Atlanta, Georgia – “Occupy Atlanta? You mean like Occupy Wall Street?,” a friend asked. Yes. As it turns out – and completely different from what CNN’s Jacqui Jeras reported on a map of cities with activities related to the Occupy Wall Street movement (or Occupy America, if you like), there is an organization related to it in Atlanta.
The map CNN’s Jeras referred on a news segment about Occupy Wall Street did not show Atlanta on it Friday morning, even as it marked cities like San Francisco and Seattle. Since Atlanta’s CNN’s headquarters, it was strange that the media company built in The Capital Of The South would not seek to report that there was Occupy Wall Street ‘stuff’ going on.
But, thanks to a friend who told me about a Friday evening rally, saying “You should come, it will be good for your videos,” I discovered the general assembly meeting of what is a growing group in The Capital Of The South. (In fairness to CNN, the iReport team had an assignment for Occupy Wall Street in place, so this blogger will post shorter versions of the video above on the iReport site, but is CNN trying not to focus on Atlanta?)
So, after a meeting related to the Atlanta Vid Blogger show, it was easy to drive down to Woodruff Park, find a parking lot, and walk over to the event.
And it was an event. Frankly, it was quite magical. As the video shows, and because this blogger worked to talk to as many people as possible within the 45 minute time frame formed by a parking garage set to close at 7 PM, the attendees were from different ages, colors, and walks of life, yet shared a focus to assemble because they believe something is seriously wrong with our economic priorities. The message seemed pretty focused on the “corporatization” of much of American activities, and the focus on taking money away from programs designed to help the poor.
Yes, there were “hot chicks” there, as this space deliberately and controversially presented last week, and in fair numbers, but what must be added to that is something my friend said to me earlier: “when you have librarians marching you know something’s wrong.”
What was learned at Friday’s general assembly meeting was enough to alter my view of Occupy Wall St and see it as a very serious effort. The gripe presented was that it didn’t seem to have a plan. But that’s from the perspective of a person who’s been formed to think that you have to have a plan before you organize people.
Occupy Wall Street, and thus Occupy Atlanta, has a more democratic approach: the people who make up the assembly form the plan. So the news is the Occupy Wall Street / Occupy Atlanta / Occupy America effort does know they need a plan, but have elected to use a more democratic “open forum” way to make one.
It’s worth a trip to a meeting just to see the process in action. The instrument of communication is called a “human mic” where people repeat what the designated moderator says so other can hear. The result can be as many as 100 people saying the same thing at once, but it’s most effective.
And it also served to get people ready to talk. One observer, a thoughtful person of college age, said “We’re here to look after the consumer. The 99 percent who doesn’t have billions, who doesn’t have off-shore accounts – your average working American. For young people like me, it’s about changing the future.”
An athletic woman who was also taking photos at the Occupy Atlanta rally stopped to remark “I’m tired of the lower class and middle class being taken advantage of, and the bankers and the corporations getting our money and we’re not getting anything back. And they cut Medicade and Medicare, food stamps, Planned Parenthood, all these things that help the lower class, and they keep giving tax breaks to the wealthy, and that is not my America. I’m scared that I don’t even have a future here.”
An older woman remarked about the rise of what she called the “Indigo Children,” which does not refer to race mixing but to “a new generation of special children among us who are psychically sensitive and spiritually evolved.” She says they’ve grown up and are speaking out.
If You Get Arrested And Need Help
Between talking with people and making the “stuff” that became the video you see, I wasn’t able to stay long enough to see the final outcome. The event was intended to be a peaceful assembly, and that’s what I saw. But I did come away with some valuable information for anyone who should find themselves at the wrong end of a police officer’s arm of the law.
As one woman told me in the video, if you are arrested in Atlanta at one of the Occupy Atlanta events, and need a lawyer, the organizers have a battery of attorneys ready to assist on a pro-bono or a low cost basis if you call 678-253-7330 and a bail bonds person at 678-883-2245.
Where Was CNN?
That’s the question I asked, and will continue to ask for the near future: where was CNN Television? I hope I’m wrong and someone representing CNN was in attendance, but if they were, they didn’t have anything showing an affiliation to the Cable News Network’s television news team.
Stay tuned for follow-up blogs and videos.