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Occupy San Diego: A Year Later

By       Message nadin abbott     Permalink
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Mitchel Sterling
(Image by Nadin Abbott)
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br />Mitchel Sterling by Nadin Abbott

While we waited I talked with Mitchell Sterling, one of the core activist about the successes of OSD this year. He said that one of the most important accomplishments was "to spread the word of Occupy in San Diego."

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This was an important step that later on led to "City Council adopting an ordinance ordering banks to maintain foreclosed property." This will help to reduce urban blight.

Locally Occupy has adopted the Madrid Model, which means they have spread into the neighborhoods and have joined the work of many local community activists. Therefore, OSD and ancillary groups, such as Women Occupy and Occupy the Hood, have become deeply involved in projects such as the San Onofre Nuclear plant, raising awareness of it's problems.

The General Assembly reached consensus on the involvement of OSD in the "Yes on 37" campaign, and they have been very active on it. This also leads to work on food justice issues. As Sterling put it, "phase two is in the neighborhoods."

Therefore we have seen the rise of Occupy Ocean Beach, Occupy City Heights, and other issues such as the student debt crisis. Occupy activists have helped to energize a lot of other community groups, including Canvas for a Cause.

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OSD was also very active during the Transpacific Trade Negations, not just protesting it, but holding a parallel conference explaining the effects of the TPP on Americans. After all, "the TTP is under the radar. It will offshore jobs. It is NAFTA on steroids."

Raising awareness is one of the strengths of OSD. But chiefly, what OSD achieved was to "change the dialogue locally with the politicians, the media and the public."

He finished, "we are standing with the homeless, against foreclosures, and the concept of the 99%. The people now understand the 1% and the commodities market."

As people came they got ready for the march. There were about fifty marchers, were getting ready with banners held high. As the march started another twenty-five OSD members, with two puppets, joined them. The first introduced at the Yes on 37 march, the second symbolizing the peaceful protestor, who wore a shirt that looked bloody. James explained later that this was in support of the Canadian students who won their battle against their government. Absent, or I did not see it, was any sign of solidarity with the "Yo Soy 132" movement in Mexico.

Going down Broadway, some familiar chants were heard, "who's streets, our streets," Others involved the Muslim community, who would be accepted by the marchers, no questions asked. Yet another was "we do not want your war."

Down Broadway we went, with people honking in support and with SDPD motor officers making sure the march remained safe.

Once we reached the Midway proper we walked into an area with a small glen, where headstones with the names of every casualty of the war from this region was placed. It was a small memorial, with flags in front of each one of them. There, one of our Occupiers, Chaplain Ron, knelt to say a prayer, among the "headstones."

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Anoki Casey
(Image by Nadin Abbott)
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Anoki Casey by Nadin Abbott

Anoki Casey, one of the members of Occupy San Diego, and one of the two puppeteers, told me "The process is not doing what it is meant to do." He even added "Politicians were relevant in age of horse and buggy, but that today we should do things by consensus."

Casey gave me the example of Balboa Park. The people want one thing but City Council is doing whatever they want. We spoke a little about Councilmember Todd Gloria, who represents the district that includes the park. Casey said that his opinion of Gloria depended on what he did. "Todd Gloria made a verbal promise to save the World Beat Center, to give them the twenty five year lease. This is one of the few multicultural institutions." In Casey's mind his opinion of Gloria depends on the Council Member keeping that promise. 

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Writer, blogger, journalist, based in San Diego. Started doing this with Occupy and has grown from there. As a trained historian I was struck by Occupy, which will be considered an important moment in US History, at leaset in my opinion.

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