Thursday, October 27, 2011

Occupy SF- Walking Laps Around the Camp


Arriving at Occupy SF at 9pm I got it in my head to walk seven laps around the camp and pray for all the people who may very well be subjected to violence or jail tonight should the rumors about a police raid turn out to be true. Seven is such a nice sacred number, and besides, walking seven times around Jericho seemed to work (Joshua 6).

So I strolled the walkways, ramps, make-shift highways and byways through the camp at Justin Herman Plaza, towered on different sides by the Ferry Building and the Embarcadero Center.

First thing I noticed is that the camp is clean and tidy. I don’t know what the SF Dept of Health was looking at this week because I didn’t see any vomit, feces, or really any trash at all except for two empty Peets cups with tea bags hanging off the sides. Scattered on cement walls around the perimeter of camp are lots of black glossy buckets with neatly printed signs labeled “cigarette butts”. In one corner of the camp there are 4 porta-potties and a sink. And recycling bins are located throughout the camp.

The camp is organized. There are a variety of tents and some structures of dubious construction made out of tarps. A couple of doors rest horizontally on crates to form low communal dining tables. There is a lost and found area. Someone is even paying attention to decorating because carved pumpkins that would make Martha Stewart proud are scattered throughout camp. There are also art displays, and feathers hanging from overhead strings.

Lest an occupier get bored and stir up trouble, the camp appears to have an active social calendar with various activities to keep occupiers occupied. One tent advertised “Free Massages Here.” I saw a sign informing occupiers of an upcoming “Paper Mache Committee Meeting”. They have formed a committee for paper mache! Taped to a lamp post was a poster board “Sign Up To Teach a Class” which advertised the following upcoming classes:
o The military industrial complex
o Anarchism theory
o Book reader circle- The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein
o And my personal favorite, although I have no idea what it means: “Workshop and group discussion on the society of the spectacle, commodity fetishism, and the situationist international.” (if anyone understands that, let me know)

There is a large drum circle tent, where the rhythmic faithful are pounding out beats for the cause. A medical tent stands in the southwest corner of the camp, where volunteers ripped strips of gauze and gave instructions for people to tie them over their mouths and noses should they be confronted with pepper spray.

My favorite sign was “Standing for a More Just, Moral America”- probably because it echos my beliefs and explains why I was there to pray for the camp. A more just and moral America is something that people of faith have been desiring for many months and years- long before the switch was flipped on the first megaphone at Occupy Wall Street.

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