Saturday, April 7, 2012

From the Sideline... #OccupyMBTA requests we sign in to protest.

Not going to write about 603 CMR, instead I'm going to be Emo about #OccupyMBTA

I'd geared up, leaving the house early tonight at 9:30PM instead of 11:00PM like I normally would for my overnight shift working marketing. I walked up Comm. Ave through Kenmore on a usual route to Commonwealth Mall.  It was nearing the midnight hour when I hit the  now Occupy MBTA Beacon Hill encampment/ protest, Camp Charlie.

As usual, when I got to the camp, I was out of breath, the walk up Beacon St. from Charles kills me every time.  I was stoked to see an opening on the steps, foot and back sore I took a seat.  Maybe get a chance to talk to some cats that wouldn't sweat my crazy idea to walk to Washington.  Posting up on the steps, chatting with a fellow by the name of John and coming to a brief understanding on context with a nod to past experiences at Dewey.

Right as I'd managed to awkward the poor gentleman out of the conversation someone called for a "Safety Meeting".  I grabbed my bag and headed over, "safety's important" I thought to myself.  I got to the circle, and after some good-natured ribbing between folks in the circle and some attempts that fell flat on mine, they got to jawing on "safety".  I don't remember exactly what the woman said, but it was along the lines of,

           "This camp is a political action, and by being here you are participating in that political action... we have an action agreement that we would like you to sign... if you are arrested, or borrow our stuff in the course of that action we need your contact information for etc..."

I raised my pointy finger, in observance of  the "consensus process" that occupy camps have adopted, Occupy Boston is particularly methodical in this respect.  There are hand signals so that points can be clarified and the semantics sorted out verbally by those present, then ratified if necessary and in the correct part of the process. The signals allow for notes to be taken on who is next to speak while the current speaker is making a point, rather than have someone interrupt them, allowing the speaker to finish their thought or statement.

           "I just want to be sure, in order for me to stay here and show support... I need to sign a piece of paper..."

The woman facilitating(?)* the meeting indicated yes.  I'm not sure what happened after that as I walked away.  Being asked to sign a piece of paper to stand, sit or sleep in front of the state house is ridiculous.  I understand (I guess) why the idea came up, at a strategy meeting somewhere, but really folks that's shit that just doesn't need to come down the pipe.

And I can tell you without hesitation that I wasn't standing in a strategy session, the woman mic checked and called for a "Safety Meeting if you're new come to the safety meeting"  That leads anyone with a very basic understanding of the Occupy Process to understand that the Public is welcome to listen and participate in said meeting.

I don't know the language of the sign off sheet***, I'm assuming it asks for contact information, because she told the group it did.  I'm not a reporter of any kind, and never claimed to be, if I were a more aware and concerned citizen, I would have stayed through the meeting and just made off with a copy of the agreement.  I have a couple of buddies that are going to give me no end of shit for walking without it in hand.  There have been too many rumors of dodgy practices and lack of "true democratic process" at Occupy Boston and OccupyMBTA's Camp Charlie to be ignored.

I just didn't have it in me to stand there and listen.  Getting involved with "camp politics" at this juncture is counter productive, there's too much at stake and I've got way too many balls in the air to try and untangle that particular Gordian Knot.  Times bogged down by immediate action only to ignore the future have been heartbreaking, and I'd be an idiot not to learn from my mistakes.

The irony is that I sidelined taking a stab writing an analysis on 603 CMR the educators evaluation bill, in order to write a blurb about this.  There's still time to do something about the shit stains in that one, but hey C'est la vie.  ***As far as something being posted on the website about this as of 6:45AM, I couldn't find anything.  Granted I was hoping for something eye catching on the front page like:

Occupy MBTA Announces in several media formats; to all major outlets, in very large fucking print & in broad fucking daylight: Action agreement requires signature if you are to overnight on statehouse steps: included PDF of action agreement.***

I'm not going to take a stab at why the asked for my information outside of what I've paraphrased on my blog.  That's for some other ignorant chuckle-head.  So, maybe for this action, I'll be cheering from the sidelines, or helping in other ways that don't involve me being on the steps of the State House.

Working overnights in Downtown Boston for years off and on, I didn't and still don't understand the stink about just hanging out somewhere for a little while.  Having been a couch surfing ne'er do well, even homeless on occasion, that wouldn't have been the first time I'd slept on the state house steps.  Still, it's sad, I feel like a line has been drawn in the sand, there's so much fear, and so very little trust.

The Management

*I'm not sure if she was the designated facilitator, it was sort of just implied.
***Since Occupy MBTA didn't see fit to include the action agreementt in their press announcement, It's linked above click "include PDF of action agreement" in the index page.

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