Exhaust fumes and car radios permeated the air around Miller Park last week as hundreds of people gathered in the parking lot of Miller Park in Milwaukee, WI, for ‘Occupy Miller Park Parking Lot.’
On Sunday, hundreds of cars, trucks and SUVs amassed in Miller Park’s Preferred Parking sections. In solidarity under the slogan of ‘We are the 100% American,’ occupiers left their vehicles running, with many turning on their car radios. The sounds of Nickelback, Ke$ha and Ted Nugent mixed with exhaust fumes to create a powerful and energetic atmosphere in the lot.
The encampment lasted a full week and was endorsed by companies such as Transcanada and General Motors.
The movement, organized by a group of concerned Wisconsin citizens, was formed on March 18 with the initial agenda of combating “the rising national consciousness of environmental, economic and social justice issues in the American people,” according to the group’s website.
Occupy co-founder Steve Willets sees the movement as pivotal in fighting against what he sees as the ‘Axis of Evil’: Sustainability, Intellectualism and Diversity.
“With every Prius, every Whole Foods, every alternative radio station, and every alternative news outlet we come closer and closer to the global enslavement that the liberal media has attempted to trigger for decades,” Willets said.
Like Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Miller Park Parking Lot also conducted daily general assembly meetings in which they discussed their opinions about key issues including best fast food restaurant, best reality show, most disgusting vegetable, best time to shop at Wal-Mart, and best pickup truck.
“The Best Pickup Truck session was probably the least productive, what with the die-hard Dodge fans and Ford fans and so on,” said Co-Founder Joe Borgun. “But we did make some headway. One in the morning is by far the best time to shop at Wal-Mart, and we’re hoping this encourages other movements such as Occupy Texas Stadium Parking Lot.”
The encampment even brought a stimulus to the local Milwaukee economy; gas stations found their pumps busy all day every day in keeping up with the protesters’ demand for gasoline. Fast food restaurants like McDonalds and Taco Bell even instituted a temporary delivery service during the occupation to deal with the intense demand for cheap, filling food.
But Occupy Miller Park Parking Lot wasn’t just filled with consumption and pollution. Underlying all of that was a message that occupiers hoped would spread across the hearts and minds of all Americans.
When asked what he thought about a future where his children and grandchildren bought local, organic foods and mainly biked or walked to their destinations, Occupier Alan Paulson offered some prescient words.
“Can you imagine a world like that? I was raised not to take anything from strangers. How will my son know his neighbors won’t poison their tomatoes or apples?” Paulson said. “And imagine the blow to his self-esteem if he has to get to his office on a Trek! I will do anything I can to avoid that future for my son.”
Other highlights of the encampment included an elaborate shrine dedicated to the “job creators,” a giant iPad drum circle, and a rally at urban farmer Will Allen’s Growing Power headquarters, where occupiers threw plastic bottles into compost piles and denounced sustainable, local agriculture.
Aaron “Lights Out” Ostrovski