Half way there … again

My miniatures seem to be always half done, i.e. primed or with a base coat, but no camoflage or detailing. Unfortunately, my recent activities haven't been helping with that issue.  I recently primed/sprayed a base coat on the following miniatures:

2 F-104 Starfighters (Viking Forge, I think)
2 A-7 Crusader IIs (Viking Forge)
2 F-4 Phantoms (Collectair)
2 Mig-29 Fulcrums (Luftwaffe)
2 Lynx helicopters (GHQ)
1 A-10 Thunderbolt II (C-in-C rebuild, amazing what crazy glue and spray paint will do)
6 Soviet 160mm mortars (Viking Forge)
5 TPZ Fuchs (C-in-C)
5 M105 Deuce Bulldozers (GHQ)

On the plus side, I was able to build two very cool paper buildings.  More on those and other buildings I am working on later.

Steve Iskovitz: Occupy Wall Street, Saturday, November 23

Steve Iskovitz, a friend and former Green-Rainbow Party candidate for Cambridge City Council, has started emailing his thoughts from the front lines of the Occupy movement.  Since this blog has lain dormant for so long, I decided to lend it to him.  I will post the backlog of messages about once a day and then start posting them as they come in.  I am posting them uneditted.  His words are his own. You can find all of his posts under the Occupy tag.

Hi everyone,

It’s been slow around here since my last post. Strange to say this, since up to recently things have been frantic.

We’re still hanging in, securing housing for ourselves and running meetings again. I went to a spokes council meeting the other night. It was kind of nice to see the process functioning. Spokes council is a cumbersome process, but it’s quite democratic. Of course, it’s a messy process, lots of arguments, and then the next day everyone else yells about the decisions made. Once you explain the reasons, they lower the volume of their yelling a bit. I suppose groups making decisions about how to conduct themselves is by nature complicated and controversial and always will be.

The past few days in particular have been difficult. A lot of people arguing, about all kinds of things. I think this is partly because we’re all stressed about not having a home, and partly because we’re confused about our mission at this point. With Thanksgiving coming up it’s unlikely much will be done about this in the next few days.

One on-going argument involves the kitchen and where to send food. I hear all kinds of rumors, and I don’t go to their meetings, so I’m not an expert on the subject, but it seems a big part of the conflict is about whether to send food to the park or not. Some people say eveyone needs to be fed, so send food to the park as well as the working groups and the churches where people are staying. Others say just feed the working groups and the churches and don’t feed the people at the park, because they’re not working, they’re just hanging around being unproductive. In a sense, this is a holdover of the old conflict that went on when we lived in the park, concerning the two “classes” of people in OWS– working group members versus homeless people accused of not being part of the movement but just hanging aroud for free stuff.

I think there’s another aspect to this conflict, and I’ve begun voicing it around here. The question of sending resources to the park underscores the fact that we haven’t really adapted to the raid yet. We have to ask ourselves this question: Do we want to “keep” the park, or not? If we keep it, we have to make a conscientious decision to do so, and make a real presence there, complete with political signs, tabling, a message, a point. Then when people show up they’ll see something of substance, something of us, a reason for being there. If we decide to abandon it, we should put the message out that the park is no longer ours, that that phase of our movement is over.

Of course, there are other questions within this larger one. If we stay there, just how will we maintain our presence, and if we leave, where will we go, how will we communicate our message. But these questions will be easier once we address the main question. Avoiding this question, I think, is a big mistake, because it leaves us halfway inbetween. It makes us look bad, and it wastes our time and resources.

The current scene at the park is really pitiful. The metal gates surround it, with entrances on either side street, not on Broadway. This discourages the public from entering the park, which surely is the point. I just walked by a few minutes ago on the way to the library here, and there were about 20 people inside, and 10 or 15 outside the gate on Broadway. The people inside were smoking or just sitting around, the people on Broadway had some signs, a 9/11 conspiracist, some religious speaker. There were almost as many private security guards, and a few police. Some tourists, a camera team.

It’s awful to even go by and witness this, which must be why so few of us do. It gives the impression the movement is dead, that the police succeeded in crushing us and that we’re simply gone. This is not true, but in the absence of a strong, focused on-line presence, this visual symbolism goes a long way.

Hmm, running low on time here at the library, so let me make this point: Losing the park a month or two would have been fatal to us, but by now we’ve implanted our ideas into the consciousness of the nation and the world to the point where that physical location isn’t so necessary. Just yesterday I talked with people who are organizing an occupation in Utah and heard about Occupy Newark starting up, to name a few. As one person’s sign said, “You can’t evict an idea.”

Okay, all for now, and hopefully I’ll have more substance for you all next time. Feel free to forward this around.


Steve Iskovitz: Occupy Wall Street, Saturday, November 19

Steve Iskovitz, a friend and former Green-Rainbow Party candidate for Cambridge City Council, has started emailing his thoughts from the front lines of the Occupy movement.  Since this blog has lain dormant for so long, I decided to lend it to him.  I will post the backlog of messages about once a day and then start posting them as they come in.  I am posting them uneditted.  His words are his own. You can find all of his posts under the Occupy tag.

Hi everyone,

It's Saturday morning, things are actually quiet enough for me to sit and write. Here's what happened since my last, kind of frantic, message early Thursday afternoon.

I walked over to City Hall where I heard a rally was supposed to be held to demand Bloomberg's resignation. I just missed it, people had already left for Foley Square. On the way over I made another attempt to call someone here at the storage place, and by chance happened to catch him, and find out the space was open, so I turned around and came back here. Had I not reached him, I would have gone to Foley Square and then to the Brooklyn Bridge, and witnessed history, or gotten arrested, or beaten up.

You probably know better than me what happened there. I don't have video capabilities on this old computer. In any case, there were many, many people in Foley Square, and even more at the bridge, 5,000, I heard? Lots of pushing and shoving, hundreds of arrests throughout the day, I think. I was here helping restore the medical supplies shelf when one of the medics got a call that trouble was about to start, and we helped pack up bandages, etc. We were out of Maalox, which is used as an antidote to pepper spray. The shelf has thinned out considerably this week, since the police took the medical tent and all the supplies they had there.

Yes, for those who don't understand what this is about: the police confiscated and destroyed our medical supplies.

In an incident which got much more publicity than the medical supplies, the police also raided the library. It was quite a library. I found a number of really good books I don't usually see. (I'd taken out Matt Taibbi's Griftopia, the Battle of Seattle, and a Murray Bookchin book, all gone, since they were in my tent.) They had 4,000 books in the park. The police took them all the night of the raid. The library folks went to the Sanitation Department where all the confiscated items are stored, and recovered 1,000 of them, but many of them were in bad condition. All the periodicals, and tables to put stuff on, are gone. Their computers were smashed.

