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Occupy Supply St. Louis: A Special Day

It was a nice day when I met up with Paul at the Home Depot last Thursday to drop off the initial order of occupy supplies. I was going to attend the GA meeting last Wednesday however the weather was too rainy and cold so they did not have it. Paul’s dad was also in the hospital and he had to visit him so we postpone our meeting till the next day. I told him all of the supplies were union made in America and he thought that was awesome. I asked him when the next GA meeting was and he said Saturday Dec 3 at 1 pm. I said I would turn in another order and try to get it to him by the GA meeting on Saturday.

I received confirmation that FedEx shipped the 2nd order the same day it was placed on Dec. 1, I was hoping the order would arrive before the GA meeting on Saturday. It was scheduled to be at my house on December 3rd and arrived 1 hour before I was to leave for the meeting. So I loaded up my car and arrived a little before the GA meeting was to start. It gave me some time to take some pictures of the group and talk to some of my friends that I had made there in my previous visits.

I was given a handout of what was to be discussed and continued to visit with people there. Their main order of business was a Constitutional amendment stating corporations were not people and to get money out of politics. Paul said he would like FDL to list the schedule of events that they would be involved in the coming months. I will post them as soon as Paul gets the list finalized. Paul also told me they had someone who had experience in canvasing and would be training occupiers to knock on doors during the winter months to get more people involved with the occupy movement and support them.  [cont’d.]

The meeting was started by Paul and the first order of business was the hand signals they used during the GA events. They then counted heads to see if they had a quorum to vote on any proposals. I raised my hand when they asked if they had anyone representing the media. I told them I was with FDL and had reported on their movement from the beginning. When they broke into workgroups Paul and I went to my car to get the second order of occupy supplies to bring back to the group. When we came back to the meeting Paul called for a mic check and introduced me as the liaison from FDL coordinating the cold weather supplies to the occupiers. Everyone at the meeting clapped and cheered for the work we were doing to help them keep warm during the cold weather. People also asked me if they could purchase supplies for themselves as some of them were not permanent occupiers. I directed them to the FDL homepage and that they could buy 1 send 1. One of the homeless shook my hand and thanked me for the supplies that we supplied. I asked if the cap he was wearing kept him warm enough and he replied “plenty warm.”

I asked the group about the homeless situation concerning the occupiers and I was told that there was around 10 homeless occupiers that were sleeping on living room floors offered by some volunteers. There were 12 additional occupiers that slept on the streets and on the steps of Keiner plaza or on the ground with no tents. These homeless were subject to the same curfew and could be arrested should the police decide to do so. What a sad state of affairs in a country with so much wealth that people have to sleep on concrete with no protection from the elements.

During the meeting Paul had made the announcement that a group of Shia Muslims were going to be marching as a part of the religious Ashura Day. If you are not familiar with it here is the Wikipedia entry of Ashura Day and the story behind it.

It is commemorated by Shia Muslims as a day of mourning for the martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of the ProphetMuhammad at the Battle of Karbala on 10 Muharram in the year 61 AH (October 2, 680 CE). According to Sunni Muslim tradition, Muhammad fasted on this day and asked other people to fast.

The occupy St. Louis group marched in solidarity with the Muslim community to the Capitol Building for prayer and around the block back to the front of the mayor’s office where they started. The video of the march is here. It was an experience that I will never forget as people marched for social justice not caring about one’s religion, skin color, or the other things used to divide us as a nation and Americans. This was a special day for me being involved not only with the occupy movement but to be a part of a march with the Muslim community.

If you have not donated to the occupy supply fund you may do so here and thanks to the many who have donated. We are in tough times and money is scarce but many thanks to those who give out of compassion for their fellow brothers and sisters. I also want to thank Jane, Ryan, Brian, and Bev for their tireless efforts to order and get these supplies out on such a timely basis. Thanks to Jane as well for allowing me to be a part of this important work that FDL is doing. This movement is just the beginning of our journey and even though the PTB are decamping occupations, beating, and pepper spraying protesters they can not kill the idea. We are all in this together and what ever you can do to be a part of it please do so. The occupiers are comforted knowing we have their back. In conclusion let me end this diary with an article posted by one of the jailed protesters at the LA occupation. H/T to FDL member Oldnslow for bringing it to our attention. If this treatment of Americans doesn’t outrage you it should.

As always the floor is yours. Discuss.

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John has been writing for Firedoglake since 2006 or so, on whatever interests him. He has a law degree, worked as legal counsel and energy policy adviser for a state energy agency for 20 years and then as a consultant on electricity systems and markets. He's now retired, living in Massachusetts.

You can follow John on twitter: @JohnChandley