Sunday, October 23, 2011

Occupy Wall Street: End-of-Week Commentary

And, to balance my persistently kvetching posts of late, an inspirational piece from Sarah Seltzer at Alternet, with video clips of folk-singer and veteran social activist Pete Seeger (aged 92) leading a singing march for the Occupy Wall Street group at Columbus Circle this past Friday night.  The group's singing "This Little Light of Mine" and "We Shall Overcome."  Seltzer says the clips are from Michael Moore's YouTube channel.

And, well, you already know how these old songs from previous moments of protest in the U.S. warm my heart.  And make me think about how the OWS movement links to the history of those previous moments in which our never-finished experiment in participatory democracy took painful, necessary steps forward, always against the fierce resistance of ruling elites who keep wanting to shut that experiment down.

Also inspiring pictures here of Cornel West's arrest in Harlem the same day, again by Sarah Seltzer at Alternet.  And for important context to the Harlem demonstrations, and insightful commentary about the need of the OWS movement to build bridges of solidarity with African Americans, there's this subsequent article by Seltzer linking to a discussion between Melissa Harris-Perry and Tim Wise on Rachel Maddow's show.

The largely white, mostly middle-class protesters and those supporting them (e.g., me) who have formed the initial backbone of the OWS movement in the U.S. have much to learn from the ongoing experience of marginalization, oppression, and economic assault that people of color have endured for many years in this country.  We have much to learn from people of color about precisely how they have managed to endure and overcome, over the course of the American experiment in democracy.

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