Occupy Congress: The Report From The Ground


I'm in DC for Occupy Congress. I filed a report about the first ever national Occupy event on the lawn of the Capitol for The Atlantic.

The plan for the four month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street was the first national direct action by the movement thus far, a protest called Occupy Congress or #J17. Activists from all over the nation were to convene on the West Lawn of the Capitol for a National General Assembly (GA), followed by some teach-ins, a visit to the Rayburn House Office Building (where congressmen work) and a march to the White House. The plan was to speak directly to their members of Congress about the issues that brought them to D.C.

Not exactly radical. And far from revolutionary.

And that's really the thing with Occupy: Yes there have been nearly 6,000 arrests in the last four months -- a much higher concentration that for other movements in recent American history, such as the anti-nuclear power protests that resulted in around 2,000 arrested over a two year period in the mid-1980s. And yes, some demonstrators wear handkerchiefs over their faces, like early celluloid bank robbers (or anarchists). And yes, they chant, "mic check" and yell, getting people like Karl Rove to say things like: "Who gave you the right to Occupy America? Nobody!" But what they want at this point seems a piece with what any number of goo-goo D.C. worthies work for each day: a more representative democratic government.

"It's not a coincidence that Congress' approval rating is near 1 percent," read OccupyDC's Twitter feed. Indeed.

The whole piece is here.


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