November 9, 2011 Launching of the March2DC

Fred speaks to me of myth and mystery and magic. I say the idea of collective consciousness is dated. He names that I don’t know, let’s me in on the big secret. It’s all about a departure from anxiety, and an acceptance of what is not one’s own reality. If I think about it, that’s harder than one would assume. Fred’s leaving today, in about an hour, to march 300 miles to Washington D.C.
Hunter says that all is war (quoting Terence McKenna). There’s thousands of topics to be discussed at a General Assembly at Occupy Wall Street, and it’s all the little battles that bring about the thing. It’s not tangible, no. But Hunter doesn’t believe that his needs as an individual human being are any more tangible than a large group of people, or less contradictory. He’ll be staying here at Liberty Plaza. He just got here a few days ago.
Jackie speaks to me of getting the day off of work and avoiding reporters. Our conversation is  interrupted three or four times. “Hi, do you want to be on German television?” One wants to know when the marchers will be having a meeting. Soon, we say. “It’s strange–no one knows. No one is in charge.” Jackie is hiding. Me, too. She’s going to see how far she can get with the march.
Bo won’t stop jumping up and down and smiling and flashing the peace sign long enough for me to talk to him. That’s okay. I like him the way he is.
At noon, a few American flags are unfurled, and the participants pause for a photo-op. Then people just start walking! No drums, no chants, no formations. It’s a little awkward. I lose them in the crowd of commuters, but I overheard that they’ll be taking the ferry. I meet up with a couple of middle-aged women also trying to find the marchers. They know where the ferry is, so I follow. The middle-aged women sport corduroys. They speak to me of presence, and the importance of Zuccotti Park staying full all of the time.
We catch up at a pedestrian over-pass. It’s pretty dramatic to watch the marchers, with all of their camping gear and grunge aesthetic, ascend the steps in a sea of financial workers, who all wear navy blue or black. They look so weird and small and brave. I mean both. The marchers and the office types.
There is a count at the ferry dock. Twenty five participants. The General Assembly had voted to pay for all their fare. Free ride to Hoboken! After tickets are distributed, everyone takes a cigarette break. I swear American Spirits should sponsor OWS, that’s all anybody smokes. A ferry docks. The passengers getting off are not happy to meet this gaggle of hippies and cameramen. The press is often a cumbersome accessory to these events. Someone says, “They’re all a bunch of freaks.” A lot of the reporters get onto the boat with the marchers. Good-byes are shouted.
I stay on the dock a full thirty minutes after departure. It rolls and rocks beneath me. Nearby is the Irish Hunger Memorial. “The well-fed dog does not understand the lean dog.” I walk over the pedestrian bridge. It rattles and hums beneath me.


Words by Kathleen Purcell


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