This protest has strong camaraderie, great organization, tons of awareness building projects, and even free meals around the clock. And there's not even a central leader; this is a decentralized project of group cooperation and consensus.
Walking around the central square where everyone is located is motivating and exciting. Everyone is surprisingly kind, generous, and socially comfortable spontaneously chatting. For the New York environment where it is, it's like walking into one's family. Very familiar, yet all the faces are new. Different groups are forming circles all over the park where they have events ranging from kirtan to excited lectures explaining what the federal reserve is to meditation groups to banner holders having discussions with passer-bys. The place is buzzing with activity, and despite the media messages of violence, it feels incredibly safe. Even the police seem kind of bored. The heaviest police responsibility I witnessed was them moving passer-bys along the sidewalk when they began to gather to take pictures of all the signs and art.
I arrived with my good friend Edwin and his partner, Jenny, and we at first sheepishly walked through the first layer of people holding signs to get into the park. Everyone pleasantly let us pass, Jenny acted as tour guide of the different areas. There were areas for sleeping, eating, child daycare, laptop recharging stations, art creation, discussion areas, reiki healing, classes from professors, and more. As we looked around, we began to realize the way that circles were formed. Someone would simply call out, "Mic Check!" and everyone nearby would call out the same in response. This call and shouted response would continue for the entire announcement someone would make, and by the end, the word spread large enough amidst the loud area that 10 to 30 people would go down to the particular event.
The first stop we made was with an artist who had made palm size boxes wrapped in paper with images on it. Commenting on the illusory nature of money creation in our debt-based monetary system, each box was valued above $50,000, and she was giving them out free. If money is created from ten percent reserve on a the deposit of loaned money, if stocks are valued by so many forces it becomes esoteric, why not apply the same creative approach to one's art?
We visited several other stations before leaving, and certainly received a lesson about Monetary reform (http://www.monetary.org) and it's potential to heavily fund public services and infrastructure, but the general feel impressed me most. People were cooperating, getting along, eager to support those around, generally motivated to be surrounded by others with similar interests, happy, and impassioned. There was a strong message of the need to have an economy that prioritizes including everyone and seeing to their personal development, that dissolves elements of top down control and replaces them with bottom up community organizing and community owning, and of the need to have metal backed money that is spent into existence at a rate that matches the potential for the economy to grow. This was engaging and intellectually stimulating, but the cherry on top was the communal feel that represented how our society could feel when we collectively decide to focus on us rather than I. I should also mention that there were many rants of dislike towards communism and socialism, and that what they were focused on would be more in line with Proutist economics (http://www.prout.org/) that avoids extremes of greed and self sacrifice. If this supportive environment is the feel of the world that would result from these kinds of non-violent protests, I hope this one and future ones continue as long as they need to. May the golden age dawn.