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As potlucks often miraculously provide, the spread included all courses from appetizers to dessert. In much the same way, our discussions revealed an astonishing variety of activism and depth of networking.

The nature and evolution of Occupy has been much on my mind lately. A visiting professor had given a talk about his research into Occupy, speaking of it in the past tense. I sat in the audience with several other local Occupiers trying to square this with my personal experience of Occupy here in my town. I thought I would present this local gathering as a way of answering whether Occupy was still a force for change or if it had vanished with the encampments.

After the dozen of us had finished eating, we went around the table to speak about what we were involved in. Many of these groups and projects were begun from individual Occupiers who stepped up in leadership roles.

May Day Solidarity Fair—Our third year, this fair brings over fifty groups together for networking and public education.—Recently, an Occupier organized a Climate Change Summit which was cosponsored by 29 groups and attended by over 250 people. Networking continues for all the groups attending.

Street Dawgs & Cats Care Fair—Our third year, these biannual free clinics for pets of the homeless offers vet care, pet food and pet supplies.

Occupy Reading Group—Our third year, people meet twice monthly to discuss readings in a room in the OSU Philosophy department.

Veterans for Peace—Many ongoing activities, the most recent an effort to provide alternatives to military service to high school students by networking with school counselors.

KXL Pipeline Resistance—Very active group which fights fossil fuel hegemony on many fronts, now bringing suit against the state with others for wrongful permitting of Megaloads related to the KXL pipeline.

Eyes Opening: Ideas for a Compassionate Society-- "Eyesopening is a vehicle for sharing stories, visions, and tools that will excite us and stimulate more compassionate interactions in our communities and our world. You can help create a community of visionaries by writing or recording articles and interviews, commenting, or just being a regular visitor." (currently seeking writers and submissions of work of all kinds on a variety of topics such as slow violence.)

Faces of Occupy Corvallis Project--In its third year also, this project puts together video interviews of people involved in Occupy on the ground.

Bayer Bee Care Tour direct action—Recent direct action to protest Bayer at OSU, including outreach to other Occupys along the rest of the tour.

Community Rights Campaign--Two-year-old effort through the courts to place a local food ordinance on the ballot which enshrines real people's Constitutional rights over corporations to protect our local agricultural and environmental systems.

Oregon Right to Know initiative campaign for GMO labeling—Failure of state legislation in this session, Oregonians are moving forward with an initiative to place a GMO labeling bill on the ballot in November.

IWW—Our own local chapter of the Wobblies (Industrial Workers of the World) in their ongoing work on unionization for all.

OSU Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign This campaign is moving forward by gathering endorsements (and petition signatures!) to demand that the OSU Foundation revise its portfolio to divest in the fossil fuel industry.

The consensus was that these issues are all one and required support from all of us. The updates on activism included a full menu of tools for change: state legislation, local and state initiative campaigns, petitions, letters to the editor, lawsuits, court orders, collaborative public events, and direct action. Networking partners included local high school counselors, state and national legislators, interstate Occupys, national movement leaders, Presidential candidates, and a dizzying array of local, national and international non-profits and groups working for change. We shared resources about media coverage, local networking, and upcoming educational opportunities.

Several of us had attended the 32nd annual international PIELC and reported back our interactions with groups and people including conversations with Dr. Jill Stein, the Green Party Presidential candidate.  

To me, Occupy has neither succeeded nor failed but is continuing. My local Occupy has evolved from street protests to embrace a full panoply of civic engagement and civil disobedience. I imagine that people in communities all across the nation are persisting in our fight for democracy and social justice.

Occupy moves forward.

Originally posted to occupystephanie ~ Stephanie Hampton on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 01:27 PM PST.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Stick with it. (6+ / 0-)

    Protest works, even if revolution sometimes fails.

    "So listen, oh, Don't wait." Vampire Weekend.

    by Publius2008 on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 01:34:46 PM PST

  •  Thanks for this info. I didn't know that Occupy (7+ / 0-)

    still existed. I'm glad to hear that it continues to exist and is pursuing ideas for positive change.

    The most serious problem in American politics today is that people with wrong ideas are uncompromising, and people with good ideas are submissive and unwilling to fight. Change that, and we might have a real democracy again.

    by Eric Stetson on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 01:37:42 PM PST

  •  Occupy has gone local (7+ / 0-)

    and it's a good forum for taking on mostly local challenges.

    •  Turns out that taking action on local challenges (5+ / 0-)

      can have repercussions up stream.

      Our local food fightis moving forward and we are likely days away from getting a ballot title for our local food system ballot measure.

      We go head on with Biotech in that, wresting control of our agriculture. Monsanto is already on the ground here.

