My first verbal contact with a fellow protester was a woman in a bright green slicker, with bright red hair and an even brighter smile. She seemed younger than me, but older than the protesters I had seen so far. Forty-something? The others around us seemed predominantly twenty- and thirty-something year olds.
The rain was not conducive to chatting but we tried. She was trying to locate the place to stow the personal baggage she had brought earlier in the day. She said they had all been working hard with various focuses, renewing the little park. She had tended to the flower beds. Through the veil of rain I noted even in the dark how pretty and well groomed they were.
She disclosed that she had decided to take a week’s vacation from her job in western New York state and spend it with the occupation. I loved it. Here was one of my full-out Close Encounters of the Third Kind committed ones who had responded to the call. In fact, I suddenly felt like a pathetic part-timer. Only committing to the next seven or so hours.
She was so enthusiastic and confident about the upcoming experience. I was worried that the occupation might be sabotaged to end by morning, she was confidently intending to be there for the next week. The occupiers needed fresh and optimistic recruits and were getting them, thank God. I wished her luck. I told her I was looking for a friend somewhere on the square along with whoever one turned over food donations to. We parted ways but both expressed hope we would reconnect before morning and that a showdown between police and activists did not happen.
At that point the heavens opened up and the rain was merciless. I stood there getting helplessly and thoroughly drenched, despite the umbrella. Was I really going to spend the next seven hours in such a ridiculously soaked condition? Thank God it was not colder. I told myself at the end of seven hours I would be able to peel off the wet oppressive clothes and have a nice warm shower back at home. A luxury many of my fellow activists would not get to enjoy.
C.I. passed that over and noted I might enjoy it. I did. Who wrote it?
Libby Liberal for Corrente. So good for Libby Liberal. You won't want to miss what happens further in at a McDonald's. This is also part one of two planned parts.
Libby did a great job with that report. As soon as I finished reading it, I picked up the phone and called C.I. thinking I'd go to voice mail but they were actually enroute to the last speaking gig of the night so C.I. had about 8 minutes. We couldn't say enough positive things about Libby Liberal's report.
She should be very proud of herself for that piece of reporting.
And thank you to C.I. because if she hadn't passed it on, I probably wouldn't have seen it. To follow OWS, I've been going to WSWS which is doing great coverage.
I'm going to note Kate Randall's WSWS piece because it looks at the now international scope of the OWS protests:
Hundreds of thousands demonstrated in cities across the globe Saturday to protest against the immense inequality that is the dominant feature of social life, both in the US and internationally. Modeled on the Occupy Wall Street protest that began in New York a month ago, protests took place in a growing number of US locations and spread to cities in Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Asia.
The call for international protests met its most powerful response in Europe, particularly in those countries facing the most draconian austerity measures. In Spain, more than three quarters of a million took part in the demonstrations, while upwards of 70,000 protested in Portugal. More than 100,000 took to the streets in Rome.
Protests and occupations are ongoing in more than 100 US cities. Tens of thousands have come out to protest the domination of society by the financial aristocracy and the banks, as well as the growth of joblessness and student debt and the deterioration of social conditions for the vast majority of Americans, even as the richest 1 percent continues to amass ever-greater fortunes.
The real attitude of the political establishment, including the Obama administration, to this movement was expressed this weekend in the increased use of police repression against occupations and protests in the US and elsewhere. Protesters are facing charges of illegal assembly, trespassing and curfew violations for exercising their basic right of political assembly and speech.
So that's two strong pieces on OWS. This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Monday: