FAQ

Occupy Wall Street InterNational Gathering: decolonize the 99%

Where is the National Gathering happening?
When is the National Gathering happening?
How can I Contribute, Sign up, Endorse, Take part online?
How can I get there?
What’s up with the name change?

Why Kalamazoo?

Kalamazoo? I didn’t know that was a real place.
Kalamazoo? But it’s in the middle of nowhere.
Kalamazoo? It’s too far from where the real issues are.
Kalamazoo? How can I get there?
List of Actions and work accomplished by and being worked on by Occupy Kalamazoo.



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Where is the National Gathering happening?


Kalamazoo, Michigan
Camp, Activities:
The Lamplighter Inn
5301 Comstock Avenue
Kalamazoo, MI 49048
(269) 345-0511


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When is the National Gathering happening?


August 21-25, 2013


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How can I Contribute, Sign up, Endorse, Take part online?


Fill out this form!


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How can I get there?


We are encouraging rideshares, caravans and will soon have transportation organizing calls. Check out rides and other shares here!


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What’s up with the name change?


This year, there is a focus on bringing together the Occupy movement with people of color, indigenous peoples, and those too often marginalized, even within the movement. Even our name is controversial—Occupying Wall Street is one tactic, but we recognize that America was occupied by colonizers and the struggle for liberation from colonization continues. We believe it is time to figure out how to work together against “the 1%”—those unreconstructed corporatists who refuse to acknowledge the harm that has been done to the Earth and her residents, and that is ongoing. To that end, we came to consensus on a new name for our event: the Occupy Wall Street (Inter) National Gathering: Decolonize the 99%. This name recognizes our roots with Occupy Wall Street as well as acknowledges the injustice the United States’ forbears brought to this continent and our solidarity with decolonization.

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Kalamazoo? I didn’t know that was a real place


Yes, Kalamazoo is real! It exists on the peninsula between the Great Lakes of Michigan and Huron, and as such has implications not only for the people of Kalamazoo, Michigan and Canada, but for people worldwide as our water makes up 20% of the entire world’s freshwater supply, which is parsed out and polluted by the 1%.


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Kalamazoo? But it’s in the middle of nowhere.


Kalamazoo is actually equidistant from Chicago (149 miles, ~2.5 hours’ driving time) and Detroit (141 miles, ~2.5 hours), both hotbeds of Occupy activity, and 705 miles from NYC (<12 hours), 898 miles from New England (Boston; ~15 hours), 2266 miles from west coast (San Francisco; ~37 hours), 1098 miles from South (Jacksonville, Mississippi, ~18 hours). 2332 miles from Vancouver (~37 hours), 378 miles from Toronto (6.5 hours), 707 miles from Montreal (12 hours).

Something must be said about Kalamazoo’s nearness to Grand Rapids; GR the Rome of Protestantism and seat of modern Calvinism which provides the theological rationale for Capitalism (and money for the Heritage Foundation and other think tanks of that ilk). A prince of Calvinism owns the world’s largest private army—Erik Prince founded Blackwater and continues to run it under whatever name they use now.

The Hopewell culture built burial mounds at Kalamazoo—the largest was at the site now occupied by the Ford Museum; they mined out the native elders and interned Gerry Ford (perhaps in honor of him having brought the Neo-cons [Cheney et. al.] into government.)
Of course, there is also the 600,000,000-year-old meteor impact!

Rather than being too far from where the real issues are, Kalamazoo and greater Michigan are hotbeds of activity on multiple fronts.

Bill Moyer said it best on a planning call: Michigan is a hotbed of activist activity at this moment in history. Environmental issues plague the state and the Great Lakes; the political situation rallied tens of thousands as Governor Rick Snyder eroded the state’s unions, just as in neighboring Wisconsin; there are bases for drones as well as a solid anti-war base; and Kalamazoo has a reputation for being the sixth-meanest city in the country towards its homeless population.

Solutions are in the works, and the publicity that the National Gathering would bring to what are in many ways national—even international—issues would not only help Kalamazoo, but also allow other Occupys (and other grassroots groups) to bring their own problems and solutions to a collaborative forum. For instance, a homeless Bill of Rights is being worked on by Occupy Kalamazoo—maybe such a document would be useful in other cities; if other examples already exist elsewhere, OK’s work could be made easier if they are brought to “NatGat”—the National Gathering.


