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占领华尔街的终结或许意味着新的开始

David Whitford 2011年11月21日

占领华尔街运动的发起人之一准备宣布胜利。但问题是:“这是对什么的胜利?”

占领者并不仅仅是学生

    这些抗议者是谁?首先得说,许多都是热忱的大学生。(“他们并不全是白人,”刚到曼哈顿下城祖科蒂公园的时候,我曾对一位同事说。“没错,但这些学生看起来似乎都是文科大学生,”她说。)老板派我去市中心采访时,特意叮嘱我不要把所有时间都花在奥柏林(Oberlin)大学的学生身上。所以,我在这里只讲一位我在华盛顿特区碰到的学生。当时,这位名叫山姆•朱勒的学生穿一件红格子衬衫,戴一顶绿色的毛织帽,拿着他的MacBook Pro笔记本,坐在麦克弗森广场(McPherson Square)的一家星巴克咖啡店(Starbucks)外面,想方设法躲开雨水的侵袭。那天早上,东海湾正遭受一场大风暴的袭击,虽然天还没下雪,但刮着风,天气潮湿而寒冷;我冷得全身发抖,在那里只待了两三个小时。

    “这里有很多大学生,这没什么不对的,”朱勒说。“你看看开罗,那里的抗议者基本上都是大学生,他们毕业之后发现自己一无所有。这一点跟我们里的情形很相似。”只不过这番描述并不完全符合他自己的情况。朱勒去年12月份毕业,为了省钱,他搬回了家跟父母一起住,并尝试着在媒体圈内找一份差事。他很幸运,在《华盛顿人》杂志(Washingtonian)谋得了一份带薪实习的差事。但随后,占领运动开始向他招手。就在上周,在这起他眼中的历史事件的鼓舞下,始终固执己见,不愿做“虚假的客观报道”的朱勒辞去了这份带薪的临时性工作(“没错,这样做是和不可理喻。”),参与创办了《占领华盛顿时报》(Occupied Washington Times)。他现在睡在一个帐篷里。随着冬季的迫近,他每天晚上不得不衣着齐整地爬进睡袋里。但他告诉我,每天早上醒来时,他依然觉得“这里的日子很快乐”。

    我还遇见了些什么人呢?我在波士顿碰到了一位在人行道上读卡夫卡小说的年轻人;在华盛顿特区邂逅了一位19岁的流浪者,这位以“钱袋”自称的年轻人没有上大学的打算。他对我说:“我憎恶金钱.有钱的时候,它是个好东西,但我常常身无分文。”49岁的艺术家威拉德•林克也是在华盛顿碰到的。他给我看了一幅他画的反战作品,还说他愿意用它换“一部iPad 2平板电脑和一部带话费的iPhone手机”,后来,他向我讨了10美元的车票钱,打算去巴尔的摩。81岁的退休警察马尔科姆•布朗经历过朝鲜战争,在警察逮捕了17位抗议者之后的那天,他坐在丹佛市中心花园(Center Park)的一条长凳上,手持的标语写着:“公司禽兽不如;金钱不是自由言论。”来自印第安纳州,现住在奥克兰的前学生争取民主社会运动(SDS)成员乔尔•休伊对我说,当1968年的反战运动转变为暴力活动之后,他就退出了。他现在担心,如果无政府主义者为所欲为,占领运动恐怕将落得同样的下场。

    我最喜欢的一位受访者是被人们叫做山姆的萨曼莎•罗伯斯:那是一位20来岁的姑娘,长着一头长长的黑发,留着刘海,胸前刺着“对抗内心的恶魔”(Fight Your Demons)的纹身。这位聪明且颇有主见的小姑娘告诉我,她没有上过大学,因为她没有钱,也不想背负债务。山姆离开家乡佛罗里达州【她说:“我想换个环境。”】,来到了波士顿。她在一家餐厅找了份工作,并找了一间出租屋作为栖身之地。听说占领波士顿运动之后,她依然继续工作,但放弃了出租屋,搬到了杜威广场(Dewey Square)。“我知道,倘若我有个家,我就很难做出这样的决定,”她说。“当你身上背负起责任,有了担子,你的生活离不开这套体制的时候,你就无法呆在这里了。但我却有自由来到这里,提供力所能及的帮助。要是我不这样做的话,我就觉得自己无足轻重,是个多余的人。”

