I went down to Los Angeles City Hall, with Erin, Saturday and Sunday, to see what the OWS movement was all about. Days eight and nine of the Los Angeles occupation. Took my guitar, of course, wandered around the encampment, talked to people and played some Woody, Pete and Joe Hill songs for folks.
It's a lot bigger and better organized than the media would have you believe. Lots of tents, man, and more people than tents because lots of people come down to support the occupiers, and then go home for the night. You can be part of this thing and lend your support even if you can't afford to camp out for the long haul. It's not like being in jail. You can go down for the day, camp out for the weekend or camp out for the long haul but still leave to go to work or to class, water the flowers or whatever you have to do. But make no mistake, there are a committed core of individuals who are there foe "as long as it takes." It took a lot of guts and requires a huge sacrifice for them to make this commitment, and do you know what they're doing it for? For you, and me, for our country, and for democracy.
It's for the ninety-nine percenters. The ordinary folks who do all the work and create all the wealth of this country while the one percent at the top of the food chain reaps all the profits and uses their wealth to pervert our political process. It's not about left or right, democrat vs. republican, liberals versus conservatives. It's about income equality, economic justice and democracy. It's happening in every state of our nation and at least twenty other countries. The number of US cities to be "occupied" is growing so fast that you can't get a clear count, but it's over 200 so far.
At the LA encampment I saw ordinary Americans governing themselves better than our elected leaders are governing our country. Everything is "working" there and working well. There's a library, a free thrift store, a kitchen serving healthy donated food, a medical tent, a meditation tent, a media center, recycling center, silk screeners, artists, musicians creating a community that is based on cooperation rather than profit taking. They are not "protesting." they are leading by example. What's their demands? What do they want? Go down to City Hall and see for yourself. They'll show you. They're creating a vision right there in that park that can serve as an example of how our whole country could be run. Our country and every country. "Of the people, by the people and FOR the people.
Good music too, man. They had a great sound system, run by solar power, and used the steps of City Hall for a stage. Most of the day it was open to anyone who wanted to sign up. I saw many amazing poets, singers and songwriters, and ordinary folks who had something important to say. Pure creativity and self expression. Can you imagine if television were like that? Programmed for people instead of products? And that's a good illustration of what this movement is about.
It's not a tea party, motherfucker, it's a revolution....