Friday, December 9, 2011

Supporting the Occupy Movement if you Cannot Occupy

Dedicated to… you know who you are.

By Big Noise and Magitator

In the 60s Jim Morrison snarled at his audiences, “They have the guns, but we have the numbers.” In a nutshell it was why progressives could pressure the power structure to end the war, advance civil rights, and move society forward. The rabble-rousing agents of change fought the 1%. For every person in the street, there were friends, families, neighbors, and co-workers backing them up, supporting their efforts, and took on activities to support the movement.  

The same is true today. There are a generation of people who are in the process of establishing themselves as stable parents, workers, and homeowners. While these people support the Occupy Movement, the risk to their newly established responsibilities constrains their participation. Their risks are greater than students, retirees, people who work for progressive organizations, or those who have already lost their jobs.

While constrained, it does not mean they must be passive. There are many ways they can support the movement, from the covert to public activities. Here are a few ideas.
·        Sign online petitions. They are less likely to get back to the boss than local hard copies.
·        Teach your children well. Help them understand that poor people are no lazier than rich people, in many cases they work harder; that the inequity of opportunity and limited life experiences because of poverty has a dramatic affect on people’s lives.
·        Contribute financially.
·        If your city has an occupy site, take or send food for the Occupiers. Provide them with hand and foot warmers or some cold weather gear in the winter.
·        Move your money from “too big to fail” banks to local banks and credit unions.
·        Avoid debt if you can. It just feeds the machine. If you have credit cards, you cannot avoid Visa, Discover, or MasterCard, but you can get them through a local bank or credit union.
·        Buy locally. Avoid the big box stores if you can.
·        Know the issues. Read alternative news sources. Find out what the other side is saying. Use your critical thinking skills to analyze an issue.
·        Don’t cross a picket line. Picketers are directly confronting the ruling class.
·        Contribute your skills after work. Your technology, videography, and/or writing skills would be willingly accepted without having to acknowledge who provided it.
·        Don’t get discouraged. The Occupy Movement is in it for the long haul. If you have a idea, share it with more active members. Your creativity may spark an entire new strategy.

If someone bad-mouths the Movement, have a comeback ready that you can say, that will neutralize the negative. (ie: “Those Occupiers are lazy; they should get a job”. You could say, “I think a lot of them are students, retirees or unemployed who want to work and some DO have jobs.”)
·        Encourage others who can, to become active in the Occupy Movement.
·        There can be safety in numbers at large scale demonstrations. Come on out. Bring the kids and the dog. And if they do identify you, say “Demonstrating? No Sir! I was just walking and found myself in the middle of this thing.” J
·        Volunteer at organizations that support the social safety net for the 99%; a domestic violence shelter; tutor or mentor a child who has less then you; the local senior citizens’ center; a homeless shelter; adult education centers; food pantries, etc. They are less controversial, yet support the very things the Occupy Movement stands for.

Lastly, I will leave you with a Mario Salvio quote. Maria Salvio was a leader of the student movement in the 60s.

There's a time when the
operation of the machine becomes
so odious—makes you so sick at
heart—that you can't take part.

You can't even passively take part. 
And you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon
the wheels, upon the levers, upon
all the apparatus and you've
got to make it stop.

And you've got to indicate to the people who
run it, to the people who own it, that unless you're free, the
machine will be prevented from working at all”