Created by occupiers in Liberty Park after the New York Police Department (NYPD) prevented us from using bullhorns, used on Republican Governor Scott Walker and Democratic President Barack Obama, it's one of the most effective means we've devised to give voice to the 99%.
We don't own media empires or have expensive sound systems, but we will be heard!
However, the powerful people's mic is not invincible, especially at smaller rallies, protests, flashmobs, and speakouts.
On January 3, the New York City Metropolitan Transit Authority's police force (yes, they have one of their own) arrested two people leading the people's mic.
Lauren DiGioia (seen above), the hard-working member of the sanitation group and one of the women sexually assaulted at the Liberty encampment, was mobbed by cops, dragged away, and issued a summons as she spoke out against the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that allows the government to detain accused terrorists indefinitely without trial. Obama signed NDAA into law, giving Bush's attacks on civil liberties after 9/11 the "change we can believe in" seal of approval.
This type of action by the cops is going to become common as we continue to make our voices heard. They are adapting their tactics in response to us adapting our tactics. It's a continual battle between us and them and now it's our move.
Here's what we can do to defend the people's mic:
1. Make sure everyone who is participating has a copy of the message. If one of us gets picked off, we can continue without disruption.
2. Rotate who speaks first on the mic. Occupy is supposed to be leaderless anyway, why not make the people's mic the same way?
3. Whoever they go after should duck and run while the rest of us bunch up to physically shield them from the long arms of the law.
All of this requires a little more preparation than the average flashmob, but it's worth it if we can stop our people from being snatched, detained, and summoned for the "crime" of exercising their First Amendment rights.
Pham Binh’s articles have been published by Occupied Wall Street Journal, The Indypendent, Asia Times Online, Znet, Counterpunch and thenorthstar.info, a collaborative blog by and for occupiers from across the U.S. His other writings can be found at www.planetanarchy.net