December 7, 2011

Evictions Only Build Us Better Homes

Evictions Only Build Us Better Homes
Rhetoric in the Presidential campaign reflects the Occupy movement. Suddenly "Capitalism" is a bad-sounding word, even in the mainstream media. That's interesting, but not a revolution. More promising is the Occupy Our Homes retaking of empty foreclosed homes. More promising is the "municipal bank" movement coming out of San Francisco, and the rise of community credit unions after Bank Transfer Day.

Energy? Impact around the world? At the one year anniversary of Mohamed Bouazizi's fiery death at in Tunisia, the decisive changes in 2011 give a better view of OWS. The occupation has energy and world-reach. The shock-waves of bravery and honesty from Mohamed and from (alleged super-leakers and if so thank you) Bradley Manning and Julian Assange helped us settle Zuccotti Square on September 17th. Now our work goes in waves of revolution flow back from our direct actions.

The absence of media-savvy spokespersons leaves the movement vulnerable, some say. I find it refreshing. The presence of the Occupy movement over-shadows the back and forth from Fox flacks or snarky essayists from the International Socialist. A new movement is always an object of jealousy by other movements. But reports of OWS' death have been premature a number of times already - dating back to the first week of Zuccotti's Square's urban tent-town.

I'm in a train headed down to Occupy Chicago, after talking to the communities in Kalamazoo, Detroit and Toronto. Today we rally at the B of A Center in downtown Chicago, then the GA on the southside. Thursday I'll be in Portland, Saturday in SF and Sunday in Oakland. I've got the basic news of what's happening at other Occupys. And I have healing a post-religious pastor can offer - a hug and a prayer with no 1%-type God. These communities have come out their evictions strong, though - seizing fore-closed homes, closing the Oakland port, suing police.

As the snow and pepper spray of holidays are upon us, the Occupy verb is moving out like revolutionary wind, mouth-to-ear-to-mouth-to ear. The action verb "Occupy" is being used for practically everything that needs a direct action. And everything needs it, Amen? Occupy releases us back into the actions we've been attempting for years, but now with more directness, more community, more - action in the immediate moment.

The inertia of consumer life here in the shopping season is a drag, and Occupying ourselves with that immediacy is the death of consumerism. We've got emails pouring into our church offices - that is, the screen on our kitchen table - from families shunning the Wall Street financed chains and malls for this year's giving. Local shopkeepers, artisans, farmers, and swap-and-thrift stores are the new gift-giving destinations. Such spending strengthens us all and is a direct attack on the 1%'s Christmas industry, which is more than a half a trillion bucks in size. The claim by the commercial media that the new consumer figures are a godsend to the economy - and that "things are normal again" - is a cruel joke. We support Kalle Lasn's/Adbusters new campaign #OccupyXmas.

Riding the train 500 miles, I appreciate how vast this country is. Occupying this whole thing is a daunting task. Let's take our Occupy into our body and soul and work through this winter. Come springtime - watch out! Revolujah!