Thursday, November 17, 2011

Intel at Occupy

I could not get over how many police vehicles were on site when I arrived at McPherson Square to check out the Occupy DC thing. You are wondering how many times I have been, yes? Because I have written so many posts. But I was only there just the once.

Anyway, it truly was just crawling with police. Which I thought was probably normal, given the threatening behavior the group had been responsible for over the weekend at the Americans for Prosperity Conference. And one street was all filled up with empty buses, too, which I thought was strange. Some of the occupiers were very agitated about both the police cars and the empty buses.




The comrade seen here with the purse slung over his shoulder (if you will kindly take a peek at the blog post from November 10th you will will know why we have to call him comrade) told me he was on an intel run. I met him at the corner of 15th and K and he was heading east, planning to go half a block away from the square, and walk all the alleys on the perimeter. There might be police vehicles hiding back there, ready to make a move.


Unless otherwise stated, all photos All Rights Reserved, Copyright 2011 by the author of this blog. Use with permission only.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Index



What's it Like at an Occupy Encampment?

There is so much happening at Occupy that you won’t find in the big papers and won’t see on TV. How does it function on a day to day basis, who attends, what kind of work needs to be done, does anyone want to do that work? There are similarities across the various sites; in fact we now know that many of the occupiers travel from one site to the other, and they definitely share information via conference call and by internet.

Here at Lollipops we’ve got numerous pages giving the low-down on several occupy cities. In fact there is so much information right here on this one blog, its hard to find what you are looking for. To that end, today’s post is a recap, with all the links you need, to navigate to the city/issue you want to read about first. 

And why, you may ask, would this blog cover Occupy at all? As our tagline denotes we are ever
QUESTIONING OUR PRESIDENT'S PROMISE TO GIVE THE MIDDLE CLASS ALL THE GOODIES THEY COULD POSSIBLY DESIRE, YET NEVER ASK THEM TO PAY. 

The entire Occupy movement has come into being because of that empty promise. The president swept into office on the oath that he would provide health care, education, higher wages,  and a carbon free environment, and a host of other enticing things, at no cost to the middle class voter. We'll get the rich to pay,  he promised. And now the occupiers want that promise kept and are mobilizing to demand the heads of the so-called rich.

DC Occupy
There are many tents at Occupy DC, but who is living there and how do they think? And how are they going to know when to stop the occupation? They are constantly talking peace, but they plan and carry out actions that almost dictate that violence will result. They are making plans to insert themselves in the area community for months to come.





Boston Occupy
The vast majority of people at Occupy events are not enamored of the founding documents of the United States. In Boston they have been jotting down some ideas for a substitute constitution. On the other hand, occupy events sometimes attract a handful of Ron Paul supporters and Tea Partiers. Some people in Boston know that the 99% definition is pretty fuzzy. Do all the ninety-nine percent wish to help do the work, or to wait patiently for the redistribution of Occupy Wealth?



Chapel Hill Occupy 

Here is how things all started at Chapel Hill in October 2011. From the first day, Chapel Hill Occupy offered a table spread thickly with literature from causes and perspectives they clearly hold near and dear.  
And who is living in the occupation? Perhaps not the poor, who seem to lack the motivation to join up. And where do they use the bathroom and what are the arrangements for rain in Chapel Hill? Which nearby organizations offer their support to Occupy Chapel Hill? Here are all the posts we have so far from Chapel Hill. And there's a video of that first day  as well.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Committees for Occupy DC

Occupy DC is incredibly well organized with a number of committees which I learned all about when I sat in on the General Assembly (GA), the nightly meeting at which all occupiers (and apparently me!) are welcome. As one of the speakers pointed out, the committees do the real work. The General Assembly is just a place for reporting, and sometimes for building consensus.

All the sidewalks in the square have been renamed for various revolutionaries and rock stars. The General Assembly is held each night at 6 PM. Not everyone attends, but those who do are briefed on what the various committees have been up to. The Declaration Committee is drafting a Declaration of Independence. From America, I guess. None of the occupiers I have met in the three occupations I have visited, seem to like America much. The committee had finished the Preamble and reported at the GA, on the night I attended that they would be heading to the Point Chaud cr├Ęperie at 14th and K directly afterwards,  to work on the causes. Occupy Boston is working on a new Constitution, so it is only fitting that Occupy DC should have a Declaration of Independence.

