Amy Beddows 5:26 p.m., June 18
Occupy San Diego Moves to Civic Center, Marches on Wells Fargo
Hundreds of Occupy San Diego demonstrators moved from Children’s Park to the Civic Center at 4 p.m. yesterday, where tents popped up across the marble concourse to the soundtrack of a Jewish rock band who joined the indefinite occupation after attending Yom Kippur services at the Civic Theater.
Though numbering much less than the roughly 1500 who attended Friday’s initial rally, at least a hundred demonstrators spent the night at the Civic Center, forming impromptu circles and ardently discussing their visions of a better America between a couple of late night marches on the Gaslamp to invite the Saturday night club crowd to join in the discourse.
The mood was festive, somewhere between a street fair and a university plaza. Musicians crooned from stairways and people breezed between conversation circles, eagerly listening and sharing information - the kind of casual yet engaged gathering that should already be taking place every weekend in the heart of any city.
I heard the spirit of the event best described by a man who said, "This isn't a revolution, it's a revelation."
Lacking explicit goals or demands, the “We are the 99%” movement is an all-inclusive, non-partisan expression of the collective hopes and discontents of the American people with prominent themes including corporate personhood and influence on politics, taxpayer-funded bank bailouts, education, unemployment, the Federal Reserve, and a general will to return America to its Constitutional foundations.
“The one thing we all have in common is that we are the 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%,” says OccupyTogether.org, which as of today lists 1,120 cities worldwide in support of the Wall Street occupation and the 99% movement.
Mike, a local school teacher, argued that, while the group's lack of focus has been viewed by mainstream media and detractors as a primary weakness, it is actually one of its greatest virtues.
"Politicians and the corporations are going to try to grab this thing, but it's like grabbing fog. Everyone knows that the fog is there, everyone knows that Occupy is everywhere in America, but you can't grab us, polarize us, politicize us. It's a constant presence. That's where I'd like to see this continue to go."
A traveler named Ashley brewed tea to bring people together and facilitate discussion.
Many wandered in over the course of the past two days, on the fence about joining the occupation but interested in understanding it nonetheless.
Among them was Bob, a former Navy serviceman for 35 years, who lamented his dwindling savings which were intended to help his grandchildren.
“When I was young, we were told not to count on Social Security because we would never get it,” Bob said, “So I saved my whole life and now that’s all being stolen.”
Right now, the group is marching down 4th and right on Market to demonstrate at the Wells Fargo building (610 1st Ave) before they return to the Civic Center concourse via Union to rally at 5 p.m. with music, meditation flash mobs, and, as always, determined, convivial conversation.
Photo: Julio M. Romero