10 Ways to Support The Occupy Movement

Sarah van Gelder
Yes! Magazine / List
Published: Sunday 16 October 2011
There are many things you can do to be part of this growing movement—and only some of them involve sleeping outside.
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The #OccupyWallStreet movement continues to spread with more than 1,500 sites. More and more people are speaking up for a society that works for the 99 percent, not just the 1 percent.

Here are 10 recommendations from the YES! Magazine staff for ways to build the power and momentum of this movement. Only two of them involve sleeping outside:

1. Show up at the occupied space near you.

Use this link to find the Facebook page of an occupation near you. If you can, bring a tent or tarp and sleeping bag, and stay. Or just come for a few hours. Talk to people, participate in a General Assembly, hold a sign, help serve food. Learn about the new world being created in the occupied spaces.

2. Start your own occupation.

Use this Meetup site. Or call together friends, members of your faith group, school, or community group. Reach out to people from parts of your community you don’t normally work with. Unexpected alliances keep the movement from getting labeled as partisan or representing only some people.

3. Support those who are occupying.

Most sites need food, warm clothes, blankets, tarps, sleeping bags, communications gear, and money. Many need people to do loads of laundry, to help with medical care, to provide legal support, to serve food, and to spread the word. Some people call in pizza orders from nearby vendors. Support the folks at Liberty Square in New York here, or check in with your local occupiers to see what they need.

As we discover a community of people who are experiencing similar hardship, humiliation turns into compassion for others and for ourselves.4. Speak out. Get into the debates and the teach-ins.

Many occupation sites have workshops and discussions on critical issues of our time. Get into the discussion. Bring your expertise and reading materials to share. YES! Magazine is offering free copies of the current New Livelihood issue to occupied sites (request them by emailing JobsIssue@yesmagazine.org). Bring the discussions to other groups you are part of. Listen to perspectives you haven’t heard before. This process represents a critical, but under-reported side of the movement: People are shifting from being passive, frustrated observers of politics to  active, powerful players. Instead of waiting for our leaders to do the right thing, people from all walks of life are becoming leaders. It makes us unstoppable.

5. Share your story.

Post how you’re part of the 99 percent on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, or in print. Through this movement, people are discovering others who are also losing jobs and homes, who are overwhelmed by debt or working a dead-end job. Through this sharing, humiliation turns into compassion and self-respect. And it builds understanding of the sources and the impacts of our crisis: A Wall Street system that funnels wealth to the top 1 percent is leaving the rest of us behind. Community plus insight makes us powerful.

6. Be the media.

Show up with your video recorder, camera phone, or laptop and share the stories of the occupation. You can download a selection of posters donated by graphic designers and spread them around. Highlight the human dimension of the protests. It is harder for critics to disparage a movement when people see the faces of those involved.

7. Name the meaning of this moment.

What will make the world better for the 99 percent? How has the power of the 1 percent gotten in the way of your hopes and dreams? Make a sign, write a blog, update your Facebook page, or speak out on the issue that means the most to you. Include the phrase, “I am the 99 percent.”

8. Insist that public officials treat the occupations with respect.

The eviction of the Liberty Square occupation on Wall Street was averted by massive public resistance from those in the square and from others. Other occupations also need support. The 99 percent don’t have the money, political access, and media empires of the 1 percent; the occupations are one of the few ways we are building power. Ask your local officials to respect people's right to assembly.

9. Study and teach nonviolent techniques.

There are many examples of outside provocateurs who spark violent incidents that can discredit nonviolent movements such as this. The corporate media is hungry for violent images. (There’s already been an example of an admitted provocateur from the right-wing "American Spectator" who provoked pepper spraying at the National Air & Space Museum). Learn how to lovingly and firmly interrupt and contain violence, and teach what you know. Here are some resources.

10. Be resilient.

This movement is here for the long term. Some efforts may fade because of cold weather or harsh police responses. Others may self-destruct through faulty process or violent outbreaks. The movement may be idealistic, but it won’t be ideal. Don’t get disillusioned; the demand for a society that serves the 99 percent won’t go away. The movement may morph, but it has become unstoppable. Help it evolve.

The genie is out of the bottle. People will no longer accept the systematic transfer of wealth and power from we the people to the 1 percent. In this remarkable, leaderless movement, each one of the 99 percent who gets involved helps shape history.



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ABOUT Sarah van Gelder

Sarah van Gelder is co-founder of YES! Magazine and has been its executive editor since it began publication in 1996. Her focus at YES! is on the solutions and innovations that address the most profound issues of our time.

