Dispatch From The Front Lines Of Occupy Wall Street

Thursday 8 December 2011, by Smilios Arthur

Dispatch From The Front Lines Of Occupy Wall Street

By FW Arthur Smilios, X362847, Industrial Worker, November 2011, pp. 1, 6.

NEW YORK - As the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement is now in its third week (at press time), I can truly report that it is, in fact, a movement. Having been away from my beloved hometown, I began attending OWS on Oct. 3, returning every day since. My experiences have borne out that this is, indeed, a legitimate people’s uprising. This is not the “astroturf networking,” with its empty platitudes and glossy placards, paid for by the banking cartels, that the Obama campaign so successfully sold to the working class three years ago; this is a demand from below. It seems that the working class has finally grown weary of waiting for the elusive and illusory noblesse oblige. Good!

We have all attended numerous antiWall Street rallies over the years and, while buoyed by the camaraderie of our community, have all been left wondering, “When will the working class finally awaken, en masse?” We have our answer. Autumn 2011 is proving to be the moment. Despite the misinformation (or complete ignorance) purveyed by the capitalist press, OWS has caught the imagination and tapped into the indignation of working people nationwide. The network fossils, in their comfortable torpor of past relevance, believe that they can kill a movement by disregarding or is representing it. They prove their irrelevance. We have democratized communication and, as a result, OWS has become an unstoppable conflagration.

Fighting the urge simply to revel in the joy of community, I have walked around, engaged all manner of people in conversation and interviews. While the backgrounds of those with whom I’ve interacted differ, there is a commonality: we are the working class. We’ve been abused. We are weary of it and we are fighting back.

I spoke with an electrical worker from Boston who felt a compulsion to come down to his rival city and stand at the nexus of avarice, exploitation and corruption. This was on Monday, Oct. 3. I have seen him every day since. I expect to see him again tomorrow, the next day and the day after that.

There was the group of Teamsters, locked out by that bastion of the bourgeoisie- Sotheby’s-inviting all to a workshop scheduled for Monday, Oct. 10 at 2:00 p.m. One of them took a moment to pull me aside and thank me (although I, personally, had nothing to do with the action) for the disruption caused at one of Sotheby’s exercises in gross and vulgar materialism.

The coppers, as usual, strutted around, fondling their truncheons and believing that they mattered. On the night of a massive community/labor march on Oct. 5, after most of the union folk had left, the cops decided to compensate for their shortcomings and bludgeon and pepperspray unarmed people (mostly young, passive students), as they are wont to do. The conviction amongst everyone I spoke to was that the New York Police Department is simply the private security firm of the bankers. The $4.6 million donation they accepted from J.P. Morgan recently is just confirmation of these suspicions.

Another thing that struck me was how many children were present. The feeling is that, while we demand a better world now, we are also doing this for the benefit of the next generation; that they may know a kinder world than the hell that the rapacious have dealt us.

We, being an “illegal” occupation, do not enjoy the amenities of electricity, hence we have no PA system. Because of some Byzantine and asinine law, we are also not allowed bullhorns, which the Filth employ with comedic frequency. The solution has been the über-democratic and cooperative “people’s mic”-in which everything that is spoken is repeated by the entire crowd. Participation in this has been among the most fulfilling aspects of the experience.

The major slogan-which has caught the imagination of the masses and facilitated the movement’s rapid-fire growth-is, “We are the 99 percent!” The standard chants are indelibly emblazoned in all of our memories, but this is something new. Those of us on the so-called fringes have often spoken of the class distinction in fractional terms, but to hear the mainstream scream this sentiment signals a seismic shift in the present order.

As I constantly carry my sign, reading, “The Working Class is Awake! IWW.ORG” with a QR Code to send the tech-savvy directly to our website, I cannot recall how many times I have heard supporters shout things such as, “The Wobblies are here!” or “The OBU!” Being a romantic, such things give me goose bumps. Yes, it seems that the working class finally is awake.

These are just a few of my experiences. I will humbly share more soon.

See you at Liberty Plaza.