As promised, we now have the full video of Van Jones speaking at Friday night's Occupy Wall Street General Assembly. Take a look: My favorite part remains the moment we highlighted in the earlier snippet:
“People are asking what we’re here to get. They don’t understand we’re not here to get anything. We’re here to give everything to the people from whom you stole everything!”We also have video of a brief interview with Van during his solidarity visit to Zuccotti Park: It's worth watching both videos in their entirety, but I wanted to call attention to a couple of points Van makes in his interview. The people of Occupy Wall Street don't have an incredible amount of "message clarity" (though Van accurately notes that few in Washington have "message clarity" on the economy), but they do hold an immense "moral clarity". When asked why people should participate in Occupy Wall Street, Van replied, "People should be here to bear witness to history." Van compared it to the first sit-ins against segregation in 1960, and explained that while the sit-ins were a group of people trying to save a portion of our citizens who were being oppressed, "This is a massive sit-in to save the middle class and working class from being obliterated. You should be here." I'll reiterate what I said in an earlier post on Occupy Wall Street, in case you're unclear why the audience repeated everything Van said and wiggled their fingers a whole lot. They use something called “the people’s mic” to ensure the audience hears every speaker at the General Assembly. There is no electric PA system in place because of noise concerns, and with the hustle and bustle of Manhattan all around, the noise would ordinarily drown out a speaker. The speaker says a sentence or phrase, and those closest to him or her repeat it. The next closest repeat the first ring, spreading the speaker’s words out in concentric circles through the audience. Because there’s such an intense focus on making sure that the speaker is heard, there’s little clapping or cheering during a speech. Instead, folks in the crowd raise their hands and wiggle their fingers to give a visual cue of their approval, and cross their arms firmly over their chest to show disapproval. It’s an ingenious system that allows everyone to hear no matter how far they are from the speaker. The act of participation also keeps everyone’s focus on what is being said throughout the speech. If you want to follow the action from Occupy Wall Street and other Occupy sites around the country, you can watch the livestream here.
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