss plans for tomorrow. Friends Center offering generous use of kitchen—have to keep to available hours. Turns for breakfast lunch… food teams become servant-class if we don’t give each other relief to attend meetings, circulate, talk to people, go to GA’s, become part of the community conversation. Exhaused. 19 hour day. More a part of food group at end of day, less facilitation etc… numb, numb & sleep walking, deliriously happy and ready for sleep

5:45 AM. Slept on my matt. 2 quilted blankets—to sleep with noise of late night traffic, sirens, voices, voices everywhere, people talking… gradually grows quieter, fades seamlessly into sleep where my dreams seem no different—hear “MIC CHECK! … mic CHECK”… in my
Sleep. Aware even in sleep how quiet, how strangely it becomes. Open my eyes and see shadow sleepers wrapped in blankets. Reasonably warm
--- -
City comes to life, perfectly symmetrical, waking as to falling into sleep. First busses que on Broad. A street vender backs in his cart across the street. I fold my blankets, take my medications, rinse my mouth with bottled water. Pull on the heavy sweater I got from an Ecuadorian street vendor years ago… for ten bucks.
Walk the rounds. Shadow tents. Shadow sleepers. Here and there someone awake. We meet and talk, recount the night. A young woman, one of our food crew…something about her—wonder if she’s from Mennonite background?...sleeping on two chairs by our food tables… a single blanket. She looks cold. I take one of my quilted blankets and cover her up.
The conversations begin again… the city permit. Couldn’t decide at the evening GA. Do we want to ask for it? Do we go without? Are we being co-opted by their being nice? What does the city get out of this? Tales of the night. Mayor Nutter came out and talked with people around 1:30 this morning. Couple of us talk with Police Chief Ramsey. I mention my concern for pedestrians and workers who can’t pass through City Hall. “If we promise to stay out of the Courtyard would you open it up? Say’s they’ve had people complain about that. He appreciates our concern, will take that into consideration. We talk about sanitation. He says he’ll ask the head of City Santiation if they can schedule a truck to do a pick-up once a day.

A man from the Medical team says we need to have an education meeting on dealing with cold. Can live 30 days with food, he says—3 days without water. 3 hours loss of body heat enough to kill you.
Man comes by with two boxes of Dunkin Munchkins. It’s getting light. I open them and put them out on the breakfast & Snack tables.

The day begins…

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Occupy Philly--this is the day!

6:45 AM Thursday, October 6, 2011
Up working for an hour. Occupation begins little more than 2 hours. Be on site by 8:00 to meet with food Working Group. Ditch my Bowler hat and can-top wrist band and neck bling. Evidently was on TV yesterday—and pics in paper. With press there in force they’ll be looking for identifiable images to label as ‘leaders.’ WE HAVE NO LEADERS… no matter how often you tell them they don’t get it.

1000 people came to the general assemble at Arch Street Methodist Church. Filled to standing room. The long difficult meeting night before—with only 60 in attendance… how could this work?

It worked.

Went through a potentially divisive agenda and made decision after decision—by consensus, chose City Hall for occupation, Thursday October 6 (today)… ONE day for all the logistics involved. Broke into Working Groups (committees) outside after. Meeting was over half hour early… ended by singing Solidarity Forever.

Turning point, when deadlocked between Love Park, Rittenhouse Square and City Hall, asked for a break—every turn to your neighbor and talk about this for ten minutes, give voice to what you think—and they gave voice, oh they gave voice, a sound like a great rush of wind, like a waterfall, the most beautiful sound I’ve ever heard, strangers deciding together, searching for that wisdom that is greater than any one of us. It was beautiful, beautiful…

40 minutes to eat and be out the door. A personal grocery cart with poster boards tarps an upholstered cot mattress put out for pick-up outside the shop on Passyunk. Have blocks of too but will have to have someone with car to pick them up.

People gathering at 4 points to walk to City Hall. We have Dilworth Plaza north to south.

Nibbles from the Powers, making nice, making use… this will be the beginning of a more difficult challenge, more trying than pepper gas or jail cells. Philly not New York. “I’m the 99% too” Mayor Nutter is reported to have said…

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


1000 people worked through an agenda, by consensus, and broke a half hour early!

Occupation Philadelphia begins Thursday, October 6, 9:00
Philadelphia City Hall! (I hope) tomorrow

Occupy Philly... on the verge: Nothing About us Without Us!

Robins October 3, Monday, 2011

12 sitting around a table… I'm thinking... oh good. It will be easy, with only a few of us... 5 more come in, and 10… and we move the tables aside and sit in a circle. More come in, until there's between 50 and 60. Hard to count because there were a few who left, then came back, then more came. No. This won't be easy.

