Pictures from Dec 17 Day of action…

Bishops join occupy in the attempt to take the churches park as a new public camp site and get arrested while doing so. Occupiers brought ladders to the march to climb the bars cases fence to the park and retired bishop proceed to be the first climbers to their own park. After which other protestors follow and all 35 get arrested.

Later on marchers were divided by the police and some decided to march to Time square for a G.A. Some remained till after while others returned to Zuccotti park awaiting more instructions. I followed a group that went down to One New York Plaza where I attended another meeting discussing another possible occupation of an undisclosed location. The meeting resulted in deciding against going on with the plans until further planning.

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Words by Zack Helwa

Photographed by Zack Helwa and Nadirah Cresente

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Dec 6th Occupy Wall street goes home

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Hundreds march carrying house-warming gifts as a part of a day of action, helping a homeless family move into a foreclosed home. I started at my Franklin ave stop in Brooklyn NY, greeted and surprised by a group of OWS members gathering and telling stories as they go from stop to stop into east new york. Two police officers followed us as we got to the Pennsylvania Ave stop on the 3 train. The weather was bad but the spirit was strong. City council member Charles Barron was there. Barron has been a strong supporter of the Occupy movement joining them on many of their marches; as well as getting arrested underneath the Brooklyn Bridge on the Nov 17th day of action.

The crowd made many stops, at a number of foreclosed homes along the way, using the people’s microphone to tell each other stories from their neighborhood in East New York. Soon we reached our destination, a new home being occupied for 26 year-old Alfredo Carrasquillo and his family: 30-year-old Tasha Glasgow, Tasha’s nine-year-old autistic daughter and Alfredo’s Five year old son. The occupy group, along with O4O (Organizing for Occupation), had chosen this family and the foreclosed home and kept it a secret in order to succeed in the occupation. OWS had sent in many of their members from working groups, such as the sanitation working group, to completely clean the house, renovate the walls and floors and prepare a comfy home for the new family.

After a brief heart-felt exchange of words by the family members, the crowd started handing over house-warming gifts including furniture, plants and dishes. OWS brought in a kitchen tent and fed the block party and neighborhood. Teach-ins about foreclosure and homelessness were conducted and attended. Neighbors were very hospitable and helpful in storing the new home owners’ goods till the cleaning crew got done renovating. The music flowed, people were celebrating and very little police interactions stopped anyone’s fun.

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Words by Zack Helwa

Photographed by Zack Helwa

By Nolan Hermann

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Interviews and Photographs by Zack Helwa
Drawing by Nolan Hermann

Occupy Broadway

December 2, 2011

Arriving and not knowing what’s happening, as usual. In Times Square- glaring lights: This is where I was told to come for 24 hours of street theater. In front of the big red steps, there’s a wonderful raucous band (apparently Lower East Side legends) singing protest and absurdity. Ask around ask around and finally find the “secret” performance spot a few blocks away. Privately owned public property. There’s cops smiling bemused. Clowns. Love. Singing! Someone brought cookies and we the audience pass them around. There aren’t enough, so I share mine with a stranger. The Civilians teach us sing-alongs. Penny Arcade gets the hang of the human microphone to talk about aging and activism in her comic monologue. Dzieci’s village idiots create gorgeous harmonies in Latin. They’re using a bicycle to generate power for the lights on the faces of performers, and the twinkly xmas lights decorating small trees- it’s like being in a fairy dream world. Just wow.

Words by Kathleen Purcell

Paintings by Kathleen Purcell

Occupy Wall Street back in the streets!

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Or at least, the people are marching down the sidewalks of Broadway toward Zuccotti Park. Two marches conjoin on the way, filling both sidewalks, and how wonderful it is to meet them – as if no one knew they were coming. Everyone stops whatever they’re doing in stores to stand in the windows or come outside and see. As we walk past stores the marchers say “out of the stores! Into the street!” And as we pass banks, “banks got bailed out/ we got sold out!”

People several stories above the street come to their windows and all exchange looks and I can’t help but grin… or as a Buddhist monk might say, it grins me. Here we are, marching on one of the biggest malls in the world. Broadway. Soho. Police march along side in the street, with a sense of pleasant excitement as they walk. A policewoman standing to the side smiles – it is the familiarity. Two policemen have their arms around each other, communing. Whenever I see a passerby who looks confused, who isn’t sure if this is a threat or something of which they are part, I meet their eyes and share this expression of unguarded joy and they smile back, or their baby smiles and gets lighter in their arms and they are pleased.

