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OWS to Take to the Streets of Manhattan October 15th

"Make no mistake about it, we are not aimless; we simply speak a different language – a language of mutual respect, participation, self-management, and action."
 
 
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Liberty Plaza is teeming with people gathering for assemblies, talking politics, or meeting in work teams. 300 occupiers are listening intently to a lecture on participatory economics, while others are posing for pictures with the enormous golden calf made and donated by local interfaith leaders. There are people passing by on their way to work, travelers getting off tour buses to take pictures, students from local high schools being toured around. There are people from the Bronx and Bed-Stuy, Minneapolis and Madrid. There are drag queens networking with transit workers, Rabbis leading a thousand people through a Yom Kippur ceremony, and members of the People of Color Caucus planning to “Occupy the Hood.” People are doing yoga, teaching composting techniques, cleaning the square, and livestreaming the occupation to its million viewers worldwide. Some even manage to steal a few hours of sleep amidst all the commotion.

Last night, while on the phone with a journalist (who wouldn’t have returned our phone calls two weeks ago but is now begging us to say something, anything), I stumbled upon an impromptu demonstration at the famed Charging Bull. This was only blocks away from a pop-up Occupy Wall Street art exhibition, which happened to be across the street from a towering financial building newly donned with a banner reading – “Banks got bailed out, we got sold out.” Downtown Manhattan is an occupied zone, a bustling revolutionary city-center. People are taking the struggle on the road, expanding it, pushing it forward. We are making the movement part of our lives, and our lives part of the movement.

Over 100 cities in the US have active occupations right now, with more than 1,300 cities hosting formal meetings to plan for them. At the rate of change in this movement today, by the time this piece gets edited and published in a day, the numbers will be higher. Hundreds of cities around the country and the world will be carrying out actions in unison on October 15th. Unions and community organizations have joined the fight, and national organizations are trying to decide how to best join the movement without thwarting or co-opting it (which frankly, they couldn’t do, even if they tried). The pundits are conjecturing their heads off, while politicians of all stripes scuttle about, trying to figure out just how to try to use us. And yes, they are talking about us in Congress and in the White house, even sending their messengers to the occupation itself.

They would be fools not to. We are winning.

We Are Winning

Every once in a while, in the course of some enormous struggle, those driven, tired, frazzled fighters have a moment or two to stop and think, to pick our heads up and look ahead. I had a moment like that a few days ago, and that’s when it hit me – like a blow to the head: We are winning. We are winning.

Sure, we haven’t captured government institutions, haven’t even won concrete reforms or come up with solid institutions to protect our gains. We aren’t even close to finishing the fight or creating the world we wish to live in. But – alongside revolutionaries around the world – we have helped to unlock the hidden and slumbering potential of millions of people, ready to believe again that there is an alternative. We have reignited hope in the possibility of a free society, punctured a small hole in the hegemony of cynicism, liberated some space in our hearts and our minds to gather the strength to fight and to dream. What was inconceivable just a month ago is now so very real.

 
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