Friday, 4 November 2011

Four Weeks In, #OccupySLC Is Strong And Growing

Yesterday marked the fourth week that #OccupySLC has been, variously; operating a Base Camp with an astonishingly well-developed infrastructure, successfully participating in an ongoing experiment in radical democracy and collective decision-making, and, now, expanding their operations to include a few well-planned and very savvy actions.

Technical Difficulties Update

Currently, the electronic infrastructure for #OSLC is back up and running thanks to the hard work of the GA's "series of tubes" subcommittee. Due to personal events, William Rutledge is no longer acting as spokeshuman for #OSLC, so please do not email him (he's a nice guy, but has other things to deal with right now).

The #OccupySLC hub is  here  . An excellent list of Facebook groups, ranging from individual subcommittees to discussion groups, can be found   right there  on the front page - I would use the #OSLC Facebook page(s) as your primary electronic means of updates.

There is a very decent twitter feed you can track  here  , but the "official" #OccupySLC Twitter account is in flux right now. The City Weekly (OCCUPIED!)  has a retweeting system up that's a pretty good clearinghouse.   Jesse Fruhwirth , dapper citizen journalist and unapologetic member of the hated liberal media, also has a Twitter feed worth following for updates. Of course  I myself  tweet updates, informational links, and clown jokes, so check that action out too.

Base Camp

The biggest news I heard at Base Camp had to do with the ongoing efforts of the Winterizing Committee, who are working at least as hard as the kitchen staff. The humble Free School (which has plans to expand with additional speakers, a bigger library, etc.) looked to be in sad shape:

...but that's because yonder structure:

...which made me shed a silent tear for Buckminster Fuller, will soon be a more semi-permanent, weather-proof location for the Free School and People's Library, in addition to any other small-scale inside gatherings. I think this is genius - this framework will be reinforced with tarps (obviously) and weights around the edge, forming a sort of MacGuyver-y yurt that will last all winter long.

People are collecting donated materials that are smart additions to the camp infrastructure - lots of PVC and pallets to reinforce tarps and shore up warmer tent-clusters.

The Outreach folks are on point:

The Circle-A Cafe is still humming along, and always looking for volunteers to wash up, serve food (a Food Handlers' Permit is always a plus there), etc.

I dropped by some donations, including a funnel - funnels are always needed, so if you have one that you're not using for anything (for example, I have not used my "put booze into a flask" funnel for more than a year, so the hell with that thing) feel free to drop it by.

I met my Fellow Workers from the IWW the previous day at the park, incidentally, where we staged a sparsely populated but nonetheless lively march in solidarity with #OccupyOakland, ending with a rally (of about ten people - fear our might, bosses!) at the Public Safety Building:

Eat Your Heart Out, Athens

That title is not a dig at the recent outbreaks of violence following the General Strike in Greece - I don't necessarily support open conflict with police, especially not unless extraordinary circumstances demand it, but I also think that the "austerity measures" being implemented there are awful and that some degree of open revolt was a predictable result.

Rather, I am referring to Athens, birthplace of democracy. Last night's meeting - 'Forum?' 'Working Gathering?' I sort of like the latter - was a sterling example of self-organizing democracy, with quick announcements from subcommittees followed by a break up into working groups that got a surprising amount done in less time than was actually allotted for the endeavor.

There was some trepidation at first because of a mix-up booking the meeting room in the library, but a helpful librarian got us squared away quickly and things proceeded smoothly.

A lot was accomplished by the various break-outs. Some quick highlights (in no way a complete list): volunteers are needed for a street theater event (contact Jesse Fruhwirth ). The plan for a General Strike on November 25th is proceeding, and a working group is adjusting the nuts and bolts on that one (I've heard a call for a General Strike / "buy nothing day" followed by a "buy local day," which is a plan that I think has merit).

After break-outs there were some brief announcements (as I mentioned, the meeting ran very smoothly and actually a little ahead of time). Some students from a college (I didn't catch which one) distributed health questionnaires to all of us "Occupants," which gave me the opportunity to answer HAVE YOU BEEN SEXUALLY ACTIVE DURING #OCCUPY? with a big, fat "NO." I get the impression that their class is attempting to provide health outreach to the long-term campers at Base Camp, and that probably would have been a better place to start than a public meeting/working group at the Downtown Library. A different group of college kids circulated a petition to lower state tuition, and that one got a lot of traction.

After a quick announcement about winterization and the coming group efforts to get things ship-shape we cleared out in an orderly fashion; chairs stacked, tables neatly put away, and not a Molotov cocktail to be seen.

#OccupyTheFed SLC : An Apology And An Update

In my original posts about #OccupyTheFed SLC, I fear I didn't take the offshoot of #OccupySLC's Base Camp as seriously as they deserve. It's true that Ron Paul literature and and plans for a November 5th action were off-putting for valid reasons (#OccupySLC rejected and continues to reject political candidates, including Ron Paul, Lyndon LaRouche, and beloved liberal goofball Rocky Anderson). Despite this rough beginning, #OTF has opened a brave new front in #OccupySLC that is quite noteworthy.

It seems that a piece of property near the Salt Lake branch of the Federal Reserve (it's also within spitting distance of several banks, including Chase) has been left to rot, much like the fabled Sugar Hole (for you non-Utahns: a developmental nightmare that has resulted in a large, semi-permanent fenced off crater in what used to be a charming, older mini-downtown).

First up was a quick word from S. Doe about why this location:

This was followed by a brief 'Know Your Rights' presentation by unembedded academic Rebecca Hall, who did not participate in, know about, or endorse in any way any action that in any way violates the law:

It was a chilly night, and eventually the Johns and Janes Q. Public engaged in a little guerilla civic improvement:

Remember, Nation-Wide Bank Transfer Day is coming. The goal is to have your money out of the big, bailed-out monstrosities and into local credit unions by November 5th. Resources can be found here - note, this is not an endorsement by myself or #Occupy of these organizations as anything but tools to take action against corrupt banks given the current situation and options that are available.

Move Your Money Project

Rebuild the Dream's "Move Your Money"

Credit Union resources:

'A Smarter Choice'

'Find A Credit Union'

Credit Union National Association

Four weeks! New fronts, old stand-bys - I'd say at this point #OccupySLC is definitely the place to be.

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