So I’ve been going down to #OccupyChicago on and off for 9 days now.
Yesterday there was an emergency general assembly called at 10am to discuss our living arrangements. To briefly recap, the Federal Reserve Security and CPD have been constantly hassling us about the sidewalk. First their issue was leaning against their property so we moved to the other side of the sidewalk. Then they told us we couldn’t sleep there, so we got cars. Then they said we couldn’t keep bins there, so we got carts. Finally they’ve told us that we must remain mobile at all times. No one can lie or sleep or sit on the ground and nothing can be stationary.
So, Occupy Chicago has moved into a second stage: mobility. I for one am glad with the new direction. We will be marching more frequently and to different areas of the city, gaining more visibility and connecting with more citizens. Personally I’m all about the marches. I am not crazy about the General Assemblies or the committees. I am all about the marching.
During our afternoon march yesterday we ventured as far North as Illinois, then back down to Balbo. It was a relatively small but very spirited group. On the way we occupied the Daley Center Plaza and the windows in front of ABC-7 and CBS-2, then joined the Congress Hotel union workers for a while.
This was by far my favorite stop for our marches. The workers at the Congress on Michigan Avenue have been on strike since October of 2003 when I was in my first semester of college right down the street. They hold the record for the longest hotel strike in American history. I was extremely proud to march with them.
If you go to school in the area I strongly encourage you to stop by the corners of LaSalle and Jackson. Some people will look at you funny. Some will whisper snarky comments. Some will tell you to get a job. Some will drive by in a Lexus and give you the finger.
You have a chance to become a part of the largest grassroots mobilization in decades. There are some very legitimate criticisms of Occupy Wall Street and its sympathy protests spreading around the globe. We are unorganized. We are mostly young. We are naive. We don’t know how to put our demands into action. I can only say what I have seen on the ground: in 13 days we have gotten bigger and smarter and more organized than I could have imagined.
If you’re pessimistic I understand. In fact, I’m right there with you. I seriously doubt that we’re going to change the world, or bring down the corporations, or force Congress to enact campaign finance reform. But you know what? I don’t care. I believe in what we are fighting for even if there are zero chances in ten million that we can ever succeed. I am suspending my disbelief. I am telling my cynicism to take a hike.
You have to take a chance and stand for something and you’re never going to get a better chance than now, to be a part of something this big. I say this especially to the college students in downtown Chicago: Columbia, Roosevelt, Depaul, Robert Morris and across America- very soon you will be entering one of the worst job markets in history and you won’t know what to do about it. This is your chance to do something. Don’t regret not getting involved later.
Please come down to the protest.
Turn off your Ipod and listen to the drums.