The faces and voices of Occupy - Page 4

A mechanic, a nurse, a leukemia patient, a cat owner, and a pair of queer activists: Don't believe the hype, they are occupiers too

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Jessica Martin: "My mother stood on the steps [of the Lincoln Memorial] in D.C. with Martin Luther King."
GUARDIAN PHOTO BY REBECCA BOWE

In the gray areas lives our emerging autonomy and interdependence — an autonomy not contingent on capitalism's insistence on utility. We are not useful. We are not legible. And in that lack of utility and that illegibility, we are not controllable. Because we do not have one demand, but rather a cornucopia of desire. We're making our fabulous fucked-up world for ourselves, with each other. We always have. (Morales and Goldberg)

Li Morales and Molly Goldberg are members of SF Pride at Work/HAVOQ, a San Francisco-based collective of queers organizing for social and economic justice.

 

The mechanic

reZz keeps Occupy's tires filled

Photo by David Martinez

On a Sunday afternoon at Occupy SF, Bike Kitchen volunteer reZz exported the education-oriented bike shop's mission — and its tools — to Justin Herman Plaza. There he stood, fixing alignment on the wheels of passers-by and occupiers — for free. "Occupy Bike Shop," as he and other volunteers have come to call the service, has been tinkering out in the plaza two to three times a week.

"It's been lovely," he said later in a phone interview with the Guardian. "I've purposefully been in a place where it's open to people in the encampment and people who are passing by. People who stop want to see the occupation in it's most positive light." reZz wouldn't consider camping out at Occupy, but that's not to say that he doesn't truck with the movement's message that public space can — and should — be repurposed.

An avid biker himself, he thinks public bike repair is a great re-envisioning tactic. And fixing poor people's bikes sends its own message. "This year's junk is an invented need," he said. "We're falling into debt because we think we need a new car every year. Part of the idea of fixing people's bikes and showing them how to do it brings us away from the artificial scarcity whereby the robber barons and capitalists insist we have to struggle against each other instead of working with each other." (Donohue)


The medic

Miran Istina has cancer — and helps others

Guardian photo by Yael Chanoff

It had grown dark, and the OccupySF camp was restless as many signs pointed to a raid that night at 101 Market Street. But 18-year-old Miran Istina sat calmly on the sidewalk, medical supplies spread over her lap. "As a medic for OccupySF," said Istina, "It's my job to have a well-supplied, well-organized medical kit."

The tall, wide-eyed teenager, who spends some of the time in a wheelchair, is not just a medic at camp. She has done police liaison and media work as well. And she has a remarkable story.

When she was 14, Istina was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia. Her family had purchased her health insurance only three months before, and the cancer was in stage two, indicating that she had been sick for at least one year. So the company denied her treatment, which would include a bone-marrow transplant, radiation therapy and chemotherapy, on the basis of a pre-existing condition.

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