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The Occupy Wall Street (Inter) National Gathering – NatGat #2….The Report

9:18 am in Uncategorized by firedancer

occupynatgat2 chalk
The Occupy Wall Street (inter) National Gathering 2013, was held in Kalamazoo, Michigan, from August 21-25, 2013. NatGat2 began in the usual Occupy fashion, with the main venue and camping site lost. A moderate police presence was visible, as well.

Organizers scrambled, negotiated, and persevered. As seen with Occupy Wall Street in 2011, the churches became our allies. The Wesley Foundation Peace Center stepped up to offer safe meeting space for 3 days. The Quaker Friends House shared sleeping space. The Unitarian Universalist People’s Church supplied parking. Meals were prepared by the Turtle Soup Kitchen of the Rainbow Tribe, with little money but much love. Firedoglake members also stepped up to contribute and send supplies via Occupy Supply. Throughout the week, Occupy Supply water bottles, shirts, bandannas were in evidence, while sleeping mats and small tents helped with sleep and shelter needs. Thanks to Occupy Kalamazoo, and to all who helped make this event happen!

It is impossible to report on all that occurred, but here is an overview from my perspective…

Day 1 – Local 

NatGat2 opened at Bronson Park, in downtown Kalamazoo. This venue was chosen to focus on the controversy over the fountain located there. There have been calls to remove the fountain for several years, pointing out that it is a racist symbol of white settler dominance.

The opening ceremony was led by Art Shegonee, a member of the Menominee & Potawatomi tribes, in Wisconsin. Art and his wife, Dawn, spoke of the prophecy that says “A new people will emerge. We will have a choice between two roads. One road, of the unsustainable technology of greed, or the other road to spirituality where there is reverence for all life and the planet.”

Multiple sessions of Direct Democracy Training were held by marine biologist Dr Riki Ott, during NatGat2. Dr Ott has been closely involved with the responses to the Exxon Valdez spill, the BP Gulf oil spill, and the ongoing spills related to tar sands and fracking. She shared templates for municipal ordinances and resolutions to ban toxic chemicals, including Corexit. She has found that dispersants, such as Corexit, make the impact of spills worse. These same chemicals are also being used in fracking and are being mixed with the tar sands.

Workshops on artful activism, led by Bill Moyer of the Backbone Campaign, also continued throughout NatGat2. Although initially delayed by police, the ‘People’s Parade” finally took to the streets  on Day 1, with floats, signs, drums and music. Captain Ray Lewis not only gave us perspective on our rights, but joined in the parade as well. It was a joyful expression of the power of people.

Day 2 – Global/Media

Media presentations  focused on topics such as press freedoms, social media, and educational materials. Photographers and livestreamers worked to both  document and share the event with a wider audience. Mobile Broadcast News not only recorded presentations, but also several actions, including this one by the Detroit Light Brigade and the Bee “Die-In” held against Monsanto and Walmart. Occupy Roads not only helped with transportation but with photo and video documentation.

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Occupy NatGat 2 has ended…Report coming soon….

8:03 am in Uncategorized by firedancer

natgat2poster2013

NatGat2 has ended….what a great event it was! More info coming soon.

NatGat2  was held from August 21-25th. The event was amazing with world class presentations and non stop connection and conversation with engaged activists.

Daily Schedule/Themes

LOCAL was the theme for Wednesday, August 21st. Activities planned include a 24 hour encampment of Bronson Park, the Parade of the People, Deep Democracy Training for Trainer, Parade art and presentation training by the Backbone Campaign, Dinner, Welcome, Drumming and more!

GLOBAL MEETING & MEDIA were the  themes for Thursday, August 22nd. Direct action/sleepful protest at office of local congressman, Global Conversation on mumble systems, presentations on independent and social media, Occucards, Overpass Light Brigade training, fighting foreclosures with Occupy Homes, and Women of Occupy GA.

CLEAN EARTH/ENVIRONMENT was the theme for Friday, August 23rd. All actions and trainings will reflect the historic Martin Luther King “I have a dream speech”, in solidarity with the 5oth anniversary of the March on Washington. Activities will include Overpass Light Brigade Event, MiCats action, many presentations on issues of tar sands and fracking, justice in Bhopal and more.

CLASS, EQUALITY AND ECONOMY were the themes for Saturday, August 24th. Activities wil include presentations on Abolishing Corporate Pershonhood/Move to Amend with David Cobb, War on Drugs, Prison Industrial Complex, Poverty, Campaign to Stop the TPP, public banking, cooperatives, time banks, participatory budgeting and more!

PEACE was theme for Sunday, August 25th. Let’s make that the theme for every day!! Activities being coordinated by KNOW Kalamazoo Non-Violent Opponents of War.

Thank You Occupy Supply!

As it did for the first National Gathering, Occupy Supply  sent supplies to help at NatGat2. Occupy Supply, a volunteer project of the Firedoglake members, uses donations to send high quality union made/USA made products to Occupy groups across the country. Occupy Supply donates supplies for various needs, from helping encampments with winter supplies, to keeping activists hydrated, and sending supplies to Occupy Sandy volunteers to combat mold. Thank you Occupy Supply! Read the rest of this entry →

Occupy NatGat 2 is coming soon…August 21-25th in Kalamazoo, Michigan

12:19 pm in Uncategorized by firedancer

 

The second annual Occupy National Gathering (NatGat 2) will be held in Kalamazoo, Michigan, August 21-25th. Here are a few FAQs about this upcoming event.

What is the actual name of this event?

The Occupy Wall Street (Inter) National Gathering: Decolonize the 99%

It is recognized that even the name “Occupy” is controversial. The planning group chose the name for this gathering, after much discussion, and gives this explanation: “we recognize that America was occupied by colonizers and the struggle for liberation from colonization continues.  We believe that it is time to figure out how to work together against “the 1%”—those unreconstructed corporatists who refuse to acknowledge the harm that has been done to the Earth and her residents, and that is ongoing. To that end, we came to consensus on a new name for our event:  the Occupy Wall Street (Inter) National Gathering: Decolonize the  99%.  This name recognizes our roots with Occupy Wall Street as well as acknowledges the injustice the United States’ forbears brought to this continent and our solidarity with decolonization.”

Why Kalamazoo, Michigan?

Occupy Kalamazoo is hosting this gathering. Kalamazoo has become more well known since the Tar Sands spill of 2010. This environmental tragedy is still not remediated. Michigan too is struggling with many issues that impact the 99% from union busting/right to work laws, emergency managers, and most recently Detroit’s bankruptcy.

What are the themes/focus of this gathering?

Promising 5 days of Peace, Love and Democracy, the focus of the Occupy National Gathering will be “leadership building and people-powered training, education, and actions, to empower people with trainings to take back to their community and spread positive and effective change in their communities.  There is emphasis on Local struggle and how all our struggles connect on a global level.”

Daily themes include: August 21-Local, August 22-Global Meeting and Media, August 23-Clean Earth, August 24-Class, Equality, Economy and August 25-Peace!

For more information on this gathering follow links to website and Facebook. View “teaser” video here.

Hope to see you there!