Interestingly, the day after the raid, they went back into the park and tried to set up a small version of the library. When it began to rain and they covered the books with plastic, the police said they weren't allowed to cover them, so they got wet and ruined. At another point they brought out some books and had them confiscated again.

I can vouch for the fact claim that the computers were destroyed. When I went to the Sanitation Dept to get my duffel bag back, I saw a few destroyed computers. They were actually bent in the middle, as if someone had tried to crush them. I found my bag and got some clothes back. The things in the pocket were pretty ruined, though. The lenses from my sunglasses had been popped out, and a container of powder had broken. I thought this could have been through carelessness, just the confusion of things being thrown into a pile. But someone else here got his backpack back, and a small computer tucked in the middle of it was smashed. He'd seled the pack with duct tape, which hadn't been open. The only explanation, then, was what we'd heard from others– that it had been run through a trash compactor. In retrospect, that must have happened to my bag too.

This information needs to be spread and understood. Anyone who believes the mayor had us kicked out of the park to protect the neighborhood or to protect our safety should understood that these stated reasons are simply lies. Bloomberg is trying to silence and destroy our movement. His troops attacked out headquarters, stole our supplies, and is doing what he can to see that we don't return. He has targeted high-profile organizers for arrest. It isn't just Bloomberg, of course. The crackdown on Occupy sites around the country has been co-ordinated on a federal level. This has been reported in the media.

I read an interesting editorial saying, essentially, that Bloomberg is helping our movement in the same way that George Wallace and others helped the civil rights movement, by attacking it in an ugly, clumsy, transparent manner and turning people who might otherwise not care into supporters.

This morning I actually took some time to read some newspapers. The NYT, as far as I could see, has absolutely nothing about us. The Daily News, which has been providing much more coverage, today has an incredible quote from Bloomberg. Says the Daily News:

The mayor, on his weekly radio show, defended his decision to evict the park protesters in the wee hours of Tuesday morning.

"One of the surest signs we did the right thing is that nobody in the city, as far as I know, is calling for the return of the tarps, tents and encampment of Zuccotti Park, the mayor said.

"Now there are protesters that are probably calling for it. But I don't know of any elected officials who have stood up."

This statement is wrong in so many ways it's hard to know where to start. Nobody is calling for a return to the park? What? All kinds of people are, and what? Protesters aren't people? Only elected officials are? And even the last statement is wrong, since there was a city councilman arrested and beaten the other day. Presumably, he's calling for our return to the park. The statement demonstrates a total disconnect between Bloomberg and most of the city, an absurd level of arrogance, a cartoon character of the 1%.

I just overheard Zach from the library, with the big sideburns, who you might have seen photos of, across the room now, sorting through the mangled books. "You've got to love it when the books that are destroyed are really ironic." Like what, someone asks. "Peace in a World of Conflict… You can't get any better than destroying a book like 1984. It's almost like they did it on purpose because they thought it was funny."

Okay, as far as the movement in general, we were hit hard Monday night, and again on Thursday during the actions. This week has been spent on damage control. Most people, as far as I know, are still in jail. We're still scrambling to deal with housing for us. Four churches are putting people up. I've been staying in one on the upper west side. Kitchen has been sending meals to the churches, and we've been sending supplies.

The situation in the park is weird. There are metal police barricades around the whole thing, with one little area for entering and exiting. This morning I saw 20 or 30 people there, yesterday evening there were more. The police won't allow large things in, like pans of food, or shelves of books. Enforcement is arbitrary, keeps us off balance, and makes it, for the time being, impossible to build anything in the way of a movement there, which surely is the intention.

I can't imagine any possible legal ground for police policy in the park. What possible justification, how could the regulations be written? Lawyers are working on it now, but in the meantime, we can't do much. Aside from all the arguing and confusion over logistics, by people who haven't slept enough and have recently gotten out of jail or beaten up by police, people are generally positive about things. Everyone understands that Bloomberg and his police look awful now, in the eyes of most of the country. They made absolute fools of themselves, and despite media reports that "police clash with protesters," or of some reports of nearly equal numbers of injuries between police and protesters (???????), by media outlets which until recently refered to the mayor as "and advocate of free speech," most thinking people understand the truth. We stand for average people in the is country and against criminal banks and multi-billion dollar theft, and have been attacked for it, by a police force run by the 12th richest person in America.

We took some hits this week, but we'll be back. Just how, we haven't figrued out yet. In fact, last night we had the first meeting we've had since this happened. It took until then to even get the chance to get together and talk, and we'll need to talk a little more before we address some big questions: How much energy do we spend trying to take back the park and making it again our center? Do we look for another location? Or do we decentralize, with the idea that the park as a central location served the purpose of embedding the idea of our movement in the eyes of the country and the world, and is not needed any more. People have been talking about squats. Can we use squatted buildings as our new center, or centers? We've been thinking of Tahrir Square as a model, but every situation is different, this is not Egypt.

Riot police have been posted outside the storage space here. Building (teacher's union) security has been nervous, tightening up the rules some. I'd thought things would return to some sort of normal after the raid, but it looks like things have progressed to a new stage…It's funny, I always read these critiques of our movement, often by 60s left people and others often on our side, saying we need leaders to "emerge" from amongst us. They don't understand: Leaders are easier to target. Though we are officially leaderless, as in any collection of people, certain ones take on more responsibility and receive more attention than others. And this week, such people have been targeted for arrest. And doesn't anyone remember what happened to Martin Luther King, Fred Hampton, and others? Thanks for the advice, but we're going to do it this way.

I hear another argument brewing. It's been quiet for almost an hour! Til next time,


Steve Iskovitz: Occupy Wall Street, Thursday, November 17

Steve Iskovitz, a friend and former Green-Rainbow Party candidate for Cambridge City Council, has started emailing his thoughts from the front lines of the Occupy movement.  Since this blog has lain dormant for so long, I decided to lend it to him.  I will post the backlog of messages about once a day and then start posting them as they come in.  I am posting them uneditted.  His words are his own. You can find all of his posts under the Occupy tag.

Hi folks,

A quick one, if I can finish in 14 minutes.

Got back into the city around 8 a.m., and spent the morning running around Broadway, Wall Strreet and surrounding streets and intersections. Kind of reminded me of DC demos around'00 and '01, but without the tear gas, fortunately.

