Occupy Everett has been going on for almost a month now and on Saturday December 3rd the movement held a small gathering and concert opened to all who wanted to join in. There were multiple performers, including Peter Ali and Jim Page. The greatest part of the whole event was one Dorli Rainey, the 84 year old lady who was pepper sprayed in Seattle during the Occupy Seattle movement.
The Occupy Everett movement is indeed a small one, but none the less an important one. I spoke to a few members and got a little bit of history regarding the movement here Everett. I was told that the Occupy Everett movement was started in response to the Occupy Seattle fiasco that occurred (the one in which a pregnant woman and Dorli Rainey were pepper sprayed by police). The leadership is in constant contact with Snohomish County officials and regularly attends their meetings where they make deals and learn about new regulations that the county makes for the occupiers to follow while they camp out in front of the administration building.
The County made a deal with the Occupy Everett leadership, and they gave the occupiers a permit to camp out in front of the administration building, a permit which never expires so long as the occupiers follow certain regulations like keeping the area clean and free of hazardous materials and obstructions. For instance, one of the regulations is the prohibition of wooden structures on the camp because they are considered a fire hazard. This has upset most occupiers many because it rains here a lot, and the occupiers were using wooden pallets to set their sleeping arrangements on so they are raised off of the ground and won’t get wet. As these pallets are wooden structures they are banned.
The occupiers here in Everett have access to two porta-potties in the camp as well. One is paid for by the county and the other is paid for by the occupiers as per an agreement that was struck with the occupy leadership and the county. Although this had caused a twist in the panties of some Everett residents (I’m assuming their Republicans) who don’t believe that their tax dollars should be used to supply the occupiers with any amenities. The one porta-potty that is being paid for by the county has apparently been there since the beginning, but the funny thing is that it’s not being used by just the occupiers there on the scene. Comcast Arena is located not far away, and many occupiers have seen Comcast workers using the porta-potty as well and say they have always used said amenity.
Aside from “pottygate” the occupiers assured me that everything is well in their little encampment. They keep the area clean, they follow the regulations imposed on them by the county, the police and deputies have been friendly (to the extent that they just don’t make contact the occupiers) and no one has been heckled or treated poorly in anyway.
This concert event did have a police presence, but it was a small one as the event itself wasn’t relatively large (at least compared to it’s cousins like Occupy Seattle, Oakland, etc). I saw at most three sheriff’s deputies overlooking the event and looking rather bored with the orders they were given.
There was music at this event of course, and even coffee which was free for all people who were attending the event. There were also a few speeches and attendees were encouraged to come up on stage and speak their mind throughout the event. Performers were playing guitars, drums, and flutes and over all they were all very nice. But as I said, the main event was the anxiously awaited speech that was going to be given by Dorli Rainey herself.
For those who don’t remember or follow the news, Dorli is being called the “new face of the occupy movement” because of what happened to her when police tried to break up the Occupy Seattle movement back in mid November. When she stood up on the stage you could see just how small she is, and how much of an imposing and threatening person she is not. She spoke for a short time and talked about how she gets letters, emails, and phone calls from all across the United States and the world. In one letter she received came from Vienna, in which the writer called her a hero. She wanted to make it clear to everyone at the concert that she was not a hero, and went on to say that she was just “in the right spot at the right time”.
Dorli went on to say that the Occupy movement is the biggest movement she has ever been apart of. Bigger than the civil rights movements, the women’s rights movements, and the anti-Vietnam War movement. She assured the attendees that the Occupy movement was growing larger and larger and wasn’t going to go away anytime soon, and that she was going to continue to participate. One thing she did say which I had trouble agreeing with was “the police aren’t your friend”. I had to disagree, but I had to agree with other parts of her speech regarding the police. It’s obvious that the occupiers don’t like the police at all because of the dispersals, the beatings, the arrests, and of course the indiscriminate use of pepper spray. The thing I agreed with the most about her talk on the police was that since 9/11 the police forces across America have changed forever as they are being militarized and are used against the people in the name of freedom and safety.
All in all, the event was wonderful. It was fun, exciting, and most importantly it was safe. Dorli Rainey’s words are true in that the Occupy movement isn’t going anywhere, and that it is growing day by day.
They are the 99%, as well as you. The cops are the 99%. Other civil workers are the 99%. Even the Republican who lives down the street from you is part of the 99%. It’s time we all realized this, came together and fought against these bankers and corporations that are destroying America and turning our country into a police state. It’s time the workers, the welfare recipients, the civil servants, the unions, the police, and other stand up to these banks and corporations and tell them “we are the 99% and our voices will be heard. You will not buy us out!”