Don Bauder 7:35 p.m., June 19
Who Occupies San Diego?
The inaugural gathering of Occupy San Diego has been an unpredictable but pronounced pastiche of locals decrying everything from corporate personhood to immigrant rights abuses. A mass of at least one thousand marched through the Gaslamp this afternoon shouting slogans against what many see as a defective democratic process that no longer reflects the will of the American people.
Oft denounced for their lack of focus, here are a few voices expressing their views of the catch-all 99% movement.
I poked into Downtown Johnny Brown's off the Civic Center plaza for libation ("Restroom for paying customers only") as the mass of demonstrators convened with hundreds of other like-mindeds in-wait and I met up with a good friend, Haylie, who was in the company of a woman who was experiencing her inaugural day of homelessness.
Mary, without health insurance or any family to support her, has a neurological disorder which has driven her broke. Her backpack had burst open as Haylie passed, and, in an act of compulsive humanity, Haylie helped her gather her belongings.
Lacking even a blanket and mortified by the prospects of sleeping alone on the streets, Mary was thrilled to hear that hundreds would be sleeping in Children's Park tonight.
"I had a temper tantrum at God," Mary told us, shyly declining to share our pint of beer. "I told myself, if one more thing happens, I'll lose hope."
With tears in her eyes, Mary rejoiced at the serendipity of our meeting, saying, "so I'm not alone? You guys will be here all week?"
Occupy San Diego intends to remain at the Civic Center (the group moved to Children’s Park tonight to respect the annual Yom Kippur gathering at the Civic Center, but will return to the Civic Center at 4 p.m. on Saturday) indefinitely in a demonstration of solidarity with the demonstrators on Wall Street, who number in the thousands and have been met with 1000+ arrests, excessive police force and pepper-sprayings (among them, a blind woman), and general disregard from mainstream media.
The movement has garnered the support of nearly 1000 cities worldwide as of this writing.
As always, there are myriad facets to this movement. See previous posts for more.
One of the most cohesive expressions of why this worldwide movement is happening came from Rick Halsey, the director of a conservationist non-profit who was among the 700+ arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge recently.
Now, I'm grabbing my sleeping roll, a few bits of food, and some water, and I'm bicycling back to Children's Park to observe and participate in this movement which is unarguably the largest motion I've seen in my 26 years on this good Earth.
Check in, I'll be on the ground for most of this week, trying to make sense of this leaderless, non-partisan, and decidedly democratic movement known as "We are the 99%."
What is democracy?
Your turn. Discuss.