Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Why Are You Inspired (or Not) by the Occupy Movement?

As a Bay Area liberal blogger who lives in Oakland, I feel like I should be taking part in occupations, posting photos, interviewing organizers, and sharing ways to get involved, but I haven't done any of those things.

I want to be excited about this global movement, but I'm not.  It just makes me sad, and a bit tired.

Many of the letters people have posted on We Are the 99 Percent break my heart, but they feel like letters into the void.  Who will listen? Who will help them?

I wish that all of the creativity, organizing and innovation that has gone into gathering people, spreading the word, making signs, building tent villages, taking photos and videos, marching and protesting was going towards helping the people who wrote those letters.

The Occupy movement feels like the human race is screaming, "Help! Something is not right! Life is out of balance!" Thing is, there isn't anyone there to hear us, except us.

Only the 99% can help the 99%.  Only we can help each other.  How are we going to do it?

What am I missing?  Why are you inspired (or not) by the Occupy movement?

Flickr photo credit: Occupy Protest tent 99 percent by Ano Lobb.

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  1. I think it is at least something. For a long time there has been nothing in opposition to those in control--the super rich. I think the Occupy Movement can have the power to get people to listen and hopefully join in the fight. It gives people a voice who need one. It lets people know they are not alone.

  2. Anonymous8:41 AM

    Oh Britt, I feel your same sadness, the fatigue. But, I have never been a protestor. I am a peacemaker, so I find it hard to take a side, to stand holding a sign, or to pen an angry letter. It just isn't my nature. I am the one who sits off to the side, being open in my curiosity about what's happening and generating compassion and love to all involved, (at least, this is my intention, I admit that I sometimes feel angry too, want to judge and blame, be right). For me it just feels better to make sandwiches for everyone, rather than engage in the argument.

    What I am "doing" is what I can, by myself--being mindful, compassionate, connecting to my innate wisdom and listening for that deep knowing, that intuition that says "do this, now." It really is all I've got: this, now.

  3. Megan S9:11 AM

    I agree with you, it only fills me with sadness and - at times - anger. As I drive by the demonstration in our city or read online about the larger movement, I can't help but think how much better they could be making their area be volunteering those hours. I think folks are taking this as an opportunity to throw a collective temper tantrum, blaming everyone but themselves, and doing nothing to actually solve their own dilemmas. We live in a culture that says taking on major amounts of debt is not only OK, but normal, and then we feel victimized when that debt is called in. Look at the example our own government is setting. These are sad times, indeed.

  4. As someone who was transformed forever by the global movement for social change in 1968, I've been inspired by the numbers of optimistic people (esp. youth) willing to come forth with their bodies on the line, once again, demanding (yes, not a bad word to speak to the mostly uncaring 1%) that things be done differently now in this county, Canada and the rest of the corporate controlled counties (that's the planet, eh?).

    But...I'm concerned that most of the "occupiers" or OWS groups have not learned from the past (or for the most part not studied the movements for social change of recent her/history) and realized that we must get away from just "occupying" to actually proposing and creating the revolution we want, or the new institutions we want our children to grow up participating in ("prefiguring" a new society). That can't be done defending space, imho. Just as you Britt aren't out there "in the streets/encampments" nor am I. I was in the 60's/70's, but now I have chosen to participate (in the nonviolent revolution for a new world based on cooperation, not competition and plunder) by networking constructive proposals to make this new world happen. A new world that is free of capitalism, which is the greatest threat to humanity and the planet. A new world with a cooperative economy.

    There is one website that promotes this idea better than any I know of, perhaps because I have spent to past 40 years organizing and networking for a process/initiative called "community economic development" and know that unless we get out into our neighborhoods/cities start applying the programs and initiatives that we know can help change things around, well...it will never happen.

    I guess I've not planned out this response well enough, so will come back with a better thought out statement soon. It's a very important question Britt and am glad you've asked it. For now I will just say, please see the Grassroots Economic Organizing" website and read the main article there: OCCUPY! CONNECT! CREATE! - Imagining Life Beyond "The Economy" which says what I've just rambled about here. Here's the Intro:
    "#OccupyWallStreet has cracked open a little hole in history, creating a moment where some of the very core institutions of our economy are called into question. Along with indignation and outrage, there is a certain excitement in the air. Things that have been terrifyingly stuck seem to be moving. Something seems possible today that wasn't just a month ago. In this space, our conversations and our imaginations are buzzing. What are we doing? What should we do? What's coming next? In particular: as we condemn this economy built for the benefit of the 1%, what do we want in its place, and how will we build it?"

    Thanks again Britt! Peace, Larry Sheehy (Co-founder, past owner/coordinator of Ecopalooza Green Events Network).

  5. I went down to Occupy Santa Cruz. I arrived in time for the first speaker, a young woman who was reading the Occupy Wall Street Creed. I stood and drank in her presence, her spirit, the words, the intention, the beauty.. After she completed there came a roster of speakers who'd signed up to get their voice in the mix. I can honestly say my energy slumped from then on in.. grind grind same old grind;down(and I actually know some of these folk and they are good men (yes it was all men). As I drew away (to be in integrity with what was distinctly happening to me energetically in response), I felt like we all could have signed on to that awesome creed and gone home to do our next best effective thing. As I pulled away from the crowd, there was my husband extricating himself from the other side of the crowd. We had not seen each other, just were having the same experience, which sparked a big dialogue about what it was. In the end I did actually feel like the replicating of Occupy Wall Street IS wide open to manipulation and distortion. FOX news was there with hunking camera. It struck me later that less than desirable media sources had been 'helping' people find the location and get there on time. If that is true then it becomes another dog & pony show and no wonder you slump :|

  6. Hi Britt! I've been feeling the same way, and I'm surprised at myself. Surprised that I haven't gotten involved, and surprised that I don't feel more inspired. Dave and I just had a discussion about this over dinner last night. He feels a bit more inspired than I do, but I just feel that there's no... objective. There's a ton of energy and anger and vision, and I wish I felt it were being harnessed and directed toward a goal, but I don't. I DO think it's important to make people take notice, and I guess this is one good way to do it. I just hope that once people have been stirred up and take notice, they go out and VOTE, move money, and take action to achieve their demands. It's not going to happen by squatting in Ogawa Plaza.

  7. Thank You EcoLarry; I went to Grassroots Economic Organizing and read the page OCCUPY! CONNECT! CREATE! It was good :) MY other good one to tap is ongoing Eve Ensler with her UpSparkles on Occupy Wall Street; http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eve-ensler/ambiguous-upsparkles-from_2_b_1081569.html

  8. Thanks TimeToShine for the heads-up on Eve's article. I re-posted it on my FB page. It's one of the most moving pieces on the OWS movement I've heard, and Eve Ensler has been a favorite person of mine for years. I love her work.

  9. I see the Occupy movement as a way for these people to find their voice and be seen. It's also helped create a small caring community for those gathering and I hope to see this type of community start spreading further than just the parks where they are staying.

  10. Rubye Jack, thousandshadesofgray, Megan S, EcoLarry, TimetoShine, monaluna, Urban Girl ~

    Thanks so much for sharing all of your reflections, feelings and opinions. They help me think things through.


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