Sunday night, our permit expired for occupying Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C. So, we threw a dance party, and when we could dance no more, we went to sleep in Freedom Plaza.
We have until 2 p.m. today to remove our possessions. We do not intend to do so. We suspect that if the police want to remove us by force they will wait until evening. So we're throwing a dinner party, and 99% of the country is invited.
Our permit is now the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."
There is no way for the vast majority of people in this enormous country to petition our government for a redress of grievances other than what we are doing. We've phoned, emailed, faxed, and mailed letters. And yet rich people are taxed less than poor people, wars rage on, 65% of discretionary spending goes into the war machine, our social safety net is being shredded, and our environment is being destroyed. So, we're here in person, but most of us cannot afford hotel rooms. We are exercising our First Amendment rights in the only possible way: by camping in Washington, D.C., and protesting our government in a manner it cannot avoid.
Whether or not you are sleeping in Freedom Plaza, you can join us there, whether or not the square has been cleared overnight, whether or not we've been arrested, whether or not you've been arrested, whether or not the weather is fine, meet in Freedom Plaza at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, and we will take our grievances to Capitol Hill.
If we are arrested in Freedom Plaza we will return to it. If we are arrested in Freedom Plaza, we want you to replace us in larger numbers. You will not regret the experience.
A friend caught a cab to Freedom Plaza the other day. The cabbie said "If you're one of the protesters, the ride is free."
Stores are saying the same.
Random people are joining in marches when we march through downtown.
We are the 99%, we say, and so are … You are the 99%, and so are … We are the 99%, and so are …
This is an open and welcoming movement. Some of our brothers and sisters are occupying McPherson Square as well, and they can have 500 there with no permit. Join them too.
We need to hold these two squares, not because the marble or the grass is running our government into the ground, but because people from out of town cannot bring public pressure to bear on Congress, the White House, the Pentagon, K Street, or the Chamber of Commerce if we cannot live here.
We cannot learn democracy at home, and let me tell you it is not an easy thing to learn. It takes us longer to talk about a protest action than to engage in it. But we talk about it together. One person, one voice. No corporate persons. No financial voices. Democracy is indeed the worst form of government except for all the other ones.
If the police had come last night, the crowd of dancing demonstrators would have cheered and asked them to join the party.
And I think it's just possible they would have done so.
What do you say we try that again tonight?
David Swanson is the author of "War Is A Lie."