Across the planet over 2000 Occupy locales have arisen. Some have thousands of people. Some have a a handful. Some have people sleeping there. Some have red state police that prevent people from laying down or sleeping overnight, so the occupiers come back day after day.
In the past few weeks, I've been to five Occupy communities. it's given me a feel for how the movement is evolving.
It's beautiful the way these communities have come together to support the occupiers, to support the movement. The sharing, kindness and generosity has become a hallmark of the movement.
Right wingers who either don't get what's happening or who are just trying to spread the anti-Occupy right wing lies that are being put out as talking points claim that there is nothing to the movement-- that they're pot-smoking, smelly losers, hippies and freaks who have no goals, not political intentions. Karl Rove, Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh and Peggy Noonan are among that group of specious echo chamber mouthpieces.
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The fact is, the Occupy movement is an incredibly soulful, kind, nurturing, creative, open, supportive one that is, unlike the angry, griping teapartiers, who come packing guns, actually building supportive, deep communities.
At many of the occupy communities there are free kitchens giving out anything from peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to free pizza donated 50 pies at a time or paid for by people on the web, to gourmet vegan meals and free-range chicken cooked by chefs. By now, probably, hundreds of thousands of meals, maybe even millions have been given away.
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Here's a sampling of some of this magic. What you will see is clean, noble, well organized, caring, dedicated people. I hope this essay will inspire you to visit an OWS community, bring donations, stay overnight, or even start one.
line of occupiers AND homeless at the Occupy Philly food tent rob kall
Yes, the homeless are welcome. They're victims of the rape and destruction that has resulted from the class war against the middle class and poor.
Dishing out rice and beans for dinner at Occupy Washington DC at Freedom Plaza rob call
I heard there was pizza at the Food Not Bombs tent, but by the time I got there the pizza was gone. Probably better for me. the rice and beans were tasty. I gave a donation comparable to what I would have spent at a restaurant, which probably paid for enough food to feed ten or more people who couldn't pay.
Volunteers serve food at the Occupy Philly Food Tent rob kall
You don't have to sleep overnight at an occupy location. You can volunteer to help serve or prepare food.
Mother and daughter donate food and a big box of plastic utensils to Occupy Philly rob kall
You don't have to volunteer. You can just stop by and bring things that are needed by the occupy locales.
Donations Needed-- a list at Occupy Philly rob kall
So, here's a l ist that I assure you will apply to most occupy locales. But most also have Facebook pages, so check them, and when you come, bring something, even if it's just cash, unless you NEED help or food or a haircut, or clothes-- then you'll know there are people who will help you.
Don't just bring meals, also bring treats. Occupiers are not food saints.
Treats!! Ben and Jerry's ice cream served by... Ben and Jerry, at NYC's Zuccoti Park rob kall
Yes, some famous people come to the occupy zones, but most of the people who come are regular people. One of the VALUES of the occupy movement is that it is about the 99%-- the regular people. That's why there are more and more occasions where rich and famous people are either turned away or their offers to pay for things are turned down. This is a truly bottom up phenomenon and it is being kept that way. The threat of co-optation comes not just from people who want to leech or parasitize off of the movement, but also well meaning people who what to share their wealth and power. I'm sure there ARE ways they can help, but those have to be worked out, so they don't co-opt the growth and character of the movement.
Not Just Food-- Energy and Wireless
At Occupy Trenton, a carpenter built a bike set-up that charges a battery used to run computers and charge cell phones. rob kall
But Occupy Trenton also has a generator that they run to power computers. Problem is, police have warned them that if neighbors complain about the noise of the generator, they'll have to turn it off-- and governor Chris Christie, NJ governor, is one of the closest neighbors, with his office directly across from the park.
The view from Governor Chris Christie's office rob kall
Solar cells providing electricity for the charging table at Occupy Philly rob kall
the Occupy Philly charging table, run off the solar power charged battery rob Kall
There are similar charging set-ups, run by solar power, by gas powered generators at many of the Occupy locales.
occupy Philly library rob kall
There are libraries-- people, publishers bring books.
After a while the occupiers sleeping
out overnight can get a bit scruffy, this one, John Hovey, is a veteran of Iraq and Iran rob kall
Volunteer hairdressers and barbers offer free services. rob kall
But that's not all!. They get fitted up with suits and shirts too.
Pants don't fit? There's a volunteer doing tailoring. rob kall
John and another occupier have been transformed, with the help of donors and volunteers. rob call
When the corporate owner of Zuccoti Park threatened to clear it to "clean" it, a massive array of cleaning supplies appeared.
lots of clean up supplies at Zuccoti Park rob kall
many of the Occupy locales have medical tents, filled with volunteer nurses, doctors and physicians assistants. The one at Zuccoti Park was threatened by police and Rev. Jesse Jackson just happened to be there to talk them out of it. I took the picture below two days later. The tent's still standing.
Medical Tent and table at Occupy Wall Street NYC rob kall
and let's not forget tee shirts. Screen printers have set up tables and offer to print Occupy Wall Street and 99%er images on tee-shirts that people bring to them-- free.
Printing a tee-shirt at Zuccoti Park rob kall
Paintings on the steps where the drumming and music is usually done, near Church st, at Zuccoti Park rob kall
There's a lot of art happening at all the Occupy locales I've seen. From sign making to creation of costumes for street theater-- fun, creative, stuff with tons of paint, poster-board, cardboard for signs.
Arts area at Occupy Philly rob kall
They painted a city at Occupy Washington DC. rob kall
And then, there are some practical arts.
She knits scarves and hats for the young occupiers sleeping at Zuccoti Park rob kall
There's music at all the occupy locales I've seen. This crew is in Washington DC. rob kall
A spiritual circle around a tree-- many faiths, side by side, meditating, praying rob kall
But let's not forget. This is a movement that has risen because of corruption and injustice.
The young people, unable to find jobs, facing the worst class warfare and a terrible economy, are waking up to the potential power they can tap and harness.
Since the Occupy movement began there have been well over 1000 arrests, scores of protests, marches, sit-ins-- the number of protests, civil resistance and disobedience actions in the US alone has gone through the roof.
marchers from Occupy Washington DC head to King Memorial rob kall
Marchers at Zuccoti Park rob kall
Finally, there has been a lot of criticism that the Occupy movement is not making demands, doesn't have positions. The truth is that you just have to get a sampling of the signs and see the notes from the general assemblies they're all having. Sure, there are people coming to the Occupy locales to exploit the visibility and exposure. But the discussions are happening and soon, demands and positions will be made known. Here's a sign with some rough notes.
Notes from a General Assembly at Occupy DC at McPherson Square. rob kall
When the right attacks the Occupy movement, and suggest that the Tea Party is better, or that the people of the Occupy movement are not of the best class-- you know they are either lying or ignorant. There is no comparison between the two. The Occupy movement is profoundly more kind, more evolved, more deep and nurturing than the Koch funded tea party. Unlike the tea party, the 99 percenters are thinking through a lot of issues and demands, not parroting stale billionaire provided right wing talking points.
The world is watching and joining the Occupy movement. Thank goodness it is so much more than the shallow narrative of the tea party.
Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind. Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives one person at a time was too slow, he founded Opednews.com-- which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big) to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet and the Psychopathy Defense and Optimization Project.