People blocked entrances to Wall Street, and there was a huge crowd behind the NYSE, on Exchange Street. Cops only allowed people with work IDs through the barricades, but at times there were so many demonstrators that the police blocked everyone in, which was a victory for us. Someone said the start of the 9:30 NYSE was delayed, but it looks like that was not true. So we didn't actually prevent the official start, but did delay a lot of people, presumably, cause a lot of headaches, and made headlines again.

The scene in Zucotti Park is crazy. Barricades everywhere, police keep changing where you can enter and exit. All kinds of commotion. Cheers of victory, shouts of anger, irritation at this barricade and that. After a while I wonder, where is all this headed, what are we accomplishing, what should we be doing?

But we're temporarily disoriented, three days since our eviction, and where do we even go to talk with each other? Hopefully over the coming days we'll answer some questions: what do we do next, etc.

Police are being annoying, at times brutal, most of us have been able to avoid direct confrtonttation and arrest. Just move when they tell you to, then go back ten seconds later when they've walked away. Cat and mouse.

Storage unit closed today, hopefully we'll be in tomorrow. Okay, 6 minutes to go, will try to send to as many people as possible. Send this report anywhere you like.


Steve Iskovitz: Occupy Wall Street, Wednesday, November 16

Steve Iskovitz, a friend and former Green-Rainbow Party candidate for Cambridge City Council, has started emailing his thoughts from the front lines of the Occupy movement.  Since this blog has lain dormant for so long, I decided to lend it to him.  I will post the backlog of messages about once a day and then start posting them as they come in.  I am posting them uneditted.  His words are his own. You can find all of his posts under the Occupy tag.

Hi everyone,

First of all, I'm okay. I did get arrested but was released later that day, it wasn't too bad.

So here's my take on Monday night/Tuesday morning.

I was in my tent around midnight getting ready to go to sleep when I heard someone yelling. Someone's always yeling there, but this was different, more frantic, and someone else yelled, "Get out of your tents." I opened the flap and saw that the police across the street (the side street on the north side of the park) had set up a huge panel of lights and were flooding the park with them. Another similar panel was on the other side. There'd been a lot of strange police behavior since I got there, but never anything like this. I knew something was up, so I put my shes on and ran out.

For a while I milled around in the park, not sure what to do. I was thinking of leaving. I ran back and got my bag out of the tent. It was a chaotic scene. We all pretty much knew they were going to raid. People were yelling and screaming different things, some people were afraid, others defiant, others confused. I was pretty nervous, my hands were trembling a little, and I was confused. I talked with a few people, let someone write legal aid's phone # on my arm with a sharpie, and discovered that a few level-headed people I knew were planning on staying and getting arrested, and I decided I would stay, too.

Of course, staying and going down with the ship was the more principled decision, and this was the main reason I did it. I should add, though, that I wasn't sure where else I could go! Sleeping in a warm jail surrounded by colleagues seemed in some ways preferable to being alone on the street. (I didn't know about the Foley Square gathering.

Quickly, plans came together. The kitchen area, in the center of the park, became the focus. A group of ten or so decided to lock down in the kitchen, that is, lock those D-shaped bike locks around their necks, locked to each other, and link arms. The rest of us sat in a big circle around the kitchen and linked arms.

The police entered the park and began dismantling tents, cutting them open with knives, dragging them off. Then a team of sanitation workers came in behind them to take stuff off. People around the circle reacted angrily to this, but I tried to be positive and said, "It's just material. It doesn't matter." When they took the medical tent people reacted woth horror, and I yelled back, "Don't worry, we've got more!" I know this, because I spent the weekend re-organizing the medical supplies shelves back in the storage space. My point was that this wasn't a big defeat. We'd get media attention, we'd be out of jail soon, and be back as strong as ever.

We sat there in the circle for a long time, maybe an hour and a half. "Come on, arrest us already!" someone yelled half joking. It might have been me, I don't remember. I actually tried to sleep but couldn't. Someone grabbed some snacks from the kitchen and we passed them around. One guy had some tent poles and was flailing them around, ready to use them on the cops. I yelled at him to not do this, besides, he almost hit us with them. Anyway, finally, in the middle of the night, the police got around to us. They started on the left end of the line, grabbed one guy. he resisted, linking arms with the people on either side. Four or five big cops trying to grab one skinny dude, you'd think it would be easy. Yet the struggle went on and on, it was amazing. One guy in the middle of the row began freaking out, yelling. His eyes were nearly popping out of his head. A bunch of us yelled at him to calm down. It looked like he was going to have a seizure or something. (Actually, I heard later that he did end up having one.) Eventually the cops carried the first kid off, and on to the next one. Again, four or five large cops took a really long time to take one person. Lots of screaming and yelling, etc.

I asked the girl to my left what she planned to do and she muttered, "I'm going to go peacefully." I needed to know whether I was supposed to link arms and try to hold her back or not. Also, her answer gave me the excuse to do the same. I'm 51 and have been having trouble with muscle strains lately. I knew if I resisted they'd get me anyway, and didn't see the point. Still I didn't know if they'd rough me up anyway, as I've seen police do to even the most non-violent people many times. Gradually they worked their way down the line, and took the girl next to me. I was next. But instead they went the other way, into the kitchen. For quite a while I sat there with no-one on my left. I thought at one point they might just forget about me altogether, but eventually there they were towering over me. I looked up at the cop and told him I'd go peacefully, and he said okay. I stood up, he grabbed my arm and walked me over a few feet away. He told me to drop my bag, said I'd be able to get it later (which was a total lie, all my stuff is gone), then cuffed me fairly loosely. Soon we were standing near the police busses on the corner. The girl who had been sitting on my other side was freaking out, saying she was epilleptic and could die. A few of us talked her down and she seemed to relax.

On the bus we joked constantly. "First day of school," etc. After 20 minutes or so we rode off, past Foley Square where the big rally was a month ago, and on into the parking lot at 1 Police Plaza. "We'll be here two minutes," one of the cops said. That was around 3 or 3:30 a.m. We were there until dusk. Then we drove about 20 feet, and sat for nearly another hour. People made jokes and insults toward the cops, who merely joked back. A girl complained that she had to pee badly. No-one responded. Eventually, she got up, walked to the front of the bus, and peed into a garbage can. The police weren't even on the bus for long periods. People were squirming out of their cuffs. We could open the windows on the bus, and joked about escaping. The engine was running, the keys in the ignition. There was even some discussion about driving off in it. That would have been interesting!

All sorts of dramas about people's cuffs being too tight and losing feeling in their hands.Eventually the cops loosened them. It sounds mundane in the larger picture. They're just plastic cuffs. But losing circulation is serious business, and by then we'd been cuffed for five hours. Finally, we were led off the bus. Stand in line outside. Try to get comfortable with hands cuffed behind my back. Lean against the fence, stand this way, stand that way, tried even to sleep leaning against the fence, with no success. Then we go inside. More waiting in line. It was then that I managed to squirm my right hand out of the cuff. Big improvement. I still had the cuff on the left hand, but I could stand properly now.

