Saturday, October 1, 2011


In my cab yesterday I picked up a hedge fund stock analyst. Nice guy. I asked him if he had any hot stock tips for his cab driver. He said, “I wouldn’t be putting ANY money into the stock market right now.” I asked if he’d heard about the 2,000 people who’ve been occupying Wall Street for the past two weeks. He said yes, and he also said, “They’re doing it here, too.” I’ve heard zip about this in our local media. He said, “They’re about fifty of them down in front of the Federal Reserve Building at 101 Market Street. They’ve been there for a couple of weeks.” I said that if there were 2,000 Tea Party members camped out on Wall Street, or fifty Tea Party members camped out in front of the Fed in San Francisco, the news media would undoubtedly be all over them. The hedge fund stock analyst said, “I’d put ALL my money on THAT!”

After I dropped him, I drove down and parked around the corner from the Fed. Right outside the Fed’s front door was an encampment -- sleeping bags, paper plates filled with bagels and muffins, “Occupy SF” posters. About two dozen people were milling around, handing out literature, chalking messages onto the sidewalk. They were mostly young. (I turned 60 last month, so my definition is shifting.) The oldest person I talked to was 34, from Tunisia, has been in the States for ten years. Well-spoken, happy seeming. He said he goes back to visit Tunisia every year or two, was sorry to have not been there during the recent uprising but he does know what it was all about, and he’s glad to be able to be part of this thing here. He said that in
the evenings the crowd here on Market Street grows to about fifty.

About 10 o’clock last night I went back down to the Fed with a few posterboards (one of the items requested on the website). There were about fifty people, a couple of guitars being strummed, three or four guys tapping on laptops, a circle of people on the ground discussing the banking system. (One guy: “Give me one good
reason why there should even BE any banks -- give me one reason!” Another: “So we all don’t have to carry around bushels of wheat!”) On the nearby sidewalk, a gas burner with a little blue flame, heating water. The Tunisian fellow told me they’d all just finished dinner -- risotto, bread, salad. During the twenty minutes I was there, dozens of people stopped by to offer encouragement or ask what was up. Most of the people I talked to live in Oakland, like me. One had driven in from Pacifica just to see this campout, and one of the campers told me she was from Tennessee.

The Tunisian told me that the chief of the Fed’s building security team had come out earlier that morning and told them he supported them -- the chief mentioned first amendment rights. The Tunisian told me that he and the rest of the crew weren’t too worried about getting arrested -- not right now, anyway. After a video of police pepper-spraying several women on Wall Street went viral, the crowds in New York instantly swelled from hundreds to thousands, and the police in NY have backed off. Here, the police have been kind of friendly
toward them. “I’m sure they all know what’s going on on Wall Street,” he said. He told me it would be nice if the word got out to the local public about the San Francisco camp. “No one even really knows we’re here yet.”

I told him I would do what I could.


-- Cops pepper spray young women in New York

-- Pepper spray victim interviewed, Wall Street protest “explained”

-- “OccupySF” website


During the past three weeks, I’ve been laying the groundwork for a possible human mural event at Ocean Beach, on Saturday, October 29, arrival at the beach by 11:15 A.M., helicopter overhead at noon. If this comes off, we’ll be spelling out TAX THE RICH (or a variation), and there will be at least 2,000 people there. The Park Service has given me permission for 3,000 people. The helicopter is lined up. The last significant detail I’m working on is a signup mechanism, which I hope to have ready soon. This event will have one new twist -- if there are not at least 2,000 people signed up by October 22, (one week before the event, and three weeks from today), the event will be canceled (no use dragging everyone to the beach for a too-small crowd)
and I will go back to the drawing board and try to get ready for a similar event next October, two or three weeks before The Election of 2012.

For now, please save the morning of Saturday, October 29, 2011. And stay tuned. I’ll be back to you as soon as I get the signup mechanism established.

And if you get a chance to drop by and encourage the campers in front of the Fed, please do.

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