# LIBERTY SQUARE /// Creating the Urban Labyrinth in an Orthogonal Street Grid.

Yesterday was the one year anniversary of what has been called the Arab Spring as well as the three months anniversary of Occupy Wall Street which was celebrated by a certain amount of actions among which one appeared to me as particularly interesting in terms of the practice of the city. Following the arrest of fifty people for attempting to occupy a vacant lot in New York belonging to Trinity Church, we marched heading North with, as usual, many policemen  on scooters along the sidewalk preventing us to occupy the street itself. When we arrived to the street that was supposed to be our destination, the latter was entirely blocked by a multitude of cops who had no intention whatsoever to let us in. This destination might have been a decoy to deceive them, as the crowd  (about 400 people I believe) did not seem to care so much for the police and started to run on the sidewalk then turned to the next street, ran, turned, ran an one more block, turned again until finally the police, completely overwhelmed gave up to chase us. This allowed this crowd to walk for thirty blocks in the middle of the 7th avenue in a sort of very joyful parade, disrupting the banal order of the urban routine. I could not help but to think of this celebratory intrusion as the real embodiment of Michelangelo Antonioni’s street parade in the opening scene of Blow Up (1966).

Two months and half ago, at the beginning of the movement, I was calling for the invention of an “Algerian” labyrinth in the middle of Manhattan’s orthogonal grid in order for us to be able to respond to the police oppression. I was then far from thinking that this labyrinth could be created by the speed of our movement within this same grid, as well as the spontaneous and continuous reconfiguration of trajectory of a crowd that thus becomes unstoppable.

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You don’t even need to be religious to understand -and embrace- the idea that “Whatsoever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” But many in the 1%, in blind greed and endless schemes, have forgotten this, and have closed their eyes to what the word “society” should really mean. But because of Occupy Wall Street, we are finally talking less about CUTS and more about BLEEDING. Instead of demanding m-o-r-e budget cuts -to be borne by the middle class and poor- we are FINALLY focusing on the shameful bleeding that the poor and middle class has endured for all too long. Instead of talking about even m-o-r-e cuts in the taxes of millionaires….we are now talking about fairness and justice – about an economy and a political system that is increasingly run for the rich, and by the rich. Instead of talking about LESS government, we are talking about a government that WORKS FOR ALL OF US, not just a favored few. Thank you OWS, for reminding us that people -ordinary working people- really DO matter, and for helping open our eyes to what’s really going on in this country. In a city where there is precious little public space that we can call our own, this is much more than a plea for sanctuary: It’s a hard-fought carving out of a protected space amid the repression, an expression of conscience and affirmation… continually reminding us, goading, prodding, annoying, inspiring, illuminating and encouraging us..reminding us what of we’ve lost, of what we can do, and what we can be. They would pen us in, they would permit us to death, they would tell us to “ move on, move on, there’s nothing to see”…..don’t block the street, don’t trespass, don’t EXIST. You don’t belong, you don’t count, you don’t have a right to even be here…. A city where control-freaks would sweep us under the rug and out of the way…as they deny us, our lives, and our futures. But OWS says loudly, both in word and in DEED: we BELONG, we STAND our ground, and we DO matter! This is OUR land, and we want it BACK! The word OCCUPY says it all! That’s part of why OWS has captur our imagination. That’s why this public space is important. Trinity Church should look deep into its collective soul, do the right thing, and help OWS. If Christ were physically among us today, as He was 2000 years ago, He would be among the FIRST to climb those fences, and occupy Trinity’s Duarte Square. Of this I am certain… 

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