The cop on the bus had said a number of times that he was trying to get us inside to get things over with as soon as possible. I thought he was just playing "good cop," but once inside I began to think he was right. The whole operation was totally confused. The delay for us was that they needed the arresting officer present to process us. It seems simple enough, but everything kept going wrong. They couldn't find the right photos, they couldn't find the arresting officer, again and again people asking the same questions over. Finally "my" officer showed up. Tell the lady at the desk my name, age, address, wait over here, walk over there, wait, okay, over here now. Finally four of us were led to a little cell. There were a few other little cells, and the rest of the OWS people were in one or two large rooms.

Our cell consisted of one padded bench and a toilet. My main problem was fatigue. I'd slept maybe a 20 minutes total on the bus, otherwise had been up all night , and by now it was maybe 8 a.m. The cell was a big improvement. One guy sat on the floor and the three of us sat on the bench, which I suppose you could call a bed of sorts. One of them curled up and slept soundly the entire time, while the three of us talked quietly. Really nice guys, reflecting on the movement, talking about what we'd been doing over the past few years, etc. I managed to get some more sleep. Cops would come back and ask for one of us, for finger printing or something or other. When I was in line to get printed, the cop taking me was talking on his cell phone, to his wife, I guess. She was mad that he was still at work. These guys were supposed to do a 4 pm – midnight shift, but were still there, by now nearly noon. The guy was yelling back at her about what a mess the whole thing was. "It's so stupid, they went about it all wrong, there was no planning," etc. On and on he went about the confusion of the operation.

The whole scene there was really depressing. I was only in there for about four hours (in custody for 10 or 11 hours). They were on duty now for close to 20 hours, and they have to be in there every day! I have to say that among all the cops I passed in the narrow hallways and was around on the bus and in the parking lot, and I mean probably a hundred or so, I didn't witness any overt rudeness or abusiveness. (One cop did look at me as if to say, "What are you doing walking toward me being taller than me?") My sense is that the cops were almost as irritated by the whole process we were. And I had the impression that, given the choice, an overwhelming majority of them would have chosen to not go through with the raid.

But their job is not to question. And this is why, despite a certain empathy I developed for them that night, having "visited" their "home," and despite the fact that nearly all of them were relatively nice to me, I still don't trust them. Because I know that if the boss tells them to do something to me, they'll do it. What they do to me or people like me in the process of "just following orders" might some day bring on mental illness or suicide, but they're not about to give up their salaries or pensions.

Oh, one cop was particularly friendly, and protesters were asking him why he wouldn't join us. He said, "First of all, I'm a fat guy. Fat guys don't march." Then he said what I've heard others say, that "I might agree with some of the things you say, but you're not realistic." If people like him were to think for themselves and not follow stupid orders, we would be more "realistic." And at one point he shook his head adamantly and said, "Look, we're not allowed to have any political opinions, as long as we're in uniform."

Three of us from the cell were finally released around 1 p.m. The fourth guy didn't have i.d. was expected to stay three days. He didn't seem too concerned, maybe because he's such a sound sleeper. We walked out into the mild afternoon air, ran into other demonstrators outside and chatted for a few minutes. I found out we were just blocks from Foley Square, where it turns out a lot of people spent the night. Walking around disoriented in strange daylight, I felt a little like I did years ago in Boston after leaving an all-night party. I walked to Foley Square, got coffee, and tried to get into the room where the hearing was being held about whether we could camp in the park again or not, but the room was supposedly full.

Later that afternoon, after resting and taking care of some things, I walked back to Zucotti park, the scene of the crime, to see what was going on. I should say that during the night and morning, I'd heard few reports of acts of support and resistance around the city and was feeling a little pessimistic. I've known all along that the several hundred of us can't really doing anyting on our own, that when we get hit, the only hope is for others to come out en masse in support, so I felt uncertain at that point. But when I got to the street around the park, I have to tell you: There was barely a square inch of sidewalk space. People were crowding into every available spot, just to stand around the park, and there wasn't even anything going on inside! This was to me tremendously inspiring. That people would gather around a space where ABSOLUTELY NOTHING was happening and just stand around it, for an hour, for two hours.

Why would you stand around a space where nothing was happening? It can only be because that space has meaning. Police gates surrounded the park. Inside, a small number of cops stood, spread throughout the park. I saw the exressions on some of their faces, and understood them in a way I couldn't have before the arrest. They looked unhappy. In the past, I might have interpreted their frowns as mean. But this time I saw them as miserable, as chumps forced to play the bad guy role through no choice of their own. And who knows how long they've been working and on how little sleep.

I heard drumming on the sidewalk, just a few feet from where my tent had been. Really spirited drumming. Three trumpeters took turns doing lead. They started playing When the Saints Go Marching In, and it really took off. The feeling I had during those few minutes is hard to describe. I saw a couple guys leaning on the police barricades just staring into the park. Dead still they stood, just staring. Who knows what each of them was thinking, what particular meaning the encampment had had for either of them.

But a feeling developed, in myself and from the crowd around me, that there was no way we wouldn't return to the park. I hadn't yet heard the results of the hearing (that ruled against tents and sleeping bags in the park) and so I didn't know if we would camp or not, or if the police would remove the barricades or we would remove them ourselves, or what day, but it seemed the feeling was so strong , and among so many people, that it was inevitable that we would return, and the movement would grow.

Soon after I had this feeling, I had another feeling– that I was going to fall over from fatigue. So I made a quick call, bought the Times, Daily News and Post and jumped on a bus out to Jersey. On the bus I discovered the Daily News had quoted me. [I couldn't find the actual article, but the quote is mentioned here, and there is an older Daily News article that quotes Steve. – James] When the raid first became apparent, the reporter in the park asked me how I felt about it. Aside from the fact that it seemed like a stupid question, I was too busy deciding what to do, and ignored him. Later, after I'd made my decision, I saw another guy talking at length to him. I tried to insert my answer but the speaker got mad and told me to wait my turn. A few minutes later I told him my opinion about the raid, which I'd been formulating for weeks. I said something like, "If they think this is the end of it, they're crazy. There might be thousands of people trying to get over here right now, blocked by police barricades. We have supporters all over the city, unions, etc. There could be strikes, demonstrations in support of us, all over the city or the country. When they raided Oakland therew were demonstrations in support of them all over the world. This is just the beginning."