Those police that stand waiting avoid my eyes studiously or look at my body, not my face. But when the marchers enter the park, and the drummers, who were standing outside, are forced to move along, a policeman that follows them as if he too is marching wears a smile. The drummers drum well.

The NYPD is prepared – the park is surrounded by a barricade with two openings, and the barricades are linked together with the same plastic hog-ties used to arrest demonstrators like a family holding hands around the Thanksgiving table for a blessing. There is almost 1 police person for every demonstrator, and when we leave, the police are holding a meeting across the street. We join them to get a little talk and laugh, but we don’t know what the plan is for the rest of the night – that is, what they have planned for the people in the park. 7 or 8 orange crowd control nets lean rolled, waiting, as the General Assembly begins.

Earlier I watched the sunset in its reflection off of the condominium built beside Cooper Union. I thought of taking a picture of it to send to a train hopper I know to say, here I am, gazing on a fancy office building from within another silver space ship – nothing is black and white. The sun went down and dimly I heard, from 9 floors up, “WHO’S STREETS? OUR STREETS!” What feels like a long time ago, after the Day of Action, I kept hearing the echo of that chant, and would sometimes go to the window to see if there was a march, but it was only my eardrums. This time, I went from window to window, and then I saw it coming, a body of bodies, along the side of the Foundation Building on the Bowery. Inside the building students and alumni have set up a show about tuition.

Even though I disagree with the chants like “who’s country? Our country!” because I don’t accept the premise that the country, the land beneath the pavement, is an owned-thing, it is the rhythm of voices and the energy of the return to that awareness, that deep knowledge of presentness that has always been, even in our most silenced, most invisible times, now embodied – that gets to me.

I heard the union march earlier was gigantic, and the ongoing demonstration outside the Egyptian consulate about the current undemocratic elections in Egypt fascinating, but our other correspondents will offer more about those events of the day.

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Words by Annabel Roberts-McMichael
Photographed by Zack Helwa

New School Occupation: Retrospective Observation

Many bottles and cans in many bags; bottles and cans once filled with– I had thought it a good idea at first, to loosen everyone up; but looking at the material result of our revelry–

Some of the graffiti is artful (Lists of things. Paintings of things– A totally incorrect representation of the Globe– Rainbow Vomit.) but it wasn’t supposed to be on the walls.

A boy takes a picture with his phone at the general assembly. Another boy stalks towards the first boy and we all begin to scream. I get lots of twinkles but no practical support. I also facilitate for the first time. We’re all smelling blood and I have so much that I want to say. There’s a lot of free gourmet bread still on a table in the corner. Mr. President comes to visit. Immediately left of him is a rodent. I am immediately left of a rodent. Fifty plus students listen in silence to a soft ultimatum and fifty plus students speak through one kid to say, “thank you for the offer, we’ll consider it.”

No one can make up whose side they’re on, because neither side is worth it. I am two-faced and visit everyone. I take part in a destruction dance and also help to develop ideas for a more welcoming space. I sleep on the floor and then apologize to my fellows. I am ashamed but do not regret. A kid in black wants me to add to the list of terror, to write my demand. I demand commitment. Neither of us know how to react.

Later, riotous decay.

Photographs from washington Nov 23

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I am notNOT sure what to write about this trip to D.C. Awkward and rainy marches. Chants die ugly and slow. What I really want to talk about is Uncle Osama’s turkey dinner at one a.m.; his unconditional hospitality, M&M’s on the bedside dresser, a deep sleep, Turkish coffee at six a.m.

I want to talk about the absence I felt when Annabel left for home; Zack’s surprising skills on the dance floor; running out to the quickmart with Kelly (yelling absurd things at the clerk); meeting a man whose loneliness gives me nightmares; meeting a woman who lobbied until she couldn’t anymore; meeting a quiet woman in the church sanctuary who smiled at everything I said; I–

There was this weird geographical split, chronological too. There was arguing and co-opting, live music, speeches drowned out, chocolate cake, free apples, wind and oh and more rain. But I– I guess what I want to say is all this gloom– I remember what these gatherings can be instead– is only inside me– there’s also cheering and love: some really talented live music, donated to us for absolutely nothing. We were fed lavishly. The marchers are celebrities and I ride on that wave for chocolate cake. What I should say is that we all developed connection in a matter of hours. I know that this is inside me. I know inside me that these connections come when one is doing something from the heart. Just walking, just smiling.

Someone yelled at us from outside the tent. Perhaps I can say again that chants die ugly and slow. Returning days later to an empty gallery that was supposed to be an occupation; talking trash about it on the phone, talking sad about it in the rain, talking hope about it in a diner. Talking shit.

 

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Words by Kathleen Purcell
Photographed by Zack Helwa