Big huge Blessings and Gratitude to all the #Occupiers who gathered from across the United States (and the few of us from abroad) to participate in the #Occupy National Gathering 2014 (Sacramento, July 31 – August 3) and make it such a deeply enriching and inspiring event ! #OCCUPY LIVES !
Here’s a rather uniquely positioned account of the NATGAT 2014 – coming from one who has been a Very Enthusiastic Fan of the movement (having personally created two large websites –
www.Global-Spring.net and www.EarthHolocracy.org – that fundamentally owe their very inspiration and existence to #OCCUPY !) while living remote from its centers of activation.
NATGAT 2014 was my first Direct Experience of the movement and the Heroes and Sheroes that are dedicatedly keeping this highly significant socio-political evolutionary process ALIVE. My dear #Occupiers : you are a testimony to the indestructibility of the human spirit. You have not relinquished your authentic humanity to the dominant paradigm of greed and selfishness. Rather, as abundantly clear at NATGAT 2014, the outstanding and unifying quality of this movement is that its champions CARE : we actually CARE – about everyone and everything. #Occupiers CARE about the world and the Quality of Life that we will bequeath to future generations. Echoing the words of Leonard Peltier, ’I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart to the top of my soul’ (The Nuclear Resister, No. 174).
The best I can do here is to offer some flashing glimpses of the bright lights of creativity, exciting projects and initiatives, common-sense visioning and awareness-raising endeavors that filled and over-filled the 4 days of NATGAT 2014. Deep breath, and here we go!
From the Indigenous Nations Network, Lakota man William Underbaggage set the tone for the Gathering opening the event with his impassioned words of fire and truth, calling forth our humanity to act now with integrity and dedication so as to effectively address the many very real issues of our times.
Brother of the Zapatista Movement, Mario Galvan, brought the voice of Mexico’s grassroots proclamation YA BASTA! : ENOUGH ALREADY! into the heart of #Occupy and the common ground of humanity’s shared aspirations.
The Light Brigade provided the fairy lights and fancy board-work so that #Occupy could light up Sacramento overpasses with shiny images of PEACE and LOVE. What a gorgeous form of cultural creativity and consciousness raising! Yay!
Carl Pinkston, an Afro-American Sacramento resident, shared the awesome story of a small local community that just wouldn’t give up — and eventually SUCCEEDED in stopping the PUC, a natural gas company, from carrying out its plans to pump and then store natural gas under the community’s housing area – despite serious potential risks to community health. POWER TO THE PEOPLE, RIGHT ON!
Now #Occupy well understands that you can’t seriously further aspirations for Real Democracy without simultaneously advancing Local Self Reliance : as Henry Kissinger (who didn’t make it to the NATGAT) made crystal clear, “Control the Food and you Control the People”. NATGAT 2014 had a strong and YUMMY presence on this front – with actual food, as well as presentations, information and banners from the verdant fields of Guerrilla Gardening, Occupy the Farm and Disobeying with Great Love! Awesome
crew from the Giltrack Farming Coalition at the University of California shared their inspiring story of claiming a portion of UC’s agricultural research lands (formerly held in entirety by GMO / Monsanto-based research projects) for Community Organic Food Production. Fierce Love in Action – Power to you, Brothers and Sisters of the Real Revolution. You can be sure that I will be sporting the RADICAL iconography of the Eugene Avant-Gardeners when back home in Australia : proudly displaying their great symbol of People Power : the fist raised in solidarity wielding the gardener’s shovel and pitch fork.
Let it be Known : THIS is a Peaceful Revolution.
Indeed it is. NATGAT 2014 had the great honor and pleasure of hearing co-founder of FOOD NOT BOMBS, Keith McHenry, offer a retrospective on the principles and world-transforming history of this radical volunteer organization that in thirty years has grown from a group of eight anti-nuclear protesters cooking for their friends in Harvard Square to a global movement boasting more than 1000 chapters worldwide. As Keith explained, anyone can set up a FOOD NOT BOMBS chapter. All chapters work autonomously, united by just a few key and common features : serve vegetarian meals to all equally; use the abundance of wasted food in our society to redistribute it to those in need; and try to end war and poverty while you’re at it!