I think I said something like that, in that crazy period before the raid. Anyway, sitting on the overheated bus, exhausted from sleeplessness, I was pleased to see that I had been quoted. They got the first part right, "If they think this is the end of it, they're crazy." The rest of the quote they got as, "The people will strike back." I never use the expression "the people," and I'm almost sure that even in that confusion I wouldn't have. Journalists always get quotes and details wrong, but overall it's okay. The Daily News isn't opposed to getting a story right (unlike the Post, who I wouldn't even talk to).

Speaking of journalists, soon before the police came after us, they kicked a reporter out. I think it was the Post photographer but I can't remember. In any case, the cop said, "No journalists," or something like that, and the person dutifully left the scene. I read something on line today about police choosing to conduct raids at night when less reporters are present. This is true enough, but it's even more overt. If some are present, they simply kick them out.

An important point I left out earlier: I mentioned that I was scared and nervous at first. But this was largely because I was undecided on my response. Once I decided to stay and link arms and get arrested, and sat down with the others, I stopped feeling afraid, and felt calm, and strangely happy. In the photo the police took of me before loading me on the bus, I'm smiling widely. All my political life I'd been afraid to get arrested, and never have up to now. I know there are horror stories, but in this case, for me, it really wasn't that bad. The worst part of it wast the fatigue. The next worst thing was the boredom.

Okay, enough about all that. The question now is what next. I read that people have returned to the park. I'll be back there tomorrow. What form the movement will take at this point is not entirely certain. Maybe people will challenge the order and camp anyway. Maybe they'll set up political events and food distribution in the park and sleep elsewhere. People have already been talking about setting up squats, or working with existing squats. There was also talk of sleeping in some local churches. Interestingly, we were just about to get some big military tents in. The plan was to replace the many smaller tents with a small number of larger tents. People have been complaining that since we began using tents, the sense of community has degraded. People no longer knew their neighbors, and crimes could be committed in secrecy. The challenge ahead was going to be to convince the people to move their tents. I was in jail with one of the people in the "town planning" working group, and we joked that the police have made this easier. After I got out, I discovered that everyone had been making this joke.

And just now I read on the Christian Science Monitor site that the raid could solve the crime and drug problem that had been hampering the movement, and get us more focused on politics again. (Actually, the crime problem had been getting a little better, as the security people had become more focused in the last week. I was going to write about that and other things, but never got the time and privacy to do so.) Another writer said the raid could help us in other ways, including media attention.

So, a lot of ideas and questions, and being off-site now, I'm not in the best position to go answering them. No doubt many conversations are going on now about just where to go from here. But the important point, that people who are far away might not understand, is that this movement is not over. Far from it. Actions planned for Thursday are still in the works. While reaction to the raid, around the city or around the country, have been slow to materialize, it's only been a day or so, and it took days, in some cases a whole week, for some of the responses to the Oakland raid.

Okay, that's it for now. I've been trying to write for the last week, but there's always so much conversation going on around the computer table, that the amount of mental energy needed to withstand it doesn't seem worth it, and I decide to just go do more work instead. I'll try to solve this problem somehow. In the meantime, feel free to distribute any or all of this report wherever you see fit, and you can leave my name on it or not, either way.


Priming and base coats done for a bunch of 1/285th scale miniatures

I finally got around to spray priming/basecoating a bunch of my 1/285th scale Cold War-era miniatures including:

15 Dutch YPR-765 (GHQ)
5 Dutch YPR-765 TOW (GHQ)
6 NATO M106 SP mortars (GHQ)
2 Soviet 2S6 AA (PFC C-in-C)
18 AMX-30 (PFC C-in-C)
11 Chieftains (GHQ)
10 Warrior IFVs (GHQ)
3 Central European apartment buildings (? resin manufacturer)

The British vehicles had already been painted various non-standard paint schemes, so I simply sprayed them with Tamiya Olive Drab 2. The Chieftains and half the Warriors haven't been touched in about 26 years.

The other NATO vehicles were primed in a light gray, then sprayed with Tamiya NATO Green. The 2S6s were primed as the NATO vehicles, then sprayed with Tamiya Olive Drab 2.

The buildings were simply sprayed black. I am getting tired of monopoly houses as my principal residential structures, so I may concentrate on my backlog of buildings before everything else.

Steve Iskovitz: Occupy Wall Street, Sunday October 30

Steve Iskovitz, a friend and former Green-Rainbow Party candidate for Cambridge City Council, has started emailing his thoughts from the front lines of the Occupy movement.  Since this blog has lain dormant for so long, I decided to lend it to him.  I will post the backlog of messages about once a day and then start posting them as they come in.  I am posting them uneditted.  His words are his own. You can find all of his posts under the Occupy tag.

Hi everyone,

It turns out I was wrong when I said the solidarity march with Oakland went off without incident. I found out after I wrote that there were some arrests, 14, I think, including a guy I work with in the storage room and another guy I know sort of. Both were out the next day.

I finally got to watch the Oakland videos I sent you all a few days back. Awful. Shooting “non-lethal” gas canisters at people’s heads. Even a teddy bear can be lethal if you shoot it fast enough at someone’s head. Protesters came back again and again and eventually re-took the plaza. Others came out in support of the original occupiers. Presumably it was this popular response that caused Oakland’s new mayor to make the bizarre statement that she supported the goals of Occupy Oakland and would minimize police presence. She’s on their side! With friends like that, who needs enemies? Then the next day or so she came out and said they have to obey the curfew and be out of the park at night. You have to wonder what’s going on behind the scenes in that mayor’s office.

And there has already been talk of Marines supporting the Occupy movement, but when the Oakland police shot the Marine Scott Olsen in the head with a canister, sending him to the hospital, I think more Marines are coming out in support. Some Marines joined a march in New York the other day regarding this…Police have moved in military-style on Occupy Denver…and Nashville, Tennessee has joined Albany, New York in key public officials refusing orders to arrest protesters..

These two phenomenon interest me greatly: a) cracks in the system; If police, prosecuters, etc., begin refusing orders against us and it really spreads, it would be incredible. b) massive popular reaction against police crackdowns; This seems to happen every single time. This puts the authorities in a real bind. If they do nothing, the movement sustains itself or grows gradually. If they react against it, the movement swells dramatically.

Aside by James: In nonviolent strategy, these instances of police refusing orders or former or current soldiers joining protesters are examples of undermining the support of those in power.  Such instances are vital for nonviolence to work.  Using violence has the opposite effect as it tends to increase the support for those in power or at least the acquiescence by different groups to those in power.

