A Taste of Occupy Boston

October 15, 2011 was another day of growth at Occupy Boston. I mean in every way possible. Normally, I avoid crowds, especially when one is encircled by police. But this day was the right time for a first person experience of Occupy Boston.

First impressions:
People are calm and helping each other.
There is organization, agendas, and rules of conduct.
There is education, food, and spiritual services.
Visitors are welcome.
The occupy is not easy or comfortable.
Expressive signs are supported.
People who espouse unsupported agendas are encouraged to ask the General Assembly and abide by the G.A. decision.

During my time at Dewey Square I observed all this first hand, up close. The photo below with the blue arrow shows a crowd around a Baptist preacher who had the unfortunate task of following a fire and brimstone preacher (second photo, man on the right) who alienated people by preaching intolerance toward those who hold different opinions than his.

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As I understand it both men showed up with their bullhorn and just started preaching. Fairly quickly a group of 20 people formed around them and in unison shouted “Equality for everyone” over and over. Shortly thereafter drums, trumpet, and clarinet joined in and effectively drowned out the first man. Recognizing the futility of continuing the first man stopped to the cheers of the crowd. The second man (gray sweater) picked up the bullhorn and proceeded to read from the bible until a woman (blue sweater) was able to engage the preacher in a conversation of sorts.

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After several minutes of listening to a passionate religious harangue by the preacher. She was finally able to ask the preacher to consider the possibility that his method of delivering his message to this audience was inappropriate and that he may be better off calmly speaking to people without his bullhorn. The crowd approved with a spontaneous reply of YES! as the preacher put down his bullhorn.

Personally, I am proud to have been a witness to one part of our Constitutional Democracy in action.

Occupy Together

An Open Letter to the Tea Party

by activist Josie Gallows

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Dear Tea Party Patriots, which you most certainly are,

We want you to know that we understand your grievances with the Occupy movement. For every kid that blatantly disrespects an officer without just cause, we cringe as much as you do. For every American that burns a flag, we say “you’ve disgraced yourself for nothing.” For every stereotypical “dirty hippie,” we are cursed with the taint of unprofessional behavior.

But these are glaring examples that are easy to see, much like how the Tea Party has been unfairly portrayed because of a sub-section of trouble makers and hysterical pundits.

People accuse the Occupiers of being Communists, Socialists or anti-American. The truth is that the majority of Communists in America will no doubt support the Occupy movement. These people are not, however, representative of the much wider support base that makes up the Occupy movement. This has more to do with our presentation than our actual sympathies.

The same can be said for you.

People accuse the Tea Party of being potentially terrorist because of the fundamentalist militia groups that overwhelmingly support the Tea Party. When people like Ann Coulter, a pundit that no doubt gets lumped in will all other Tea Party Patriots, say “My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building.” many of us try to believe that not all of you agree. Statements like that are such a public approval of terrorism. They are wanton delight in the destruction of life over political conjecture. We refuse to believe that these are the heart of Tea Party Patriotism.

We have more in common than not. We believe the government has too much power. Where we might deviate is that we believe corporate interests lobby to inflate government so that government can better serve banks and multinationals rather than the people.

We do not seek to redistribute the wealth, only to remove legalized bribery from government office. We only seek to hold criminals accountable for their misappropriation of the American economy.

How do we truly differ then? Mostly over civil liberties issues. Maybe we differ over two prolonged and costly wars. The Occupy movement is accepting of liberals and makes no judgments on the issues we’re all currently putting to the side for something far more pervasive. It is also accepting of conservatives that have not fallen into the political trap of thinking all corporations have all of our best interests at heart.

To many of us it felt like the Tea Party wanted to outright reject everyone that was socially liberal. It didn’t seem to care if we were fiscally conservative or shared common threads. Maybe that was a lie perpetuated by the media? Nevertheless, suffice it to say that you’re likely being misinformed about how accepting we would be of you if you would just join with us.

We have the same goal. Topple the regime, corporate and political, that is destroying American life. We don’t care what your background is so long as you are a patriot. Whether you’re a Conservative or Liberal, whether you’ve accepted Jesus Christ as your lord and savior or if you’re a staunch Atheist, these personal identifiers have nothing to do with the issues of big government and big corporations.

After this is all over we can go back to bickering about our own personal ideologies. Until then, however, no progress can be made on either side until this hydra headed monster we call our current government is removed from American life.

We believe you to be patriots. Join with us in solidarity

Spot On 2012 Election Analysis

Ezra Klein on the influence on the European debt crisis on the 2012 race:

We’re only about 13 months from November 2012, so predictably, depressingly, Washington has turned its attention toward the election. This week, all eyes are on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who is deciding whether to join the race. That’s the wrong place to look. If you’re worried about the 2012 election — or, more quaintly, just worried about the economy — the politician to watch is Germany’s Angela Merkel.
Merkel isn’t entering the Republican primary, or mounting a challenge to President Obama. But what she and a handful of European leaders do over the next few weeks could well decide whether the American economy tips back into recession this year, and thus, quite inadvertently, decide who wins the U.S. presidency in 2012.