January 5, 2012
OWS Generates A Ray of Hope
Guest Post by Philip Lightstone, Reminiscences from the First Days I was at Occupy Wall Street the first week it opened in September, 2011. I just happened to be in New York at the time and it caught my eye in the alternative press. I went down days after its official start and was not much impressed: some drum beaters and a loosey, goosey feel to everything. Even the cops looked bored. A week or so later I talked my friend into coming with me to again have a look-see and this time it was very different: the kitchen had been set up; there was a clean-up crew; a library had been started and posters were set out as messages from the activists. True hope was in the air. What I remember most was that there seemed to be enough food for everyone. There were no lines at the kitchen and when people were hungry they went over for whatever was being dished out. What truly amazed me was when I found out that much of the food those first few weeks was being delivered as take-out orders from around the country. People would simply pick up their phone and call to the nearest pizza joint to the occupy site and ask that 5 or 6 or 10 pizzas be delivered and charged to their credit card. But here’s the thing: the calls were from Kansas and Oklahoma and places like that. We forget too easily that though those places are solidly in the republican camp that doesn’t change the fact that there are thousands and thousands of people there that have been without hope for so long that when it materialized they were ready to pony up. Perhaps they weren’t ready to drop their lives and join an OWS site near to them but they weren’t willing to let it go by without doing something to support it. I realized that like me they had been waiting for too long with less hope each day that anything would happen that they could take heart in. And if you think it’s hard to be in the Northeast corridor of this country and feel betrayed by insanity in politics, try living in the heartland. Who do you turn to for hope? Well, these people saw the beginnings of a movement that brought something to them that opened their minds are pockets. And soon, when warmer weather sweeps the nation, perhaps they will be ready to physically join the movement. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were getting ready as I write this.