Okay, enough speculation, now back to the situation I’m involved in: It got pretty cold Thursday night, putting a strain on us. The folks in medical are working extra hard with hypothermia issues. Friday night I spent my first night in a tent. My friend and co-worker was going to let me in on their tent, but ended up losing his spot. I had a spot but no tent, so they moved their tent to our spot. I had to clear out a massive amount of stuff to make space. Most of it, as it turns out, was garbage, some personal stuff I set aside, and managed to squeeze the 4-person tent inbetween the nearest camper and the borderline with the sidewalk. The feeling that night was so strange. The police have been leaning down on us more over the past few days. Bloomberg making these statements implying that arrests were inevitable, and Friday morning the fire department came in and took our gasoline-powered generators. (Used for media computers and I think for the kitchen.) So there was a weird kind of excitement in the air Friday night. It was partly a Friday night in Manhattan vibe, partly the electricity of a coming storm, and there were loud sirens now and then. Could have been coincidence– fire trucks answering a call that happened to take them past us– but I doubt it.

Younger protesters said that day that because of such signs they felt arrests were inevitable. When I hear this I remind them this has been happening on and off since the day I arrived, and that it’s almost always theatrics. It’s true that they might crack down on us, but if Bloomberg decides to make this move, let him. I hope he doesn’t, and none of us want to be beaten or arrested, but if they try to crack down on us in any big, dramatic way, it will be a big mistake. I don’t know how many thousands showed up that Friday morning a few weeks back during the threatened cleaning crackdown because I wasn’t there, but I’ve heard estimates between 2,000 and 8,000, and that was at 6 in the morning! I don’t know of any contingency plans with unions, but I’m almost certain that such a move would be met with a show of force among unions and working people, “99%ers,” that– planned or organized or not— would not soon be forgotten.

I’ve gone to a lot of demonstrations in my day. People who don’t go to them have sometimes called me brave, and I always quickly corrected them and told them that, no, I’m not brave, that when things get tense, I always looked for a way out, that I was never on the front lines when the police visors went down. But even I don’t feel afraid this time, and so Friday night in my tent, even with the rain fly down so I couldn’t see out at all, I could hear and feel the spirit around the park. We all heard the sirens, we all knew of the police huff-and puff, and we also knew each other, if not by name than by face. And we’d proven, collectively, night after night, that we were staying put. One of my tentmates was asleep, the other out late, but I laughed out loud with this feeling, this sort of liberating bravery, this feeling that I was doing something that mattered more than me. At one point an “ohm” swept through the park, everyone humming or chanting a single note. I joined in.

Saturday morning it was snowing and sleeting. I had to walk back and forth to storage and the camp a few times, and one time the sleet seemed to be driving horizontally at me. It was rough. I’d thought I’d slept off a coming sickness, but after just a few hours I could barely stand up, and realized instantly it was time for another break. The cold is also aggravating the fact that I need to attend to another dental detail. So Saturday evening I arrived at family’s here in New Jersey, only to find that they are among the 600,000 (?) Jersey residents without power. As it was explained to me, it’s never snowed this much this early in the season, and since the trees still have leaves on them, they took on an inordinate amount of snow, so trees and power lines are down all over. It might be another four or five days before I return to the city.

Oh, I was planning on writing more about this issue, but I guess it will come off as a footnote: They got more tents in the other day, and distributed them randomly, not wanting to discriminate in favor of the working groups and against the homeless. The result is that after distributing 20 or so tents, not one new tent was seen in the park that night, or so I was told. This suggests they simply leave the park as soon as they’re distributed. I’ve been trying to make this point to people there: People with nothing better to do can hang around and when they find out something good has come in, can get their friends to all go over and get one, while the people who work 10 hours a day in the kitchen or 11 hours a day in the storage facility or all night on security shifts and sleep in the day aren’t around to load up on free things. They need to proactively target the working group[s, seek them out, ask them what they need and make sure they get them. Good, cold-weather sleeping bags are coming in, and I hope they don’t get squandered. I made this point to some people involved and I think I made some headway, but soon after I had to bail out.

…Not so satisfied with this report, but I’ll send it out as is. I have more thoughts on the theft issue and about danger from within, which hopefully I’ll be able to express soon. A couple details I forgot to include: The woman who put out the famous video that started the whole Tahrir Square occupation in Cairo was here, gave a workshop, and did an interview with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now, which you can watch. I didn’t even know she’d been there until the next day. Also, the other day there was scheduled a march from Tahrir Square to the US embassy, in support of Occupy Oakland!

One last point: Bloomberg made a statement at one point that we’ll run off at the first sign of winter. I highly doubt it. Some people might flee, but we’re getting zero-degree sleeping bags in, and there are some tough, committed people there. In fact, the snow the other day left the camp more inspired, just knowing we survived it. The more we survive difficult conditions, the more focused and inspired we become. Okay, that’s all for now, and feel free to forward any or all of this information, use my name or not, it doesn’t matter.

Steve Iskovitz: Occupy Wall Street, Thursday October 27

Steve Iskovitz, a friend and former Green-Rainbow Party candidate for Cambridge City Council, has started emailing his thoughts from the front lines of the Occupy movement.  Since this blog has lain dormant for so long, I decided to lend it to him.  I will post the backlog of messages about once a day and then start posting them as they come in.  I am posting them uneditted.  His words are his own. You can find all of his posts under the Occupy tag.

Hi folks,

The big news around here the last week is that our camp is being flooded with mentally ill, homeless, alcoholic and drug addicted people from around the city. I’ve heard several rumors: that the police take people from Riker’s Island and deliver them here, that when police find drunk people in other parks they take or send them here, and that word is simply getting around among the city’s homeless that we have free living space, free food and free clothes. I can’t speak to the method by which these people are arriving, only that they are. Perhaps if any of the city’s army of journalists, who now busy themselves examining our operation with a magnifying glass, plastering their front pages with headlines about inequities between Occupy Wall Street and other occupations around the country, or details about controversies in our kitchen, and spend a minute or two investigating these rumors about how and why all these troubled people in need of care are showing up at our doorstep, that might be nice!

I’m only on the receiving end. Just this morning, a woman in front of me dumped a cup of soy milk onto the ground in the serving line. I decided to keep an eye on her, and a minute later she pulled a tarp off someone’s tent while it was still raining. I managed to get the tarp back from her and alert someone that she needs to be watched constantly. This is the kind of work I did back in Boston, and it’s really not that hard. Just hang around with someone all day and keep your eye on them, talk with them, divert them when they’re about to mess things up. I didn’t mind doing it back then, when I had nothing else to do, and it was my recognized responsibility. But we’re all busy with other things, and this type of thing is becoming an ever-increasing burden on our operation. As you can imagine, many of us have stories similar to mine, some much more difficult, like dealing with irate crackhead guys, etc.