Sacramento Occupier Laurie Funaroff contributed a fantastic presentation of the Better-Off Budget, a People-Centered Budget supported by the majority of congressional Democrats via their involvement in the Congressional Progressive Caucus. This Caucus identifies the availability of 6.1 trillion dollars for the Better Off Budget; characteristically, the Obama Administration denies the existence of such funds, insisting upon neo-liberal business-as-usual where the masses are necessarily doomed to suffer more of the same and worse – with further Cuts in Public Expenditure, more home foreclosures, etc, etc… Part of the Better Off Budget is the proposed Robin Hood Tax on Wall Street. Check it out and explore ways to get involved in the formerly endorsed Occupy National Education Campaign about the Better Off Budget (formerly the People’s Budget) at
NATGAT 2014 of course held a number of General Assemblies. Six Proposals were endorsed. I was very keen to see and experience a General Assembly in Action – as currently I am working towards the igniting of ‘An Australian Spring’ founded upon a significant expansion of Australia’s participation in the worldwide Real Democracy Movement via a widespread establishment of People‘s Assemblies in the ‘Great Southern Land’- see
http://www.earthholocracy.org/real-global-democracy-2014. Although time constraints meant that the Proposals I had hoped to present never did reach the floor, the informal support I received from many of the NATGAT 2014 participants has greatly encouraged me on my humble way…
So, I return to Australia more inspired, with many new friends and faces and contacts in the Movement, and also with a strengthened sense of the value, significance and relevance of what from afar I had already considered to be important Next Steps of the global Real Democracy Movement – steps that could potentially catalyze a major expansion of broad civil engagement. As UK Guardian columnist David Graeber noted at the outset of #Occupy Wall Street : “It’s becoming increasingly obvious that the real priority of those running the world for the last few decades has not been creating a viable form of capitalism, but rather, convincing us all that the current form of capitalism is the only conceivable economic system, so its flaws are irrelevant… .. the debt crisis has come home to Europe and North America, replete with the [classic] approach: declare a financial crisis, appoint supposedly neutral technocrats to manage it, and then engage in an orgy of plunder in the name of ‘austerity’… When the history is finally written, though, it’s likely all of this tumult – beginning with the Arab Spring – will be remembered as the opening salvo in a wave of negotiations over the dissolution of the American Empire. … If the occupiers finally manage to break the 30-year stranglehold that has been placed on the human imagination… everything will once again be on the table – and the occupiers of Wall Street and other cities around the US will have done us the greatest favor anyone possibly can.”
Now is the time to take the Movement to the next level : we can break the stranglehold on the human imagination, we can effect the dissolution of Empire, we can inspire Hope beyond Helplessness, we can provide the effective civil vehicle for THE 99% to RECLAIM our lives and our common planetary future. To do so, we must operate effectively. As Arundhati Roy points out about the 1% : “They need us more than we need them”. We, the People, were always warned that if we do not stand up for our Rights, we will LOSE them : the unconscionable specter of human suffering in our world today bears tragic testimony to the fact that we have LOST our ‘inalienable’ Human Rights. NOW – when the worldwide Real Democracy Movement has established our web platforms of Global Solidarity – now is the time for the People to Rise Up in Solidarity to RECLAIM OUR RIGHTS. Please see a customizable Local Community Declaration of Rights created for this purpose : http://www.earthholocracy.org/local-communty-xm-declaration-of-rightsxm This Declaration – which draws its Authority from the International Bill of Human Rights (described as the singularly most powerful tool of the People at this time), clarifies the nature of a genuinely democratic system : Real Global Democracy would, by definition, HAVE to be a DECENTRALIZED SYSTEM. Please see the Earth Holocracy Proposal for Unfolding Real Global Democracy via Universal Self Determination : http://www.earthholocracy.org/the-proposal-xmfor-real-democracyxm
In closing, I’d like to invite #Occupiers, Global Justice Advocates, M15-ers, members of the Bolivarian Alliance, Iceland People’s Government representatives and all the world’s Real Democracy Champions to attend in person (if possible) or online a proposed International G99% People’s Assembly in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia THIS!!! November (from the 17th to the 20th) following the G20 Summit and week of community protests and cultural activities based at the Brisbane Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy and organized as The First Nation’s and Wider Community’s Response to the G20 (8th to the 16th Nov).
On a final note, I’d like to advocate that the Real Democracy Movement take a good look at evolving our organizational processes from Consensus-based Decision-Making to the next level – sociocratic Consent-based Decision-Making. The viability of the Earth Holocracy Proposal for Real Global Democracy is significantly based upon the proposal’s customization of Sociocracy – which replaces top-down methods with EFFECTIVE METHODS for HORIZONTAL ORGANIZATION. It’s time for an ETHICAL REVOLUTION – inspiring the Family of Humanity with a realistic way to Translate Core Ethics into Life Experience. Please see
OCCUPY LIVES!!! The Heart of Humanity LIVES! Let’s take it to the next level of REAL EMPOWERMENT and HOPE!
BLESSINGS and FIERCE LOVE !!