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Occupy Wall Street, A Love Affair

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Occupy Wall Street, A Love Affair

By Doug Tarnopol

It all started in Paris. That’s where I first heard of Occupy Wall Street. My wife and I were on vacation in Europe for most of the month of September, enjoying the fruits of our luck and pluck. We’re not unemployed; we’re pretty much doing fine.

Wait a minute, you say, as did the reporters from Der Spiegel, Channel 2 in NYC, and others who interviewed me at OWS. If you’re doing OK, why are you here?

Why, indeed.

Like other love affairs, mine with OWS followed the usual trajectory. Admiration from afar. Approach. Gift-giving. Statements of support. Telling my friends how awesome the new love object is. Then, finally, union. At first, I gave money from Rhode Island. Then, I decided to rent a car, fill the trunk, and drive down to deliver it and introduce myself, shyly, tentatively.

The response was emotionally overwhelming — hugs, thanks, joy. For about $600 worth of socks, Neosporin, fleece, tampons. In my work terms, about four or five hours of private SAT tutoring. Good deal.

I returned the next couple of days, observing the organizational meetings, as anyone can on Livestream. That’s democracy in action, by the way, and that is the vaunted “point” of OWS: here, finally, is a demonstration of how you organize a polity, a factory, an office, a world: through conversation, with fairness, and ending up with what is known as “total buy-in” in the business world. Democracy, period. You know, what we’re all supposedly for.

But I was still on the outside, still a little shy. So, I went on the march on Wednesday. Amazing turn-out. Old, young; black, white, brown. You name a division, it was represented and, at least temporarily, effaced. Solidarity, period. You know, what we’re all supposedly for.

Returning with the march to Liberty Plaza, and once again wallflowering my way around the encampment, I gravitated back to the kitchen. I’d been shopping for them — more cutting boards, good knives, plastic plates. A grey-water system had sprung up overnight; more self-exemplification — here’s how you recycle and live within constraints. The older man at the sink looked beat. The makeshift sign next to him said something like, “Hey, bourgeois tourists — don’t just take pictures; join us!” Something clicked, and I finally made my move.

“Hey, let me take over.”

Relief and a big smile.

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10:05PM PST on Dec 8, 2011

Such a sweet story!

12:34AM PDT on Oct 10, 2011

Good to hear your story. Thanks.

12:30PM PDT on Oct 9, 2011

This reminds me, strangely enough, of how the media reported looting, killing, and raping by young black men in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina when the citizens were herded into their local arena although it was well-known that doesn't work. What I heard was from a woman there who recorded the young men around her. What they were doing was helping. Getting water to the pregnant, babies, kids, and elders before anyone else. They were preventing violence.

Six New Orleans cops were just convicted of murdering men just after Katrina.

Peaceful demonstrations are often reported as "turning violent" when the violence originates from some--not all--police.

Thank you for this story of love and peace. Blessed be.

6:35AM PDT on Oct 9, 2011

Looking forward to 'Mericas 'Mubarack Moment'!

11:46PM PDT on Oct 8, 2011

Tks for sharing your story! I'll be honest, I'd totally missed the news about Occupy Wallstreet. I've been so tuned out lately. Just don't want to watch the news....read the papers....as it is mega depressing most of the time! Your story is GOOD NEWS indeed.....perhaps the time are still a-changing!!

8:44PM PDT on Oct 8, 2011

gladly noted!
Thanks.......

8:24PM PDT on Oct 8, 2011

Wonderful to hear an 'insiders' account rather than the tainted news accounts. Thanks

6:42PM PDT on Oct 8, 2011

glad to read the inside story - hope that everybody takes heart and works for a better world - doing the 'Jesus thing' of feeding people and comforting the sick. (that's a quote form a OWS person.

5:58PM PDT on Oct 8, 2011

This "feels" so familiar.
It is so sad that forty years on we are fighting the same battles. My generation blew it by not following through. After our "victories", (Vietnam, Civil Rights, etc.), most thought the job was done. We were sucked into "consumerism", got jobs, bought houses, cars, and so on. Took jobs to pay for all of our goodies and let the right wing sneak in and take back over.
It's a long story, told many times in many ways, but it boils down to complacency. All of us who have any means at all to take an active part in this "occupy" movement, owe it to ourselves, our friends and neighbors, and future generations to get out there and participate. If we can get the World is headed in a more just and equal direction, perhaps most of the violence and bloodshed can be averted. That is what will happen if we don't stop it now.

1:07PM PDT on Oct 8, 2011

This was a great story, and gives me some hope.

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