The Safer Occupation Committee is apparently working to provide a safer space for anyone who has to deal with incidents of oppression from racism and ableism and sexism and, as they put it, stuff like that, that makes the world feel crappy. They go to great pains to remind everyone constantly that this isn't a white man's movement. There are signs posted everywhere to that effect,  so it must be true.

First person to talk to me when I arrived at Occupy DC was the gentlemen in the green baseball cap. He was a little annoyed that I would not tell him where the free food was. But I had only just gotten there, and I did not know. He asked another guy in a green hat,  and got his answer.  Maybe other guy in a green hat is with the White Allies Committee. That committee came into being because the People of Color Working Group requested it. There was no report made by the People of Color Working Group or by the White Allies group either, but the lady announcing the formation of the Women's Group wanted us to know that both the People of Color Working Group and the White Allies Group exist.

Rule number eleven of the occupation guidelines is:
While #OccupyDC is reclaiming public space for the public, we will be respectful of others who live in and use these spaces on a daily basis.
A tourist I had met on the street on my way to the site, had already been to McPherson square to check it out earlier in the day. She said the homeless are thrilled to have the occupation there. They have never felt so safe.
The equestrian statue of General McPherson stands in a fenced off grassy circle at the middle of the square and serves as a meeting place for some of the committees, and as a convenient place to sit.  I could not tell if the couple above were occupiers or not. But one of the committees was going to meet in the circle after the GA. Maybe it was the Women's Committee. At first, the coordinator described it as the Women's Committee, but she caught herself before she got in trouble for saying such an insensitive thing. It's against rule number ten, as you may have read in yesterday's post. She said if you identify as a woman, you can come and we will talk about what we want if you have been experiencing sexism. 


The Outreach Committee reported that their job is to build up stronger relationships with the DC city government. They are also going to be passing out flyers and knocking on doors in Shaw because they want to be sure that all the residents know they are welcome to join the occupation and maybe set up a nice tent. With a teddy bear hanging in effigy. Jesse Jackson, when he spoke, noted that the poor should be at the occupation. But people from those neighborhoods are not flocking to join, for some reason. Outreach is also contacting  area colleges, and have invited DC public school teachers to come down and hang out to find out what the occupation is all about. Outreach will be working hard on finding out what the community (those people who have not shown up to join the occupation), think the occupiers ought to be working on.

Another group has met with seven other occupy groups from across the south, to discuss the 300,000 people who are currently suffering from health problems caused by the Gulf Oil Spill. The leader told us we will not have heard about that due to the media blackout. All those right wing newspapers like the Washington Post (don't tell me you missed yesterday's blog entry--go back and check it out, it's all explained there) are keeping it under wraps because they don't want anyone knowing.

Possibly this was the same committee which was going to be involved in a national conference call with other occupy groups from around the country. That was to happen Monday evening after the GA. People were welcome to stand nearby and kind of be part of it, but they were told they should not call in to participate. Having the phone ring kind of messes up the lines and makes everything  pretty inconvenient. So just the "coordinators" of this leaderless movement should be in on that phone call.

Unless otherwise stated, all photos All Rights Reserved, Copyright 2011 by the author of this blog. Use with permission only.


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Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Logic of the Left

Mingling with progressives can set your head spinning.  I spent a few hours over at  Occupy DC a few days ago. Since then,  I just keep scratching my head about  the "logic" they seem to live by.  Aside from the obvious--they are against greed, but they want your stuff---- they seem to be mixed up about a few basic things such as media, basic human needs, health care, and gender.


A very striking gentleman with hair down to his waist was disappointed with recent media coverage of the tar sands protest. He had marched over to Pennsylvania Avenue with some 12,000 people, and they had "surrounded the White House" just a few days earlier. He was angry because the Washington Post should have had that on the front page, but instead, they buried the story in a backpage paragraph. I suggested that possibly the Washington Post was not all that excited about letting the world know that thousands of people were unhappy with the Obama administration. Could that explain why, if indeed twelve thousand people had surrounded the White House, that the Post buried the story? That surely could not be it, he told me. Because the Washington Post is a right wing paper. Owned by Rupert Murdoch.

