One after another took turns at the microphone to speak out against social injustice, war, poverty, and the vulgaries of Wall Street.
After the first speech my wife and I clapped and yelled approvingly.We were the only ones.
Others raised their arms and fluttered their fingers as if they were tickling the air. The guy next to us explained that this was the new way to applaud, one that did not interfere with spoken words or hinder the passage of time.
I thought it was silly. Clapping is good, yelling is fun. Do these kids watch football games in silence? What's next, saying nothing and texting the guy next to you?
Yes, I know, young people already do this, anything but a real conversation.
Its a new game and I am learning its rules.
I was proud of these youngins', forty-five years my junior, coming out in bad weather to raise hell. It reminded me of the protests I attended in the 60's.
Their initial meeting was disorganized but that's how things usually start. Miami is
often the last to catch on to national trends.
At the same time hundreds of young Atlantans were actually occupying more than a patio. "Occupy Atlanta" took over a part of Woodruff Park and is still there. They formed a "General Assembly" which created a manifesto stating,
We hold this truth to be self-evident that the 99% deserve equal rights, equal protections, equal access and equal opportunity as the 1% who benefit disproportionately from the current system. We therefore freely assemble to assert our rights and demands: 1. We demand greater democratic control in all spheres of life, from the home to the government, from the economy to the workplace. It is a moral, logical and political imperative that people should be in control of their own lives to the greatest extent possible. 2. We deserve an economic system that meets human needs, reduces economic inequality, shrinks the income gap, and doesn't reward decisions that have a negative impact on society. 3. We recognize that the market will not regulate itself. What is good for profit is not always good for people or the environment. 4. We assert the right of every human being to adequate shelter, food, clothing, hygiene and other basic necessities. 5. We assert the right of every individual to adequate protection from the economic uncertainties of old age, accident, unemployment and other hardship. 6. We denounce all predatory lending and fraudulent banking practices and demand accountability. 7. We recognize that no society should allocate more resources to warfare than to the public good. 8. We demand a more democratic, publicly representative and accountable media. 9. We insist that the internet is a basic human right and as such should remain absolutely free and neutral. 10. We assert our right to public spaces and our right to freely inhabit them because they are essential to democracy and our right to assemble. 11. We denounce a criminal justice and for-profit prison system that relies on mass incarceration, especially when it reinforces the marginalization and disenfranchisement of people.
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I see images of the Wall Street occupiers chanting, "Were the 99" (percent) and their leaders shouting sentences that are then repeated loudly by the people surrounding him(or her).
Listening to NPR today I learned that this is the new "human microphone" technique.
The police have outlawed microphones and bullhorns at these rallies. To get past this the crowd repeats each phrase uttered by the speaker to amplify the sound and to make sure that the message is being heard by everyone.
The Occupy Movement THE OCCUPY MOVEMENT gives new hope GIVES NEW HOPE to the people TO THE PEOPLE who are not being heard.