#occupyblogtimore: Day 3 / Day 20

#occupyblogtimore: Day 3 / Day 20

Sergio Espana

The Baltimore City Police are having a good laugh right now.  The officers in the yellow vests, who loiter around the occupation site have reported back, or will reportback soon, that we’ve played right into their hands.  We’re not planning any civil disobedience, we’re not going to block tomorrow’s traffic with a march, and we’re not even going to disturb the night with a noisy dance party.  We are, for the second night in a row, going to sit around for hours and repeat the same arguments about whether or not to apply for a permit.  And we’re going to table it for tomorrow.

We’re not going to discuss the major concern, finally voiced earlier at the GA, that members of #occupybaltimore are projecting a message of racism.  (Someone held a sign today that read “Enslavement 2.0.”)  We are going to keep mentioning: engaging communities of color, as though they’re going to show up and feel instantly welcome.  

We might march on the ‘hood.  Will that be offensive?  Maybe. Maybe not if the guy who proposed it grew up there.

There were no marches today, just meetings and workshops.  As I personned my spot at the media table, I grew more and more uneasy about the occupation’s future.  The word on outreach, each member of the committee reports, is not good.  We can get a Port-A-Potty, we can have hot meals every night, we can have a overflowing library, and a massage station.  But we can’t make a plan beyond “tell people you know.”

As some fine person wrote on the agenda board today, “We need to evolve from being a socialist picnic to actually moving forward.”  Hey, wasn’t that the same thing I wrote yesterday?  But hey, we’ve definitely made some progress – from loving unity to bitter, tired anger.  

The assembly did recognize the need for action.  We’re still planning to make plans, but the strategies for doing so are slowly coming together, one canvass idea-board at a time.  This weekend, everyone predicts, people will flock to us and it will be time to mobilize.  That is, if we can sort out the tension between Team Local Issues and Team Free Speech Forum.  And if we can keep people from storming off in anger.  

I had reached my breaking point earlier than most people.  I was hovering by the speakers around five this afternoon, laptop in hand, trying to find the NPR stream so we could hear what All Things Considered was saying about us.  A grungy dude, with the locks of Rapunzel, and the intonation of Willie Nelson, interrupted me to announce that I was disrupting the “tribal vibrations” with my reprehensive need to broadcast “intellectual thought". By the time people were yelling over the facilitators, I had checked out.  

But for some reason, I’m still here.  For an even more indiscernible reason, I don’t want to leave.  It’s not just because I’m having fun, making friends, and getting my bad hair day on TV.  Part of me still believes that #occupywhatever can be the movement I’ve been waiting for, and not just the movement that I’ve got.  

There has to be a low point.  Maybe we’re not even there yet.  But if we can make it through this, we might be able to prove the implausible: that people who don’t agree on everything can still take action and get shit done.

So, the occupation continues.  Back to the music, back to the meetings, back to the fountainside hammock for that one lucky sleeper who gets it tonight.  Tomorrow, the discussion will continue, and maybe we will get something passed on the permit.  Maybe not.  

But on the plus side, my unpaid internship is right around the corner.  And, let’s face it, taking the Light Rail from Lutherville every morning just sucks.