Brit Byrd chats with Columbia’s (independent) branch of the Occupy movement. Find this and more in the soon-to-arrive April issue of The Blue & White.
“Nothing will grind our gears like the words ‘head of the group,’” Elliott Grieco, CC ’12, corrected me. After spending only a short time at the occupation of Tuck-It-Away Storage at 125th Street and 12th Avenue, it became clear that I had assumed a top-down leadership structure that didn’t exist. Today’s occupation site—a West Harlem step bedecked with picket signs, plastered with fliers, cluttered with musical instruments, and cordoned off by NYPD barricades—reflected this plurality of aims, motivations, and interests.
Nothing regarding Occupy CU points to an overarching agenda. Instead, one feels an intense sense of hyper-locality. As Grieco understands it, this is the Occupy movement at its most effective: “While what happens downtown at Zuccotti has a global audience, [this] enables self-empowerment at a much more local level, oftentimes implicitly asking me, ‘What can you do with your power, your position of privilege?’”