I began blogging in October, 2011, as reports back from Occupy Wall Street in New York. Guari and I plan to be at this year’s Occupy National Gathering, or NATGAT 2014, which will take place from July 31 through August 3 in Sacramento. Preparations are being made, committees are being formed, venues are being booked, supplies are being gathered. We plan to immerse ourselves in this experiment in participatory democracy with people from all over the country, to envision and strategize ways to bring about a better tomorrow. I’ll be reporting back about my experiences there.
Why get involved again with Occupy? Isn’t it dead—replaced by anti-immigrant mobs and gun-toting Walgreen shoppers? No, Occupy is not dead. Even after the successful nationally-coordinated push that cleared out the various Occupy encampments, the spirit of Occupy lives. People committed to the vision of peace, justice, ecological healing, and real democracy continue their work in other arenas, taking nonviolent action on issues such as illegal foreclosures, predatory student loans, single payer health care, workers’ rights, prison reform, anti-drone activism, peacemaking, advocacy for immigrants, climate change, fracking, GLTB rights, family-friendly social policies, an end to the corporate domination of government, and many other struggles. Rolling Jubilee, borne out of Occupy Wall Street, purchases medical debt for pennies on the dollar and abolishes it. So far, over $1 million in medical debt, has been abolished. Many groups continue to use art, music, spoken word, giant puppets, and other forms of creativity to bring their message home. See Creative Resistance.org for examples.
Many faith communities are working on these issues, along with people of various political and philosophical persuasions. Support for such actions seem to me to be consistent with what Jesus taught—compassion, justice, inclusion, and nonviolent resistance to the dominating Powers of his day.
Why am I planning to go to NATGAT 2014? For the same reasons I went to New York in 2011. As I wrote in my first post, Why I’m Going to Occupy Wall Street:
I am going to stand in solidarity with those who are oppressed by the current corporate-dominated Empire, and to hear stories and sing songs of hope. I plan to join my voice with those who shout out that the Emperor has no clothes, that money is not ultimate, that the invisible hand of the Market is not the hand of God. I intend to make visible my refusal to bow to this idol, this usurper, and to join with people of conscience and witness to my faith that “another world is possible.”
Maybe I’ll see you there.