On November 15, New York City police cleared protestors from Zuccotti Park barely months after the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement began. Similar cleansing operations occurred in other cities across America. This recent seemingly coordinated move by authorities will only scale the movement, not suppress it.
The media likes to characterize the Occupy Wall Street as disorganized. Don't be fooled. They are highly organized. There are clear distributions of responsibilities among protestors.
The troops who occupied physical space in Zuccotti Park were street sleepers. Who otherwise would be scattered across urban areas, but have been concentrated on the lower side of Zuccotti Park, where drums beat and protestors danced. Volunteers provided free food, medical care, an ecumenical religious-meditation area, a library, and other services otherwise not available to street sleepers. Effectively, a village-scale community services program had been established. The protestors did what city officials should have done a long time ago.
From the middle of Zuccotti Park, concentrated on the Broadway side, activists from a vast spectrum of viewpoints and organizations were visible speaking, presenting ideas, and distributing materials, brought together by common-shared dissatisfaction with the management of our national economy.
The core organizers are called facilitators. Their role is managing a consensus process intentionally all-inclusive, democratic, and transparent. Most are under 25. Anyone can be a facilitator. The position involves management of meetings in the spirit of consensus, embracing all viewpoints, while backing none. They are entirely focused on the process procedures as a process, and not on formulating demands. This is deliberate as their intention is to maintain the movement's all-inclusive momentum without alienating anyone, which could happen if specific demands were released. Ironically, many politicians are elected without articulating clear policy positions, not wanting to alienate constituencies.
General Assembly at Zuccotti Park photo by rob kall
The consensus process is on stage every night from 7-9pm at Zuccotti Park. The General Assembly is the highest governing body of OWS. Anyone can become member, by being there. Under the GA, working committees address a range of issues from practical logistics (like keeping the park clean), to forming economic policies for OWS. Protestors mirror the consensus process, across America. Some feel it can represent a new structure of democracy, eventually displacing some government institutions, no longer effectively representing interests of the American people.
This vision may be unrealistic, but that is beside the point. OWS, through consensus, has created a nation-wide political theatre, pantomiming the current process where two parties, endowed with corporate funds, are vitriolic without substance, negative in tone, and focused on attacking character or personality of political opponents. People feel left out of their own democracy and economy. OWS frequently cites only 1% of America controls 25% of GDP. This gives rise to the OWS mantra "we are the 99%".