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30 comments on "10 Ways to Support The Occupy Movement "

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Your posting raelly straightened me out. Thanks!

valimatei61@yah...

October 21, 2011 12:45pm

We need to move from public place to private places in face of the 1% let them smell us

barbarian horde

October 17, 2011 9:52am

Have you read the book middle class caveman it has solutions for the majority of people throughout the globe. The book asks for the use of modern technology to lottery off properties at 2005 price levels so the banks get their money and the State gets back taxes so no more layoffs and crumbling cities coffers.The banks are and should not be the only ones profiting from real estate and with the internet we could pay off our debt to China and improve our standard of living which is what this movement is all about not losing our current position and an improving future.

iflizwerequeen

October 17, 2011 9:43am

Thanks for sharing. great sugestions.

Donna M Crane

October 16, 2011 8:47pm

Take the time in your Occupying rest periods to read "Animal Farm". Animal Farm will give you a good picture of how we got here and how "they" operate to control your mind by making you distrustful and afraid.

If you want to see Eric Cantor's character, read the end of "Lord of the Flies".

I would add to this list a couple other things. Don't feed, aid, or abet the trolls. You cannot change their minds and you gain nothing by acknowledging them. They are an amorphous, creeping crud that infects and distracts us by spreading lies, hate, misinformation, and tries to misdirect our anger to each other..

Johnathan Kosnow

October 17, 2011 7:23am

If we're citing literature then "A Brave New World" & "1984" are necessary readings as well I would think.

BlessUsAll

October 17, 2011 1:51am

Thanks for the good advice.

I just put a hold on a library copy of George Orwell's "Animal Farm" -- and also ordered his "1984" for good measure.

I know how "Lord of the Flies" ends; you're right about the resemblance.

Yup, hands off the trolls.

Robert Midura

October 16, 2011 7:40pm

Our current system is constructed such that politicians are elected and reelected by big money donations. As you point out, laws are proposed and enacted which serve the special interests. Politicians and the 1% like the system just as it is because it serves their best interest at the expense of the majority. We need to either enact a constitutional ammendment to change how our elections are financed so that politicians begin to serve the general public again, or many of the protesters need to use the threat of supporting minor political parties to scare them into taking the public seriously. The one percent is only interested in maximizing their profits and I understand what motivates them; it is our elected officials that are supposed to legislate for what's best overall for the country and they have failed us.

ed phillips

October 16, 2011 6:56pm

Somewhere near the top of the OWS agenda should be the bold letter support for Obama's Jobs bill. It holds the potential to create 13.3 million jobs, and reduce unemployment to 5.7 percent by 2015. It would be paid for by a 5.6 percent surtax on incomes over $1 million.

Marina DeBellag...

October 16, 2011 6:26pm

This movement is unstoppable because it is diffuse and not led by one person or group. ordinary people are talking about things that have affected them. We all see that it is wrong to suck up big profits from the economy, run wars at a deficit and then declare we have to cut social services to the needy in order to balance the budget. More and more of us, old and young, are ready to do what it takes to turn the ship around whether it's massive targeted boycotts, ongoing demonstrations, flooding mailboxes of corporations and congresspersons.

Bob K

October 16, 2011 4:25pm

Kathleen KJ I love your button. I would recommend taking one second to consider attacking the oppressors with logic and rational thought rather than using invidious , scurrilous, and inchoate argument. We must be pellucid in our arguments and not invite distain from the media and politicians. We must educate first and if necessary use satire to pillory the Oligarchy.

Tom Melvin

October 16, 2011 3:37pm

I would also recommend for those of us who can't march start their own "Occupy" movement via the Internet joining forces with millions by submitting petitions, actively supporting Websites that give voice to the voiceless such as that new group, "Occupy Wall Street Boardrooms", which I understand is going to start flooding the email boxes of Corporate and Political people throughout the country. Stay active, stay smart, stay non-violent.

Joe Mitrano

October 16, 2011 2:03pm

I hope it is not too late to do that. I suspect that every politician is bought off by the 1% as soon as they are elected.

Henriëtte Brouwers

October 16, 2011 1:57pm

That's a great article. Thanks for the advice! We walked in Berlin yesterday: 10.000 people got out in the streets walking to the Brandenburger Tor and government buildings. All kinds of people, all individuals, and very peaceful spread out over the city. It was quiet and beautiful.

