Friday, November 18, 2011

OWS Project: Notes From The Field

It's been a big week for the Occupy Wall Street movement and The Civilians artists have been out in the parks and squares interviewing people on the front lines.

Late Monday night/early Tuesday morning occupiers were evicted from Zuccotti Park in the middle of the night. Here's a snippet from an interview by one of our artists with a protester who was in the park when it happened:

"Uh, this morning they came in at one o’clock, they surrounded us with light trucks, big, uh, high beam light trucks, and, um, announced that they we constituted a fire hazard and public safety issues. Uh, they surrounded the camp, maybe a hundred and twenty we’re estimating and, uh, very cordially, uh, for about two and a half hours had media--mediators explain to us the situation and what our options were. During the course of that time we all rallied around our kitchen, which is the center in the heart of our - of our camp and, uh, several of our members, six of them, used u-locks to chain themselves together around the neck, so that they could not be moved without hurting them. Um, and then, as they advanced, they, uh, they tore down tents and tossed everything aside, a sanitation team came in and collected all of our belongings safely and put them in dump truck pressing devices. After about, uh, two and a half hours, around three thirty five, they, uh, they started arresting people. "

On Thursday, protesters responded en masse around the city (and the country) for the National Day of Action ending up at Foley Square. Signs and chants reflected the message "you can't evict an idea." One 75 year old woman at the march, who made note of the fact that she also marched with Dr. King, said:

"I think it's time now to fight back and kick the rich in the butt, you know what I'm saying? Kick them back- and this is a good showing. If they do this all over this country, for the next 6 weeks to 6 months, it's going to make a change, I guarantee you - they're going to come out like they did in '67 after the riots in Newark and put some kind of programs in place, only this time they're going to create some jobs, you hear me?"

And her friend said about being out at Foley Square:

"I'm the only one in my family, [and] my mother, the rest of them are so apolitical. I don't know what planet they're on, but they don't know they benefitted, everybody has benefitted in this country from what other people have done in the streets, historically."

As Occupy movement changes nationally and in NYC, The Civilians will be out there documenting, so keep an eye on the blog for more notes from the field as our project and the movement evolves!

If you missed the OWS cabaret at Joe's Pub, click here to watch it or read the article in the NYTimes.

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