Thursday, January 12, 2012

OCCUPY: Inside The Movement - POC Caucus

The Civilians are just one day away from re-occupying Joe's Pub with Let Me Ascertain You: Occupy Wall Street, Part II! Tickets have been going fast, but you can still get them here. If you're not in the area or you can't make the show, we will be live streaming here - so tune in!

If you've been following the blog, you know we're featuring material from our over 100 interviews with people of varying involvement in the movement on January 13th at 9:30 PM at Joe's Pub. And you also know that there was no way we could fit all of the great stories we collected into one hour. So - we're using the blog as a way to showcase some of the other great material we have in our Occupy archive, material that you won't find at Joe's Pub on Friday, or anywhere else (yet!).

One Civilians artist interviewed Manissa Maharawal, who you might have seen in New York Magazine talking with Eliot Spitzer. Among other things, Manissa is involved with the People of Color Caucus in the movement. Here she tells a story of what happened when she and a group of her friends were at their first GA, and the organizers were getting ready to issue one of the movement's first public statements:

"I mean we're excited about this thing, but this is going to be like the document coming from the movement, then ... it can't .. we're - we're all saying that it can't go out saying that ‘We. Are. All. One. Race. Human Race.  Formerly divided by race class gender religion.’  Right?  Like, we know what they're going for, but like ... that's ignoring all sorts of like real problems.  That come up in society, but also like come up in activist worlds all the time.  And that reproduce themselves because we ignore them.  Right?  And so like, we said it, and they're like 'ok ok, email us about it' and we were like ... 'No.  Like we want this changed right now.' You know?  And so ... like the process kept happening, and then they were like are their any blocks?  And ... my friend and I looked at each other, and she was like 'Block.'   And I was like, but like -- if you've been in like consensus crowds that are just like ... blocking is not like something you do because you feel like it. You know?  It's like no one's stopping this whole process.  It cannot move forward unless you take up my concern.  You know, it's like a really, like it's a big deal.   It takes like a l-- it's mad responsibility.  And I was like I can't believe I'm gonna like stand here in front of like hundreds of people ... and block this thing.  And it's like ... you know, it's like Everyone's Gonna Hate Me.  (laughing) You know? Like literally. And I was like, well, I've got my friends who are like with me, and other people around us had been like listening to our conversation, and we just felt like literally like, the whole like, we wanted to make the point, because we felt like if everyone just got the point we were trying to make? They would be like, oh, yeah, totally.  You know?  And we just hadn't had, we felt like we hadn't had a chance to like explain ourselves properly because they're really trying to push this thing through, so I blocked it."

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