Freedom Scott Allen

October 16, 2011 1:56pm

I made a website for us 99% to be clear about what we want to see changed: votebook.it -- you can make a list of demands and post it to Twitter along with comments. I'll be adding voting results and more this week since I have no work at the moment... Please let me know what you think and what you want to see added!

RobertMStahl

October 16, 2011 1:41pm

The psychology of epistemology, albeit a self proclaimed protestant atheist, Gregory Bateson identifies the machinery of change needing humanizing. The volcanic crater we all face is biological, not the current use of machinery in place, but we must gain the benefits of the electronic age, as well, and parallel processing is the issue, and very very simple to understand. It controls the money laundering, the highest of asymmetric crime, albeit itself is symmetric with just a little asymmetric twist to service the corrupt. If it were left symmetric, it would work even better. Check out Indira Singh's interviews with Bonnie Faulkner on Guns and Butter in 2005. Also, the same year, she was interviewed by the late Michael Corbin on A Closer Look. Corbin was murdered in 08 about the time Singh comes up missing. Singh is unbelievably smart and you wouldn't believe the inroads she had to understanding the centers of crime, plus she has only court documents to support all her findings. According to Chomsky, never has a trial for war criminals been levied on US participants. It is time that stopped. Put Singh's evidence together with www.RememberBuilding7.org and go to trial in TheHague in 2012 and get the world to demand world justice. With all currencies defined locally by national goverments, fiat currencies are insolvent everywhere, a fact of bungling treasuries. The result is that all national legal systems are corrupt somewhere along the way. It has to be a world court.

TheHague 2012

fbuser24

October 16, 2011 1:03pm

Interestingly. the best policy is to use the corporations that issue the credit cardes and pay them off monthy- let those wonderful retailers get cught paynig the two pewr cent per transaction. . . Bank are not a necessary evil - except to the government that supports them - they can not collect taxes without them / explaining too big to fail / and some of the lies of Washington . . . .
. . . The people in Washington support the paper dollar - the I.M.F. ( another foreign attack against the people / CREDIT DEFAULT SWAPS ?? / DIVERATIVES / WALL STREET ITSELF . . . SUPPORTED BY THE GOVERNMENT. . . . New York City just issued tax free bonds - free of state tax - free of city stx - free of federal tax -.- CALL YOUR BROKER -.- SUPPORT WALL STREET FRAUD. . . . .
. . republican so & so just announced collecting 14 million dollars for his campaign -.- how many foreclosures ???? how many lost pensions ??? how many people on welfare ??? 14 MILLION DOLLARS -.- ALL FOR FREE ????
N.A.F.T.A. -.- C.A.F.T.A. . . . . FREE TRADE DEAL WITH SO. KOREA. . .
FREE . . . . ARE . . . .YOU . . . AN . . .ASSHOLE??????

dramatoad

October 16, 2011 1:01pm

Better World Books http://www.betterworldbooks.com

BlessUsAll

October 17, 2011 2:00am

Good suggestion, DramaToad; I just checked out the site. When I want to buy and KEEP a book, as opposed to borrow from the library, I'll go to Better World Books.

stevendv

October 16, 2011 12:43pm

Another important thing: It is not ONLY the banks that are the problem with this country. Do not support gargantuan corporate entities with brutally inhuman labor practices and monopolistic practices such as Amazon.com. BOYCOTT AMAZON.COM.

dramatoad

October 16, 2011 1:02pm

http://www.betterworldbooks.com

Craigpurcell

October 16, 2011 11:32am

Maybe rent some portable restroom facilities so the conservatives don't get queasy?

Dianne Lee

October 16, 2011 11:30am

The ONLY way to be sure that the movement has lasting effects is to get out and work for whichever politician most supports the goals you are working for. And, don't look at party label, look at records if it's an incumbent, and promises if they aren't--- though we all know what political promises are worth, at least don't work for the guy who promises to work against the 99%ers and support the system that is killing the Middle Class.

Val

October 16, 2011 11:24am

You left out one of the MOST IMPORTANT things you can do to support this movement, and that is MOVE YOUR MONEY out of big banks and into credit unions!

Kathleen Kj Lowry

October 16, 2011 10:22am

Thanks for the story...you mention that we should share our story in order to support the protesters but you do not give any suggestions on the best way or place to do that. Any ideas?

Stephanie Freeman

October 16, 2011 4:17pm

There's wearethe99% at tumblr.com. I've been thinking about posting my story there, but I don't have a camera to take a picture & post it, along with my story. I'm a person with disabilities who has great difficulty getting around, and I know beyond all doubt that I'm one of the 99%.