      We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

      by occupystephanie on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 03:19:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh I agree. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        occupystephanie, RiveroftheWest

        I think Occupy has a lot of power as a distributed phenomenon rather than looking East :-)  The committed people and committed communities have found a way to translate that energy and coming-together into something that can be sustained locally whether the issues are strictly local, or whether they are local "chapters" of broader concerns.

        •  Exactly. Well stated. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RiveroftheWest, badscience

          We tried to get involved in the demands process but it got so unwieldy. Then Occupy Portland and other west coast Occupys took a lead. They had that really successful supporting action of the longshoremen all along the West Coast to close the ports. That was really exciting.  The union gave a party after it all settled and made Occupiers special guests.

          If that could happen more often, with labor rank and file rising up, things could be changed a lot faster.

          We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

          by occupystephanie on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 07:50:01 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Activating Activists (5+ / 0-)

    and reigniting old hands seems to have been the "fallout" from Occupy here in STL too.  The large group that held together after decamping made it through almost another year before schisms occurred.  Some of us stuck with whatever project we had going, others spun off and are doing whatever they're doing.  A few tried to make a run in local elections, but they didn't get very far.  Others have gone into "slacktivism".

    ~Arianna_Editrix-- I willingly accept Cassandra’s fate, To speak the truth, altho’ believ’d too late

    by Arianna Editrix on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 03:47:08 PM PST

    •  Portland is still very active (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OKath, Kombema, RiveroftheWest

      but Salem, our capital, fractured and died unfortunately. There is still a core of very busy Occupiers there who stake out the statehouse.

      Occupy Eugene is still going strong. They established Whoville, a encampment for those who are homeless, but have recently been evicted again. They host the best marches! They have a Chinese dragon and lots of drummers.

      We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

      by occupystephanie on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 04:04:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great diary! (5+ / 0-)

    Thanks for sharing all that's going on - carry on!

  •  May Occupy continue to grow! (3+ / 0-)

    This is great feedback.

    We are passing a GMO labeling bill here in Vermont, but the version going up for a vote contains triggers that require adjacent states to label GMOs. That pushes an effective bill out for years until those states pass labeling laws.

    Several of us are pushing for a bill with no triggers, but our state's attorney general has taken on Monsanto before and lost, at a cost of millions. He is very wary of another multi-million dollar lawsuit that Monsanto and cohorts would institute.

    Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed. Everything else is public relations. ~ George Orwell

    by 4Freedom on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 04:06:50 PM PST

    •  I support labeling but would prefer banning the (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OKath, Kombema, RiveroftheWest, 4Freedom

      growing of it as it contaminates our conventional and organic farms.

      An Occupier from our group began a group to do just that. We have a local food system ordinance that forbids it in our county that just passed Constitutional muster.

      Monsanto is already here filing harassment suits but their attorney had to admit in court that he could not stop people from voting. Cretin.

      We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

      by occupystephanie on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 04:52:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Of course banning the growing of GMOs is (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        occupystephanie, RiveroftheWest

        preferable. But a large percentage of our food now contains GMOs, and that GMO pollen is now part of our crop system. Because of that, we are cursed with GMO genetics in our food supply into the foreseeable future. And given the power of pharma and agribusiness in congress, I don't see banning GMO seed as a viable option at present.

        States could take on GMOs if they got the segment of the natural food industry that rejects GMOs to fund the fight. I gather the companies can't contribute on a corporate basis to state attorney's offices, but the individual corporate officers to whom this is an important issue could contribute, and I believe they would.

        I suggested that to our state attorney, but he has already been burned by Monsanto once, and is wary of further costly confrontation.

        Vermont has a very active public interest group I'm working with on this issue, but even the socialists in the state legislature think the state isn't up for another fight.

        Journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed. Everything else is public relations. ~ George Orwell

        by 4Freedom on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 11:13:07 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  So sad that attaining justice is so very expensive (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Economic might should not make right.

          Our situation here in Willamette Valley is different because we grow so much organic produce, grains and seeds that the growing of the GMO crops with their resultant genetic trespass damages these farmers. Out valley is only one of six globally that can be used as seed cradles for humanity when the industrialized agrochemical agriculture collapses.

          Our Democratic Governor Kitzhaber is convinced that the GMO and conventional/organic agriculture can coexist but that is impossible.

          So we pursue a local food system ordinance and are pushing ahead with it. It is a new form of civil disobedience and one we hope will prove successful.

          Oregon will have a label GMO initiative to vote on this November so we are hitting it on all fronts.

