I have been following Occupy Oakland and now Occupy Cal at every possible spare moment. I can’t help but notice a sort of irony, that part of the reason I wanted to move to Paris was because I felt that the center of any kind of substantial upheaval was more likely to be here, and that there would be so many more people who share my views and that I could connect with. I thought it would be a long time before people in the United States took to the streets in a rage, even though that was OBVIOUSLY what they should be doing. Well, I’ll be damned, that is exactly what is happening now. And it began as soon as I left. But sure, I lament that I can’t be there, but mostly I’m just so proud, proud of Oaklanders and Berkeleyites, and proud of people around the world who are fed up and not afraid to say it. It’s been a long time since I’ve found something to be this inspiring. Sorry I doubted you, Bay Area.
These pictures in particular have been shared repeatedly on Facebook, along with other related pictures, videos, and articles. Though its significance is uncertain, it’s definitely encouraging to witness the virtual show of solidarity in the form of copious “likes” and shares. As much as Facebook is (unfortunately) able to transform someone’s “great workout at the gym” into international NewsFeed fame, every once in a while it gets dominated by real issues and you can literally see the message, in this case “Occupy,” being communicated from person to person. That’s social networking I can get on board with.The following picture was especially popular among Berkeley friends, after Berkeley police beat non-violent student protesters with batons. It has been shared on Facebook with an excerpt of Chancellor Birgeneau’s subsequent, and rather patronizing, e-mail message to the campus community: