[This blog is intended to begin a conversation with readers in the comment box below]
Surely I am not the only one who thinks about Occupy and the question of its presence in the world; so….To all of us—fellow and feminine Occupiers—and to the lower-case occupiers-at-heart who wait and watch, who speculate from afar—along with the Main Stream Media and the rest of the country: It’s been over two and a half years since our first General Assembly gathered. A large and hopeful group we were—mostly older folk, so intelligent and so disparate that we needed a couple of months to settle on our mission—even longer to become active. By March of 2012, many of the originals—possibly wearied by indecision, or attracted by activities electoral, maybe having sensed the group consensus was too divergent from their personal priorities; or perhaps apprehensive over being associated by name with the infamous Zuccotti Park residents…by then, many were going or gone. The dwindling remnant transitioned that winter into a spring launch—pursuing county and town officials and collecting a string of five MTA Resolution passages. What OccupyWNC has since accomplished is history, known to some, fairly well-documented and definitely amazing to ponder—that so few have done so much! Sometimes I become disheartened that we’ve not attracted more newcomers, even though WNC Occupiers are mostly too busy keeping abreast of our concerns to give way to the luxury of despair. Here are three examples that help mitigate my dis-ease: Occupy Henderson County originated almost simultaneously with our group in 2011. These self-proclaimed activists-citizens, who eventually renamed themselves HC-CAFE, have done impressive work. Perhaps what most distinguishes them from us is the broad coalition they have been instrumental in creating. Recently that group traveled the distance from Hendersonville to spend an evening with us. Three hours together revealed that the name ‘Occupy’ was one of very few distinctions in the solidarity with and confirmation we found with them.
Next there is the the . Occupy NYC’s “Inbox” email proclaims to the world—Occupy Is Alive! The website makes no such “announcement;” its purpose instead is to alert Occupiers everywhere of what’s happening in NYC, in hopes others might join in or duplicate the OWS action in their locales. Additionally, my confidence gets grounded by the rock-solid connection that Occupy WNC has made with the national grassroots Movement to Amend (the US Constitution). Our commitment to undermine the devastating control of the corporate oligarchy over every aspect of needed change connects me to all who work for equality—no matter the issue. So what is the reality here? WNC Occupiers and everyone else are so frequently bombarded —mostly by the national media—with references to Occupy in the past tense, that for many, they no longer hear ‘Is Occupy dead?’ as a question. Only by searching the internet can we find Occupy activity. The main stream media shines no light on the positive work being accomplished; so who would guess? After the Zuccotti evacuation, it’s my view that Occupiers segued to serious and certainly less obvious or “newsworthy” endeavors. Innumerable projects continue to perpetuate Occupy’s influential 99% insight — Move Your Money, Occupy the SEC, Occupy Sandy, Occupy Strike Debt, Innovating to Fight Homelessness—all demonstrations of Occupiers still making a difference for the majority whose lives have been ruptured by the greed of the 1%. In place of questioning Occupy’s potency, I want us to use our time examining recent evidence from Occupy [NYC’s] Network Facebook page. Yes, the corporate media continues to spout endless reports of settlements, corporate takeovers, pipelines, judicial overreach and more; but they do not obscure one colossal insight: The influence of OWS’ ninety-nine percent carries an agency that has no recent historical counterpart.