When I arrived at McPherson Square, 
I stopped at the information tent
to plan my way home. I asked where the 
McPherson Square metro station was,
but the young man sitting there surrounded by maps
had absolutely no idea. I found it a few minutes later, about
fifty yards behind the tent. In plain sight.
This I had to question. So I followed in the wake of the flowing mane of hair as its wearer led me over the information tent, where we sought for confirmation. The man sitting at the booth behind all the maps and all the fliers, really didn't think Murdoch owns the Post, but he was not entirely sure. He knew that Murdoch owns Fox News and the Wall Street Journal, but he was not certain about the Post.  Ah, said the man with the mane. That might explain it. He has always gotten the Wall Street Journal and  the Washington Post mixed up. But ever since he started reading the Washington Post, it has been full of right wing crap, that was for sure.

The Reverend Jesse Jackson stops by Occupy DC
Jesse Jackson showed up. Here's a man with hard-to-follow logic. "You are here in the great tradition of fighting for justice", he bellowed to a crowd of a couple of dozen occupiers. "Let nobody break your spirit." That was all well and good, but later, he would say a phrase, and everyone would repeat it back to him, kind of like what you might do if you were a preschooler and were eagerly following the teacher along in repeating nursery rhymes.
Respect Us (Respect Us)
Protect Us (Protect Us)
Respect Us (Respect Us)
Protect Us (Protect Us). It is odd and quite pathetic to hear grown adults chanting Protect Us, Protect Us, to some public figure. He had told them to focus on the need for jobs and justice. He wanted them to get America to focus again on poverty. The Reverend wanted them "to fight to put the Glass Steagle Act  revived". (sic).  Soon enough, Jackson had everyone chanting
"We need jobs now. (We need jobs now.)
 We need Health care now. (We need Health care now.)
We need places to live now. (We need places to live now.)"
One wonders how you can possibly hope to empower people by encouraging them to demand that others take care of their basic needs. I guess it seems logical to those on the left, but they have me lost on that one.

Speaking of needing health care now, the Bob I mentioned in an earlier post is one who definitely wants health care now. Universal health care. "You know", he says "like the health care they have in France and Germany and Switzerland that no one has to pay for, you just walk in and you get whatever you need. For nothing".  I pointed out that having universal health care may seem to be "free" but it does not mean you will get care if or when you need it. I started to tell him the story of my cousin in Canada with knee problems who had to wait eight weeks.  Just in case Bob was in danger of taking away the misimpression that my cousin got treated after eight weeks,  I started to explain that the eight week wait was for the xray. Not to GET the xray, mind you. The eight week wait was to get the appointment. The appointment to call for the xray. My cousin was told they could not schedule the xray that day. No, she needed to call back eight weeks later and at that point, they would talk to her and would schedule the xray.  How long did it take to  actually get that xray after the eight week wait for the scheduling had passed?  I don't know. But Bob would not let me tell him the story of all that. Instead he just told me "they have free health care in Thailand. Yeah, I think it's Thailand, so she could have gone to Thailand and gotten the knee replacement surgery."

Seriously? My Canadian cousin would be welcome to storm into Thailand and the Thais would be glad to give her a knee operation for free? Sounds a little fishy to me, but then I did not study with a lot of progressive professors,  so maybe I just don't understand. Plus, my cousin is elderly, so she might not find traveling across the world and making arrangements in Thailand to be particularly convenient. My eighty year old  cousin does not even know how to use the internet, for heaven's sake.  Not to mention all this would require extensive funds, even if the Thai government was going to make a gift of the surgery. She would have to buy a plane ticket and a hotel and meals. Bob assured me though that, if Thailand didn't work, she could always just come here to America for the knee replacement surgery. One thing Bob  was right about, is that you can get knee surgery scheduled pretty fast here in the US. See how that works? Canada may have free "universal" health care, but if the people do not wish to wait the obligatory waiting period, they can just come to the US and get immediate care. Bob explained to me, that my cousin just doesn't know how to play the system.

And then Bob reiterated that the US absolutely must go to universal health care system so that we can be like Canada and Europe. If Bob is aware that universal health care comes with universal wait times.....very long ones.......why is he incapable of extrapolating? It might be that once we get universal health care, we too will have absurdly long wait times! And does he wonder where the Canadians will go then? (Oh yeah, Thailand. I forgot).

