Sharing Occupy Albany With My Youngest Son

Occupy Albany broadcasts their General Assemblies nightly starting at 5pm 5:30 pm weekdays, 3pm weekends. Just listen/watch for a while. It’s really amazing.  (By the way, if you can babysit on-site during a General Assembly this week or next, so parents with small kids can participate in the GA, let me know and I’ll pass on your contact information.)

From Jonathan Flanders at

This is slow democracy.  And as I keep emphasizing to Youngest Son (the one who’s most fascinated by the whole movement), it is designed so that EVERYONE’s voice can be heard. If he wanted to speak, he could speak, and everyone in earshot would repeat his words so everyone can year.

Yesterday afternoon we watched a few minutes of Occupy Albany’s General Assembly together on my tiny screen. Within a minute he’d picked up the rhythm of the People’s Mic and was echoing along. He wasn’t quite sure of the purpose; he checked with me a couple of times to make sure “They’re not repeating it to make fun of them, right?”

Right.  It’s so even quiet voices can be heard.

Like for instance, I told him this afternoon, when you’re there (which is real to him because we were there for Kabbalat Shabbat/Welcoming the [Jewish] Sabbath last Friday afternoon before the General Assembly), if you had something you wanted to say, they would all repeat it because your voice isn’t very loud, and they would want to help everybody hear your words.

Then I taught him how you start — “Mic check!” — and as we drove down to his birthday party (no, his birthday was several months ago) he formulated what he would want to say, and I repeated it after him.  In short, thoughtful, and clear sentences, choosing his words carefully in a way that’s usually quite foreign for him, he spelled out quite a few common-sense and thoughtful proposals.  And when he finished, he said he was done and it was my turn, and he echoed back what I said. I wish you could have heard it. He has some pretty good 9-year-old ideas about how to make the world a better place for everybody, which is what he understands the Occupy movement to be about.