Supporting The Occupy Movement

17 September 2015

Supporting The Occupy Movement
by john ros

PHOTO: Michael Fleshman, 2011

NEW YORK — In light of the fourth anniversary of the movement, I wanted to remind everyone of the role we play everyday. We make a difference in the decisions we make. Below are practical ways to support & sustain the occupy movement.

These are not all easy and they are certainly not necessarily always doable, but we have to remember that every little bit adds up. Tolerance, education and community support will continue to allow the movement to thrive. There is much to discuss and many new ideas that we need to come up with. Be fair to yourself and also understand that it is OK to not have the answer to something. It is also OK to change your mind. We must come together in support. Remember, everything we do is political. Question everything and be aware!

This is a starting point.

01. Purchase only what you need. We are urged to buy more to save more. Many times if we just did with what we actually needed we would spend less. Buy less, save more, waste less.

There are those that would say this is a very over-privileged way of viewing the situation. If you accept the current system as it is, I might agree with you. We have to turn everything on its head and start fresh. We have to come up with new solutions and begin to change the culture of celebrity and over-abundance that is propagated on every corner we turn and on every screen in front of us.

02a. Shop at locally owned businesses. Consider alternatives to big-box, corporate mega-stores, or mega online retailers. Small local business owners will NEVER be able to compete with large corporate buying power. Spending a little more on a product at a local store puts more money directly into your local community.

Again, this is difficult when there are few options for some of us, especially when we are over-worked and under-paid. We must begin to change our culture of consumption and start to discuss alternatives of fulfilment, success and need that exist — for all of us, not just the few. We also must understand how businesses and corporations work — do they support their employees?, pay their fair share in taxes?, etc.

02b. You vote every day with every dollar you spend. Be a wise consumer. Do research. Learn about a company’s practices, worker-relations and political leaning. Seek out ethical companies that invest in their employees and promote sustainable environmental practices. Make sure your hard-earned money is going to companies that support your values.

03. Stay informed. Resource multiple and various news sources and be sure you are learning the whole story. The more you know about something the more able you are to make your own opinion about it. Be sure to resource factual, unbiased information. Too much of our “news” is emotion-based, targeted sound-bites; press-releases cloaked as news; and corporate-touting propaganda meant to coerce the public into abiding citizenry.

Talk to people that disagree with you and have substantive discussions about life and the issues that are affecting your community. Wedge issues are placed in the ether of discourse as a way to divide. We are not all going to agree, nor should we. We must come together in acceptance of our differences as opposed to living in fear of them.

04. Vote, especially in local elections. Your local, city and state governments control most of the policy that effects you everyday. Contact your state senators and legislators and local elected and appointed officials. Let them know what is important to you and your community.

05. Stay connected with your local happenings. Attend city hall meetings and community advisory committee hearings. An active community is an informed community.

06. Use open-source and non-proprietary software.

07. Support the creative commons and share your knowledge. It is also OK to consider other financial structures and options. Just because there is no viable alternative to capitalism being discussed does not mean one does not exist.

08. Avoid corporate banks. Bank at your community savings bank or credit union. These banks invest directly into your community and are often owned by community members who want to see it thrive.

09. Avoid debt. Giant banks and the corporate credit companies rely on the over-spending of the population. Avoid paying interest and fees to these companies.

10. Take action, follow the movement, show support, spread the word, start a movement of your own — be a community leader.

Other helpful lists can be found on The Nation and Alternet