"These guidelines were consented upon by the General Assembly at
Occupy DC-K Street based on proposals by the Safe Occupation
committee and the Guidelines Super Committee. 
I owe my readers an apology, by the way about the long-haired person I mentioned above. I maybe should not have called him a man. I think I should have called him a comrade. Oh, did I say "HIM"? How can we know if anyone is a "HIM"? There are very clear rules prominently posted at Occupy DC. No one can tell who is a HIM and who is a HER, so it is best to avoid those kinds of terms. Here's one of the rules:
Rule Number 10: Do not assume anyone's gender. When possible go with gender neutral pronouns and nouns, such as friend/comrade instead of brother/sister.
So there you have it. From the "right wing" reporting of the Washington Post, to the infantilized comrades chanting for  health care just like Thailand, and the mysterious location of the McPherson Square Metro Station,  I am less and less perplexed as to why the Occupiers don't seem to be gaining a whole lot of traction with the America which looks on at this whole spectacle.

Unless otherwise stated, all photos All Rights Reserved, Copyright 2011 by the author of this blog. Use with permission only.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

OWS Sets the Conditions for Violence

You just met "Bob" in yesterday's post. Remember, he was finding it boring to help in the medical tent. He had tried sign making too. That was fun but had its limits.  What he really wants to do, is help to propel the movement forward. His favorite activity so far? Blocking the exits at the Defending the American  Dream  Summit at the DC Convention Center on Friday evening, November 4, 2011. This was tremendous fun for Bob from the Basement.

Bob and a large number of other DCOWS (that is, occupiers from Occupy DC) arrived about 6 PM and they blocked all eight of the building exits.  The conference participants were already inside. Many of them had come on busses, from very large distances to attend the Americans for Prosperity event. Some had been travelling through the middle of the night and had not yet any rest of any kind. The unsuspecting conference participants are inside eating dinner and listening to speakers; the protesters are stacking up outside for three hours, with the goal of being there when the conference ends, so that the conference participants will have a very hard time leaving. I asked Bob why they would want to do that. The goal, he says, was to make the attendees very uncomfortable. Any time you "do an action", he explained, the idea is to make your targets very uncomfortable. I asked, so you wanted to intimidate them? No, no, he answered. They did not want to intimidate anyone. 

Watch some tapes of the exit.  

......at 2:10 of the first clip, you will see a young woman verbally unleashing on the protesters.  She was a  busrider from many hours away who was there with her two children and her gunnery sergeant husband.  When this crowd separated her from her 7-yr-old daughter, Mama Tiger came out. The person pulling her hair was actually her husband who was afraid she was going to get hurt.
I am quoting this paragraph from a person who attended the conference and watched all this unfolding in horror. People got hurt. Ladies fell down the concrete stairs. A woman in a wheelchair was trapped inside the building. 

What was the problem with the Americans for Prosperity conference, I wondered. Bob mumbled about the Koch Brothers and Herman Cain and Mitt Romney all being involved. He grimaced just to mention these names.  I really could not follow what his objection was. It sounded to me like he was saying that he and the others are so ideologically opposed to the conservative message they just don't want anyone to hear it. But when I put it to him that way, he said no, that was not the problem. What then? Was it about destroying the ability of conservatives to raise money? And he said no, that wasn't it either. He was under the impression the dinner tickets only cost 75.00. So it was not an event for high-dollar donors. A broad range of people could attend. 

It is odd that Bob zeroed in on Cain and Romney. They were scheduled to speak at the conference, but not that evening. The night's event was the Ronald Reagan Tribute dinner and the speakers were Judge Andrew Napolitano and Dinesh D'Souza.

I heard more about the Friday night antics when I sat in on Occupy DC's "general assembly" on Monday evening. The people attending seemed so nice and so rational. Over and over again they piped up to remind everyone that they are a  nonviolent movement. Readers: Don't believe it! You can't claim to be nonviolent when you are goading people and chanting at people and blocking people with the stated purpose of making them very uncomfortable. People backed into a corner have to react in some way. When the DCOWS plan these actions, they are creating the conditions which are likely to lead to panic and to a 78 year old lady landing at the bottom of a flight of concrete stairs, as happened here.

As long as OWS plans "actions" intended to trap people, even temporarily, or to make average people very uncomfortable, violence will many times be the result.

