Occupiers share solidarity, get fired up for S17 with art, music

Activists take time out to type up their own Occupy story at Foley Square

by John Zangas

Washington Square Park and Foley Square were the sites of strategizing, networking and lots of creative activities leading up to S17. On September 15, the first day of scheduled activities, Occupiers gathered in Washington Square Park, where they met for direct action planning. They made signs, sang songs, ate together, participated in teach-ins, painted, chalked colorful drawings and had movement emblems silk-screened on t-shirts.

September 16 was a day of celebration and entertainment at Foley Square with a multitude of art collectives, teach-ins on social and economic justice. A cacophony of art projects mingled with voices of hope, diversity and music. A young woman held her LGBT partner’s hand, a tree of hope depicted photos of people with their written messages of a better tomorrow, a quilt was sewn, and typists wrote their Occupy stories. Retired Philadelphia police Captain Ray Lewis stood proudly in his crisp, immaculate uniform. A roving musical ensemble played long horns and drums while people trailed behind them dancing.

The afternoon climaxed with musicians performing protest songs on stage, concluding with much-anticipated Tom Morello and Occupy Guitarmy.

Zuccotti Park Re-Occupied

by John Zangas

On September 15 at 5pm, about 300 Occupy Wall Street activists assembled at Washington Square arch. Escorted by a contingent of fifty NYPD motorcycle police, several dozen police vehicles and over 150 foot patrol, they marched down Broadway chanting, “We are the 99 percent!” An “Occupy Wall Street’” banner led the way to Zuccotti Park, former home base of the movement.

Thus Occupy Wall Street temporarily and symbolically reclaimed Zuccotti Park for the weekend of its anniversary. Zuccotti Park is located in the heart of New York’s financial district only a block from Wall Street. It was the hotbed for a wave of protests which swept across New York City last year.

The Zuccotti encampment inspired the occupations of parks and municipal sites in almost every major city in the country. The camp endured for eight weeks until evicted by New York police on November 15, 2011.