Outside the Circle

Cindy Milstein

Occupation in Philly, Day 42 (November 16)

Anti-Anarchist Vomit & a Surprising Act of Solidarity

I usually post my own writing here, but like nearly everything at Occupy Philly and all the “occupy everything” spaces everywhere, there seem to be near-constant contrasts from minute to minute, and it’s dizzying–especially this past week. Kinda like a good novel that you can’t put down, filled with startling twists and turns. That’s how I felt when reading Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. My heart was beating with anticipation of what would come next, and I think I basically abandoned myself to that novel, at the expense of all else, until I reached the final page.

Now I’m doing the same with Occupy Philly: I can’t put it down. I can’t sleep. I’ve abandoned all else to this profound and startling moment of promise. But especially this past week, I feel like I’m suddenly living within a novel, with me as the central character, tortured by how to move forward in a way that won’t destroy this movement that I so dearly love, even with all its precarious twists & turns.

So here is today’s installment of a few chapters from the real-life novel of my life here as one occupier among many, who for some damn reason (say, policing agencies spreading rumors and fomenting division?) has become evil incarnate as anarchist enemy number one here at Occupy Philly (humorous, since for those many people who know me, I usually get accused of the just the opposite–either too posi, too friendly, or too liberal). And I’m going to refer you to others’ writing as well.

Chapter 1: I agree to speak to reporter Will Bunch, for some 30 to 45 minutes of a lovely conversation about all that’s good about Occupy Philly and anarchism, and the ways both are trying to make a better world, and he contributes to today’s Philly Daily News story and all the anti-anarchist fervor with “Crime, Radicals, Homeless (& Poop) Tarnish Occupy Message.” I feel like throwing up.


Chapter 2: Will feels contrite, and so blogs an “apology,” in which he vomits up more anti-anarchist venom, falling back on the utterly unsubstantiated and untrue accusation that anarchists are provocateurs (likely whispered to him or called in anonymously by one of the actual provocateurs, paid by police or not, lurking around OP). He titles the piece “The Daily News Takes a Stand in Favor of the Occupy Movement,” even as he does his bit to whip up fear and loathing within a movement that he alleged is “thrilled about.” The idea of even drinking my morning cup of coffee makes me ill.


Chapter 3: I run into Dan Denvir, a reporter with Philly’s City Paper, at one of my favorite morning cafes. Poor Dan gets to interact with me on two nights of almost no sleep; aka Cindy is extra fast talking and extra intense, mostly because I woke up on the wrong side of the Daily News. Friendly and posi as I am, even I have my limits! I give Dan a mouthful of how I’m feeling, especially about reporters, and he tells me that he’s writing–right then and there–a piece about the Daily News article. I speak even more quickly, alternating between wanting to get Dan to see reason around the anarchist witch hunt at Occupy Philly and thinking he’ll likely, even with good intentions, end up hoisting anarchism to the stake. He tells me he needs to finish his piece; I wander over to a friend, an autonomist, to try to focus on the joy of talking shared politics, and marvel at how much my skull hurts behind my eyes.

An hour later, Dan’s story appears, titled “Daily News Regurgitates Conspiracy Theory: Anarchist Invasion of Occupy Philly.” I order and happily gulp down a cup of espresso, settling into my cafe table.


Chapter 4: All this is followed by an extra-heavy flurry of Facebook messages and emails, including five more reporters who want to talk to me and comrades who offer media advice (at my request) and notions of me drafting a statement and/or others doing so. My head is start to spin again. Maybe I need to eat. Or sleep. But I can’t do either. I try to at least breath, and open an email from a Toronto Globe and Mail reporter who says he wants to talk about the occupy movement to date, and how it’s both changed and succeeded. The posi and friendly Cindy returns–the Cindy who also remembers to drink some water–and the eternal optimist in me (sitting side by the side with the eternal skeptic), which is probably what makes me (as people repeat ad nauseam, though certainly kindly!) “inspirational,” says “yes.” We’re about to chat in an hour.

Chapter 5: Stay glued to this page…


One comment on “Occupation in Philly, Day 42 (November 16)

  1. -nickt.-
    November 16, 2011

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This entry was posted on November 16, 2011 by in Dispatches from Occupy Philly.
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