courtesy of ‘amreese13’
On Saturday, Occupy DC began its (potentially never-ending) takeover of McPherson Square.
Members hail from the District and, up until this past weekend, met mainly on the internet. Now they’re armed with a cross-street, social media and pizza slices.
With the exception of police disruption over a bomb scare and the need to move a meeting when Batala drummers began practicing in the park, the protestors have no intention of leaving – rain or shine, day or night. So if you work near McPherson Square, you may want to get used to these folks, as they could grace your daily commute until death does them part.
“We have no exit strategy,” says Micah Bales, who spoke through the cold rain on Saturday afternoon. “We hope this won’t take forever. We hope that a more just and democratic society might come about in this country before forever.”
As for a list of demands? They don’t have any yet. Demands require the consensus of the General Assembly – the group’s primary planning meeting. But Saturday’s activists individually listed the overturning of Citizens United and the forgiveness of student debt. They want their votes to count and believe the best way to make that happen is through limiting corporate power in the political process.
The protestors typically numbered in the dozens on their first day, with over a hundred attending the afternoon’s General Assembly. In between meetings, committee members set up recycling bags, made signs, and stood out on K Street calling on drivers to “honk if you have student loans.”
They got lots of honks. They also got hecklers calling out, “Get a job, hippies!” to which protestors replied, “We’re trying!”
Actually, the occupiers aren’t all otherwise unoccupied. Some of them work flexible part-time jobs that they’ll continue to hold as they camp out – perhaps from a nearby Starbucks. But others are unemployed or far too underemployed to pay off their student loans, which might explain why so many of the signs bemoan education debt.
Like most of the other Occupy protests, Occupy DC has a strong presence on Twitter. They hope for numbers to expand this week as the rush hour brings crowds back to McPherson.
So if you’re unhappy with the state of things, stop on by and join up with Occupy DC. Just make sure to bring a heavy coat, tell your boss you’re working “from home,” and line up a house-sitter for…well, forever.