Tuesday, September 18, 2012

My Thoughts on Occupy ~ Book release 01/28/12 || Updated

 Submitted by Gabrielle Price

This was my contribution to a book that was re-released on the two year anniversary of its publishing date.  I am in good company in this publication -- and do not deny this blessing, but none of my readers may have had the cash to buy this book.  There IS a serious class war going on. I would tell you to buy this book -- but it is no longer in print, nor are any excerpts from it found online. I am not under contract, so I offer my contribution to those who have wanted to read it since its release.  I was damn proud to be part of it.  Anyone who was interested in buying the book -- the funds, I am told "went to Occupy".  Who that is, I cannot verify. I waited too long to buy a copy of my own, so I have no receipt, have no idea how many were sold and was not provided one as a contributor. I'm quite uncertain whether the book was published in paper form.

So it goes...

This essay was my gift to the brave souls during Occupy who asked the toughest questions, and got their hands dirty. Occupy, to me, was about cooperation and sharing of knowledge as well as talents. I'm unsure whether the publishers behind the book were working for themselves only, or another org but my experiences on the ground with real people who were injured, pepper sprayed, jailed and gave a damn, from Portland to Phoenix -- also opened their hearts, homes and their minds enough to question everything...

I continue to do that, regardless of what another soul thinks of me for it. ~ G

"As a long time writer and activist from the Midwest, I was moved and thrilled beyond words to see the Egyptian people take to the streets in January of 2010.  Witnessing the outpouring of support from all over the world on Facebook, Twitter and other social media, I thought, "Please don't let America be far behind."  To bear witness to people in Egypt standing in solidarity with the people of Wisconsin as they occupied their capital -- sending messages of support and pizza to sustain them, I knew something was coming.  Something big.  Then came September and OWS and everything began to change, including the national dialogue.  That is by no means a small accomplishment.

What the people of Egypt want is democracy.  Not the 'democracy' facade that we have been sold in so many jingoistic, American flag-waving, truck commercials.  What Egypt did and what Occupy does is force us to see past the facade, to call into question what kind of democracy we really have that slanders, beats and pepper sprays its citizens.  We are made to ask ourselves some painful questions.  Many of those questions have been asked before, during the Vietnam war, Kent State, the Civil Rights Movement to name a few.  The difference then?  There was a responsible press to cover it.

When we begin to see the state of things and ask those painful questions, we begin to find answers in each other; in the people who also see and share that same pain with us.  There is an awful lot of power in understanding.  Many are learning to be patient enough to honor that process in others who are unsure of getting involved or don't understand that they are the 99%.  Corporate media keeps a lot of people sleepwalking and you'd be surprised how many blame themselves for their quality of life.  They would rather blame themselves then what they perceive as their 'free country.'   What this corrupt system has done and continues to do to the spirit and the psyche of the people is beyond amoral.  Many Americans are in a co-dependent relationship with this abusive power structure.  Occupy is the way of breaking the pattern of abuse and finally saying, "Enough!"

Throughout the fall, the strides made by this movement have sparked so many to action. People of all ages, colors, beliefs, skill sets and yes, classes, have come together in compassionate action and incredible creativity to understand each other, inspire and discuss the state of our Union.  What has been said and done in GA's from California to Maine since September likely has more bearing on the future of this country than any address or debate on national television and this writer hopes that they are all made a part of this country's historical record.  The continued People's History of the United States.  If Howard could see us now.

Tonight, I watch and share the livestream of Occupy Oakland protesters as they're being kettled, beaten and under mass arrest.  I'm also seeing some incredible magazine-worthy photos from Egypt's second mass protest.  A year later, we are still witnessing history.  We The People are the 99%. We are the first names mentioned on our living document and we hold that power the elite can never take away from us unless we consent or submit.  It is the kind of power that cannot be bought, sold, traded, cheapened, slandered, broken, beaten or silenced.  It is the power of the human spirit. Occupy is the genuine article and the stuff that legend is made of.  I wish my grandfather were alive to see it.  As a WWII veteran, he fought against fascism.  Now we all are.

I have been deeply moved in bearing witness, incredibly honored to record and participate in a movement that has single-handedly renewed my faith in a passionate citizenry, given me hope for the return of real journalism and restored pride in my country.  I can hardly wait for spring." 

Gabrielle Price
Founder/Editor, The Refreshment Center Blog
Working for a better media...

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