The View From Zuccotti Park: On the Post-Political Thrust of OWS

Harrison Schultz in Liberty Plaza (Zuccotti Park) on Sept. 17, 2011 © Harrison Schultz

I unofficially joined the Occupy Wall Street movement on August 2nd of 2011, not because I wanted to demand anything from the government, but because I wanted to use what I had learned over the past several years as a data analyst at a global advertising agency to somehow attack the system. I had, and still have I suppose, an agenda to somehow turn corporations upon one another, make them divide and conquer themselves so that we (I) can stop working for them and so that they’ll start working for us. Many of my comrades abhorred my ideas and proposals, like the one I had discussed in a private email to Micah White about having corporations actually fund us while we camped out. However, no one told me I was unwelcome, and I actually have met other individuals who found my ideas appealing. I, furthermore, have yet to be told that I am unwelcome at camp in spite of the fact that the same email thread was publicly leaked, and I have since been accused of being a corporate stooge by several conspiracy theorists with blogs. The movement is tolerant of diverse and extreme opinions, which is its strength as well as the reason why there isn’t a coherent message. Or is there?

I’ll confess that I never really imagined that Occupy Wall Street would actually happen. I knew the turn out wouldn’t be anywhere near the 20,000 that Adbusters had called for. There had been 200 at most at the New York City General Assembly meetings leading up to the 17th, and the website didn’t even begin receiving more than a few thousand visitors until the 17th. I didn’t bring my sleeping bag to Wall Street. I ran home and returned to the park with it. Waking up in Liberty Plaza on the morning of Sunday, September 18th, was surreal. I thought the cause was lost on the morning of September 20th while in my office cubicle I typed out an unanswered email for help from the New School community as . . .

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