I published this almost two years ago, but given the anniversary of the OWS protests, I thought it a good time for a repost.
It was three hours into Friday night’s General Assembly meeting at Occupy Boston. One hundred or so protesters were seated on a grassy knoll in Dewey Square, well within the forbidding shadow of the city’s 32-story Federal Reserve Bank. The night had started cool but clear—grazing 50 degrees with a few stars dotting the twilight sky—but the temperature had gotten noticeably colder. I could see my breath, and the financial district’s rush-hour hubbub had long since passed. For the past three hours the crowd had been debating the creation of a new working group called Urban Youth. The process was laborious: While the facilitator had a microphone, it didn’t carry far, and each comment had to be repeated through Occupy’s elaborate Human Microphone system. The process was reminiscent of New England bureaucracy and legislative officialdom, procedures I’ve often panned as a local. Things were said like: “We need to see everyone’s hands in the air, because if we don’t have a quorum of people voting it won’t be considered consensus.”