People who are almost certainly paid police provocateurs have also shown up. Last week we had a family day and night, when families with young kids actually camped here. A corner of the park was taped off and provided extra security. It happened to be near a huge artistic sort of sculpture structure at the corner at Broadway. A really crazy guy came around the structure in the middle of the night. I heard (rumor) that some protesters actually alerted the cops to his presence and the police did nothing. Then (and this part is pretty much established fact) the dude climbed up to the top of it and began yelling. Quickly the police evacuated the area around the structure, supposedly to guarantee the safety of the people below, who just happened to be the families with kids. By 5 a.m., I’m told, mostly all the families were gone. So much for family night. The crazy guy in question had never been seen before and has never been seen since. There are other stories of supposed provocateurs showing up. So far we’ve handled them all pretty well, with few incidents.

But how long can we sustain this? As our movement has begun making progress, it has been saddled with this tremendous burden. As a counter-move, the kitchen has decided to shut down for three days. The plan is to see to it that food gets to the working groups get food. I think this is a brilliant response. Each working group recognizes and appreciates its own members. This plan would “dry up” the supply of free things to non-productive people in the park. Maybe they’ll go elsewhere, word will get out that it’s no longer a free party here. No doubt there will be problems with this plan, some arguments about who gets how much, logistical problems, etc., but something absolutely needs to be done, or all our resources, including our own sanity, will be drained.

It’s interesting to step back and look at it philosophically: One thing (among many) we’re protesting is the fact that the society, including the city here, is not taking care of its needy. So in response, that very system sics its own needy, its own troubled people, examples of its own failure, upon us in order to defend itself against us! It’s not hard to see the similarity between this and the military, for instance. Instead of taking care of its own poor, we invade other countries. But how do we staff the army of invaders? With those very same poor people. We don’t educate people properly, and thus have an ample supply of uneducated people who don’t know what they’re getting into when they join up! In this way they system can use its own failures to perpetuate its own existence.

Well, we’ll see how this new plan works out.

Elsewhere, Oakland, which can barely afford its own police, pooled police from all around central California to perform a military-style invasion against Occupy Oakland. They don’t mess around in Oakland! I haven’t seen the videos yet, but here they are, and remember, as they say, “This is what democracy looks like.” 


Occupy Atlanta was also busted, with many arrests, though it was all reported to have been very civil.

The mayor of Albany and Governor Cuomo ordered Albany police and New York state troopers to move in and shut down and arrest Occupy Albany, but guess what? The police and troopers REFUSED ! Occupy Albany is still there. This is the most hopeful news of all, and is a bit like what happened eventually in Tunisia, I think, and Egypt, though in that case it was the army who turned. Someone told me just today that when police drive by Occupy Buffalo, they either give them the thumbs up, honk their horns, run their sirens, or bring them coffee. Similar report from Cleveland.

Last night there was a march around town in support of Oakland. It was loud and spiritied and sounded like a lot of fun. I was too exhausted to join it (went to sleep early and slept good and long) but I heard it went off without incident…So, good and bad news coming in from all around, hard to summarize, even harder to predict what’s coming. Well, I’ll end with one last comment: I doubt they’ll try here what they did in Oakland, but if they do, they certainly won’t hear the end of it. We have a lot of support all around the city.

(Any or all of this report can be forwarded, attributed or not.)

Steve Iskovitz: Occupy Wall Street from Monday October 24

Steve Iskovitz, a friend and former Green-Rainbow Party candidate for Cambridge City Council, has started emailing his thoughts from the front lines of the Occupy movement.  Since this blog has lain dormant for so long, I decided to lend it to him.  I will post the backlog of messages about once a day and then start posting them as they come in.  I am posting them uneditted.  His words are his own. You can find all of his posts under the Occupy tag.

Hi folks,

It’s been a while since my last report. I’ve had internet access troubles. I’ll pick up where I left off about a week ago:

I visited Occupy Pittsburgh again on Monday afternoon (October 17), and it had grown considerably since Saturday. I went back that night to wait for my 5 a.m. bus, and it had grown again noticeably since the afternoon, and during the few hours I was there two more tents went up!

While there were some similarities with the New York site, I took note of the differences. It was much more relaxed. There seemed to be no tension at all with the police. Protesters would walk over and talk with the cops, it was all very friendly. The site stil had a lot of space, they could use megaphones, and they had tents, so life there was much easier than at Occupy Wall Street in New York. Some people talked about the idea of making straw huts there, and I thought about how, as the anthropologists and sociologists say, different conditions result in different cultures. The Pittsburgh site can grow in a different way because conditions allow it. Likewise, all kinds of things could come from other sites around the country based on different climates, space, relationships, etc.

I got off the bus in Harrisburg and spent the morning at that city’s occupation site. Considerably smaller, there were only two people when I arrived, about ten by the time I left at noon. I was told they have 100 or so by there evening General Assembly (GA), and about ten people sit or stand around for the overnight, since they’re not allowed to camp. I was told two or three smaller towns in Pennsylvania also had occupation sites!

That evening I got off the bus and visited the Philadelphia occupation. It was huge, spreading across the City Hall plaza, two or three times the Wall Street site. I was told there were about 350 tents, about 600 people. It was incredibly relaxed and positive. All the facilities– kitchen, distribution, info, etc., operated out of huge tents.

Although all three Pennsylvania sites I visited were more relaxed, I didn’t feel quite right at any of them. Maybe because I was new and didn’t have a purpose at any of them, but also the slow, relaxed atmosphere somehow didn’t feel right to me.

The instant I arrived back in Zucotti Park in New York I felt I’d returned home. I prefer the excitement and vitality of it, and the feeling that I’m in the center of it, since all the occupations around not just the country but around the world are all currently centered around it.

But I learned from the Pennsylvania sites that it was not necessary to be constantly frantic. Somehow in my first six days in New York I’d come to associate occupation, excitement, chaos and constant crisis as inherently connected, but I realized during my five-day break that that had just been coincidence.

I returned to working in the storage facility. Throughout the week we managed to get things more under control. The storage space, like everything else, was brand new just a few weeks ago, but now we have our routine down fairly well, and we’re all much more relaxed about it. Other people come in in late morning to help out with our crunch time, when we pick up shipments from the UPS store, and help open and sort them. By late afternoon it’s down to just the core group for other tasks.

Somehow, the media has discovered us. Tired of just the freak-show-in-the-park angle, they’ve taken a fascination with the inner workings of the operation, and take innumerable pictures of us opening boxes, of shelves of food, etc.