A long meeting. Second half we began to find the flow. We decided on an agenda, preliminary procedure… but I should, and will...wait for the minutes to be released, for decisions to be presented at tomorrow’s GA

This is not about me.

Three hour meeting... all planning for tomorrow. Hard work. Really hard work Had a strange and interesting meeting and wonderful conversation after--a man from Okinawa who somehow singled me out. Leads me to the Westbury, offers to buy me a drink. I don't turn him down.

He doesn't understand—no. Not true. He understands, profoundly understands… but from a very different idea of how we bring about change. He doesn't believe or trust the bottom up process.. where are the wise men? he wants to know, who formulate the ideas and pass them down and lead the people?

I'm an American... that other kind of American, who never stopped believing, like Thomas Payne--that no leader, no matter how wise, can know what people need and want--without them. I love the slogan that came out of a group of people with 'mental' illness... and spread to all disabled... or whatever they chose to describe themselves...ourselves...


... Can't think of a better capsule phrase for what I believe.


Tomorrow, we're gonna chose a site and time. No way! he said! You're not ready! They don't know what they're doing! They're too young! ... We're never ready, I said... but the only way to be ready, is act from where we are and learn as we go from our mistakes. That's the REAL American way

... shit... I'm even regaining some pride in being an American!

This movement is fucking amazing!

Power to the Revolution!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Occupy Philly: First Meeting, 9/30/11

Occupy Together Field Manuel

The first Philly meeting turned into an ad hoc General Assembly with all the tension and underlying threat of disruptive chaos one might expect from a gathering of some 400 people with no time get to know one another, no time to build trust and a sense of a common purpose—even if that purpose might be yet to be discovered.

Began with a sobering report from the legal team—they have our backs (everyone in this movement should be damn grateful and happy they do--they have a superb record of support for free speech in a town that often doesn’t hold much stock in the 1st Amendment… how many years did Lynn Abraham press her heavy hand over the courts here?)-- but we’ll be the ones risking bloodied heads and jail time while we wait for them to perform their legal magic to get us out of the slammer.

It was kind of all downhill from there—depending on which way you take that—the laws of gravity on our side (easy going… ), or a non-stop slide to the pit of no return. I don’t say that out of discouragement—democracy is damn hard work, and not a form of labor most of us have any experience with. The real thing is more than pulling a level in a voting booth, or doing circle jerks in legislative chambers to produce endless iterations of the same old same old. Everyone in that room had at least begun to catch on to that—how the crumbs of reform tossed by Good Cop Democrats do nothing but appease discontent so the Bad Cop Republicans can steal most of us blind, and throw as many of rest of us as they can in prison for laws they pass--cause, like prohibition, they know damn well we’ll break them. Shit, when you got nowhere else to go with your life and ten minutes watching the Corporate news is like a siren call to end it all & be done with it—a toke on a weed seems like a fucking Plan!

But knowing how to shape an egalitarian society, even in microcosm—the real deal I mean—it’s not gonna be easy going—not coming from where we do in the Land of the Wage Slave Sound Bite and the Savior who never quite turns out to be what we thought he was on the campaign trail. Cause an egalitarian society—arriving at consensus where everyone has a voice, where no one gets left behind or shoved outside the circles of power so the simple majority can get on with the business of trampling the rights of the minority, and the even smaller minority can steal us blind and… but we been through that one. You know the dope.

There are powerful residual habits we’re going to have to unlearn, and it’s going to feel like pulling teeth—in the old days I mean—before Novocain—when they did it with pliers and a shot of white lightning. We’re going to have to trust one another, trust that we can do this, that together we have the genus, the creative power that surpasses even the brightest individual—cause no individual can know what it is we want as a people, can know how it is we want to live together—since living together is our only fucking choice. And since it is, we better do it with love. And respect. And cooperation. And all those virtues the power hungry (or is it power-starved?) wage slaves and servants of those who think they own us and the earth and everything in on and under it—all those virtues they like to make fun of, like they’re signs of weakness.

They’re not signs of weakness. They’re our strength. Together—that’s our mighty river, our tsunami of change and regeneration that’s gonna turn this bruised damaged dysfunctional master-slave world over and bring us a new day, new life—not fucking hope… the real thing.

So let’s hang in there. Let’s resist doing it the old way—doing it their way. The revolution is born in every decision and every action created out a spirit of cooperation and commitment to consensus--and that is the heritage we are here on this planet to claim for our children, and our children’s children.


Philadelphia Weekly report on this meeting