Friday, February 24, 2012

Good for one pint of ice cream

The meeting has been called to discuss actions for St. Patrick’s Day weekend. Call it the M17/18 actions. Jessica the social worker has called the meeting. Stan is facilitating. In additon to OWS folk around the table like Chris and Runi and Steve, Mark Greenburg of the Interfaith Assembly on Housing and Homelessness (which I chair, cofounded by former West-Park pastor Bob Davidson and Rabbi Marshall Meyer and Father Daniel Berrigan) has joined us. And also Shen, a veteran of Tianneman Square, and Ben. And Jerry. From Vermont. Yes, that Ben and Jerry. 
I want to tell Ben that we once shared a jail cell together. His first arrest. My, well, I can’t remember. A lot of clergy were with us. Like my friends David Dyson and Father Earl Kooperkamp. And Daniel Ellsburg, of Pentagon Papers fame. And his son, along for his first arrest. We were arrested in front of the US mission to the United Nations. Thinking maybe we could prevent a war in Iraq. We didn’t.
So the target weekend is St. Patrick’s Day weekend. The focus, among other things, is hunger. The intention is to gather at Zucotti Park and march to the Irish Famine Memorial. Silently. With dignity. In contrast to the commercialized ritual of cartoon ethnic identity the parade has become. 
There’s concern about competing with the parade. Would there be enough press, etc.? I like the idea of reclaiming the original spirit of the day, an outcry against oppression of Irish immigrants, a plea for dignity. And a connection to hunger and immigrants and dignity today.
The hope is to also encourage the faith community to join in symbolic plantings on Sunday. To symbolize new life. And everyone is open to coming  to West-Park to finish the day with a fiesta in celebration of El Batalon San Patricio.  We’ve got Mandola Joe and his Buskers lined up. All we need is the Mexican music. 
Shen is intense and analytic as a strategist. And completely committed to non-violence. We know of multiple factions planning multiple actions for that weekend. There’s a good discussion of green action vs. red action. I wonder about black action, the still present faction of anarchists and anarchonihilists known as the black bloc. Shen and I will have  that conversation later. 
Much still unresolved. I give Ben and Jerry a quick tour of the sanctuary. Review the social history. Before heading back to Vermont, they leave a healthy check in support of the evolving Occupy West-Park Coop. And the upcoming Sunday night event. And also a coupon good for a free pint of ice cream.
Matthew’s rehearsal is ending. He’s getting close to being done here at West-Park. Almost ready to head to a real theatre to work on blocking. Martin Bard of the Times Square Playwrights is waiting for his rehearsal for his upcoming play about a veteran returning from Iraq. 

Down in the basement th coop silk screen crew is working on West-Park Coop t-shirts. 
I need to run to my Interfaith Assembly board meeting. When I get back, Danielle is finishing a tour for RL and Sarah, the poet, and her friend Travis, from Colorado. RL’s interested in connecting up Sarah and Amanda. There’s a chance for that to happen next week. And he’s secured Dave’s services for the next step on the bathrooms. 
It’s time to head down and continue that discussion at the Gate.

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