After the crackdown at occupyoakland on On Wednesday it was assumed that occupysf was going to be raided by the police. At about 3am a group of people spontaneously used the human mic to give short accounts of why they were there.
Flash bangs. Trying to help each other. The police are lying.
I want this world to be fabulous! I'm here because I'm fucking queer. Are you with me?
A lot of friends who went into finance. They do not understand what is going on.
I had a good education. They do not understand how it could have been free. You are beautiful.
I'm told to be grateful to work a job that has no future in sight. Faith that things can change.
For too long our voices have been stifled, scattered and alone. We were told to call our congressman but they haven't called us back. Instead they return our pleas with form letters filled with spineless platitudes and empty promises. Here in the plaza we are doing a lot of talking: creating the dialogue for where to go next and where we are currently going wrong. The cynical outside and among us deride these efforts as mere feedback loops without wider consequence. They are wrong. We are planning.
In the last 8 days I have been at occupations in Oakland, Berkeley, San Francisco and Los Angeles. On day 1 in Oakland I hatched the idea of creating a collective diary of the struggle, in order to allow further dialogue and representation of the multitude of voices in circulation. But I was too scared and nervous. Yet after a week of General Assemblies, group meetings, and simply meeting so many people I have said "goodbye to all that." Today I began recording conversations with friends, recent acquaintances, strangers and the formerly strange.
For too long our media has privileged the experts and ideologues who bloviate their trivial differences, their false dichotomies while everything else burns. While my conversations should not be seen as journalism they seek to create another outlet for the voices that have been waiting to speak to a wider audience but have not had the chance to do so and hopefully those not ready to address the assembly directly. It's high time that we honor the messy process that is required to resolve in shared understanding. By presenting the conversations in full (with some compromises in sound quality in deference to expediency) we honor that shared goal.
Also, I say "like" and "right" and "um" and "yeah" too much. I also finish people's sentences whoops. Come find me at the occupation <3
on security. internal tension. mediation. we are pioneers.
protesting is fun. the commons. collective joy.
questions about proposals. manic energy. reaching out.
ogp gazette. this is just the beginning. uncomfortable things.
Graham Foust's latest book is A Mouth in California (Flood Editions, 2009). He teaches literature and writing at Saint Mary's College of California, and, with Samuel Frederick, is translating the late work of Ernst Meister, the first volume of which will be published in 2012.
Brandon Downing is a writer and visual artist originally from California. His books of poetry include The Shirt Weapon (Germ Monographs, 2002) and Dark Brandon (Faux Press, 2005); a monograph of his literary collages from 1996-2008, Lake Antiquity, was released by Fence Books in late 2009. A long poem, AT ME, is just out from Octopus Books, while his next collection, Mellow Actions, will be published by Fence in 2012. In 2007 he released a feature-length collection of collaged digital shorts, Dark Brandon: Eternal Classics, with a 2nd volume forthcoming next year. You can see some at www.youtube.com/user/bdown 68, along with his photographic and other work at www.brandondowning.org