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Thursday, July 31 2014 @ 06:40 PM CDT

A Eulogy for #Occupy

Occupy Wall Street

My first day covering Occupy was also my first eviction. I went down to see the protest’s midday march on October 5, 2011 in San Francisco. It was huge — the biggest thing I’d seen since the 2003 antiwar protests I’d participated in. It dwarfed anything from the BART protests I’d covered. But what was most remarkable was the response. We didn’t know yet what Occupy would be; there was no hint in the air of what was to come. But something was different from the start. There were honks of support, smiles on the faces of drivers blocked on Market Street. There was an inconvenienced bus driver, pumping his fist in support.

A Eulogy for #Occupy

By Quinn Norton
Wired.com
12.12.12

“Should I, after tea and cakes and ices, Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?” — The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, T.S. Eliot

Shit’s fucked up and bullshit. It’s a phrase I learned at Occupy. “Shit’s fucked up!” they would chant in the streets, “Shit’s fucked up and buuuuuullshit!” … drawing out the full and round and musical U in bullshit. It seems, whatever you think of their protest, this is a point that is impossible to deny. Shit, in America and beyond, is indeed fucked up and bullshit.

My first day covering Occupy was also my first eviction. I went down to see the protest’s midday march on October 5, 2011 in San Francisco. It was huge — the biggest thing I’d seen since the 2003 antiwar protests I’d participated in. It dwarfed anything from the BART protests I’d covered. But what was most remarkable was the response. We didn’t know yet what Occupy would be; there was no hint in the air of what was to come. But something was different from the start. There were honks of support, smiles on the faces of drivers blocked on Market Street. There was an inconvenienced bus driver, pumping his fist in support.

No more articulation than that — but it was enough to make people I was talking to on the net skeptical. We were so unused to the idea that people could want something like this.

By this point we were trapped in the amber of immutable America.

We were trapped in endless war and financial crisis, in debt and downward spiral that our leaders bickered about, but did nothing to stop. It wore away at people with the implacability of geological erosion. The American empire we never wanted in the first place was crumbling slowly, and nothing we did in our lives seemed to matter. We had learned in the past 10 years that we couldn’t change our fates, not with hard work, taking on debt, education, or even trying to live healthy. Even when we wanted to, we could not stop wars, rein in banks, repair our crumbling infrastructure or take care of each other. We couldn’t control medical costs or the price of an education. Gas was going up, temperatures were going up.

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