Like New York's joyously crowded Grand Central and the Arab world's historic squares, Taksim is a public space that in the minds of nascent autocrats risks not merely to accommodate unrest but actually to kindle it.
Yes, many know that the "Ode to Joy" has been transformed into the anthem of the European Union. Or that Leonard Bernstein assembled a massive orchestra to perform the Ninth in Berlin to mark the shattering of the Berlin Wall, with "Ode to Joy" changed to "Ode to Freedom."
Mayor Bloomberg and the NYPD acted with cowardice by trying to use the cloak of night, while people slept, as a shield from the highly questionable tactics they engaged in during their raid on Zuccotti Park.
You have awakened the sleeping giant, too long dormant, but ever present, deep in the American democratic spirit. You have given voice and space to the unspoken feelings of countless others about something that has gone terribly wrong in our society.
This lack of need to see into the future, to have "goals" as defined by pundits, seems no real hindrance to those who are part of the demonstration. This is something different. This is the active creation of community.
Here are a few things I know about the Occupy Wall Street protesters: When they stand with the poor, they stand with Jesus. When they stand with the hungry, they stand with Jesus. When they stand for those without a job or a home, they stand with Jesus.
When you look at the world and see hundreds of millions of idle, unemployed, and estranged youth who feel -- as the punks of a previous generation chanted -- they have "no future, no future," some pretty big things are going to happen.
Protesters have demanded an end to wholesale privatization. They have demanded that the country provide everyone with a good, fair start to life -- with guaranteed food and shelter, and good, free early education.