BOSTON/Boston Common - With a dogged persistence bordering on the quixotic, activists on Tuesday evening staged a chaotic but wildly democratic launch to the Boston version of the #OccupyWallStreet campaign.
Using a modified form of the consensus model of discussion and group decision making, organizers of #OccupyBoston called upon anyone (and potentially everyone) amongst the approximately 300 people encircling the Parkman Bandstand on the Boston Common, to join organizers standing atop the bandstand to make a statement. About a dozen people seized the opportunity: many criticizing the corporate and government institutions that have contributed, they said, to historic levels of unemployment, home foreclosures, and various other forms of social, economic, and environmental poverty.
Eventually, with the goal of working out details of the #OccupyBoston encampment – such as exactly where, when, and how protesters will stage an ongoing “occupation” of public space - organizers directed participants to separate into smaller working groups.
Spread out across the Common, people enthusiastically discussed how to encourage established local activist groups to get involved in the new movement, spread their messages of economic democracy and peaceful coexistence through the press and social media channels, maintain communication with the police and municipal officials, and on a more mundane level, feed, entertain and keep the hoped-for thousands of Boston occupiers safe.
Marisa Egerstrom, a Somerville resident and graduate student, set the mood for Tuesday’s meeting – referred to as a General Assembly by organizers - with her opening remarks.
“Now we’re not all going to agree. And we’re not all going to come to a perfect consensus on everything. But we all share this: we believe that there must be a better way to live than this,” she said.
“There must be a better way to live than working off debt to the banks…and working with no conception of whether or not we will be able to live lives that count.”
OMB Audio: Marisa Egerstrom, Boston Common, Parkman Bandstand, 9/27/11 - introduction by Robin Jacks (Run time 5:43)
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