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Thursday, January 5, 2012

The tenth day of Christmas: Off the steps and into Occupy


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A day away from the steps. Meet John H at the City Diner to talk money and business and meet up with Andre and Tsion to hande some of his issues as well.  
The #ows folks call and ask me to come downtown to their headquarters to be there for their Housing Work Group meeting. I’m not anxious to head downtown,but....
60 Wall Street is the post 9-11 headquarters of Deutschebank. It has a large open atrium with potted palms lending it a wintergarten feel. And post Zucotti eviction, this public space has become the unofficial headquarters for #ows. In the late afternoon, the tables aroud the atrium are filled with #ows working groups, Direct Action, Housing, Comfort, Media...it’s fascinating to see them all in action. 
Looking around I see mainly the young but also graying heads, union people, a white bearded New York classic Orthodox Jew. There’s a consious effort to share facilitation between men and women, black, white, latino,queer. 
The process of concensus is arduous. Starts wtih report backs, from other groups in Park Slope and Newark,  agenda building. After the circle has been gone around, a stack of speakers is lined up. The minute time rule of general assemblies does not apply to work groups. 
People take me aside to talk with me.  It’s apparent that the same power struggles, finger pointing, suspicion that plagues most organizations, movements, is everpresent here as well. And the people who annoy you the most(now I see who he really is..) are always suspected to be plants, agents provacateurs. I nod, say I hear, and then say they’ve go to work that out in community, not with or through me. 
The Work group reports it was up until 5:30 AM trying to come up with rules, no not rules, community agrements. I explain again how I, too, am responsible for, and to, a community. A three person delegatio is appointed to work with me tomorrow. 
I leave exhausted. I wish that they could not have to live through this part.  Avoid where we failed. But it’s original sin, the human condition. Unavoidable.  I admire the effort. I’ll help where I can. 

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