It seems like art would be a natural part of the Occupy movement. Certainly the signs can be creative, as is the resilience of the movement in the face of substantial adversity-from moments with the police, press indifference or outright blackout to the weather and a broad spectrum of society represented that is inherent in any true social assertion of civil rights. Recall it was Martin Luther King jr. who said, and I paraphrase, if there is injustice anywhere there is injustice everywhere. So meeting and prevailing through all this requires no small amount of creativity. That was evident fully at last night’s General Assembly on Michigan Avenue with better than about 200 activists.
The first was the steady progress towards putting on a play within the protest. The play “Occupy My Heart: A revolutionary Christmas carol,” an Occupy take on the classic Dickens tale met with great excitement. dozens stepped forward as the effort moves towards a full outdoor reading of the play Thanksgiving weekend, with hopes to put on a full production Christmas week.
For those unfamiliar, the General Assemblies are critical to getting the message out to all the activists and supporters, but also in maintaining the spirit and morale of those involved. Interesting that the movement is becoming ever more tightly knit and focused with all the other Occupy efforts around the nation and the world. The meetings are structured with well-defined rules of order, allowing and encouraging the views of all involved, from the leadership down to the first time arrivals to the movement.
This creates one problem for the movement, but one of victimization more than a flaw in the movement itself. Critics can easily exploit that for charged audio and selective video. You see, everyone has a right to express their view at the GAs, provided they adhere to the rules of order. No one is shouted down, which can seem, in skewed video and audio to appear as acceptence. In fact, the rules dictate members show agreement or displeasure silently. Open hands up is agreement, down is disagreement.
There are rappers, musicians and other entertainers adding their dimension and spirit to the movement. Most have now heard of The Hawaiian folk singer Makana who sang an Occupy song, “Occupy with Aloha” at a summit supper before President Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao. http://www.metatube.com/es/videos/cid4/Musica/86644/Singer-crashes-Obama-summit-with-Occupy-song/
Last night Occupy comedian Lee Camp performed in Chiacgo, part of a tour to entertain and fire up all of the national efforts. “We learned,” said Camp, “that we’re fighting both sides in Afghanistan. We are paying the Taliban millions to let out supply trucks through in Pakistan so we can keep fighting…the Taliban. We are losing a game of solitaire!”
He stoked the crowd, a mix of young, old, professional, students and the unemployed with “the revolution will not be televised. It will be digitized!” The line, no doubt a reference to the virtual blackout, but for negative press, by the media, and the digital and alternative media that has overcome that blackout.
Referring to the pepperspray incident against the UC Berkley activists this week, camp drew laughs and cheers with, “Pepper spray to Occupy people is like pouring watter on gremlins. Spray us and we multiply!” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_t2weBucMY