Occupy Wall Street: A "Work of Art"
an article by Eve Ensler, Reader Supported News
I have been watching and listening to all kinds of views and takes on Occupy Wall Street. Some say it's backed by the Democratic Party. Some say it's the emergence of a third party. Some say the protesters have no goals, no demands, no stated call. Some say it's too broad, taking on too much. Some say it is the Left's version of the Tea Party. Some say its Communist, some say it's class warfare. Some say it will burn out and add up to nothing. Some say it's just a bunch of crazy hippies who may get violent.
Occupy Wall Street, demonstrators and police are face to face, 10/05/11. ( from Reader Supported News, photo: Adrian Kinloch)
click on photo to enlarge
I have been spending time down at Zucotti Park and I am here to offer a much more terrifying view. What is happening cannot be defined. It is happening. It is a happening. It is a response to injustice and inequity and poverty and Wall Street corruption and soaring college debt and unemployment and homelessness, institutionalized racism and violence against women, the murdering of the earth, fracking and the keystone pipeline and the wars that the US has waged on other countries that have destroyed them and bankrupted us here.
It is a cry against what appears to be scarcity and what Naomi Klein calls a distribution problem and, I would add, a priority problem. It is a spontaneous uprising that has been building for years in our collective unconscious. It is a gorgeous, mischievous moment that has arrived and is spreading. It is a speaking out, coming out, dancing out. It is an experiment and a disruption.
We all know things are terribly wrong in this country. From the death of our rivers, to the bankruptcy of our schools to our failed health care system, something at the center does not hold.
A diverse group of teachers, thinkers, students, techies, workers, nurses, have stopped their daily lives. They have come to gather and reflect and march and lay their bodies down. They have come from all over the country and the world. Some have flown in just to be here. I met students last night from a college in Kentucky who had just arrived committed to sleeping out for two nights in solidarity.
Occupy Wall Street is a work of art, exploding onto a canvas in search of form, in search of an image, a vision.
In a culture obsessed with product, the process of creation is almost unbearable. Nothing is more threatening than the moment, the living breathing ambiguity of now. We have been trained to name things, own things, brand things and in doing so control and consume them. Well, the genius of Occupy Wall Street is that so far it is not brandable and that's what makes its potential so daunting, so far reaching, so inclusive, and so dangerous. It cannot be defined and so it cannot be sold, as a sound bite or a political party or even a thing. It can't be summed up and dismissed.
What is also most unusual about Occupy Wall Street is that the evolving self-governing practices at the twice-daily General Assembly and the organic way the park is being organized, are literally modeling a vision of the desired new world. A rotating group of facilitators, a constant check to make sure all voices are heard, timekeepers, free medicine and medical help, composting, learning groups, a free library, learning circles, workshops on human rights, arts and culture, history, extraordinary speakers at open forums.
I had the fortune to spend the night with a group of about 30 occupiers - the talk could have gone on through the early morning. The depth of the conversation, the intensity of the seeking, the complexity of ideas were startling. But, what moved me even more was the respect, the way people listened to each other and honored and appreciated each other.
(This article is continued in the discussionboard).
Question(s) related to this article:
What is the future of the Occupy Wall Street movement?,
Continuation of Occupy Wall Street - "A work of art",
* * * * *
Latest reader comment:
Michael Moore, the director of many fine films, some of which have been reviewed on CPNN, has been touring the Occupy Wall Street Movement, and he has an analysis of its future and some good suggestions for its first winter. These may be found on his website.