Standing in the center of Liberty Plaza feels like surfing the pulse of a rising American moment. In this place, halfway between where Washington gave his first Inaugural address to a new and uncertain nation and where the Twin Towers once stood and fell on a single day, there is an overwhelming sense of purpose. A primal national charge runs beneath this ground, coursing from below the thick Manhattan bedrock and jumping to the rhythm of the drumbeats lined up along Broadway. At any minute, facing any direction, you can close your eyes and hear the orgasmic howls of a new Democracy in the throes of wild conception, proud voices of passion and conviction not heard from American masses in over forty years. Being in the middle of the frenzy can get you lost in an endless cascade of emotion–exuberance, frustration, defiance, empathy, confusion, patriotism–but as you absorb the chaos, you begin to understand the drive, to see the beginnings of a sustainable movement and finally must start to wonder. Is this what it was like to be in Philadelphia all those years ago, witnessing another small group of passionate radicals boldly voice ideas that might very quickly grow to revolutionize a tyrannical world?
The Occupation began on September 17, twenty-eleven with thousands marching on Wall Street in what many called a ‘Day of Rage’. Inspired by mass uprisings in cities such as Madrid, Cairo and Madison, protesters came because our own political and economic systems have corrupted themselves beyond repair, marginalizing the people’s voice and stealing back the prosperity created by the hands of Americans’ hard labor. Judging by the reality at ground level, the United States in our hearts has become an unrecognizable mess. A ‘superpower’ where seventy million live without sustainable means, where the largest impoverished group is comprised of children, where more citizens are needlessly incarcerated than anywhere else in the free world and all at a time when there can no longer be any doubt that our public servants willfully abandoned the 99% long ago for far more profitable employers. Despite all the justification in the world, there is actually little rage to be found here at Liberty Plaza and there is an astonishing lack of fear from a movement resiliently aware that it is staring blindly into the unforgiving gaze of world history. Over a week later, any apprehension or anger haunting the frigid night air has long been exorcized by the brazen unity of purpose.
Some people believe that we are here to bring down the crooked politico-economic paradigm that feeds on the willing consent to be swallowed by it, but the truth is well known, that this old idea will soon collapse under its own obscene mass, hyper-inflated with the worst kind of deadly greed. What the Occupy movement is actually working to achieve is a principled state of humane solidarity, an evolved Democracy for a new millennium of enlightened thought, an alternate social haven where no one must live in fear of the imminent corporate black hole suddenly consuming everything they have left.
The Occupation has dug in and it is growing, here in New York City and in major cities across the continent. It began one historic day in September and will continue to flower until the time finally arrives when such dissent is unnecessary. With every new voice heard crying out from lower Manhattan, that time moves closer. In every new dawn breaking over the skyline, true hope shines brighter and with every waking breath our communal voice, the music of humanities’ strongest force, grows even more powerful than the night before. We humans have no control over our Fate, the circumstances surrounding our births and deaths, but we do wield incredible power over our own Destiny—the times and places we choose to make our lives worthwhile and the accomplishments that others will remember after our wakes have passed. Use this vibrant American moment to shape your own destiny, come witness the Occupation from the very center of Liberty Plaza, contribute your considerable voice and experience for yourself what it feels like when the world truly begins to change.
APV thanks Patrick and our other writer/Occupying friends for their inspiring work. You can follow his blog and read his other posts on the Occupy movement, here.