Today began Occupy Muskegon. The General Assembly met at Hackley Park with around two hundred in attendance.
I overheard a friend of mine speaking with two very friendly police officers who were simply trying to inform people of an ordnance requiring people be out of the park by 11:00 PM.
The officer asked my friend "We need to speak to the person in charge."
"In charge?" My friend looked around "Well, there's not really anybody in charge. We're all sort of in charge."
The police officer persisted "We need to speak to the organizer. The person who called this protest together."
"There were at least a dozen of them..." He looked around again "Yeah, I don't know who you'd talk to."
The officer continued "We need to speak to the person leading this thing...we're supposed to tell them that there's an ordnance requiring people out of the park by 11:30"
"I'm no trying to be difficult, but there's really nobody in leading it. We're talking agenda items right now. I guess you can put your name on the list to speak and tell the General Assembly."
The police officer smiled and declined saying "Can you spread the word for us, then? And, try to keep it down to a dull roar."
A dull roar is right.
There were around 200 people there in downtown Muskegon on a very cold, windy day. Folks of all ages. My mother was there with me, and she ran into several of her friends. I ran into the mother of one of my high school friends and we chatted for a while.
What few people realize is that the Occupy movement is as much or more about a style of protest as it is a set of demands. It's a style of protest that exemplifies the type of democratic process we'd like to see in our government, where everybody's voice matters, and everybody's voice is HEARD.
The critics don't get that.
Heck. I didn't fully get that until today.
We had started discussing when our next assembly would be when somebody spoke up telling the speaker she was out of order...that we hadn't discussed what our next topic of discussion would be. She suggested discussing whether or not we'd march today at noon as a show of support for and solidarity with Occupy Wall Street, and ultimately that became the first point of discussion.
This crowd-sourced Democracy is a beautiful thing.
So folks can criticize the "directionlessness" of the Occupy movement all they like, and all it serves to do is show that they really have little understanding of what's going on in the movement.
Ultimately...there was a small march on this windy, windy day.