Halfway through the General Assembly, a rowdy group of protesters, led by a man in tie-died spandex pants, approached the park. They were pounding drums, blowing whistles, and chanting “Wall Street, Our Street!” Their energy dissipated as they approached the more somber General Assembly, then in the process of discussing whether they should discuss a common name, if they should have a police liaison and how they could best formally recognize the disproportionate privilege of many of the protesters. Then a cry of “Welcome them!” came from the General Assembly, and the cheering, colorful band of marchers was added to the mix.
Sounds like a group that’s really dug deep into the underlying causes of the economic collapse, no? Anyway, the simplest answer to that bolded line, of course, would be, “Uh, they showed up to the AdBusters Occupy Wall Street protest,” but, then, as if to hammer the point truly home the piece ends with a quote from a 18 year-old college student:
“I know I’m making a difference,” Benjamin said. “The people who come and see this and walk by and think about it, whether it be good or bad thoughts. Plus,” he said, “If I wasn’t here, I’d just be sitting in my dorm room doing homework.”
And that would be a real tragedy. You sort of want to applaud any sort of engagement from people that age, but, at the same time, you also want to point them to their own words and explain how “activism” in this country is so often just a bored affectation of the leisure class.