Since its encampments are being shut down by local authorities across the country, the movement is now Occupying by walking rather than staying put. And another march, which departed Thursday from the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial in Washington, plans to travel more than 600 miles to the civil rights leader’s grave site in Atlanta.
Certainly, Occupy Wall Street protesters have different ideas about the movement’s mission. Many of the marchers I met even disagreed on the purpose of their trek — some thought it was about getting to Washington to protest the “supercommittee”; others thought it was about visiting other Occupations.
But here are four who, in different ways, represent what the movement wants: direct democracy, accountable leadership, and a country that listens to everyone’s voice and believes in second chances.
27, an organizer of the march, says she intended for the journey to spread pure democracy, a form of decision-making in which every person votes on every decision, as widely as possible.
On Nov. 17, Day 9 of the march, Brannon calls for a general assembly to recruit new Occupiers along the highway near North East, Md.
“We need to have a general assembly now,” she says. “It’s our last chance in the light.”
Another marcher objects: “We said we’d do general assemblies when we are done for the day. We aren’t done.”
“I’m going to move to split the march into groups,” Brannon responds. “One group who came here for the original purpose and one who came here for something else!”
The group does not split up. But along the way, it loses a handful of marchers — and picks up many more.
Brannon had been camped in Zuccotti Park since Sept. 17, heeding Adbusters’call over the summer to Occupy Wall Street on that date. She’s a natural leader in a leaderless movement, and her attempts to be in control don’t sit well with a lot of the marchers, especially since she’s hardly the diplomatic sort. (At a Dunkin’ Donuts near Philadelphia, she tells someone holding a coffee: “I think the fact that we’re supporting giant corporations is pretty disgusting.”)