December 15, 2011

Home from the Occupy-a-lujah Tour!

Home from the Occupy-a-lujah Tour!
Nine Communities with Smiles and Wiggly Fingers!

Back in New York after stops in London, Des Moines and Grinnell, Iowa, Toronto, Detroit and Kalamazoo, Michigan, Chicago, Portland, San Francisco and Oakland. It would have been great to have the Stop Shopping singers with me – but it was interesting by myself too.

Yes, people are bruised, cut, and freezing. The Minor Devils working for 1% are police and local bureaucrats. The larger force would be called WINTER. I will never forget preaching in the Quonset hut in Iowa, with electric heater and the blind priest sitting in the front row staring at me. It was wonderful. The whole tour was wonderful, if it was also, by the closing of the west coast ports on the last day – tiring for the wandering preacher.

But even at the end, in Oakland, that amazing hip hop electricity, and the sight of Angela Davis speaking in the microphone, while standing next to her, Scott Olsen – now recovered from his coma and in therapy for slurred speech – but standing there, strong and clear. I can protest now for another year.

Each Occupy had its irreducible personality. Chicago was still meeting outside under the classic Crazy Horse sculpture in a park, people doing jumping-jacks to keep warm between agenda items. I hope they are indoors now with their General Assemblies. The day I preached was the release of the first Occupied Chicago Tribune newspaper – inspiring thoughts of a free media evolving from all this. ( back in NYC sometimes picked up my sermons and livestreamed them, with the first and last sermons – London and Oakland – viewed widely.)

When I was in London, Zuccotti was still where we lived, although both the St. Paul’s encampment and NYC were under threat. From Zuccotti the Stop Shopping Choir sang the “99%” song and were livestreamed onto a sheet held up by volunteers. The cold Londoners – we of course standing in the darkish drizzle of late fall London – a thrill of solidarity shot through us and we began singing along. It was compelling that the singers were still in the sunshine in Zuccotti! The “We are the 99% (as we gather together)” is the anthem of the movement if there is one – with 65,000 listens/views with its various postings.

I preached our Occupy faith – that we are taking the revolution into our own bodies and souls now - after losing our tent-cities. We are a moveable feast, and now is the time to be creative in our nonviolence. The criminality of the 1% has never been clearer. The corrupt governments have never been so unconvincing. And Springtime will soon be here! See you back in the streets on May Day!

Photo by Steve Rhodes