But here is an odd twist. We sat in circles after the general assembly. Our directive: to discuss how "we" can stand in solidarity with others protesting across the world. (I put we in quotation marks, because I am only there to observe.) I sat right next to one woman who had been blocking the exits to the Defending the Dream conference. At the exit she was blocking, the evening had turned into actual conversations with TeaPartiers. She joined a few of them for drinks! And she was shocked to find out that OWS has a lot in common with the TeaPartiers. She figured out that TeaPartiers and OWS are worried about the exact same things. HELLO!  And she also had figured out that the difference between OWS and the TeaParty, is in how to solve those problems. Her suggestion to the 16 member circle: reach out to the TeaParty in some way. Mind you, she was absolutely squirming in her seat and taking extra effort to make doubly certain that no one in that circle would ever accuse her of being any kind of a  tea party sympathizer. A fate worse than death in the intolerant atmosphere of a OWS gathering! But three others spoke up to say they absolutely agree with her. There were no down twinkles.

SO. THERE. MAY. BE. SOME. HOPE. IN. THIS. WORLD. Maybe some of the OWS are going to start thinking of the TeaParty as made of thinking beings who have the same concerns and who have better, less fanciful and utopian answers.

During that same General Assembly on Monday evening, the Media Outreach committee reported. The committee had targeted to turn the bad news reporting about their "action" on Friday evening into good news reporting and they had succeeded. Some of the protesters had blocked the streets. As a result a car had collided with a few of  those protesters. They read aloud the  AP news report read from Friday night. I can't find the AP report, but Reuters was similar to what was read aloud at the GA. And by Sunday, the story was markedly different, and more favorable to the OWS. The OWS committee believes it was their outreach which changed that news reporting.

We heard from the Street Team Support Training committee. They are planning to go right on doing more actions and blocking more streets and interfering with just about anything they can think of in the DC area. So they are creating a support structure to monitor the situation closely and figure out who gets taken to jail, and where they are taken. That way, they can go and start the legal proceedings to get them out of jail again. (Support for anticipated arrest is planned in advance--another clue that this is not a peaceful movement.)

The committee spokesperson stood up at the General Assembly and said that he recommends that the OWS choose to block only two lanes in future protests. Why? Because blocking the entire street makes the public mad. He has been hearing that motorists are getting angry and frustrated when they are stuck and can't use the streets. He is afraid that by blocking the entire street, they will "start to lose the 99 percent". But did the OWS ever "have" the 99% in the first place?  Doubtful. Americans are not big fans of barbarians and  mob rule. 



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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Unrepresentative and Fluid Samples at Occupy Protests

I met "Bob" at Occupy DC and he gave me a rundown of the racial makeup of both the city and the occupation. He's not a camper.  He's got a job at a market in the area and he lives in his mom's basement. That's a pretty happy situation for him so he's not going to be sleeping in any tent in McPherson Square.  But he does come by whenever he can. One day he worked eight hours in the medical tent. Pretty boring, he said. Most of the time you do nothing. And then you help someone with a scrape or something.  Dullsville.  He doesn't want to waste his time in the medical tent again.

We talked for a long time. As always, I was trying to figure out what the people at Occupy want. Bob seemed to think they are simply unhappy with a number of things. Like bank bailouts. He is totally against bailing out the banks. I told Bob he was sounding like a conservative on that issue! But he pointed out that while it has recently (really?) become fashionable for conservatives to say they are against bailouts, that the progressives have always (really?) been against  bailing out banks. For all time.

In addition to who wants crony capitalism for financial institutions, Bob and I  disagreed on other issues facts too. I had just attended the nightly general assembly. We counted off into three groups. My group had sixteen people in it.  So I figured there were some 48 to 50 people attending the general assembly that evening. I specifically counted minority participation. Back when I was reading coverage of the TeaParties, it was clear that one of the major goals of journalism was to count blacks in attendance at any protest. I figured since I want to be a good journalist, I had better get counting!  There were four black men and one black woman attending the General Assembly. There were no people appearing to be Hispanic, and none appearing to be Chinese or Japanese or Thai, but there was one Indian gentleman in my group. So that makes 48 to 50 people total. Five blacks, one Asian. Ten percent black. About ten percent "people of color".

When Bob suggested to me that DC itself it just about all black,  I told him of my count and said this DC Occupy movement crowd was a pretty unrepresentative sample of the city the protest is occupying. But he told me I was wrong. You'd be surprised, he said. Thirty percent of the people at Occupy DC are black. So in his opinion,  Occupy DC is a very good representation.  I don't know how he got that figure. I had counted, and he did not care. He preferred to use his "estimate". He did mention that part of the problem, is that you can't always tell what race someone is. That is certainly true, but he had also told me that he had attended racial sensitivity training and that this had changed his life.  So on the one hand, he is saying race is such an obvious thing, that it can put people at a disadvantage. And on the other hand, he is saying that race is not always so obvious that people are actually aware of it. Which leads to the question, how can you oppress someone for being of a different race from you, if you don't even know they are of a different race?

