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OccupyAustin Intense Day

Austin City Hall (Photo: D. Wilson, flickr)

Austin City Hall (Photo: D. Wilson, flickr)

It was an intense day for OccupyAustin yesterday, November 11.  In the wee hours of the morning Friday, 3 of the young men who’ve been occupying were in a serious car crash unrelated to the occupation.  As I understand it, it was a head on collision.  One of the men was instantly killed.  The other two are in intensive care, both in comas.  One has had multiple surgeries and is more critical than the other.

Yesterday, Austin’s occupation took place at the State capitol, which is about a 15-20 minute leisurely walk from the occupation site at City Hall.  David Graeber, an anthropologist by training, spoke at 5:30pm .  He is one of the original organizers in New York of OWS and has been in Austin lately.  He gave a talk at the local radical bookstore, MonkeyWrench books Wednesday night on his new book, Debt, that had us all totally packed into the bookstore.  Last night he spoke about the nuts and bolts of the beginnings of OWS in New York.  He’s a very sparkly speaker.  Literally.  His synapses just seem to sparkle.

After his talk, we started the general assembly.  Almost immediately, one of the occupiers came up late, walking quickly, yelling “Mic Check”.  He didn’t stop, but announced that at City Hall the front lines (the area near Cesar Chavez Street where people hold up signs for traffic to see) were being attacked by police.  People ran down to City Hall.

As it turned out, nothing was happening and this was an apparent misunderstanding.  As far as I can make out, the public toilet had gotten backed up and the Utility folks had come to fix it.

So, the General Assembly reconvened on the island across from City Hall.  That’s been happening because of the “Exiles”, the occupiers who are banned from City Hall because of their arrests and criminal trespass charges  from the night of mass arrests over the city temporarily making up a new rule needing to take down the food tables after 10 pm.

We broke up into 5 groups to start the discussion about what are our guiding principles and agreements for our occupation.  After the groups had met, we were going to come back together as a large group to share, but it was getting late and folks really wanted to have a vigil for the young men in the car crash.

The candlelight vigil on the island where most of us were (one also took place at City Hall) was incredibly moving.  Two young men spoke at length and both were freely crying.  One of their family had died and the other two were fighting for their lives.  A number of people spoke,  all were crying.

Please pray for the lives and complete recovery of the two men who are in intensive care.

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