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Moving Forward - Diverging Paths Within the Occupy Movement
From Occupy Wall Street to Occupy Freedom Plaza, Occupy San Francisco, Occupy Oakland to the Occupy Solidarity Social Forum to direct action, to Occupying Government, the conversation is taking place in the streets, on the radio, on the internet, putting pressure on government and corporations to change their life threatening ways. People are standing up, speaking out, devising multiple strategies to further the universal aspirations for truth, peace, justice here, there and everywhere. There are almost too many options and possibilities, and not enough hours to do all that this moment demands of all of us.
Last night in San Francisco, the San Francisco 99% Coalition organized an excellent public forum - Which Way Forward? Direct Action, Electoral Politics, and Other Paths to Progressive Change in America moderated by KALW's Rose Aguilar which included an impassioned call to action by David Solnit to stop the for profit evictions/foreclosures and "Take it to Wells Fargo" in solidarity with Occupy Bernal who have helped three families in their struggle to save their homes. The panel of speakers including Rocky Anderson, Justice Party candidate for US President, Margaret Flowers, Physicians for a National Health Program, a major organizer of October2011.org's Occupation of Freedom Plaza in DC, Tom Gallagher, Progressive Democrats of America-SF, former Mass. State Representative, Dave Welsh, SF Labor Council, ILWU Longview port support, which gave plenty of time to hundreds who came to raise issues, questions and add to the conversation about where to put our time and energy in order to advance the aims of the Occupy Movement, which includes the diverse range of issues compelling us to take action and get involved. The one point of agreement seemed to be that in addition to challenging what is wrong, we also need to build alternatives, beyond simply replacing one politician with another and striving for genuine accountability within government, that we need to build a powerful movement from the ground up to get the systemic changes needed.
I especially appreciated the voices of Margaret Flowers and Rose Aguilar, both insightful, articulate women, providing insightful, concrete action paths, and pointing to great educational resources. The audience also included Kevin Zeese, another major organizer of the occupation in DC, whom I had interviewed on the Community Currency radio show last week last week. Another inspiring voice was David Levitt who is running for Senate against Dianne Feinstein and is one of the co-founders of BeYourGovernment.org,whose mission is to provide a free, non-partisan, socially-networked web platform for citizens and candidates to reclaim American democracy from corporate control. Cynthia Papermaster helped to herd many of us after the forum to a nearby restaurant to continue the conversation.
Cynthia Papermaster is a phenomenal organizer and also working on another public forum Occupy the 2012 Election: Let's Govern this Saturday morning from 10:30 am to noon at the Grand Lake Theater in Oakland.
While those focusing on the 2012 elections gather in Oakland, other organizers will be gathering in Olympia, Washington this weekend for the Occupy Solidarity Social Forum including Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese. Today on theCommunity Currency radio show from 2- 3 pm (Pacific Time) on the Progressive Radio Network, Bruce Wilkinson, a key organizer for this weekend's Occupy Solidarity Social Forum will give an update on the self organizing, evolving Forum.Bruce Wilkinson is from Kentucky now living in Olympia Washington were he graduated from the Evergreen State College. Board member and volunteer for Media Island International and the Alliance For Global Justice, he also organizes extensively with Occupy Olympia and a number of other groups. As an itinerant organizer, free radical and social movement reporter he works on a wide range of issues with a focus on networking, coalition building and weaving together a diverse social movement. Two years in Americorps facilitating kids and adults in the joy of constructing trails and performing environmental restoration work solidified his commitment to service. Preferring summers in the mountains out of a backpack, his calling to service often keeps him in the cities.
I wish I could go to all the events, but there is an embarrassingly rich array of options for activists at this moment in time, and for those of us who wear many hats, organizing, speaking, writing, cooking, gathering signatures to get on the ballot, attending meetings, conferences, planting seeds, knocking on doors. I have been attending local Occupy Stanford General Assemblies, which conflict with my Green Party and Northern California 9/11 Truth Alliance meetings. I'd also like to attend the Occupy the Truth Unconference in Berkeley this weekend, and protest Obama in San Francisco tonight, but I haven't figured out how to be in more than one place at a time. It does encourage me to see so many people engaged and so many events taking place simultaneously; I believe there is great hope for the future, as long as we keep organizing.Carol Brouillet is a local "hyperactivist" and Green Party candidate for Congress in 2012. She is a co-founder of the Northern California 9/11 Truth Alliance and publisher of the Deception and Perception Dollars. Her radio shows, are archived on the Progressive Radio Network.