Sunday, February 19, 2012

Occupy in Olympia

Beginning Friday and running through Monday, Olympia is hosting the Occupy Solidarity Forum, a gathering of members from the various Occupy sites from around the country. As nation-wide gatherings go, it's a smallish affair--maybe 200, including many locals--but the size does not preclude enthusiasm or vibrant exchange of ideas.

The size does not preclude diversity. At various functions I've met Occupiers from Phoenix, Tucson, Modesto and Missoula. One person came from the original Occupy Wall Street in New York. The couple from Phoenix drove up, giving workshops in San Francisco and Portland along the way. Two others came out from Washington, DC. Occupiers from Oakland gave one of Saturday's workshops. The Corporate State may have evicted the occupiers but the idea is very much alive.

I'm not deeply involved in the Occupy movement but I support its many goals and the idea of citizen activism to reclaim our lives, our planet and our future from corporate oligarchy. Perhaps its greatest lesson is that there are more of us than there are of the privileged 1%. The second great lesson is that the economic system that serves so many so poorly operates with our consent. Occupy is hardly the first recognize that strength and leverage--I heard S. Brian Wilson say the same at the Veterans For Peace conference in August--but Occupy is real step toward withdrawing that consent.

David Korten, author of Agenda for a New Economy, spoke last night and laid out a thoughtful, well-informed reasoned analysis of modern economic dysfunction and offered equally thoughtful, reasoned solutions for creating a human-centric economy. Earlier in the day, Foster Gamble hosted a screening of his documentary "Thrive" which covers much the same ground. The documentary is a bit out there in places but much of it rings true and is certainly more credible than the propagandistic pap served up by the media, interests and their government lackeys.

All this tells me that people are beginning to think, ask questions and act. I can see it in the Move Our Money campaign and the call to revoke the corporate charter of socially irresponsible corporations such as Massey Energy. Korten noted that we have one advantage that all previous movements have lacked: the ability to communicate and exchange information directly. Occupy and many other movements have used this tool effectively.

On this particular morning, I feel hopeful that we can defeat the Empire and create a sustainable, just and fair society. I look forward to an American Spring in 2012.

I would be remiss if I did not salute and thank the organizers of the Occupy Solidarity Forum. They put on two full days of workshops, speakers and entertainment at multiple locations throughout downtown Olympia. They fed many of the participants and helped many find low cost accommodations, including the more than 50 or so who camped at the State Labor Council Building. They are proof that the spirit of Occupy lives.

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