Dispatch from Zuccotti Park

by Eric Walton on October 12th, 2011

I have taken up numerous causes in my lifetime and I have marched and rallied for many of them. I have marched in support of animal rights, climate-change awareness, gay rights and Tibetan autonomy and against the wars in the Persian Gulf and Iraq. I have rallied among tens of thousands of protestors in Washington D.C. and among mere dozens of fellow-traveling activists in New York City. I have stood in solidarity with members of PETA, the ACLU, 350.org, Greenpeace, Students For a Free Tibet, GLAAD, Moveon.org and many, many other local and national advocacy groups whose supporters have taken their causes to the street. In the course of these otherwise peaceful demonstrations, I have been upbraided by pedestrians and motorists, scorned by counter-protestors and was once even assaulted (albeit mildly) by a police officer.

These and other credentials notwithstanding, it would be entirely disingenuous for me to claim to be a career activist. That is a distinction of which I am by no means worthy. I am at best a part-timer in the field, a free-lancer who sometimes (and certainly not often enough) joins like-minded people at rallies or protests either in support of some political or social cause or in condemnation of some injustice or another perpetrated by either my own government, someone else's or by some immense and nefarious corporation or group of corporations. The issues have been many, but the purpose for showing up has always been the same: to affect change and achieve justice through dissent.

I entered the fray once again this week and was, as ever, in good company.

The men and women protesting in lower Manhattan as a part of Occupy Wall Street are performing admirable work and they deserve to be commended for it. How dare Sean Hannity have called them un-American. They are organized and focused and display the kind of resolve, will and personal restraint that are the ingredients of a strong and viable political movement. How encouraging it is to see that that similar protests have begun in Boston, Seattle, San Fransisco, Austin, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. I was especially pleased to learn that the city of Philadelphia offered a permit for the occupation of Dilworth Plaza “in perpetuity”. Apparently the General Assembly is split on the decision regarding the permit, but it should encourage the thousands already gathered in Philadelphia that at least one resource necessary to bring about change is likely to be in ample supply: time.

Below are photos I took at Zuccotti Park at the Occupy Wall Street demonstration on Columbus Day.
Text and images © 2011 Eric Walton

Posted in Environmentalism, #occupywallstreet, Eric Walton, Zucotti Park    Tagged with #occupywallstreet, 99%, Zuccotti Park, Eric Walton


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