I Was Incredibly Naive.

I didn’t know what “stack” was. Or how to get on it.

And I damn sure didn’t know what “the process” was. Or how to “respect it”.

But maybe I am getting ahead of myself…

 

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On the day that I went to my first Occupy Atlanta general assembly, I zoomed on my bike through Atlanta from Ponce De Leon in Midtown to Hurt Park next to GSU. I had about five friends meeting me there and I was a little late.

I found a spot to let my bike stand and join the group.

I’d say that there were a little over thirty people there.

I couldn’t tell how many people were new like me and how many people knew what to expect.

I sat and listened to people talk about “getting on stack” for something and “respecting the process”.

I had never done any sort of protesting before.

The closest I’d come had been during the BP Deepwater Horizon Blowout and oil spill in the Gulf and I cut my hair off to send to Matter of Trust. I even went around and collected hair from some local salons. 

 

So, I figured out that “getting on stack” meant getting on the list in order to speak.

I raised my hand and was added to the stack.

By the time that it came around to me, the discussion had evolved into something entirely different and what I had to say became irrelevant. I made a great speech about how we should all decide what we have to offer in our skills, trades, services, and qualities and split up to go about using those talents and resources in the best ways possible to benefit the group and the movement. I can’t remember exactly what I said, but I felt pretty great about it. I remember everyone kind of looking at me like I was lost or something, though. Apparently, this “stack” was just for announcements only. I was told this by someone as-a-matter-of-factly and everything I’d said blew right out of a window and out of existence. I decided right then and there that from now on, I would only take part in General Assemblies by listening intently from the outer edges, encouraging others that seem to have something they needed to say, and keeping my distance and thoughts to myself unless it was absolutely necessary for the benefit of the group. I can’t honestly say that I never made another mistake in a general assembly again, but I will tell you about the one that I regret when my story brings you there.

 

Over the years, I’ve seen many general assemblies, or G.A.’s for short. I’ve seen them in various states and settings and it is very interesting to me to see the same opinions about them all over the United States. Some people avoided them like the plague. For good reasons and bad reasons. Some people flocked to them for the wrong reasons and the best reasons. Some people thought they were the most important part of Occupy and some thought that they were absolutely pointless and sometimes even more damaging than useful. What you have to realize, though, is that when you are working with various individuals, strangers, friends, or just anyone with similar or vastly differing opinions… the general assembly really is the best way to have some form of democratic order in the chaos. Not “Democratic” like the political party, mind you. Democratic like, “The common people, considered as the primary source of political power.” or “The principles of social equality and respect for the individual within a community.” 

 I wanted to make this distinction because I believe that it is very important for everyone to know that Occupy Wall Street or Occupy in it’s entirety is not and was never for the Democratic Political Party. OWS/Occupy came together with the realization and agreement that neither side of any political party was truly there for the people, the citizens, the majority… you know… the 99 percent. Many people liked to get technical and dispute whether the figures were 99 or 98 percent or whatever, but the point was that 99 percent of the American population was getting screwed in many ludicrous ways by the tiny 1 percent at the top. The CEOs of banks, Multinational Corporations, and the majority of our politicians. (Mitt Romney is a shining example, with his offshore bank accounts.) All in all, I want you to know that Occupy was never and is not the opposite group of the Tea Party.

I must mention that I find it completely befitting for this day and age we are in, that the tea party is named after the Boston Tea Party where citizens were so pissed off about the East India Trading Company (the first MNC, or Multinational Corporation…) that they threw the shipments of tea into the sea… yet, the tea party of this age is actually a Republican funded group protesting with money from politicians backed by MNCs of today. What a twisted world we live in! xD

 

Ah… I have gotten so off track from explaining things.

 

Also, I’m really sorry if my grammar or punctuation bothers you. I’m just trying the best that I can to get all of this information out of my head. I need all of this to be said and understood completely. If you would like to edit my blog and it keeps you from sleeping at night, go ahead and email me at kimleenguyen@live.com. ^_^! I wouldn’t mind.

 

So, to get back to the G.A. in Hurt Park…

 

Everything wrapped up with everyone splitting into different working groups.

Medics, a Media Team, Facilitation, Tactical Unity, etc.

The Media Team was designed to bring our messages across distinctly and clearly to the public in various forms.

Facilitation and Facilitators were there to not control or be a leader of the General Assemblies, but to guide them with as much ease and patience as possible. I’d say that some of these people were much more brave, patient and had more endurance than I did for sure.

I went to join the Media Team initially, but there were so many volunteers there and when I heard a call out for people to join Tactical Unity, I asked someone what that was. It began as a group of people to disperse among the crowds, marches and encampments in order to mediate any time a dispute broke out. Peacekeepers. I joined them immediately and we discussed wearing blue bandanas tied around our arms in order for others to know us quickly so that they could spot us and let us know where tensions were brewing and where to go. We would keep people from abusing each other, causing chaos, fighting, or keep the peace with officer interactions by using only our words and conversation skills. Our slogan became “P.L.U.R”, for Peace, Love, Unity, and Respect. One of the girls in the group made big, round, blue buttons for each of us. (No, I had no idea that PLUR was a raver term. I did, however, find this out very quickly and it made for the best interactions and first encounters. Haha! ^_^!)

 

I met my friends before leaving Hurt Park and we discussed everything that went on there and how we each felt about it all.

Some felt that it was a bunch of bureaucratic bullshit and that it was a pipe dream that would never go anywhere.

I left with good feelings and felt lighter. Like, a balloon of hope had been tied around my waist.

 

There is no way that I could have known at the time

that on the way back to their home,

my best friends would be robbed at gunpoint. . .

 

{To be Continued…}

 

~Kimlee

 

 

 

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