The camp, which runs through Aug. 24 at a redbrick former schoolhouse on Maujer Street in Williamsburg, was only three days old, and fellow Occupiers, swept up in the pioneering spirit, had been coming by in droves to lend a hand. A few guys from Occupy Tech Ops had spent the afternoon tweaking the old computers and hooking up the Ethernet connection, and an Occupy artist had silk-screened 20 T-shirts (with a book-and-raised-fist logo) to serve as camp uniforms. Occupy librarians were finishing the reading room, and some Occupy farmers were discussing how to bring in provisions. A tattooed video jockey from Occupy TV was milling about, recording it all on a Sony hand-held camera.
The only thing missing at that point were the campers. By Wednesday, there were three.
On the camp’s second morning, two campers — which is to say, the only two — Leslie Rojas, 12, and Jonathan Smith, 14, sat at desks in the second-story classroom, receiving a lesson on the Freedom School movement from David Dobosz, a retired city public-school teacher. They were reading from a textbook, “Freedom Summer,” by Deborah Wiles, and the question of the day (“What is freedom?”) was chalked on the blackboard.
The children looked weary, eyes glazed over, slumping in their seats.
“There’s just so much to learn,” Mr. Dobosz encouraged them, “especially with the top-down corporate control of education that’s sucked the life out of the heritage of our children.” He glanced at his students, with a sigh. “All right, why don’t we do some science...”
Then, on Maspeth Avenue, Mr. Wedes asked the campers what they knew about the Occupy effort. Leslie seemed unsure about the subject, but Jonathan said at once, “It was the fight against the 1 percent by the 99 percent.”
“That’s exactly right!” Mr. Wedes exclaimed. He congratulated the boy on having put it so succinctly — despite, he said, “the efforts of the mainstream media who usually try to confuse you and make things sound confusing, when they’re not.”