Sunday, December 4, 2011

An Occupation Suggestion, From a part time occupier/supporter

I live in the Chicago area and have been to Chicago’s occupation a couple of dozen times. I was there on the third day in the rain with about a dozen people and again when thousands of people took over the streets and surrounded the Board of Trade Building. I’ve uploaded videos, posted stories to helped to spread the word.
Lately it seems as the occupiers are dissipating their energies by pursuing a strategy they cannot win at. Governments have decided that they just aren’t going to allow long term occupation of public space to happen. If for no other more sinister reason it’s an ongoing expense that takes resources away from other areas. And on our side the organizing it takes to keep the street occupation going drains resources that could be better spent organizing a larger community.

So here is my proposal and a reminder why this thing that has happened is so important.

How about instead of trying to occupy space 24/7 we picked a day of the week and occupied it for a day during which we could gather to discuss ideas, listen to proposals, attend teach ins and hold a general assembly. It would still send a powerful message and be a good way to demonstrate and organize.
As we have seen in the brief history of occupy is that there are a lot of people and organizations already out there who are already fighting corporate domination and for the rights of people. It was very exciting this fall as on three or four occasions thousands of people came out and were marching in the streets at occupy inspired events. I haven’t seen that much activity in decades. But then a lot of these people who would come for rallies and marches never came out in big numbers on the corner or at GA’s. These general assemblies could offer a great way of organizing what is right now a very fractured community.
And we in America need to set aside our differences and come together in a very public way just like they are in countries all over the globe. Because people across the world in the past year have come to the same conclusions that the occupiers have. That it’s time for direct action time to come together and raise your voice. They have risen up against governments that are corrupt puppets of the wealthy elite. The same thing happening here in America has happened / is happening in Tunisia, Egypt, Greece, India and many others all everyone fighting the same fight.
Right now in America a small but very wealthy and well organized minority control the country. And through their control of the political parties and the media suppress any attempts to challenge their policies. They have taken a wealthy nation, broken it and made themselves rich doing so. What began with the “Reagan revolution” as an effort to get the government off the backs of people has progressed through Democratic and Republican administrations as getting government off the backs of the corporations and putting the boot firmly on the backs of the people.
We see that time and again as polls everywhere say the majority of Americans want Wall St. reform we get lip service then more of the same. Most Americans wanted healthcare reform that included a public option we got another bailout masquerading as reform. If neither case is there any real prolonged debate over the fundamental issues, or critical public airing of the varying proposals. .
Government has fundamental problems that aren’t being addressed because the two parties are dominated by politicians that have been bought out. It has gotten to the point where five people sitting on the Supreme Court were able to declare that corporations are people and money is speech. The President and Congress for the most part pretended like nothing happened. And it has been a citizens movement that is leading the fight to change the constitution and rectify this judicial injustice. In Washington they are to busy arranging the next round of tax cuts, tax breaks, service cuts and broken promises.
The parties blame each other as they both abandon the people who they are supposed to serve. The Democrats and Republicans have come together to facilitate the looting of a nation and have kept us apart and taught us to hate and fear one another. That is why we have to continue organize and come together together on a plan to shift the balance of power away from those who have all the money. The occupation is about people being involved not party politics. It’s about creating a force to represent the interests of the people and challenge the power of the wealthy elites.
That was the original point of government to provide a counter force to wealth and privilege. Before we had modern representative “democracy” we had Kings & Queens. People grew tired of the wealthy having all the power and the majority of people having to live under divinely inspired rulers who controlled everything because they owned everything and everyone. People were forced to live in ignorance and fear because that made them easier to exploit. The American revolution wasn’t about throwing off the cultural ties with England but more about ending the economic control of the East India Trading Company a corporate entity designed to make sure the wealth of the colonies got back to England.
So lets remember these words and join in as people all across the country fight to put these principals in action.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,
That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. “

And that is why the occupation must continue because we are fighting the fight that names like Washington, Jefferson and Adams fought for the same reasons. Because everyday we see another example of our government being destructive towards those ends. All the way from the Federal government that cuts aid to the sick and poor while increasing tax breaks for the wealthy to the local cop shutting down a kids lemonade stand.
You can be one of the Wall St. elite and participate in a fraud that causes the loss of trillions of dollars and you get a job in the White House to fix the mess you helped make. Or you can be a young man who serves his country. Spend years overseas on a fools errand in a hostile environment. Survive that only to come home to get shot in the face with a rubber bullet because you decided to peacefully stand on public property until the government starts representing the interests of people like him instead of the interests of their wealthy backers.

That is why this movement must go on.
But the time has come to, at least for for the winter, to stop trying to occupy space. Stop fighting a battle we can’t win and concentrate on winning the wider “war”. We need to spend our winter at Valley Forge planning and preparing for next year. Because if this movement has any chance to change the direction that this country is on it is in the next year. Because if there is one trend we have seen in the 21st century is that no matter which party the government is committed to taking away our basic rights under the guise of protecting us from terrorism. And from the look at some of the policies the Obama administration is pursuing this election may be our last chance.
What I think we need to do is come up with a 3 to 5 step plan that would advance our ideas and goals and offer this up to the candidates in next years election. If they want our support then they have to pledge to the plan. But we need to find some way to come together and it is now clear that our current vehicle, the occupation isn’t going to be allowed by the powers that be.
Which brings me back to my original proposal we gather once a week to occupy, protest and plan.
What do you think?

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