12/20/2011

Occupy Wall Street, and/ or Occupy Trinity land at Duarte Park

Bishop George Packard is an amazing man. He worked in many quiet ways to bring a word of justice and mercy to people in power in the military and political leadership in the American establishment. That he has shown up in the Occupy Wall Street movement is a surprise, but not a great one. But it is a great joy to see. Lots of blog work has been done on the OWS movement and the part played and not played by religious institutions and people in it. It seemed unnecessary to add anything to what was already available, but today Episcopal Cafe pointed us all to an article by Tom Beaudoin titled  Occupy Wall Street Versus Trinity Wall Street?  Episcopal Cafe recommends we all read Tom Beaudoin's article, and so....read it.  

Embedded in the article was this video by the OWS video folk. It's a fine piece of work in itself and I invite you to listen to it. There he is in all the purple you could hope for... a bishop over the wall.  





I am very proud to be related to Bishop Packard, even one step removed. 

There is a lost chance here for Trinity and the OWS folk to work out a way to use the park. Hopefully it can be a chance taken up again soon. 

Meanwhile we have the analysis of this article and of the video to guide us towards a way of recasting the question of the use of the land.  Is this land COMMONS, in much the same way as, say, the nave of a church - a place of sanctuary and if not that a place to let the lion and the lamb make peace? 

On another note: Why was "occupy" the word chosen? Much of the world understands "occupy" to mean, in American English, the activity of taking over their country at will. It is not a positive idea.  Well, "spring" seems to have been taken in "Arab Spring." But maybe "reclaim" might have worked, as in "reclaim Wall Street for the people." The thing about reclamation is that it is an activity of restorative justice. Occupation seldom is. 


But there it is  - history has made this the "occupy" movement. But occupy does not itself imply making things right or restoring them or reclaiming them. It only means taking over.  I'm always a bit edgy about takeovers. The new powers are too much like the old powers much too often.

2 comments:

  1. Perhaps the movement means 'occupy' in one of these two definitions:

    1: to engage the attention or energies of

    2a : to take up (a place or extent in space)


    Merriam-Webster

    True, much of the world understands occupy to mean take over.

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  2. You don’t even need to be religious to understand -and embrace- the idea that "Whatsoever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." But many in the 1%, in their blind greed and endless schemes, have forgotten this, and have closed their eyes to what the word "society" should really mean. But because of Occupy Wall Street, we are finally talking less about CUTS and more about BLEEDING. Instead of demanding m-o-r-e budget cuts -to be borne by the middle class and poor- we are FINALLY focusing on the shameful bleeding that the poor and middle class has endured for all too long. Instead of talking about even m-o-r-e cuts in the taxes of millionaires....we are now talking about fairness and justice - about an economy and a political system that is increasingly run for the rich, and by the rich. Instead of talking about LESS government, we are talking about a government that WORKS FOR ALL OF US, not just a favored few. Thank you OWS, for reminding us that people -ordinary working people- really DO matter, and for helping open our eyes to what’s really going on in this country. In a city where there is precious little public space that we can call our own, this is much more than a plea for sanctuary: It’s a hard-fought carving out of a protected space amid the repression: an expression of conscience and affirmation... continually reminding us what of we’ve lost, of what we can do, and what we can be. They would pen us in, they would permit us to death, they would tell us to “ move on, move on, there’s nothing to see”.....don’t block the street, don’t trespass, don’t EXIST. You don’t belong, you don’t count, you don’t have a right to even be here.... A city where control-freaks would sweep us under the rug and out of the way...as they deny us, as they deny our lives, as they deny our very futures. But OWS responds, loudly, BOTH in word and in DEED: we BELONG, we STAND our ground, and we DO matter! This is OUR land, and we want it BACK! The word OCCUPY says it all! That’s why OWS has captured our imagination. That’s why this living breathing public space is important. OWS needs to have this candle of occupation burning, shining as a powerful and concrete reminder of our presence and our persistence ....and as a symbolic light that continues to illuminate and inspire us in the storms around us. Trinity Church with its oft-proclaimed ideals (and its huge land holdings), should look deep into its collective soul, do the right thing, and help OWS secure these spaces of refuge and hope. If Christ were physically among us today, as He was 2000 years ago, He would be among the FIRST to climb those fences, and occupy Trinity’s Duarte Square. Of this I am certain... 

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