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Crystal Zevon

Crystal Zevon is author of 'I'll Sleep When I'm Dead: The Dirty Life and Times of Warren Zevon,' an oral history of the life of her former husband and lifelong friend and co-conspirator

November 21st, 2011 2:25 PM

Occupy Post Office

Protest at Nat'l. Press Club lunch for Postmaster General

Some protests work out better than others.  At OccupyWashingtonDC, we could be protesting 24/7, and while we try to plan our actions carefully, sometimes they just don't work out so well.  That was the case today when we headed for the National Press Club, just half a block away from Freedom Plaza, intending to mic check the Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe who was speaking at a $36 a plate luncheon.  We'd decided it was a good use of money to get 8 or 10 people in considering that in recent years the Post Office has cut more than 130,000 jobs, closed some small post offices in communities that need them the most, and now they're talking about more cuts and pushing more business to private companies like FedEx and UPS.  These moves not only threaten the jobs of postal workers, they also impact the lives of people living in rural communities who depend on postal service for delivery of medicines and goods.  Believe it or not, everyone doesn't have computers and email.  The U.S. Postal Service is also the largest single employer of vets and African Americans.

So, we wrote a good script for the mic check, and 8 of us headed over to the Nat'l. Press Club ready to pay our $36 for the luncheon.  We'd rehearsed our mic check last night after GA (General Assembly), and again this morning.  I was the #2 caller, so when the person who was to start the mic check got pulled out, I would stand and lead the scripted message.  We were to enter separately, spread out, and wait until Donahoe started speaking to call out our mic check.  As I walked toward the entrance to the Press Club, two black, unmarked security vehicles pulled to the curb.  A Homeland Security van pulled up in front of them.  I managed to walk in the door before they got there, as did two of my fellow occupiers.  We were asked for IDs at the front door, something never done, and we made it up to the 13th floor where the luncheon was to be held.  We were eyed suspicious from the minute we'd entered, and after some 30 minutes of not quite knowing what to do with us, we were asked to leave.  Disappointed, we joined the protest going on outside the building, and we heard that a couple of people from McPherson did get in.  Unfortunately, they didn't have the great script we'd prepared, but they did manage to disrupt the speech with "Hey Hey, Ho Ho, Donaho has got to go!'

When you do this every day, it is easy to get lazy and not pay attention.  We didn't schedule this in advance.  We should have bought our tickets days earlier.  When I did the mic check on the CEO of BlueCross/BlueShield a week or so ago, I got all dressed up.  Didn't bother so much today and it would have made a difference.  But, the biggest factor is watching for informants and provocateurs.  They are among us all the time, and we talked about this action at our GA even though there were numerous people we didn't know there.  We try to be open and transparent, but let's face it, if you're trying to crash a party, you don't tell the host you're coming.  So, we live and learn.

I'm leaving on Wednesday to go to Vermont for Thanksgiving with my daughter and my grandsons.  James, our supply guy, is coming to Vermont, too.  We all need a break sometimes.  Occupying is harder than any job I ever had.  And, it is far more satisfying.  We are the 99%.

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