I want to cry just now. Why is it that when I read the news this morning about the Oakland General Strike — the common headlines brush over how positive the first 20 hours of the day went? It was only a hand-full of people who vandalized. Headlines make it seem like the entirety of the day was violent —
—— But I was there with friends. New friends and united with strangers over how to make this a positive movement with art. We experienced the EXACT opposite of violence for the 10 hours of our presence. Truly the EXACT opposite.
There were monks there- ALL DAY! There were artists performing in the street! Strangers were speaking to each other, people were feeding each other and a business was even supplying water for the thousands of people- there was SUCH a sense of community. People were just people, as they always are, but they were finding each other on their own streets. Children were using chalk to write “Our Streets” where the first tear gassings were. There was an endless sea of thousands of smiling faces walking proudly over the bridge to the Port of Oakland. It was a parade. Even the port workers we freed from the barricades we made (the ones returning home from their shift) were saying how the supported us and were on our side! ( At 9pm I even got supportive honks and a “I like that!” from a barricaded semi-trucker laughing, describing to someone on his phone my wrench and stilts).
I know violence is terrible and needs to cease. But please, let us broadcast the beauty of this movement as well!
If you are interested in the 99% Movement, please take a gander.
If you are in the Bay Area, this post is sent directly to you.
Tomorrow: ” By a vote of 1,484 to 46, the General Assembly of Occupy Oakland voted last week to call a citywide general strike for Wednesday.” (CNN coverage)
“[W]e invite all students to walk out of school. Instead of workers going to work and students going to school, the people will converge on downtown Oakland to shut down the city,” the group’s manifesto read. “We liberate Oakland and shut down the 1%.”
One of the marches begins at 12 noon. If you are linked in to the Facebook community, here is a invite about the Artist and Musician’s pre-gathering at 11am, so we can walk together. Not of FB? Still come! It reads - “[we will meet on the] grass at Mosswood Park, at 11 am. At 1130 am, we’ll march downtown together. Please invite everyone you know who might be interested. Please bring signs, banners, instruments, etc…” …
… And bring your art. Lets show positive options to this movement by demonstrating what we hand-make, instead of what we purchase!
I will be designing my stilt walking occupation today! Let me know if you have any ideas by replying here.
And if you want to walk, but do not have anyone to buddy up with, please feel free to get in contact with me, even if we do not know each other yet! For me, in the least, this is about finding community.