January 26, 2012
Spike, Her Ten Foot Puppet, & Political Street Theater in Gainesville
Having met folks from Occupy Gainesville at the People's Convention of Florida, I had the sense that it was a relatively cohesive group. Their processes were well-defined and they were using 100% consensus to make decisions. My sense is that most Occupations have settled on 85% or 90% super-majority voting rather than consensus. This provides a way out, if troublemakers intentionlly try to bring gridlock to a General Assembly. And decisions can be reached more quickly. But Occupy Gainesville has put a priority on satisfying all participants and trusting that everybody comes to the table in good faith. And they donned stylish, matching, Occupy t-shirts. I looked forward to seeing their process in action. However, when I arrived in Gainesville the night prior to the planned events for Occupy The Courts Day, I found that many folks were otherwise busy. They were preparing and practicing for the next day's original street theatre. They had built a ten foot tall "Corporate Person" puppet and were planning to use it to reenact the history of how corporations became people. By the time I tracked them down behind the soccer field behind the tennis courts at a neighborhood park, it was well past dark. Amidst a general feeling of anticipation and jubiliation, they were getting ready to retire the Corporate Person for the evening. Spike, the puppet designer, agreed to talk about her part in the preparations.The media team from Occupy Gainesville captured the final performance on January 20th, where the novice thespians charmed the large gathering at Bo Diddley Plaza.