“I’m being raped!” screamed Georgia (not her real name) at the top of her lungs. “I’ve BEEN raped...and I’m BEING raped... and I WAS raped--and I’ve murdered people, too!”
Georgia is an elderly homeless woman who had been seen mumbling to herself and talking to auditory hallucinations around the Occupy San Francisco camp site. She was one of the attendees of our first Composting Anger meeting at the camp, which had just commenced five minutes prior.
Though many hope that the Occupy Movement is now part of history --Time magazine naming ‘The Protester’ person of 2011 seems to reflect a desire that she won't be in 2012 -- those of us organizing and protesting on the ground know that we are still somewhere in the movement’s beginning.
Since the start of Occupy Wall Street, a recurring question in the media and among the Occupiers has been: precisely who among the 99% is taking to streets around the world to protest economic inequality? The simple answer—that it’s a wide array of citizens from different backgrounds who are disenfranchised from the political and economic systems that benefit a very small elite—isn’t particularly useful for a burgeoning social movement.
Have you noticed all the cuts being made to your city budget? To schools and libraries, fire fighters and social services, and other public spending? Think you could do a better job managing the budget? Soon, you may have that chance.
Through a process called “participatory budgeting”, residents of over 1,000 cities around the world are deciding how to spend taxpayer dollars. In October, four districts in New York City launched the second such process in the US. This article offers some initial tips for how you could start participatory budgeting in your city.
There is a national debate brewing about our tax system. Americans across the country are looking hard at their tax bill and analyzing how much they have given and what they are getting back. It’s making many of us wonder how our tax system became so complicated, and whether there is an alternative method for funding public needs. I believe that there is, especially at the local level: citizens should be permitted to choose whether to directly fund public projects they care about.
On the Nature of Paying Taxes
One of the compelling attractions of Occupy is that it is modeling a possible socio-economic-political paradigm for how society can run. It is a model the whole world is beginning to watch. For those who come and participate in it, its a learning experience, a training in this new paradigm.
We are at an inflection point in human history that requires that we answer the call. There is no more time to dawdle. This inflection point can be characterzized by the convergence of a transformation in values with a technological revolution. This combination will enable a techno-cultural re-ordering that will allow us to interact differently.