Now Butler hopes to bring that message to Boston, and to any other Occupy cities that will hear him out. This past weekend, he and Tuatha introduced themselves to everyone around Dewey Square who would listen. Butler was given a table inside camp to distribute tracts on consensus techniques, and spent most of Saturday schooling young people and greeting old friends who'd come out for an anti-war rally that afternoon. Back in the area for the first time in years, he now hopes to get the band back together. Anne Shumway, an old-time picket-line co-defendant, becomes animated at the sight of Butler: "We got arrested together for years," she tells everyone in earshot. "And look at us now — we're still doing this."
After that reunion and others, Butler crosses to the other side of Atlantic Avenue. There, on the bench area outside the Federal Reserve Bank, Occupy Boston has scheduled him to lead a workshop in consensus decision-making. A dozen people show up. He'd hoped for a bigger turnout, but didn't expect to suddenly become the focal point of a movement that's grown into the thousands. Still, he shares stories of effective practices, and asks the small group to spread the word that he'll be back in two weeks.
Toward the end of his talk, a fleet of motorcycle cops that was idling in front of the reserve building takes off to follow college students on a march. Butler eyes the entrance to the Federal Reserve, the place where it all began.
"Now's our chance," he jokes. "I've been waiting 30 years for this — let's storm this place."
Chris Faraone can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @fara1.
: News Features
, activist, Food Not Bombs, Occupy Boston, More