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Kalamazoo? It’s too far from where the real issues are.

The Issues:

Environment

Enbridge – Tar Sands Oil
Kalamazoo is a Pottawatomie word that is said to mean “the Land of Boiling Water”. On July 25th, 2010, the Kalamazoo River was destroyed as over 1 million gallons (a publicly stated figure) of Tar Sands oil, heavily laced with benzene, was pumped into our river at high pressure for more than 17 consecutive hours, killing much of the wild life in the river for almost 40 miles. The Tar Sand oil (literally the most harmful kind of oil possible) is extremly dense bitumen that, along with an unidentified sand-looking dispersant, sank to the bottom of the river. There most of it now sits, loosely covered by sand in the bed of the Kalamazoo.

Several people and countless animals and plants are dead because the oil company Enbridge decided that a cover-up would be more cost efficient than cleaning up after themselves, and simply abandoned their mess. Employees of Enbridge—a Canadian company—were covered in protective gear and would be sent home if the spill breached a 500-yard perimeter, whereas residents of trailer parks and homes within 500 yards were simply told to shut their windows.
 

Fracking
Last year, a new fracking record was set in Michigan: 23 million gallons of water was used in one single drill. Also, it was recently reported that the aquifer used near Kalkaska is now dry. And this is not limited to private lands: Michigan has allowed the auction of public parks and D.N.R.-owned land for fracking. Now, such new laws as the “Critical Dunes Act” have allowed companies (for instance, Miller and Halliburton) to simply drive up and fill dump trucks with sand from protected Michigan dunes that are on the critical protection list. Furthermore, Michigan joined Pennsylvania in receiving legislation to provide a medical gag order on doctors dealing with infected residents of big oil and gas (much like Pennsylvania’s controversial Act 13.
 
Great Lakes Issues

  • water rights are being grabbed by corporations
  • water being polluted by xyz corporations

 
Homelessness
Homeless Bill of Rights
 
Racism: EFM
The Emergency Financial Manager law in Michigan is Fascist on it’s face, ending home rule and acting in the interests of private wealth at the expense of the common good. Furthermore, it is racist in it’s application with only majority Black schools and cities under the boots of the overseer appointed by Snyder; having resulted in over half of all african-michiganders living on a neo-plantation. Sugarlaw.org has been on point for the legal fight against this affront to the democratic principle.

Indigenous Peoples

  • Michigan INM
  • Resources: POC, Indigenous People’s Concerns in America and in Occupy
    1. NatGat POC Resources

 
AntiWar
Drones base, work being done
 
Politics

  • Under governor Rick Synder, we’ve experienced an erosion of state unions, pay, jobs
  • Emergency Financial (fascist) Manager Law; under which local control is removed and replaced by authoritarianism. Undemocratic on its face, racist in its application, with only majority black cities and school districts under EFM.


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Kalamazoo? How can I get there?


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List of Actions and work accomplished by and being worked on by Occupy Kalamazoo

Encampment (date) 2011
Occupy WMU Nov 11
Dec 18th Dre Arrested for wearing a mask
The 7th Interoccupational Summit of MI , March with K.N.O.W.
May 1st 1 week encampment
May 4th drum circle in sidewalk encampment
May 7th protest in Uptons office
May 8th Mineral rights auction in the lobby (close the 1 week encampment)
May 8th Mineral rights auction in the auction (Chris makes bid)
May 26th Occupy the PGA (Occupy Kalamazoo builds a raft so we can make noise in the water)
MLive Coverage
June 13th 2012 Lee arrested for sticker on his bike (1 of 2 instances)
June 25th Occupy Kalamazoo begins the Midwest caravan to Natgat calling for the Food drive in response to Mayor Nutter.
Sept 3rd Compassion Park

Sept 11 (arrest, Chris 2nd )
Jan 2013 – Occupy Kalamazoo officially starts planning for Natgat
Jan 18 – Homeless vigil for man who froze to death
Michael Benthin ( Our blockade victory and emergence of Occupy homes West MI)
Anti-Fraudulent Eviction – Murray Family April 2013 – 9 day blockade
Workers.org Coverage
The eviction
Hosting Occupy (Inter)National Gathering 2013