    山姆的帐篷位于“神秘街道”,这是面对大西洋大道的一块营地。午夜时分,酒吧打烊之后,人们开着车经过这里。有些人会摇下车窗,大声吼到:“去找份工作吧”。“我不明白这些人为什么要我们。我们只是想改善他人的生。”山姆说,“我们所做的这一切不仅仅是为我们自己,而是为了所有人。我们是在为所有人争取平等。这样,人们醒来时就不必担心:‘我怎么才能养活我的孩子?我怎么养活自己?要是天下雨的话,我又该去何处安身呢?’我不希望任何人为这些事情忧心,我也不希望辱骂我们的那些人过上这样的日子。”

Occupiers: Not just students

    Who are these people? Lots of earnest college kids, let's start with that. ("They're not all white," I remarked to a colleague on an early visit to Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan. "No," she said, "but they all look like they have liberal arts degrees.") When my boss sent me downtown, he specifically told me not to spend all my time talking to Oberlin students, so I'll tell you about just one that I met in D.C., Sam Jewler. He was sitting outside a Starbucks (SBUX) on McPherson Square, in his red plaid shirt and his green watch cap, with his coffee and his MacBook Pro, trying to stay dry. It was the morning of the big East Coast storm and while it wasn't snowing yet, it was windy, wet and bitter cold; I was so chilled I was shaking, and I'd only been out there a couple of hours.

    "It's not illegitimate for a lot of us to be college students," Jewler said. "If you look at what happened in Cairo, that was largely college students who graduated and realized there wasn't anything for them. That's kind of what's happening here." Except that that's not really Jewler's story. He graduated in December, moved back in with his parents to save money while trying to launch a career in journalism, and was lucky to land a coveted paid internship at Washingtonian magazine. But the Occupy movement beckoned, and just last week, inspired by what he viewed as historic events and too opinionated by now to do the "false objectivity" thing, Jewler quit his paying gig ("yeah, it's pretty weird") to help launch the Occupied Washington Times. He sleeps in a tent now. With winter coming, he's been climbing into his sleeping bag every night with all his clothes still on, but he's waking up every morning, he told me, feeling "happy to be here."

    Who else did I meet? A young man reading Kafka on the sidewalk in Boston; a drifter in D.C. named Pockets—19 years old, no plans for college—who told me, "I hate money. It's good when you have it but I often don't;" Willard Lake, 49, also in D.C., an artist who showed me one of his anti-war paintings and said he'd trade it for "an iPad 2 and an iPhone, with service," and afterwards bummed ten bucks off me for a bus ticket to Baltimore; Malcolm Brown, an 81-year-old Korean War vet and retired cop who was sitting on a bench in Denver's City Center Park the day after police arrested 17 protesters, holding a sign that read "Corporations are not people" and "Money is not free speech;" Joel Haughee, a former SDS member from Indiana, living in Oakland now, who told me he drifted away from the anti-war movement when it turned violent in '68 and worries now that the Occupy movement could come similarly unraveled if the anarchists have their way.

    My favorite was Samantha Robles, goes by Sam: 20-something, long black hair with bangs, "Fight Your Demons" tattooed on her chest—a smart, assertive kid who said she didn't go to college because she didn't have the money and she didn't want the debt. Sam left her home in Florida ("I needed a change") and made her way to Boston. She found a restaurant job and a bed in a rooming house. When she heard about Occupy Boston, she kept her job but gave up her bed and relocated to Dewey Square. "I know it's hard if you have a family," she said. "You can't come and stay here when you have responsibilities and things like that, when you're so in the system with your life. But I have the freedom to be here and help as much as I can. I'd kind of feel like a jerk if I didn't."

    Sam's tent is on "Weird Street," a section of the encampment fronting Atlantic Avenue. People driving by late at night after the bars close sometimes roll down their windows and yell "Get a job!" "I don't understand how you could shame people for wanting to better the lives of other people," Sam said. "The things that we want aren't just for us, it's for everyone. It's equality for everyone. So you don't have to worry when you wake up, 'How am I going to feed my kids? How am I going to feed myself? What if it rains, where am I going to sleep?' I wouldn't wish that on anyone. I wouldn't wish that on the people who yell at us."

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