Occupy I-5, Day 3. Occupy Tacoma

Well, this is actually Friday, December 2nd, day five, but I’m catching up on the last couple days. I’ll post on Occupy Eugene, where I’ve been at this evening after I write up days three and four. I was actually on the road out of Eugene tonight, on my way home, when I decided that if I didn’t put my notes from this trip into posts, it wouldn’t happen. Once I get home, I’ll shift gears and the frame of mind from this trip will be lost. So I got a reasonably cheap motel room, went back to Occupy Eugene camp for a while to hang out with friends. Having drunk way too much coffee in preparation for a long-night’s drive, I’ll hopefully be able to catch up.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011.
I returned to Occupy Tacoma for a brief visit and to snap some photos in the daylight. I managed to get one video of an enthusiastic young Occupier, Ryan, but all the rest, along with many I thought I had taken the previous day, were lost due to a buggy video app that I was using.

Occupy Tacoma, kitchen and comms tents.

Tech glitches aside, it was good to talk to a few more people and see a bit more of the camp. They have a slick communications tent, with power, an internet connection and a wifi router, along with a small, but nice food tent. I never asked if they actually cook meals there. The kitchen tent has a sign that expresses the movement’s intuitive understanding of the need for openness and the value of transparency: “Information is the currency of democracy.”

That quote, the origin of which is disputed (it’s between Thomas Jefferson and Ralph Nader), seems to be a tone-setter for the camp. Both times, people were open and welcoming and willing to share what they think, offer use of the facilities and so on.

A consistent theme of Occupy, and one that I believe in wholeheartedly, is that neither this movement nor any individual has The Answer. We have questions and we all have a piece of what the answer might look like, but until we truly become a force representing the 99%, our purpose is to raise questions and draw people into the discussion. As it is, the active participants in the movement are 0.1% of the 99%. As the movement grows and expands into new areas of society, drawing more and more people in, we’ll be in a better position to start imaging bigger things.

Amusingly, when this photo is open in iPhoto, the face-detect places a box saying "unnamed" over the Anonymous/Guy Fawkes mask on the sign.

The tent has become the signature image of the Occupy Wall Street movement. No actual text, slogans or party programs are necessary to convey the message. Set up in a public place, the tent is our protest sign. It represents our Constitutionally-protected freedom of speech and assembly and our basic human rights to shelter, food, community and a place to sleep in peace.

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