We gather again!
For the third year, the Occupy movement invites all to gather together to review the year, share knowledge and skills, celebrate successes and analyze disappointments, and prepare for another year of fighting for the better world that we all know is possible.
From Philadelphia in 2012 to Kalamazoo last summer, and this year in Sacramento (July 31 through August 3), Occupy has been heading west, bringing its hopeful, resistant message. We are the 99%—so we say, but are we really?
On July 30, the day before the gathering, independent yet connected, there is an anti-racism training customized for the movement by the Catalyst Project: Antiracism Training for Collective Liberation. The training is designed primarily for white folks, who often think that they are unaffected by white privilege, that they are beyond the bigotry of past generations—we may be surprised at the unacknowledged baggage that we carry, and we are sure to look at the world from a wider perspective after spending time together examining things we rarely take the time to consider. Special thanks to Delphine Brody for honoring the undone business of Occupy National Gathering 2013, which never quite pulled off a similar suggested training. Space for that is limited, so e-mail us to sign up—but the gathering itself will be held primarily on the grounds of Capitol Park: north side Thursday and Sunday, west side on Friday, so there is plenty of room for all!
The easiest way to get all the information, or to contribute in kind, monetary or in person help, is on the NatGat2014 Hub on InterOccupy; we are also on Twitter and celly: @NatGat2014. Already confirmed are a panel discussion on Environmental Justice, focusing on nuclear, water, and big oil, with a Native American perspective: speakers include Chief Caleen Sisk, as well as Jan Rein; music by Fresh Juice Party; a memorial for Occupiers lost this year, including Monique Robinson; activist Darryl Cherney presenting the film Who Bombed Judi Bari?; workshops by Alternatives to Violence; and much more.
Nancy Mancias will reprise her role from “NatGat2012”, the first Occupy National Gathering in Philadelphia, and again co-facilitate the FemGA on Friday evening—a general assembly facilitated from a feminist perspective. There will be a giant puppet hands workshop by Sacramento’s own William Spirit, and a Debtors’ Assembly led by Daniel Hong from Occupy Portland. In these days of government overreach, there is also a Know Your Rights presentation by Claire White of the National Lawyers’ Guild.
For those who cannot attend in person, look for livestreaming—we have 3 confirmed streamers coming, including Patti Beers and Clark Sullivan, who will be leading teach-ins for those who want to livestream their own events. #pUNKBoy, the livestreamer whose radio show recently included three Occupy National Gathering organizers, will also be coming to the gathering. There is also the possibility of a few sessions from remote locations: Mark Taylor-Canfield, on Press Freedom In the United States, and Jan Spencer, on Suburban Permaculture—the dream of the ’50s and ’60s has become the nightmare of the ’00s, but with planning we can reclaim the land and create healthier, sustainable options. Coming from East Oakland, California, is Pancho Ramos-Stierle, speaking on guerrilla gardening, Occupy the Farm, and more.
The Occupy National Gathering begins with a sunrise blessing by William Underbaggage of the Indigenous Environmental Network. There will be times for skill-shares, teach-ins, and topical discussions, created by Occupiers — a favorite of the first two gatherings; open space for spontaneous discussion, artwork and activism; and speaker’s corners including poetry and the spoken word. A custom workshop will be held Friday afternoon: Say It Loud! by the San Francisco Mime Troupe (performing in Sacramento’s Southside Park on Saturday and Sunday of Occupy National Gathering Week). Saturday night has time to Step Up, Step Back: Occupy facilitators will actively encourage those who have not done public speaking before to find their voice and practice what they’ve learned from the Mime Troupe.
From the Overpass Light Brigades to the closing General Assembly, there will be lots happening in Sacramento from July 31 through August 3—we are going back to our roots; we know that the world is watching: This Occupation Is Not Leaving! Come join us!