Monday, October 03, 2011

People on the Way to Occupy D.C.

People from all over the country are heading to Washington, D.C. this week.  A bit further on I discuss meeting with three of them heading across country to Occupy DC.  October 6th marks the 10th anniversary of the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan.  Ten years ago we were mourning the attacks on New York City, the District of Columbia, and one attack that was thwarted and became a crash site in Pennsylvania.  We had the world on our side, our country was more united than we had been in decades, and our finances were in good shape.

10 years later the American people seem to be awakening to an understanding that they have been lied to, manipulated and bankrupted in order to benefit the wealthy corporate and military interests that used an attack on U.S. soil to corrupt the democratic processes that regulate capitalist maximization of profit at the expense of human needs. 

The unemployed, the outraged, the peaceful have put out and are responding to a call to gather together.   The Wall Street Occupation is getting the attention today, the D.C. occupation will probably get the attention at the end of the week.  The fact that I haven’t heard discussed is that this is happening during the month after the 10 year anniversary of our country was attacked and  the 10 year anniversary

During the evening of September 29th  I had the opportunity to talk to Xan, Peter, and Kevyn  as they came through Tucson on a caravan across the southern United States that was stopping in as many places along the way as people want them to talk about the issues or to join in a vigil or protest, or join with the caravan and go to D.C. to join the Human Need Not Corporate Greed occupation  force there.

The three original caravan members, others may have joined along the way by now, are associated with peace groups, Xan and Kevyn identify with CodePINK, and Peter is a member of Veterans for Peace.

Their stay in Tucson included protest with the local peace and justice community at weekly gathering in front of the Federal Building in downtown Tucson at rush hour, a candlelight vigil for DRONE victims in front of the gates of Davis Monthan Air Force Base at sunset,  connection with another weekly vigil  for those migrants who die in the surrounding desert nearly every week of the year in the northern reaches of the Sonoran Desert.  Then with the Theater’s permission the lead Caravan Truck parked in front of the main theater doors with the with the side with  the beautiful mural painted by Phoebe Ackley so that viewers of a privately sponsored viewing of  The Future of Food  organized by the Tucson GMO Free Group  could see that individuals from diverse groups have the same concerns and can spread a message, have impact, and talk to  caravan members about the overlapping goals and agendas of peace and safe food groups. 
The concept of overlapping concerns and goals is a growing theme in U.S. civic action.  Talking heads, such as Dylan Ratigan on MSNBC today noted the amorphous nature of the reasons for the Occupy Wall Street actions in NYC that are spreading to other major cities across the United States.  The October 2011 web site that is the overarching informational site about the occupation of Freedom Plaza in D.C. has a list of 15 Core Issues of the Human Needs Not Corporate Greed actions in D.C.

The events commencing October 6 in D.C. are focused on redirecting war, military and occupation funds back to support of human and environmental needs.  The pledge on the states,

"I pledge that if any U.S. troops, contractors, or mercenaries remain in Afghanistan on Thursday, October 6, 2011, as that occupation goes into its 11th year, I will commit to being in Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C., with others on that day or the days immediately following, for as long as I can, with the intention of making it our Tahrir Square, Cairo, our Madison, Wisconsin, where we will NONVIOLENTLY resist the corporate machine by occupying Freedom Plaza to demand that America's resources be invested in human needs and environmental protection instead of war and exploitation. We can do this together. We will be the beginning."

People’s motivations and wellbeing, as well as the ideal of democracy are complex constructs and cannot be condensed into the well-packaged marketing sound bytes easily broadcast by our media that now functions as much from press releases as from investigative journalism.  If the media, even those very few media outlets that are covering the Human Needs movement, does not understand what certainly seems like parts of a mass movement reacting to corporate take over of government functions around the world, well perhaps they will have to revert to old fashioned journalistic practice.

Today through Thursday of this week the CodePINK Caravan will travel through Shreveport, Louisiana - Jackson, Mississippi - Birmingham, Alabama, - Atlanta, Georgia - Charlotte and Henderson, North Carolina on the way to their arrival in Freedom Plaza in D.C.  at 9 a.m. Thursday.  “ Thursday,” as the participants note, “is only the beginning.” 

Xan has kept a blog of her activities at CODEPINK Journals since 2003.  She has made many cross country trips from her home in Berkeley to Washington, D.C. and was instrumental in getting the first on-going, long-term CODEPINK presence from all over the U.S. established in D.C. in 2006 and again in 2007 which lead to over two years of constant action in the Halls of Congress by women who came from every part of the U.S. to stay for a week or a month and focus on actions pertinent to them and the areas of the country from which they came at The Pink House, a cooperatively run house near Capitol Hill. 

A core group of activists and groups have promoted various views of and solutions to the misuse of government. and the peoples wishes and funds,  over the last 10 years.  Without them the current, extremely diverse 99 Percent might not be able to move in synch in what now seems to be a an organic trajectory rather than a single minded group.  Just like the Caravan built on already occurring events in the local community, what is building in the U.S. builds on years, and indeed years of awareness of the growth of greed. This is the stuff of which revolutions are made.  I think the people of the United States had their revolution and now they want it back.  Democracy is powerful and it is far more than a memory to the American People. 
 I can provide contact information to interested independent journalist bloggers who wish to request an interview with one or more of the caravan participants. 

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