The nycmarch2dc/occupy the highway/walking occupation has reached its goal. We successfully marched the 240+ miles from Occupy Wall Street to Occupy K Street (and the capital); outreached to rural communities by engaging in conversations and holding five public GA’s; empowered each other by holding three facilitation trainings (with rotating instructors); and worked toward solidifying our own process by having countless internal/marcher GA’s in public and private spaces. Lastly, we marched 31.5 miles on Monday in order to get into DC earlier since the super committee moved their deadline up (and as we’ve all heard came to no decision at all). Tuesday night we held a Super GA outside the Capitol building. There were only 20 people in attendance, but I can imagine in a year from now that number could be in the millions. Additionally, the ball is rolling and I have heard plans for more marches and bicycle and bus tours from occupations nationwide.
Upon our arrival at McPherson Sq we refused to give interviews until the appropriate time in the General Assembly Press Conference which passed with marcher consensus prior to our arrival. I’ve been informed that the GA Press Conference was aired in its entirety on CNN and CSPAN. The agenda was as follows:
1. Crash course in direct democracy; including hand signals, consensus based decision making process, and facilitation roles/descriptions. 15 minutes* (these times are estimates for now).
2. Code of conduct/non-violence in occupations/occupy movement briefing. 5 minutes.
3. Marching group report backs (stories from the march/individual perspectives). 15 min.
4. Q&A (reporters were put on stack and there was a group of five people fielding questions). 20 min.
5. Announcements. 5 min.
The GA Press Conference was roughly an hour long and worked really well. There was one reporter who voiced his impatience about going through the hand signals and other agenda items before being able to ask a specific question. He was kindly informed of the process and thanked for his patience.
I think every marcher will have various responses when asked what the biggest challenges of the march were, personally, aside from the sometimes chaotic internal GA’s and biases, the biggest challenge to me right now is leaving the amazing community of marchers who feel like family, wait-are family, without being incredibly sad. I have never before been in such a diverse and generally supportive group of individuals. We didn’t have perfect communication, but we often chased stress with laughter and arguments withs love. We never had problems with violence, sexual harassment, etc. I’m on a train right now and tomorrow morning when I wake up alone I expect to feel a little disoriented-like maybe the march left without me and I’ll have to catch up. I know I’ll see most of these beautiful people again eventually because that’s how life works, but in the meantime I want all the marchers and the world to know how unified we are (both with marchers and occupations) and how powerful that unity is and that this unity can overwrite personal dilemmas if we let it. We can do anything. Hell, the marchers just walked over 240 miles, always had warm places to sleep, food to eat, and community support. I love you all and I need to end here since I have occupied the wordpress with my feelings long enough:)
p.s. next month a small group of us will begin going through the hours and hours of video footage, photography, live stream, and writing we have from day 1 – day 14 of the march. Stay tuned. A lot is happening…
***I just made a few edits to this post to clarify what I intended to say. I’m not saying life is now beautiful and problems no longer exist-exactly the opposite-many marchers have said they’ll walk until their feet bleed. My sentiments are just that-and maybe it’s entirely inappropriate to relay sentiments on such a public site devoted to the march, but many people can relate to feelings such as these and that, I believe, is one possible way to unify with a lot more people. We may consider ourselves revolutionaries, but we are still people after all.