The Fall of Occupy

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The Fall of Occupy

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As soon as the Occupy movement began I knew that it was something I agreed with. I was in my senior year in high school, politically active for my age, and have always had a strong sense of right and wrong. On October 15th I went to the first assembly and the first signs of its collapse were there. We were discussing whether we should move down to Capital Lake or stay where we started in what was once the Public Square of Olympia, right across the street from the Old Capital Building. A lot of people talked about fighting authority and to go against the police's (frankly, reasonable) requests that instead of being in the small state park we go down to the much larger park on Capital Lake. A lot of people complained that since it was a public park we had a right to be there, but it was crowded and there was not enough room for the amount of tents we were going to need for all the homeless people. The concensus model began, which meant that if anyone present objected to what was being decided, even if everyone else present agreed, they could end debate and block everything. We did go down, around October 18th to Capital Lake and started endlessly debating the issues, with no actual action to talk to our elected officials, file a constitutional amendment in the Legislature for the Constitution (to start a Constitutional Convention) or besides withdrawing money from Bank of America, Chase, and the other large banks any other action to improve the world. We had room for elders to come from the local Native American tribes so they would have a place to share their experiences and knowledge, but they didn't stay long because of what happened next. As soon as we went down to the lake people from Ron Paul's campaign came and pretended to be people who shared the goals with Occupy (despite all the evidence to the contrary in Ron Paul's voting record) and I was one of the few who questioned their real goals. The people who became (or perhaps already were, it's hard to tell) Ron Paul supporters were the most unanalytical, emotional, and aggressive speakers at Occupy Olympia. Along with the Ron Paul supporters a lot of people who were there deliberately sabotaged the bathrooms and field at the park. At that point the Olympia Police, in order to save the park had to evict Occupy Olympia in mid-November (the precise date escapes me) and they had been very clear that they were going to honor the first amendment and allow us to stay, but they were not going to let public property be vandalized or for the public to be in danger in anyway. The grass has grown back at the park now, and had been blocked off for many months so that the grass could regrow. Occupy hasn't come back, and I don't think it ever will. This was our greatest opportunity to bring in some real reform to our system, but we blew it.

The issues that were discussed most frequently after the move to the lake were (in order), 1. End the Federal Reserve, 2. Pull money out of banks and put it into credit unions, 3. End Wall Street (from a minority, but a very noisy minority). A small number of people kept talking about disclosure of campaign contributions but it never was a big point. A few proposals I kept at but never got onto the table with the majority present were: 1. Make our elections run publically, not privately by private political parties, 2. Make our elections publically financed, 3. Run candidates for office, especially the House of Representatives and State Legislature, 4. Reach out to the President and Governor and ask for their support, and 5. Limits and full disclosure of campaign contributions. None of my issues ever got on the table with the majority present. The first day when I was talking about how we should work to get people into Congress to change the system (which I believe is why the Tea Party has been so successful) a large number of people asked me to leave the stage. This group claiming to want all opinions did not want mine.

That is how the best opportunity to end the corruption in our government failed in my local community. I hope that in 20 years or so we can finish the work and get good candidates into Congress and the Legislatures, and Governorships and Presidency to fix the system permanently. It starts with a little thing that millions have died for across the world over the past 200, the ability to directly impact your government with a vote.

Occupy Movement

Yes, in Occupy Olympia

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Citation

“The Fall of Occupy,” Occupy Archive, accessed August 11, 2022, https://occupyarchive.org/items/show/3427.

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