Occupiers set up living room in Bank of America lobby
A crew of occupiers makes a home of a Bank of America lobby with a couch, a coffee table, a rug and a potted plant. “Bank of America took our homes so we though we’d move in here!”
We’re going to launch a kickstarter this week in order to fund the build out of our studio space in the basement of WeAct 1480AM. We’re getting design help from Global Revolution and a variety of grassroots organizations including people from Occupy Wall Street and Occupy D.C. are involved.
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-Howard Zinn :
If you work through the existing structures you are going to be corrupted. By working through political system that poisons the atmosphere, even the progressive organizations, you can see it even now in the US, where people on the “Left” are all caught in the electoral campaign and get into fierce arguments about should we support this third party candidate or that third party candidate. This is a sort of little piece of evidence that suggests that when you get into working through electoral politics you begin to corrupt your ideals. So I think a way to behave is to think not in terms of representative government, not in terms of voting, not in terms of electoral politics, but thinking in terms of organizing social movements, organizing in the work place, organizing in the neighborhood, organizing collectives that can become strong enough to eventually take over —first to become strong enough to resist what has been done to them by authority, and second, later, to become strong enough to actually take over the institutions
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Start taking action. See where it goes. No matter what, don’t sit around and wait for others, whether in the movement or in power, to do for you what you think is right. If Occupy means anything, it means the power is already yours, and it’s up to you to occupy it.
A Detour Through Our Fine Capitol
When we left Baltimore to head to our next destination, North Carolina, it was pretty obvious to us that we would need to stop in Washington DC for a couple days. Our mission in DC would be to check out Occupy DC (K Street) and reunite with our puppet making friend from OWS, Ken Srdjak.
It is hard for us to offer an accurate presentation of the current state of the occupation at K St, due to the holiday season causing a temporary flee of many occupiers and our short visit. It takes time, length of which is unique to each situation, to enter an established community. We have been experiencing and exploring this challenge since day one of our project. This also applies to individual occupations. Sometimes we feel at home in 5 minutes….sometimes 5 days….sometimes we never quite fall into a place of comfort.
Upon arrival at K St. we engaged with the Library and some lingering campers and attended a General Assembly, which was small in numbers. A huge discussion lead that evening was on the importance of the campers in dealing with recent sexual harassment against women. It was impressive, the GA consisted of several men who had zero tolerance for this issue and banded together to establish a “men’s group,” with a goal in respectfully and firmly confronting the accused that exist within the camp and commit this harrassment. With the oppression of women being a societal issue, when observed within the encampents of occupations, we are not surprised. Occupations do not create these problems, society does. Seeing progressive men opening a dialogue about the elimination of this kind of behavior is a positive shift, and the exact kind of mentality we believers in the occupy movement and societal change, hope to work towards. The women’s voice is important. We cannot create a new society that silences or excludes the feminine in the exact manor displayed through history.
Speaking of positive male presence within the movement…. Reuniting with Ken was a pleasure and ignited our fond memories of collaborating with him and our other artist friends in NYC. This gentleman was one of the masterminds behind the Wall St Robot: Slot Machine, which was constructed for Occupy Halloween, a day long event of performance art filled with costumed working-class superheros and corporate villians and the NYC Halloween Parade. Ken returned to DC where he works with Puppet Underground. This puppeteer’s collective uses art and performance to support movements and grassroots organizing for social and economic justice. In addition to being involved in Occupy K Street, they offer community art workshops, street theater shows, puppets, stilters, and help developing creative organizing strategies. This group does public performances as well as brings touring puppet shows to DC, such as Bread and Puppet, a Vermont based politically radical theater, which Ken is a veteran of.
Ken took us to explore the Puppet Underground’s studio space that dozens of artists and activists share to produce art and puppets for various direct actions, performances, and protests, such as those displayed in the ‘Roving Kabaret’ in which a theatrical tour of the nation’s capitol was given! An exciting display of artistic activism.
We were thrilled to see that DC has some amazing artists active within the community, though as it is our capitol, we were curious as to why there aren’t more. So, if you have DC on your mind, or are passing through, we hope that you take the time to support Occupy DC, find some puppeteers and represent!
And the people under the sky were also very much the same…everywhere, all over the world, hundreds or thousands of millions of people just like this, people ignorant of one another’s existence, held apart by walls of hatred and lies, and yet almost exactly the same — people who had never learned to think but were storing up in their hearts and bellies and muscles the power that would one day overturn the world.
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