IT IS HAPPENING.
Did the all-caps make that sound really intense? That’s what I was going for. The planning meeting tonight was off the hook. (Does that expression make me seem old? Hmm.) There had to be at least 1,000 people packed into the Arch St. United Methodist Church on South Broad Street in Philadelphia. It was run by a crew of facilitators, all of whom were pretty adorable. The vibe was very good-natured. Everyone was calm. The crowd was extremely diverse in terms of age, and relatively diverse in terms of race given the context — though certainly not proportionate to the city’s population. There was an American Sign Language interpreter. No habia ninguna palabra de español. Latinos — estuvieron alli esta noche o no? Dejame saber!
I hate to say it, but between my college days, my ACT-UP (not Philly) experiences and my Queer Nation (not Philly) traumatization, I’ve been activist-avoidant (I think it’s in the new DSM). Lotsa reasons for that, none of them important now. What’s important is this: the people who seem to be organizing Occupy Philly understand some very key things:
1. Shit needs to get done.
2. Some people know how to get shit done better and faster than other people.
3. Most people need to shut up in order to get shit done.
4. When shit needs to get done, grand theories about politics and injustice are not appropriate for public airing, and that applies equally to Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky and that guy with the really crazy forehead body mod.
5. Time limits rock.
6. If you’re not on message, you’re just not.
7. Clapping takes too long. This ain’t no State of the Union, son.
8. It might seem rude to talk over someone who shouts out their opinions in the middle of everything, but, like, it’s the opposite.
9. It’s possible to be respectful, loving and to listen — and still get shit done.
10. Occupy Philly would never happen without leadership. So, yeah, carp about a hierarchy if you want, but THEY GOT SHIT DONE. Hence, Occupy Philly has a place, date and time and committees.
Thursday, Oct. 6th, 9 a.m.
City Hall / Dilworth Plaza
Philadelphia, Pa. 19103
More news on this coming at you tomorrow. Now that shit got done, the big question is: WHY? All this energy and goodwill directed toward something. But what? More tomorrow at noon.