The Arty Semite

George Orwell Would Be Crying Tears of Joy

By Joshua Furst

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Cross-posted with Occupy Writers

I’m addicted to Zuccotti Park. The rumble of the drumsticks as they pound the paint cans, the food lines wrapping around the center island, the humming of the generators that keep the computers charged so the word can be sent out 24/7, even the goofballs encamped in the south-west corner rolling cigarette after cigarette after cigarette from tubs of donated tobacco — I wander through all this noise and commotion, and I grin like a fool. This is more than a protest. It’s a new way of modeling society, and the first thing you notice when you enter the park is how smoothly the various working parts synch with each other. People do what they know how to do, each using the talents he or she has, and somehow organization occurs despite the lack of organizational leaders. People are enfranchised, empowered to take part or not take part as they see fit. And already, this small society works better than the great American hegemon it’s fighting against.

Last Friday, I ran into a guy from the Teamsters in the park. He was in his mid-thirties, but with his graying crew-cut, he looked much older. I got the sense he could bench-press his own weight. He was a tough guy, a New Yawker of the sort that the media so frequently paints as a flag-waving conservative hick. He’d been in the park daily for going on four days. I asked him why he was there, and here’s what he said:

I finally got sick of sitting around doing nothing. All I’ve ever done with my life is watch TV. When I saw what was going on down here, I said, that’s something. It beats watching TV. If I go down there, I’ll at least be doing something.

With guys like him on our side, I don’t see how anyone can stop this movement.


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