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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Pre-occupied


12/21
Teddy, Jeff, Jason and Dan from Occupy are all here. Teddy is here to work on the door that was damaged. Long conversation with Jeff and Jason about working out a longer term realtionship. We again do a full tour of the building to talk about best sleeping, eating, meeting places. 
Lots of issues re.housing. The idealistic goal of building new communities running into human reality. The Eden time of Zucotti didn’t last long. And now that we’ve entered into an extended time, long debates as to how to do this. Realities bumping into ideologies. For example, at SPSA, Dan has had two back packs stolen. Even more frustrating, he had received a beautiful hand woven winter hat from a craftsperson at the festival as a gift. Gone. 
Issues of safety, security, safe space over against those who resist any authority, any rules. Yet with no rules, ther can be no humane sense of security. Learning community building from the ground up. And without these kind of agreements, we can’t move forward. Sanitary issues, privacy versus communality. Jeff had wanted large communal tents, not smaller individual ones which gave more privacy, but less security.  How will we accomplish that in a church?
We’re dealing with what one writer has called the US Poverty Diaspora. Young people put on the road voluntarily or by parents. Unemployed or unemployable. Queer youth aged out of shelter systems. Mentally ill, homeless. The marginalized, the rejected. Pushed into or attracted to the movement. And the movement has collectivley tried to respond morally, humanely and functionally. Out of this, new realities will grow.
And this church is the only Presbyterian church housing people and the only church in Manhattan seeking to develop creative and sustainable working relationships. Like I said, you need us....
The conversation goes on. Nan arrives to work on financial issues with Hope. Get those thank yous and year end appeals out. A plan has been made. 
Sarah arrives to review the gala, talk about next steps. As a young businesswoman, she too, sees a system that no longer works and a liberal establishment that can no longer provide a moderating alternative. Gone and bought into the corproate class driven paradigm. Real workig reforms not possible. A committed capitalist who believes what was is done. She looks at West-Park’s relationship with Occupy as the most important work we’re involved in. 
It’s cold in the building, we go for beef borscht at Popover’s. Then I pick up the thank yous at the Bengladeshi print shop. Sit and sign them all. Deliver them to Hope on the picket line. Outside, it’s almost balmy, September like. Mim will pick them up, finish the job.
The CD with pictures from the gala has arrived. Seems like a long time ago now. 
Two days, forty eight hours no word from Con Ed. One simple question to be answered. Size of meter pipe to be installed. That’s it. No answer. Con Ed hell again.
Later sons Dan and Nate will walk with me. We’ll cross the street, talk with Pascal, get a tree. No free one this year. The free one went to Occupy. Walking home, carrying our tree, we stop and talk with the pickets at Saigon Grill. Nate wonders how anyone can still go in and eat there. Some coming out do stop and talk with the workers. 
Still later, I get a call from Dan. Issues. I head to church to meet him. The Mexican can and bottle collector asleep on the steps. 

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