On Saturday, November 28th, FDL’s greenwarrior, cbl, Casual Observer, and I visited Occupy Austin at the Austin City Hall plaza.
The Occupation, about 70 ‘sleepers’ strong, has been there since October 6th. Some sleepers are currently being forced to Occupy the Island in the intersection of Cesar Chavez St. and S. 1st St. This is directly across the street from the Occupation. These Occupiers, or ‘Exiles’, are stuck on the Island due to a 1 year ban from City Hall property levied by the City after their arrests on October 30th. The National Lawyers Guild is working with the Exiles to contest this ban. The solidarity they’ve shown by continuing to Occupy the Island is amazing.
This was our 2nd trip in our capacity as Occupy Supply liaisons and the goal was to drop off our first large shipment for distribution. Armed with hats, socks, long johns, sweaters, face masks and more, we waited for the arrival of our primary contact, who we’ll call Kate.
Kate had done a huge amount of footwork in establishing the needs of individual sleepers and assembling a list of supplies for our order. She kept detailed notes on who needed what and acted as the distributor on the ground when we arrived with our delivery.
When Kate returned to the Occupation from running a couple personal errands she immediately began comparing notes with Greenwarrior. They were quickly able to establish what was ordered vs. what was received and who would be getting supplies that day.
Kate gathered up the folks on hand who were in need of the various items and proceeded to hand them out.
The reaction from the Occupiers was wonderful. Their gratitude was heartwarming.
We even found a couple of enthusiastic models in the crowd.
The remaining items were loaded into Kate’s car for distribution later that night at the Texas State Capitol Building. There, beginning Saturday night, Occupiers were going to attempt to set up a new encampment and expand the local Occupation presence. Unbeknownst to us at the time, there is a State Preservation Board regulation that limits protests without permits to 3 hours maximum during any 24 hour period. This regulation was drafted and instituted within the last 30 days. Gov. Perry was expecting us and wanted to prevent an Occupation from forming.
The Occupation of the Capitol will continue, just between 3-6pm most days. Permit applications are in the works.
It was a wonderful trip Saturday. Getting a group of Firedogs together to do good work and mingle with Occupiers was a blast.
On a personal note, I’ve been involved with FDL now for 4 years. I have participated in uncounted comment threads where regulars and lurkers alike have lamented the absence of direct action by progressive organizations. This program, right here, is the most direct action I’ve seen. Even the great Glennzilla endorsed our efforts. FDL has built a beautiful outreach program that puts its readers in direct contact with our future Founding Mothers and Fathers. These Occupiers are out there fighting for the future of our country. Not everyone can Occupy, but everyone can help in some way.
If you, dear reader, would like to get involved and volunteer, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org .
If you would like to donate to the Occupy Supply fund, you can do so here.
If you would like to own any of the snazzy gear featured above, you can purchase it here. Every item purchased will result in an identical item being donated to Occupations nationwide. With the holidays around the corner, wouldn’t your progressive friends just love their own pair of Occupy Supply socks? Think about it.
Please remember that all of these items are union made in the USA at shops that provide fair living wages and benefits. It doesn’t get much better than this, folks.
Thanks to greenwarrior for her tireless efforts as a liaison and as an activist, with Occupy Austin and elsewhere. Thanks cbl for her help with deliveries. BIG thanks to Casual Observer for the use of photos and for his help on Saturday.
To all of you who have donated and contributed to this effort in any way, the Occupiers in ATX wanted to convey their gratitude. They are all touched that we’ve thought of them and made an effort to meet their needs for the upcoming winter months. Our activism means a lot.
The photos from our trip on Saturday that aren’t embedded in this post can be found here.