Occupy and the Power of Ordinary People

Occupy did not have to race to the scene, because they are already there…

It started at St. Jacobi Church in Brooklyn the day after the storm, where Occupiers set up a base of operations and used social media like Twitter and Facebook to spread the word.

There is a sense of camaraderie reminiscent of Zuccotti, as young people with scruffy beards and walkie-talkies plan the day’s activities. Donations come in by the truckload and are sorted in the basement, which looks like a clearinghouse for every household product imaginable, from canned soup and dog food to duvet covers.

“This is young people making history,” said Mark Naison, a professor at Fordham University who has been studying Occupy Wall Street. “Young people who are refusing to let people suffer without putting themselves on the line to do something about it.”

Now the group has dozens of relief centers across the city and a stream of volunteers who are shuttled out to the most desperate areas. It is partnering with local community and volunteer organizations.

Occupy Providence turned Burnside Park into a temporary village with tents, food, first aid and mediation. The Occupiers are experienced in mutual aid. This is the barn-raising spirit of America.

A Solidarity Economy that is not frozen and hampered by a relentless imperative to make money is creative and responsive to both emergency and ongoing needs.

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