An occupier from Chicago reminisces on her first year in the movement as Occupy Chicago celebrates its anniversary:
“I now recognize our occupation, our movement to occupy every form of oppression everywhere, to be the only possible tide to rise against the financial-governmental machine of privatization, profitization, racialization and devastation of our homes, lives, bodies and thoughts. The one percent demands that we believe in their systems and institutions even as they crack and fall all around them, but the time has come for human beings to evolve. I will continue to use my skills as a writer, performer, and organizer to fuel the worldwide revolution for a sustainable culture until I wake up every last sleepy consumer. I occupy my art and other’s minds as best I can — I see no other way to be!”
“Lady, we don’t even have charges for that”
is what Nicole’s arresting officer told her as she was transported to One Police Plaza following an arrest for hula-hooping in an intersection early in the morning of #S17. She recounts her experience in jail:
“We shared stories, everyone having a good laugh … We stood shoulder to shoulder forming our own ‘Pee-poles Wall’ singing ‘Solidari-pee Forever’ whenever a sister had to use the facilities. It’s amusing to me that after all this time the NYPD still thinks arrest will drive us away from the movement. Some of the strongest bonds I have made since coming to Occupy have been forged in a jail cell.”
“Yesterday, I was free.”
An occupier reflects on his arrest on #S17:
It was wonderful. Each time I heard a new story of the actions taking place on the street after I was picked up I felt like I was missing something; but I also knew the community we formed in our cells was one of the most incredible things that would happen all day; one of the most liberating things I would ever feel.
Out of the Classrooms and Into the Streets!
An occupier takes part in several picket lines in support of the teacher’s strike in Chicago, then takes to the streets with thousands of teachers, students and supporters:
“What struck me about joining the picket lines was the power of having public spaces for communities to gather and discuss topics such as workers’ rights and the state of our public education system. It’s what I have spent the last year seeking out, with the help of Occupy. Want to talk about the economic crisis? Let’s meet in the financial district. Mental health clinics closing down? Meet us across the street and we’ll discuss why we need them to remain open and public. NATO bombing civilians without your consent? Time to show up outside their summit and bear witness to veterans decrying the War on Terror.”
Denver police use intimidation to try to squash an anti-police-brutality march in solidarity with Anaheim, causing some arrests:
Sergeant Andrejasich barked at us that “if you go in the street again, we will arrest you.” This threat seemed absurd given that whenever we march, DPD’s vehicles that follow us essentially shut down traffic anyway. Sergeant Andrejasich was clearly hoping that by threatening arrest and possible violence, he could frighten our solidarity march into giving up and going home. He should know by now that Occupy Denver doesn’t play like that. Having seen DPD use violence or the threat of violence countless times to attempt to silence dissent, I figured someone should resolve Sergeant Andrejasich’s confusion about the relationship between his department and our subversive assembly.
Occupy: 12 Events That Defined Year One
As we approach the one year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, Occupied Stories takes a look back at the events and actions that defined the first year of the movement. In the run-up to #S17 we will be posting stories from our archives for every month of the past year of occupy, starting with stories on the first days at Liberty Square and the spouting of other encampments nationwide. Be sure to check back often!
When two are arrested at a #chalkupy event, a mother sees the event as a teachable moment on how the police respond to dissent:
When I pressed her about what I should tell my children about their fear of police, she recommended that I go home and have a discussion about how it’s wrong to damage public property, and that it was going to take tax payer money to remove the chalk. I offered to go home and get rags and buckets. She said it wouldn’t make a difference. Of course, we did go home and have a discussion. I did tell my children not to be afraid of police. (We are not people of color, so it’s a lot easier for me to say this to my children than it is for others. If we had dark skin, this particular issue would have been much more complex. And that conversation will come, too.) But, I also told them that our country is not perfect. Just like at home, we all have to pitch in.
Photo by John Jack Anderson
When people asked why we were marching, we said, “There is this agreement that jazz clubs made to pay into the musicians’ pensions, for which they get a tax write off. They got the write off, but don’t pay.” It’s so so simple it’s not even about music: it’s just about keeping a promise. People get that right away, and it’s hard to disagree. Then there’s clubs recording musicians and selling the recordings without paying them, that’s to tell the many musicians who walk by and understand in a sound-byte’s time how wrong that is.