Make Art, Not War

Friday, November 18, 2011

Occupy Mpls march

Just wanted to share this awesome picture of us marching through the streets of downtown. We are the 99% and we are BEAUTIFUL!!!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Occupation begins at home...

Ok, ok, ok, so with the violent raid of Zuccotti Park, the eviction of Oakland and our own "no sleeping, no signs" restrictions going into effect downtown, I feel like I need to regroup, take a moment with my own thoughts and address that pressing question of "What now?"
What is next for this movement, and for my own involvement in it?
Occupy Wall Street is a global movement. All of the sudden, people everywhere (and I mean everywhere) have found that they have a voice, and regardless of the physical space they occupy, they have woken the minds of the masses. We are shaking the foundations of this corrupt system- and what's really amazing- people are paying attention. ("We are unstoppable, another world is possible.")
The local face of this movement has certainly been it's own live stream saga. For my own small part in that, it is like nothing I have ever seen, or been a part of before. I went there that first day, just to see for myself what would happen. I ended up spending the night beneath the starry sky, and every night after that for over two weeks. In that time, I met and talked with so many people. I marched and made signs. I shared my poetry (well suited to this crowd). I made a lot of friends. It's a different place, down there at the people's plaza. I can't say that enough. I struggle to convey.
But-I'm not trying to start from the top and cover everything right now. It is November 15th, and there is a chill in the air tonight that reminds me that, like it or not, winter is coming. Sleeping at the Plaza, tents or no, is not sustainable for a Minnesota winter. I'm not saying it can't be done, I'm saying that I'm not up to doing it. This whole time, we have been putting all our energy into basic survival out there. The tents for shelter, the generators to keep in touch with the world, to heat the food we eat. We are looking to replicate some of the comforts of home in an environment that is increasingly more difficult and inhospitable. Do we accept defeat? Do we just walk away? Of course not! But, as the winter sets in, and the strong arm of the law comes down, I think it's time (for me at least) to reconsider the nature of my own participation in the occupy wall street scheme.
And what I think this movement needs now, is to go home.
Here me out.
We keep talking about how we need to get the message into the neighborhoods, we need to do out reach to our own communities, more than just hanging up flyers. Well, your neighborhood starts at your own front door, doesn't it? I think it's time we bring the movement home with us, and have these conversations in our own living rooms. Start talking to the people who consider themselves supportive of the movement but who would never participate in something like the plaza, or the foreclosed homes. What might they do?
Wouldn't it be wonderful? if over the next few months we planned and plotted for a revolution of our own come spring? Think about it, we're all going to be homebodies anyway. Why not spend the time organizing? This is the perfect time of year for friendly gatherings, indoor activities, and taking on long term projects.
So, that is what I am suggesting. A series of potlucks, parties and discussions that address the needs of the community and develops these new connections we have made. These gains are amazing, no one can take that. The world will never be the same. But to start again, we need begin with ourselves and our friends. Turn off the miserable news and start the conversations.
In that spirit, my roommates and I have decided to dedicate our housewarming party to the Occupy Wall Street movement. We're calling it "occupy our livingroom" and we're having it the day after thanksgiving, to detract from the frenzied, nasty consumerism of black friday and the kick-off of the holiday shopping season. Wait, did I just make a sports reference? (ugh, I think I did).
Anyway, that's my big idea. Take the movement home with you. Have a party.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The AWC stands in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street, Mpls


Starting with New York city, and spreading to more than a thousand cities in the US and across the globe, the Occupy Wall Street movement has given voice to the majority of people, who are suffering from an ever-deepening economic crisis here at home, and endless war abroad. Minnesota has joined this movement in saying it’s time to put people over profits, and several occupations have started here, including one in downtown Minneapolis.

Since October 7, thousands of Minnesotans have occupied the People’s Plaza, outside the Hennepin County Government Center, maintaining a presence day and night to demonstrate against corporate greed and political corruption.

The Anti-War Committee has been a part of Occupy Minneapolis since the beginning, because we too are a part of the 99%. We understand that corporate control of resources in other countries is one of the driving reasons that the U.S. goes to war, and we will not pay with our tax dollars or our lives to further the profits of a few while so many suffer. At the occupation, we have rallied and marched, attended teach-ins, shared meals, participated in general assembly meetings and slept out on the plaza with no shelter.

County officials have restricted the rights of Occupy Minneapolis from the very first day. Claiming that it is for the safety of the protesters, we were denied the right to set up tents, or any kind of structure, to provide shelter from the cold and rain (even though many other occupations have tents). Yesterday, Hennepin County Commissioners voted for a plan to shut down the People’s Plaza on November 14th: All protest signs must be taken down and no one will be allowed to sleep at the Plaza.

Commissioners have cited the cold weather, but if they were concerned about the health and well being of the protesters they would lift the restrictions on shelter, not evict us. We know that this is an attempt to end the occupation they wish had never begun, and we condemn all threats to evict Occupy Minneapolis!

In the name of the 99%, we support the rights of the occupiers, and demand the right to continue a round-the-clock presence at the People’s Plaza. We call on all people of conscience to take concrete actions to defend Occupy Minneapolis. This includes contacting County Commissioners to demand they allow the occupation to continue without interruption. If the county moves to evict us from the People’s Plaza on Monday, November 14th, we call on all people of conscience to mobilize to the Plaza, and stand in solidarity with the 99%.

Please call the Hennepin County Commissioners and let them know this is an unacceptable denial of our constitutional right to assemble!

Mike Opat, chair: 612-348-7881
Mark Stenglein: 612-348-7882
Gail Dorfman: 612-348-7883
Peter McLaughlin: 612-348-7884
Randy Johnson: 612-348-7885
Jan Callison: 612-348-7886
Jeff Johnson: 612-348-7887
General information: 612-348-3000