Today, and for the first time since New York police evicted Occupy Wall Street from Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan on November 15, 2011, the Occupy Wall Street Screenprinters returned to Zuccotti, also known as Liberty Park, to print designs and show solidarity with the protesters of #OccupyGeziNYC.
In the last few days, the world is watching Turkey erupt in protest after Turkish authorities responded with shocking violence to peaceful protesters trying to save a small park in central Istanbul. A solidarity protest took place on the opening day of the Venice Biennale, and another arose at New York’s Zuccotti Park.
Occupy Wall Street’s Arts and Culture group has so far been able to align itself with prominent artists and organizations around New York, and now Yoko Ono, a major inspiration for OWS you could say, will join the ranks.
When I finally started reading about the Occupy Wall Street encampment in the mainstream media I was stunned by how late, and how dismissive it was. After several visits, I found myself wondering how to participate; as a painter, I am always at once feeling a part of and outside of things, and this was no different. And yet my sympathies were strong and my anger at the media coverage was growing.
The police raid on unsuspecting Occupy Wall Street protesters at Zuccotti Park early Tuesday morning was a disturbing sight. Cops in riot gear smashed tents, arrested groggy protesters from the park, confiscated possessions and books from the People’s library (although we have confirmed that the materials are safe) and even brought in bulldozers to rid Zuccotti of the movement’s micro-city. Although protesters have returned to re-occupy their space, they will no longer be allowed to bring tents or sleeping bags into the park according to a New York Supreme Court ruling on Tuesday. With the symbolic and physical base of the movement under threat, everyone is asking what is next for Occupy Wall Street.
Since this morning’s raid of Zuccotti Park, where the Occupy Wall Street movement began, there have been questions about the state of the movement’s symbolic 5,000+ book library.
If you’ve been following Occupy Wall Street, then you’ve heard the question a million times, and may even be asking it yourself: what are the movement’s demands? What do they hope to accomplish?
Last night, I sat in on an Arts and Culture meeting at Occupy Wall Street to check in on what the group has been up to. After keeping track of and participating in their Google group for the past couple of weeks (I currently have over 400 Arts and Culture threads crowding my inbox) it was good to finally put faces to certain names. The meetings take place every night at 6:00 PM at 60 Wall Street in the building’s pristine atrium complete with palm trees and tweeting birds. The building, which serves as the American headquarters of Deutsche Bank, is taken over by several of Occupy Wall Street’s working groups by night where they meet to hash out ideas and discuss administrative tactics.