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Occupiers: ‘Building A Community’

occupy_artsFRESH DIRT > Music and art festival promotes awareness of the movement
Last Saturday, Nov. 19, the courthouse on Water Street was the site of more than just the assortment of protesters that Santa Cruz has been accustomed to seeing since October. A number of musicians, including bands and DJs, came out to perform for what would be Occupy Santa Cruz’s (OSC) first music and arts festival, which was called “Building a Community.” There was also an arts booth where people could get their faces painted, as well as a display of a variety of artwork. Donations were encouraged but not required of any people who happened to come by to watch.

One of the bands, a local reggae group called Easy Mash, performed to a modest but enthusiastic crowd during the afternoon. Luke Kinney, the lead singer/songwriter, showed strong support for the Occupy movement. “It was great that we got an opportunity to play an event like this and I hope we get to play here again in the future,” he says. “This movement is huge because we’re working to reform social structures that have broken down due to privatization and corporate monopolies. It was really important for Easy Mash to be a part of this.”

Jacquelyn a UC Santa Cruz student and Occupier who declined to give her last name, says the festival was organized to help reinforce local support of the movement. “With this festival, we’re trying to gain support and reinforcement,” she says. “Everybody in Occupy Santa Cruz was involved in putting this festival together. We didn’t make any decisions without everyone’s consent because it’s everybody’s event. That’s how we make all our decisions. There are no leaders here. We’re building a community that’s based on direct democracy, not one that’s part of a dichotomous capitalist mode of production.”

The festival, as Jacquelyn explains, was the result of a three-week process. The Occupiers contacted the musicians through Facebook and email, and got the word out about the event through Facebook and fliers that they handed out and posted around Santa Cruz.

In addition to featuring music and arts, there was also an information booth with a number of pamphlets that described why Occupiers believe corporations are ruining the economy. Isaac, who also refrained from stating his last name, manned the booth and provided security for the festival—something he’s been contributing in general, as well. “I don’t usually sleep for two days at a time,” he says. “I watch over everybody here and make sure it’s safe, but it’s worth it. So many people go back to the boxes they call homes at night. My home is out here with the public. We’re all here for each other.”

Various people who were walking by stopped over at the Courthouse for a while to show their support. Fourth-year UCSC student Joel Thompson was one of them., “It’s cool to be here today,” he told GT. “I haven’t really seen anything like this [the Occupy movement] before, and I think it’s important that people have the opportunity to be able to protest something if they want. It’ll be interesting to see how long it all lasts.”

 

 

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