If you remember something, does it mean that it’s over, in the past? Or does the act of remembering extend that thing’s lifespan, even resurrect it, lend it new meaning?
For those of us who experienced Occupy Wall Street, will it ever be over?
On Sunday, a participatory walking tour was convened to commemorate Occupy’s second anniversary. It began at the Charging Bull statue in Bowling Green, and meandered through Wall Street to Liberty Square (i.e. Zuccotti Park). Along the way, people shared memories of Occupy, as well as oral history of the Financial District’s past: the wall that is today Wall Street was built to keep out the Native Americans, as well as an auction block where Africans were traded. As the speaker put it, Wall Street was since its origination a site of “the privatization of human life.”
In Liberty Square, people mic-checked and recounted the confusion of the General Assembly, the constant fear of police brutality and raids, the various issues with local business (the food vendors), and other ups and downs of the days of the occupation. One woman told of how Occupy had saved her, when she was on the verge of suicide from being chronically depressed about her financial debt and family issues. Through remembering Occupy on its anniversary, people made it so that Occupy was not dead, rather it was a 2-year-old baby, still learning to walk, somewhat naive about the world.
While such stories were being shared in the park, tourist gawked, rebellious Occupiers yelled rudely and waved anti-Occupy flags, and police stood guard with bored faces. Some things never change.