Colored drawing by Anthony Jensen

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Occupy Austin: "Why Are You Not Here?"

Call to Action: OCCUPY AUSTIN! Thursday, Oct. 6, 2pm - ?? (overnight/bring your own water/food/creature comforts-no sleeping though, that's officially illegal), City Hall "Free Speech Plaza," Cesar Chavez and Lavaca. Join the 99%!

The Occupy Wall Street General Assembly, in solidarity with the recent movements ranging from the Arab Spring to actions in Wisconson, has codified a list of grievances along with a call to action:

"To the people of the world,

We, the New York City General Assembly occupying Wall Street in Liberty Square, urge you to assert your power.

Exercise your right to peaceably assemble; occupy public space; create a process to address the problems we face, and generate solutions accessible to everyone....

Join us and make your voices heard!"

People are joining around the nation and world and the Occupy Austin General Assembly, through a time-consuming (true democracy is!), consensus-based facilitated process involving hundreds of voices over the course of daily community meetings in the past week, and recognizing "that our system of economics is badly broken," developed a mission statement last night: "to assert our rightful place within the political process, and take the reins of power away from profit-driven interests."

A few days earlier, the assembly invited all "to participate in the return of our Democracy and to add to the problem solving that must come from We the People, now. Our political leadership on all levels, has failed the People of America." Occupy Austin stands "in solidarity with our brothers and sisters who occupy Wall Street and occupy around the world. We are dedicated to non-violently reclaiming control of our governments from the financial interests that have corrupted them. We demand that our public servants recognize that the people are the supreme authority."

So join in and become part of the people-driven problem-solving.

Solutions, you ask? Yes - we need to discuss the many ideas and decide on a common platform. We don't need people complaining that a brand new organizing committee isn't presenting a complete menu of solutions. Join the movement to insert your voice to get us there. It's a process. It's democracy. It takes work. This isn't a button on a website where you can just join/support notions developed by others on your behalf. A true movement starts in the streets...not in cybersphere.

An opinion-editorial written by Travis Heights resident and local businessman, Carl Lindemann, and recently submitted to the Austin American-Statesman for publication (hopefully tomorrow or Friday) makes some good observations about this point:

"Critics claim they don’t see any specifics here. This is all just a childish, incoherent gripe. Get over it! Apparently, they need polished corporate public relations messaging to legitimize this. Instead, we have this rising generation finding its voice. How can they get on point without focus groups?"


"Those questioning Occupy Austin would do well to remember a legendary exchange between Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson. Thoreau had been jailed for refusing to pay the poll tax, and Emerson visited him along with some skepticism of his wisdom in this. 'Henry, why are you here?' Emerson asked. Thoreau answered, 'Waldo, why are you not here?'"

Photo courtesy of Reagan Hackleman:

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