What Has Occupy Been Up To? 6 Great Actions You Can't Miss This Spring
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This past weekend the air in New York started feeling warm again; that first hint of spring in the way the air smells and feels. While it has been one of the warmest winters on record in New York City it was still winter. It was still bitterly cold often, it was still gray often and if you were used to spending time outside as part of Occupy, it became hard to have meetings and protests and marches outside. This has made it seem as if Occupy has gone away; in fact, for the past few months I have often been asked questions such as: “Are you still involved with Occupy?”
I answer these questions with a long list of actions and meetings and protests and ways we are planning for the spring. But I also answer it by saying simply: “Occupy, of course, has not gone away because the issues and problems it brought up and the questions it has asked of society have also not gone away.”
While most of the occupations around the country, and around the world, have been dismantled (most recently Occupy London last week) and Occupy has less of a physical presence in that there are not as many occupied public spaces, this does not mean that Occupy, as a movement, is any less real.
But during the winter Occupy did have to change. The intensity of our early days is over, the days, weeks and months when we proved that this is a real movement, that we aren't going away because the questions we are asking and the problems we are highlighting are too important. The early days were beautiful, they were inspiring, but it is now that we are being deliberate, that we are building relationships with each other and with our communities, it is now that we are building our infrastructure, it is now that we are doing the internal work that we need to do in order to be smarter, faster, better at bringing people together, better at sustaining ourselves as a movement, it is now that we are more committed then ever. And we have been planning for the spring. So below I present you with a list of things to look out for from Occupy in the coming weeks and months and as it goes from winter, finally, to spring:
1. Fight BAC! Occupy Takes on Bank of America
One of the big new projects to come out of the winter is the Fight BAC (Bank of America) campaign. The message of this campaign is beautifully simple: Bank of America's financial problems have led it to being propped up by the government and in the coming year it might need a bailout. Instead of being bailed out it should be broken up into smaller banks that have more community control. The reason it is failing is because of its fraudulent mortgage practices that have led to the foreclosure and housing crisis and it does not deserve more taxpayer money to foreclose on people's homes. This is a chance for the country to have a real discussion about the financial industry, and alternatives to it, as well as what collective wealth means and can do.
This is a campaign with a broad-based and nationwide coalition. The best way to get involved? Participate in one of the March 15 actions being planned (see this Web site) and move your money out of Bank of America (use this simple tool here).
2. May Day General Strike: A Day Without the 99 Percent