This is the story of Time’s Up!’s involvement with Occupy Wall Street. We have also posted the story of our Energy Bikes and an Energy Bike how-to page.
Time’s Up has been championing the issues at the heart of Occupy Wall Street for 25 years, so it’s no wonder that our volunteers were there at the start of the movement. And we will keep up the struggle for years to come.
Even before the occupation began, we shared our list of press contacts that we’d been developing for 25 years with this budding movement. As the movement struggled to gain a foothold in the mainstream press, we worked tirelessly to keep it in the news with livestreaming, outreach, and coordination:
Our media team, which has always been one of the strongest aspects of our group, jumped into the project as well. We worked with Global Revolution Media, the media working group, and the photo working group, to document organizations and actions. We produced photos and videos that were used throughout the movement and in the mainstream press:
Time’s Up! first got involved with bicycling as a tool to support direct action and it has been utilizing that tool ever since, most effectively and notably during the RNC in NYC. We brought those years of experience to the Occupy movement, hauling supplies in and out of the park, supporting demonstrators, and running bike blok during direct actions:
As we spent nights in the park and attended tense GA’s and heated working group meetings, we realized that we needed to bring fun and celebration to this movement. Time’s Up! has always followed the motto that we must be having fun while we’re organizing serious direct action or we will burn ourselves out, and because of that, we have sound bikes, festive costumes, and theatrical events that we use regularly. We brought our sound bike, dance parties, and gender-bending costumes to OWS early on and threw many Occupy Wall Street Decompression Dance Rides:
As the occupation went on and people and their belonging were living outside, Zuccotti Park grew full of bikes in disrepair. Our mechanics brought down tools, parts, and fluids and held free fix-you-bike workshops in Zuccotti parks like we run throughout New York City 5 nights a week:
While fixing bikes in Zuccotti Park, we were approached by people trying to start an Occupy Wall Street Sustainability working group. Sustainability is obviously one of the most important missions of Time’s Up! so we leapt into the project. Our volunteer immediately organized a system to remove organic waste from Zuccotti Park and deliver it to local community gardens via bicycle:
As we started hauling compost out of the park, we realized we could also bring local, organic, sustainable food into the park, and that is exactly what we did. At the same time, the Kitchen Working Group realized that it was stretching itself too thin and being unsustainable by feeding everyone who came into the park with non-local, non-organic prepared foods. So as a result of our actions, kitchen started feeding only occupiers and members of working groups, making the park and movement even more sustainable, with even more local food being biked into the park:
At the same time, Time’s Up! volunteers were organizing solidarity bike rides, promoting the causes we’ve been championing for years, which were intimate to the themes of Occupy Wall Street, all across the city. One of our most exciting rides was the Occupy Fountains Rides, the third annual Fountain Ride, which utilized Privately Owned Public Spaces such as Zuccotti Park but containing fountains, in the best way they can be utilized by the public, with swimming!
Time’s Up! has been fighting the use of unsustainable energy for years, a fight which has grown increasingly heated in recent years, as can be seen in our campaigns to ban fracking and shutting down Indian Point. However, people often criticize us for protesting unsustainable energy while offering no sustainable solutions. We saw Zuccotti Park as a perfect opportunity to prove them wrong. Working with the Sustainability Working Group, we designed and built the perfect energy bike system for Zuccotti Park to power all of Occupy Wall Street sustainably, despite the huge energy demands of our sophisticated press and media teams. See our whole energy bike story here.
On November 15, 2011, the NYPD raided Zuccotti Park, ending the occupation and many of Time’s Up!’s OWS projects, but Time’s Up! has spearheaded these issues for 25 years and will continue to push them forward for years to come. As you can see from this video, we did not give up our fight for the freedom of the press as the park was being evicted, and we never will.
We will also continue to run free bike workshops, document the activist movement with excellent media work and press outreach, run top-notch bike blok, and organize hundreds of fun direct actions. And Now we will also use our energy bikes to power direct actions around the city and beyond, as we did by powering the N17 Bat Signal with our bike-powered battery boxes and by running Occupy Broadway with 100% bike power! We will also encourage every occupation and activist activity to think sustainably about their waste and offer our services to bring compost to community gardens with bikes! These simple steps will help our communities live up to their ideals of living sustainably and being the change they want to see.