Overall, though, the occupation site in general seems to be settling in a little. After a few weeks I’m finally learning to distinguish who’s who. I’m beginning to recognize and get to know the long-termers, the different working groups. It makes it a lot easier. For example, a lot of the different departments manage their own stuff. That means they come over and organize it themselves, and they come and get what they need. This saves us a lot of time and confusion. The transition to this system at first resulted in multiple cases of theft, but we’re getting a handle on that now.

On the larger scale, Mayor Bloomberg has changed his tone considerably. A week or two ago he was talking about how we have a right to be there, he has no problem with us, etc. Over the past few days he’s been saying we’ll have to go soon. Local media has ,ade inferences of some impending police crackdown. Last night a mentally ill man came into the park and started some sort of ruckus. Two cops crossed the street and entered the park, as though in response to this. It all looked, to the rest of us, like a thinly disguised attempt at provocation. Our folks managed to get it under control quickly enough, thwarting whatever plan it might have been. I saw the guy walking around today too.  Last night we passed a cop on Broadway, coming back from storage, and he stared at us. Up to now, they’ve pretty much ignored us, so I think it’s all part of an attempt to scare us and get us to give up. It won’t work, though, there are too many experienced activists here who know all these tricks, and our community support is deeper than ever.

In fact, the “no-tent” rule is being violated more and more. Every night a few more people put them up, and there’s been no police response to this. There’s been a lot of talk, in fact, about the no-tent rule being a human rights violation. The Red Cross, I hear, has come out with a statement to this effect, and some local clergy also, taking the human rights approach to this. The weather has been getting colder. I haven’t had a problem with this, though rain is still a bit of a problem.

Oh, and on the tent issue– while I was away the medical folks put up a tent. The police came in to take it down, and there was some kind of a standoff between police and occupiers. Jesse Jackson happened to be in the park at the time, and someone ran across and alerted him. He came over and stood in front of the tent with the occupiers, and the police backed down, and the medical tent has been here since. This story reminds me of the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis in ’08, when the police attacked the medical tent and shot tear gas canisters inside the tent. Medical facilities are important, delicate areas, and apparently the police feel they can dismantle a movement by attacking them there, despite the fact that doing so even in wartime is a violation of the Geneva Convention.

Elsehwhere, they arrested 130 in Chicago yesterday. I heard a rumor that there are 10,000 people at Occupy Portland (Oregon), though I haven’t researched this. Occuy L.A. is supposedly larger than ours. I met someone from Buffalo who said they’re going strong there and that they have a fire pit, and when the police drive by they wail their sirens and wave in support! Someone who was in Occupy Cleveland(I think it was) said the police hardly ever come there but when they do they bring coffee for the occupiers!…Public opinion around the country is running in our favor…Someone from Hawaii just sent us organic macademia nuts and dried bananas grown on their farm.

So, all kinds of different things happening all around. I hope the folks in Chicago are out of jail and doing okay. Lots of details, I shouldn’t have to wait a whole week before my next report. All for now,


(Any or all of this report can be forwarded, attributed or not.)

Steve Iskovitz: Occupy Pittsburgh, Saturday, October 15

Steve Iskovitz, a friend and former Green-Rainbow Party candidate for Cambridge City Council, has started emailing his thoughts from the front lines of the Occupy movement.  Since this blog has lain dormant for so long, I decided to lend it to him.  I will post the backlog of messages about once a day and then start posting them as they come in.  I am posting them uneditted.  His words are his own. You can find all of his posts under the Occupy tag.

It’s by pure chance that I was present for the first day of Occupy Pittsburgh.

There was a march to Market Square downtown, and a rally there, which I caught the last hour of. Then they marched over to the occupation site, a small park a few blocks from downtown, near Uptown and not far from the Hill District. A few people set up tents immediately, someone brought a table, which quickly became filled with food, and after a little while, the General Assembly. I want to say it was the historic first G.A., but actually it was the third of fourth the group has held, but it was the first on the actual occupation site. It was all much more orderly than OWS in New York. Partly because they were allowed to use a megaphone, but mostly because it was much smaller (though the first ones in New York were probably smaller, too). Also, there weren’t two, nor even one drum circle on the edge of the park.

It’s funny, the other occupation sites around the country seem to have tents and amplification, only New York is denied both, making it the most difficult, yet New York is still by far the most important and the most exciting. Anyway, so the working groups ran through their policies– basic stuff like no violence, respect the grounds, they reached consensus on doing protests downtown twice a week and talked about some of the institutions they’d march to. This was interesting because the park where they are, with the owner’s permission for the time being, I think is called BNY Mellon (Bank New York Mellon), and the very first protest is going to be down at the headquarters of– that’s right– BNY Mellon!

I suggested they go up to CMU and protest the flood of military money and research there, not the least of which is development of drone technology. The idea wasn’t too well received, because CMU is several miles away and up a long hill and they don’t want to march there. I hope they reconsider and take a bus or something, because this is a great opportunity to raise awareness of this ill collaboration between elite higher education and futuristic death technology. (I made a sign at the Market Square rally that said, “CMU: No Autonomous Killer Drones.”)

But it’s not my call. I’ll have to leave such decisions up to the Occupy Pittsburgh people. It’s great to see this happening in my hometown, conservative as this place is. But New York is the epicenter. Wow, they rallied all around the world, now inspired by Occupy Wall Street. Even in Hong Kong, and Santiago, Chile, as well as Europe, and all over this country.

I was impressed with the Pittsburgh people, though. They understand completely the concensus process. They use the exact same techniques they do in New York. It’s as if they all attended the same seminar, but they didn’t. I’m a little curious how this technique and the values system that goes along with it can be adhered to so precisely in so many different places at the same time. Just so that I’m not misunderstood: I’m completely in favor of it. It’s a highly developed method of organizing, and it’s incredible to me that this method is practiced so widely and so proficiently. How can this be? Is it some kind of generational shift? Does it have something to do with the new communications technology? They’ll put their own local stamp on it, of course. One girl said she had to leave to watch the Penguins’ game, ha-ha. I just hope they can find one person to stay behind on Sundays to watch people’s stuff while the rest go off to watch the Steelers.

BNY Mellon said they could stay at least until tomorrow morning. I think they just want to make sure the people don’t trash the grounds. I get the sense that if they tell them to leave, they’ll just leave, so it’s totally different from OWS and Brookfield Properties in that sense. And they say there’s a church a few blocks away where they can stay if they need to, though there’s really nothing like a permanent, visible site…Compared with New York it’s all strangely civil. 

(You can forward this if you like, attributed or not.)