Sunday, October 09, 2011

Occupy SF:
Public Space, Male Flesh & Gay Inc

Over the past couple of weeks, I've stopped by the Occupy San Francisco encampment on the public sidewalk in front of the Federal Reserve Bank on lower Market Street and watched some of the General Assemblies, just to show my solidarity with the activists and ordinary folks showing up to lend their voices to the protest.

On Saturday, I was at Occupy San Francisco in the mid afternoon, as the day's march was being decided on, and was quite aware of how much of the private sidewalk space inside the anti-terrorism cement pillars was barricaded off, because it's not public property. The SF police department's metal barricades went up the night the cops broke up the encampment last week.

I didn't know until this week that Occupy Wall Street's location, Zuccotti Park, is a privately-owned public park, showing me a common thread between my advocacy to reclaim the rainbow flag at Harvey Milk Plaza and remove empty news racks from our corporate colonized sidewalks. Public control of public space across America is just one more item to add to the list of Occupy demands that is of concern.

Radical idea to consider. What about creating Occupy Gay Inc actions, since we can't just outright dismantle its components? Get a crew together to camp out, lots of puns intended, at the Human Rights Campaign corporation's headquarters in Washington. Same thing at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force offices. Let's not overlook the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. There's also the statewide "equality" organizations. They could all use a massive, sustained injection of democratic engagement and develop transparency for the LGBT people they claim to work for. Demand the impossible: HRC General Assemblies open to all.

Soon after Rep. Nancy Pelosi became Speaker of the House, a watchdog effort was launched to hold her to promote and enact San Francisco principles, including large-scale accountability regarding the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Unfortunately, Pelosi Watch was led and co-opted by Code Pink, which had a rigid top-down operation with leaders of their choosing. Pelosi Watch meetings were rare, but when they took place Code Pink schedule their expert pals to lecture. It didn't last because democracy engagement was sorely lacking. That is not the case with Occupy SF and its staunch democratic ideals and transparency. There is much to be proud of with a great experiment in truly public meetings in the (ever-shrinking) public square, along with lots of other affiliated pushes for change. Happy to do my part to keep the momentum forward moving.

A few young men doffed their shirts in the warmth of the sun baking the tiled sidewalk and cement pillars. Some used their flesh to express themselves politically. The nude fellow above usually hangs out at the public parklet at Castro and Market Streets. Any American protest-for-change-in-the-streets movement that includes nudists amidst calls for economic justice has a lot going for it.

Feed two birds with one seed. Fantastic phrase to adopt. Whenever you're about to say "kill two birds with one stone", stop those words from coming out of your mouth. Only Tippi Hedren is allowed to use that phrase and even she would probably not say it, being the animal rights activist she is! Did you know there's a birdhouse on Market Street, just past Third Street, on the south side? Only discovered it myself last week. This is the perfect post to include this photo. Hope to see you down at Occupy SF.

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