By Nicole Moore
Black folk have been in the 99% since the Middle Passage. Slavery made sure the majority of us would never be in that 1% by terrorizing our African souls and dismantling our families, our language, our culture, our religion, our bodies, and our spirit. As poet Nikky Finney reminded us when she accepted her National Book Award last month, “Black people were the only people in the United States ever explicitly forbidden to become literate.” Long before Occupy Wall Street, thanks to Nat Turner, Harriet Tubman and the like, we already had Occupy Massa’s Plantation so excuse Black folk if they didn’t come a running to Zucotti Park.
Personally I’m down with Occupy Wall Street although I have not gone down to occupy Wall Street. I’ve been busy working and then I figured I’d let my young radicals handle it this time around. I had paid my dues when I marched for Rodney King, Abner Louima and then again, more recently, for Sean Bell. To be clear, I’m more than frustrated with the state of our economy and our selfish government, but even after seeing Angela Davis, Kanye West and Russell Simmons down with #OWS, I still wasn’t moved to pitch a tent and participate. I was all tapped out. Read more…
by Kevin Powell
I wasn’t sure what to expect on the sunny and gusty afternoon of Wednesday, October 5, 2011, when I left a lunch meeting in the Wall Street area of Lower Manhattan, New York City. I purposely scheduled the get-together there so I could easily move from the restaurant to Zuccotti Park, on Broadway between Liberty and Cedar near Ground Zero, where protesters have been camped out for three weeks. No, they are not actually occupying Wall Street (the city and the police are making sure of that), but they are close enough, right smack in the middle of America’s largest and most powerful financial district. This began this past summer when the anti-capitalist magazine AdBusters put out a call for Americans to occupy Wall Street on September 17th. With people’s rebellions in places like Egypt, Spain, and the American state of Wisconsin still fresh in some folks’ minds, seems it was only a matter of time that protests would begin to spread, like wildfire, throughout America, regardless of who is in the White House at this very moment.
I came because I am in support of the protesters, of the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York and elsewhere, for two basic reasons. One, I too have been profoundly affected, financially, by The Great Recession, and I grew up in poverty, my single mother and I, so it troubles me to the highest degree to see anyone in America suffering hardships, economic or otherwise. Secondly, I have been a political and community activist and organizer for 27 long years, since I was a teenage student and youth leader, and I’ve worked in all sorts of movements and mini-movements. I’ve organized or participated in more building takeovers, sit-ins, marches, rallies, conferences, benefits, disaster relief efforts, concerts, and political and community interventions and negotiations than I can even recall at this point. This is my life work, to help people to help themselves. Thus any time I see or hear of a critical social cause, if I am able to do so, I am going to jump right in.