Recent figures show that DC is about 50% black. So even if Bob's estimate was correct, the black makeup of the Occupy DC crowd would have to be 66% higher to approximate a reflection of the actual population of the city. With my count, the crowd would have to have five times as many black participating.

But consider this. Occupiers don't stay put! As I roamed the grounds, I kept doing a double take, because one of these guys on the site looked so familiar. Turns out I had met and had spoken to the same guy two weeks ago in Boston! I met multiple people who had been staying at more than one occupation. These people clearly move from one protest to the other very fluidly.  The man from Boston has been "occupying" for weeks. Between Boston and DC, he had spent a week at Zuccotti Park.  Next he will be moving south and will go to Tennessee for awhile......and at the new year, he plans to be occupying in Tampa/St Pete. This, he wanted me to know, is because they have put out the call. They desperately need people down there at the Tampa occupation. Call me nuts, but I have my suspicions that perhaps he just wants to be in Florida in January*. A facilitator I spoke with,  had just arrived from Zuccotti Park. She had quit her job in order "occupy" at the start of the movement, and now was camping and sharing her knowledge in DC. An anarchist I chatted with had been occupying Philadelphia, before arriving in DC.  So I met a bunch of campers who were not DC area residents. And I met a bunch of DC residents who were not campers. And Occupy DC is almost all white. (Except for the very large number of homeless people who hang out there because there is free hot food and because with all the activity, they feel safer than ever.)

And except for the people Jesse Jackson brings in when he sweeps through with his entourage. Sometimes the news seems to say that some of these movements are growing. But now I know that you can't tell if a particular occupation is attracting newcomers, or if a vanload of people from another occupation has just arrived. And I question just how representative Occupy DC is.

* Spoiler Alert: Don't be surprised as we go into the cold days of winter and snow,  if we see the occupations down south swelling, and the northern ones getting smaller.


Unless otherwise stated, all photos All Rights Reserved, Copyright 2011 by the author of this blog. Use with permission only.


Monday, November 7, 2011

What is Victory?

Today I occupied Occupy DC for a little while, but I am not a whole lot closer to knowing what the movement really hopes to gain. The effort seems to mean entirely different things to different people. I sat in on the General Assembly which began just after 6 PM on November 7,  in McPherson Square.  Serving as co-facilitator with a young lady named Heather, a gentleman by the name of Sam let us know that tonight's was the 35th General Assembly meeting of the occupation. Translation: people and their leashed cats have been living in the tents on that square for 35 days now.

Through a show of hands it was discovered that quite a few of the 40-60 people in attendance had never participated before in consensus building discussion.  So we got a briefing in the rules and the signals. Followers of this blog will know that up twinkles means agreement, and down twinkles doesn't. You can also cross your arms across your chest, but not tonight. A block is not ever used during general discussion. Apparently.

First up: we were to turn to our neighbor and discuss "what victory looks like". In other words, how will Occupy Wall Street know when the goal has been achieved, so they can stop occupying?  I of course would have no answer for that, but a sweet young man named Austin sitting next to me in the dark wanted to talk. So we did.

General Assembly at Occupy DC
This was Austin's first time at the occupation. He described himself as a "young professional" working with progressive causes. He develops online strategies for progressive non-profits, through a consulting firm. I am not sure which organizations he consults for, but when it is time to bring out a huge number of people for a progressive protest, Austin may be in the background, orchestrating some of that. He did not really know what he thought victory would look like though.  He only came because his friends thought it would be cool to check it out. Some of the people who did have ideas about victory, however, shared their ideas with the entire group. One man rambled and rambled, and ended up saying that victory would be achieved with debt reduction, and when we "lift people up and help them". Other people I had spoken to throughout the evening had entirely different ideas ranging from reaching a state of universal health care, to living in anarchy, which is a system with no hierarchy. 

Behind me, a vocal man had a crystal clear idea of what he is looking for; he shouted it out with gusto. Victory looks like "flipping the system on its ass." And from the crowd? No groans. No complaints. No down twinkles.



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