In case you haven’t heard, Occupy Wall Street is the spark that has ignited a revolution that is spreading like wildfire around the globe. The fuel is the people that are showing up in over 113 US cities, and 28 international ones, as of this writing. Lawyers, business people, former home owners, students and activists are gathering in cities around the world to stand up to the powers that be, and send a message that enough is enough. Occupytogether.org has created a website to unify all the individual actions that are springing up daily.
Occupy Wall Street is an ongoing demonstration in New York City. The protest was originally called for by the Canadian activist group Adbusters, taking inspiration from the Arab Spring movement, particularly the Tahrir Square protests in Cairo which initiated the 2011 Egyptian Revolution.
Will the revolution be televised? In this information age, the mainstream media isn’t necessarily a requirement to move information around the globe. Since it’s first day on September 17, 2011, Occupy Wall Street has grown from a few hundred protesters on Wall St. NYC, to a global movement. Los Angeles launched Occupy LA with a march to City Hall last Saturday, as 15 other US cities did the same. From sea to shining sea, people are gathering and demanding change. Between youtube, Facebook, and Twitter, this revolution is managing to get the word out. Occupy Together and Occupy Wall St. Facebook pages are growing by thousands daily.
Who’s talking about it?
On Monday evening on his way to “Liberty Plaza” in New York City, Deepak Chopra tweeted “On my way to #OccupyWallStreet to lead a meditation for social and corporate transformation.” After his time there he told, Sharon London, who arranged the visit, “I am very happy to see the beginning of a mass movement.” No stranger to Wall Street, Chopra has addressed the issues stemming from New York’s financial district in his recent book “The Soul of Leadership.”
While some are critical of the movement, calling it disorganized or pleading for a unified message, the most important thing to focus on at this moment is the fact that thousands are mobilizing and showing up for a movement that has the potential to be a game changer, a world saver even. People everywhere are voicing their dissatisfaction with the current system, and demanding change. What that change looks like is different for everyone.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and a new world won’t be created in one. This democratic process to solve multiple, complicated problems will take some time. The good news is the movement is gaining some serious traction, despite the lack of major media attention and the fact that it is a “leaderless movement.”
Anyone can participate in the nightly General Assembly meetings and make your voice heard. According to their website, “New York City General Assemblies are an open, participatory and horizontally organized process through which we are building the capacity to constitute ourselves in public as autonomous collective forces within and against the constant crises of our times.” You can even lend your voice to the movement straight from your desk, by commenting on this working draft of the principles of solidarity. Everyone has an opinion, and it’s encouraged that you share it. In fact, that’s the whole point. Welcome to actual democracy.
You can even tune into the nightly GA meeting live on web stream here.
This is what democracy looks like. This is as grass roots as it gets.
Notables that have already visited the Wall Street protesters include Michael Moore, Susan Sarandon and Cornell West. Yoko Ono even involved late husband, John Lennon, in her support for the cause. “I love #OccupyWallStreet,” she tweeted. “As John said, ‘One hero cannot do it. Each one of us have to be heroes.’ And you are. Thank you.”
According to Shaza Lynn, a demonstrator on the ground in “Liberty Plaza,” “People are here for the long haul. We’re even setting up neighborhoods within the demonstration. There is access to free medical care and 3 meals a day. It’s move-in ready for anyone who wants to join and all are welcome.” Shaza went on the mention that the occupiers are calling for donations of sub zero sleeping bags so they can continue to stay as the New York winter chills moves in. They understand that this is a long-term struggle.
Student, labor and steel workers unions are expected to be joining the movement on Wednesday, growing it exponentially.
My hope is that we can keep the conversation growing, through civil discourse, into what solutions we do want. Let’s resist the urge to blame and criticize others, and, instead, focus on the goals. Where do we want to go and how do we get there, collectively, as a community of concerned citizens? Let’s be guided by the love that unites us, and use that as a guidepost for all of our interactions with each other as we find our way through to a new world that works for everyone. One of my favorite quotes pretty much sums up this moment in our history.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”