          We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

          by occupystephanie on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 03:00:06 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for the encouraging update, Stephanie! (3+ / 0-)

    It's great to hear that your local Occupy folks have kept the momentum going in the directions you have.  Our group here in Lansing has mostly headed off in somewhat of a different direction trying to build alternative forms of a New Economy (which i'm hoping to share some stories about in a diary soon), but in the panoply of issues and problems we face, the only sensible approach is to have a kaleidoscope of creative responses.  Keep up the great work and keep us in the loop!

    Pessimism of the intellect; optimism of the will. - - Antonio Gramsci

    by lehman scott on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 04:56:35 PM PST

    •  Ooops! I meant to add in there, of course... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RiveroftheWest, occupystephanie

      ..our great MICATS aside!  :)

      Pessimism of the intellect; optimism of the will. - - Antonio Gramsci

      by lehman scott on Mon Mar 03, 2014 at 05:10:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you! I had missed noise of rain's fine diary (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lehman scott, RiveroftheWest
        Yes, America, we understand. We understand that we are fully owned and operated by the Global Lubrication Cartel, and that no matter whom we elect, the Cartel gets its blood tribute. We understand the deepest duplicity of the oleocracy and how every transaction is predicated upon slippery slides of money from fist to palm, from power to the powerful while the world watches the last migration of monarchs, the last song of the warbler, the last tumored frog. We get how men wash their hands of the dirt of tomorrow with the deep satisfaction of a job well done, the swampland dug, the birdsong gone. We understand, America, the global reach of global arms, crude lubrication across benzine seas, from pipeline to shoreline to market shares. We understand that vast landscape tracts are only images from Landsats passed, the boreal, the vernal, the prairie grass, the soil hugging roots in rich stew blown away washed away in gully blast. Yes, America! We know what we are when we bangpipe the deep wells down into the crushing rock, blasting a toxic cola for the cleanest gas. We are America! We are strong, and we are free!

        We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

        by occupystephanie on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 08:41:57 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Lehman, thanks! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lehman scott, RiveroftheWest

      Love hearing about what your community has been doing. Sounds like a real ferment of creativity coupled with action.

      I loved your comment--feel you could lift it right out and post it as a diary. Excellent!

      One of the direct outcomes of Occupy that I’ve seen here in Mid-Michigan is an extraordinarily vibrant emergence of new economic initiatives in the form of timebanks, worker’s cooperatives, a maker’s network, and other related enterprises.  I wrote a bit about them here last summer and have been meaning to post a follow-up diary for the last several months, but there is just so much happening on the ground right now there just hasn’t been time (hopefully soon).
      We have an alternative currency here, called HOURS where the value is based on one hour of work no matter if you are a baker or a massage therapist. I also am in a neighborhood economy and trade my eggs for "bread bucks".

      We do need a new economic paradigm and starting from the grassroots level is a good place to start.

      We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

      by occupystephanie on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 08:35:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, i recall hearing about your timebank! I think (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        occupystephanie, RiveroftheWest

        one of our MMTB members who is making a documentary about timebanks has got one of your HOURS dollars - - she's been collecting them in her filming travels.  We're looking forward to having our own physical currency someday, too, but we've got to cross that critical mass threshold first.  Studies have shown that if a new timebank doesn't reach at least 150 active members in the first year, the odds are very slim it will survive.  Ours got going just last June and we're still only at 70 members, so we're starting to get a little nervous and consequently busting our butts canvassing the neighbors and getting ready for a spring membership push.  It's make or break time, and we have got to make it.  Glad to hear yours is doing so well!

        BTW, have you heard about Stephanie Rearick's Time for the World project?  She and some folks from the Dane County Timebank have launched this kind of Meta-Timebank called the Mutual Aid Network.  If it's successful I think it has the potential to leverage and expand what we're all working to accomplish into a functioning worldwide network of alternative economic enterprises.  I'm sure someone from your group has been in contact with her (they are looking for a number of areas to serve as pilot projects for the construction of the initial MAN), but just in case not, just thought i'd let you know.

        Exciting times! And thanks again for your diary!  :)  

        Pessimism of the intellect; optimism of the will. - - Antonio Gramsci

        by lehman scott on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 10:02:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks lehman! (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lehman scott, RiveroftheWest

          I will pass this on.

          Our local HOURS is years old and pretty successful. There are business partners who accept partial payment. The newsletter helps advertise it.

          I love this idea because the FED has no power over it and governments cannot get their mitts on it.

          We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

          by occupystephanie on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 10:15:40 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Fine diary, Steph. We just have to keep fighting (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    one battle at a time. Thanks!

    •  Our persistance will pay off, I am sure. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Our local food ordinance has already attracted some lightning and will attract more. We will be fund raising before too long because we will need it. And the public education piece is daunting. Community rights can be a hard concept to wrap our heads around when we have been used to top-down governance.

      We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

      by occupystephanie on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 08:39:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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