I was arrested on Saturday, but I’m still unsure of how to process everything, and unsure of what exactly I should and shouldn’t say about what happened to all of us on the Brooklyn Bridge. I can tell you that I am scared though. I am scared of going back to Occupy Wall Street and getting arrested again. I am scared that after 700 people endured the terror of being bound and locked up by the NYPD (one as young as 13) that this might all amount to nothing…just another fizzle of radical hope eventually squelched by the State.
I’m also scared that the mass arrests are the last thing we need right now. I believe that reformist tactics do not work. I believe that disruption, insurrection, and direct action are currently the only ways even the most minute changes will occur. That being said, I don’t expect Wall Street to change at all. I don’t expect our government to start taking care of us. I don’t even want that. 700 people getting arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge got everyone’s attention, but to me that’s not what’s remarkable about Occupy Wall Street.
What’s remarkable is what’s happening in Zucotti Park…what’s been called a space of radical imagination. Right now, in a private park in the heart of the country’s financial epicenter, people are taking care of each other. They’re taking care of each other because they want to, not because it’s profitable or even because it’s the “right thing to do”. Adults are playing with children, friends are feeding each other, people are sharing mattresses, coats, and sleeping bags. In Zucotti Park, people are rethinking what it means to be a capitalist subject, and saying “fuck you” to the institutions that think we need private loans, public subsidies, and charitable pity to survive.
But it’s important also to stress that what’s happening in the park isn’t some sort of culmination, or ending point in our struggle against oppression. Spaces like that are created organically everyday, but go unrecognized as part of a movement. Even the police bus that took us off the bridge and to the precinct became a contested space as we began singing solidarity forever, and someone told the joke: “Why do you bury cops 6 feet underground? Because deep down their good people”. And even more incredible was the holding cell I shared with 11 other women. I can’t remember all of their names, but they are all beautiful, beautiful creatures. I don’t want to make light of incarceration, but merely explain that even in the darkest and scariest places there is hope for solidarity and transformation.
I’m hoping that all of us arrested get our summons thrown out, and that the occupation continues. I also hope that the tactics the police have used- entrapment, brutality, and flat out lying- don’t define this movement. The transit workers union is supposed to join up with the occupation on Wednesday, which will be an amazing thing. And as scared as I am, I’ll probably be up there this weekend too, still trying to figure out where we go from here.