They wanted to change their lives, but not this way. They know the story better than I but will have trouble telling it until they grieve. The pain seemed very real and very palpable. But it covered up the issues, whatever they may be.
Larry doesn’t know what is next for him or them, but he mainly cares about himself. He has a tent on the hill. Awaits his retirement. He lives here. Has survived with a smile.
Mikey lips. He just keeps moving and talking.
Amanda almost took the shot as it passed out of the tent. Very, very upset. She had high hopes for the success of the encampment. Almost got killed.
Paul Littlefield has demonstrated before: Mississippi, 1962; Chicago, 1968. Where’d he come from?
They said the dead guy served in Iraq. Turned out he didn’t. But he could be counted as a casualty whose suicide should be blamed on the war. Some dude put a flag on a stick at half mast in his honor.
Medic for the assembled, but not as credentialed as she would have to be to handle the myriad of afflictions, diseases, and accidents which could and would occur. How about a clinic? Does it take medicare and have malpractice insurance. Better not take in the aged or infirm who may have special needs. They probably won’t do knees or hips. Gotta hope there are no outbreaks caused by people who don’t wash or foodstuffs that have been contaminated.
Connor is a traveller. He has family who recently moved Burlington, so he says. Rides the trains. Might spend the winter in Savannah.
Candidate for Mayor, Bram, and Police Chief, Mike, spoke. Shows their concern for the safety of the assembled and respect for the issues. Park will probably stay open from 6 am to 12pm for all, but not for overnight, as if anyone would want to sleep in the park, unless they didn’t have another place to live. Its still a public park and our inability to house the people should not be an excuse for ceding a very public and popular space to people, some of whom have connections to the community here which some of us would call tenuous, at best. Will the rules applicable to all apply to the people living in the park? Will it be an asylum?
But, with all the watching and listening, I still don’t really know what this is all about. I can tell you what some say. I can tell you what I saw. I read the signs. Down with Wall Street; the 99% (many of whom work) should have their way to do what I am not sure. So go sit in the lobby of Merchant’s or People’s bank. Do what Willie Sutton would have done (don’t steal), but just follow the money. Don’t have a rock concert. People won’t take you seriously; they will think you are in this for a free ride. Don’t get drunk or stupid or let people hut themselves or others. See if you can get a loan to go to school or start a business. Build something. Better yet, grow something. Work on a farm and make food without chemicals. Participate in the system without being greedy. Share the wealth you accumulate with friends and family and other like minded souls. Teach what you know. Barter your services, if you have skills which can be traded. If not, get a job at a place that pays a fair wage. Volunteer when you have spare time. Set a good example.
If there are no such places that you feel comfortable frequenting or working for due to their antedeluvian policies and practices , picket them and don’t buy their products. Be a leader. Be Ceasar Chavez or A. Phillip Randolph or any number of great Americans who stood up for the rights of others. Ghandi. Mother Theresa. Yes, I left out a good deal and a great many, but this is just off the top of my head without much thought.
I read the Communist Manifesto. I know management will get as much out of labor it can. I know the only way to change it quickly is through an uprising of the proletariat. But we don’t have a proletariat anymore. We don’t have a middle class or a working class. If workers were to strike, they would be fired and many would line up for their jobs. The entrails of the National Labor Relations Act which force management and ownership to collectively bargain lies dead in the streets, just like it was when they struck Pullman. Businesses will do good without controls, one party says, so long as you don’t need a place to live or healthy food to live on or health care if you are so unfortunate to have a sickness or impairment. If they stay in power, nothing will trickly down. There’s nothing new about what has been going on in the present that hasn’t been protested in the past.
And I am not marching anymore, because I don’t trust the rebels, or the leaders they crusade against, to do the right thing. Very sad, but true.
The class system some abhor, still prevailed and dominated in the camp. The more political lived up front. They had an assembly led by the meritocricy. People had their say. Decisions were made, just like in the Colonies. Eventually they might allign. A Continental Congress would be needed, just like in the old days. No one would fund them, unless a Steve Jobs would emerge and invent a never-before-heard-of-but-needed instrument of change. So, maybe they would go to war, Peter Sellers style, to get reparations to build their community. Who would lead and who would follow? They would have priests (those who had the collective knowledge) or maybe it would be big brother. Damn. Lord of the Flies. 1984. Oops (not Rick Perry style), a literary reference. Will there be a library or a reading room? And who will select the tomes or magazines. Free internet, they get already. Maybe they won’t need books.
All the problems faced by all civil societies would eventually bring them down, from the simple to the complex. You need water and toilets. You need sanitation, security, hospitals, snow and leaf removal to survive. You need to have rules. Anarchy will not make it in a public park. Neither will democracy. But the bigger question is does the City move them with nowhere to put them or leave them there and invite more disruptive and disquieting activities?
I dunno, but I be thinking and watching.
Water buckets use a lot of energy, inefficiently. Can’t be providing liquid for drinking and cleaning from a few pails. Let’s see who pulls the detail and what happens when they oversleep or spill. Why not pipe it in? Who will pay for the water and insures its clean? Hey. I forgot. Some of the residents may not drink water. And, without rules or any moral suasion, they may not even have to bathe or wash their clothes. One porta san ain’t going to do it either.
Eventually they would need a building code to prevent tepees from shedding skin. Structures can collapse, injuring people and property. Securing them to the ground would be the beginning of a permanent structure. Others may wonder why the property wasn’t opened to public bidding before the squatters took over. Will there be building code that limits size, space between buildings, or color?
Not many being fed from this canteen and not much variety. Need more food than a tent can store, if the community is to be fed. Will there be a dietician? Who will determine if the food is eatable? Will anyone who wants to join the group be welcome, even if they cannot pull their weight? Attracting more residents who need assistance could put a strain on our already strained social service network if the special assembled bunch cannot handle them. How many more can the Emergency Food Shelf take? Perhaps they should deliver.
Whom do you take care of first? And how? And I wonder if the group that assembled really wants to be a part of a community or just be their own?