A confession. This retired academic mathematician and author has been hanging out with the unwashed hippies, anarchists, and “economic terrorists” of Occupy Harrisonburg (Virginia).
In truth, the sandals-on-the-ground experience is a lot different than you’d gather from the mainstream’s jaundiced portrayal of Occupy. In our semi-rural neck of Virginia, Occupy Harrisonburg (#ohb) has met weekly — uninterrupted and without incident — for nearly two years. A lot has transpired. Since the first enthusiastic gatherings, which topped out at well over 100, students have gone back to classes and families back to breadwinning and soccer games. A small, persistent core remains, mostly gray, those with the luxury of time.
So, why do I — both bald and gray — Occupy? For starters, I’ve come to love my fellow Occupiers.
|—||Joan Donovan in How Occupy birthed a rhizome by Joan Donovan | LikeTheDew.com|
|—||Charles Eisenstein, author of “Sacred Economics,” spearking at Occupy UNC’s “alternative” commencement in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, quoted in Occupy UNC holds ‘alternative’ commencement - Local/State - NewsObserver.com (via bohemiansouth)|
In the coming weeks, millions of Americans will take to the streets as part of the “99 percent spring,” echoing last year’s “Arab Spring.” At the root of this discontent are the extreme inequalities of income, wealth, and opportunity that have emerged over the last four decades. The richest 1 percent now owns over 36 percent of all the wealth in the United States. That’s more than the net worth of the bottom 95 percent combined. This 1 percent has pocketed almost all of the wealth gains of the last decade.
As an activist for over seven years, I have witnessed numerous progressive organizations—even entire movements—fall apart due to internal conflict. Many blame this phenomenon on government infiltrators, which undoubtedly have played a role in sowing discontent and provoking violence within our ranks, but the presence of infiltrators alone cannot account for the general divisiveness that even the thoroughly inclusive Occupy movement has fallen prey to in its weaker moments.
Wednesday Occupy Atlanta and Occupy Gwinnett successfully disrupted foreclosure auctions in three metro counties, Fulton, DeKalb, and Gwinnett, by shouting, blowing whistles, and drumming until the auctions were forced to move. In DeKalb and Gwinnett police asked the protesters to disperse; in Fulton the police stood by while speculators assaulted several protesters by punching, elbowing and shoving them. None of the assailants were arrested; however, Occupy Atlanta participant Ron Allen was arrested for having a bullhorn. He was carried away chanting “Banks got bailed out, we got sold out.”
Occupy protesters showed up at monthly home foreclosure auctions on courthouse steps in three [metro Atlanta] counties Tuesday, with one protester arrested in Fulton County. The auctions in Gwinnett and DeKalb counties, each attended by as many as a dozen protesters, went quietly, witnesses said. Several dozen protesters stood in the rain at the Fulton courthouse, making noise to protest the foreclosures nonviolently. Tracy Flanagan, a spokeswoman for the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office, said protesters were blowing whistles, holding up signs, speaking loudly over the auctions “and kind of blocking the sidewalk.”
Occupy Atlanta is back at Woodruff Park — not in it, but adjacent to the downtown green space where the movement set up stakes for much of October. The tents of Occupy Atlanta protesters appeared overnight on the sidewalk along the park. The group said a loophole in the municipal code allows protesters on sidewalks under certain circumstances.
The Richmond Tea Party has been alleging that it is being singled out for unfair treatment from the city of Richmond, Virginia after officials have opened a tax audit of the group. These Tea Partiers complain that the city has been much more lenient on Occupy Richmond (which recently faced arrestsafter resisting an eviction) and that 99 Percenters are getting preferential treatment.
Yet the Richmond Tea Party just got an unexpected ally in its claim against the city — Occupy Richmond. The group put out a statement defending the Tea Party group and criticizing possible politically-motivated retaliation against it by the city.
Georgia is one of seven states that have suffered a net loss of jobs in 2011, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The others are Delaware, Idaho, Indiana, Maine, Vermont and Virginia.