Interior: Mayor’s Office, an American City American Mayor: Darn those occupiers and their tents! They’re sleeping all over our nice clean park. I hope I…
For the past few weeks I’ve participated in an online discussion for citizen journalists and livestreamers working within the Occupy movement. It’s been an enlightening experience — the topics are almost always interesting, dealing with everything from how to stay safe during police violence to the ever tricky balance between the need for transparency and the need for personal privacy.
Just as Occupy itself highlights how our problems are global, conversations like these show the common ground we all share as citizen journalists. All groups are struggling with the pull between transparency as a core value & the rising call for “security culture” and hiding our actions from the police & government agencies who monitor us. And everyone is looking toward Chicago this spring, and wondering what the state’s unconstitutional laws against recording public officials mean for us.
Below the cut you’ll find my tweets from the meeting, which form a sort of minutes. You can also download a recording of the roundtable.
Last week, Crumbelina from the Tyranny of Beauty online radio show interviewed me about Occupy Austin. Tune in to the program today, which starts at 1pm, to hear my interview.
I haven’t posted since Occupy Austin got evicted from City Hall suddenly on the night of February 3, after a full day of action and marching. The next day involved still more encounters with the police state during a march against homelessness. There are a lot of words to share about what happened, and maybe sometime I’ll share them here on my blog.
But a lot has been happening since. I’m feeling kind of overwhelmed with my life right now — engaged in an ongoing legal issue, struggling with money, and dealing with some considerable stress in my personal life. It’s been hard to make my muse come out of hiding. Paradoxically, that doesn’t alleviate my need to write — I still get the added anxiety that I naturally feel when the words aren’t flowing, even when they simultaneously feel blocked.
As I coax my words back out I am encouraging myself to write smaller if I have too. Not everything needs to be a 750 word blog post. Instead, I remind myself that I can throw up a few photos, a storify post about my recent activities, or a youtube video of an interview with a little added commentary. So hopefully look for more of that kind of post in coming days.
Spring has arrived in Texas. The nights are still cool, but the days frequently warm up into the 60s and 70s. A new community garden has appeared on the East Side, my part of Austin — it’s actually on the same city block as my house, around the corner and down an alley. It’s part of Occupy Austin’s efforts at community outreach after eviction. Kristen, my housemate, and I have also started working to reclaim our garden beds at Avocasa, which filled up over the winter with grass and, more happily, wild onions, cilantro and mint.
I feel like I am fighting off depression caused by many factors. The last few days, I’ve felt like the two things keeping me sane are the company of my fellow activists from time to time, and the feeling of using my hands — transplanting, or pulling weeds, or painting our new compost bin bright pink. Just those simple, physical acts, simple physical pleasures, are enough right now.
Thursday at the Occupy Austin General Assembly, I brought a proposal to offer solidarity with Occupy Oakland. For those who are not aware, Occupy Oakland…
On Saturday, I attended a rally in defense of Antonio Buehler and other recent victims of police violence. It was a great turnout — over 100 people by the end — and a wonderful example of how different activist groups — such as Occupiers and Ron Paul fans, who don’t always get along here in Austin — can work together for a common cause. Buehler himself is a Paul supporter, so it made sense to have so many people there involved with that cause. A candidate for city council was there, so there was a little bit of political campaigning; I also sensed some discomfort from many of the community activists over choice of tactics when Occupy Austin tried to get everyone to march in the street as we circled APD headquarters. But overall everyone worked together to speak up for police accountability.
As I have done often recently, I attended the rally and livetweeted it from @KitOConnell. Below I compiled my tweets from the day, and a few more photos. This is the first time I’m using Storify to gather my tweets, so let me know what you think of this format.
To keep up with this case, check the Free Antonio Buehler Facebook Page.
For more gonzo journalism from Occupy Wall Street, follow Kit O’Connell on Twitter
I am the Twitter magnet for Occupy Austin, so I help guide the team responsible for @OccupyAustin. I also use twitter to raise awareness about this…