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We are the 99 percent

Dear Occupy, I'm ready to proceed. #YouAreNeeded

Posted 10 years ago on Feb. 22, 2014, 12:11 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
Tags: ReadersWrite, You Are Needed

We received this dispatch from an occupier

Good afternoon all,

My name is Tracy and I would like to get involved in the Occupy movement. But I don’t know how to proceed.

I am what you might call an “Average American” in that I am married, my husband and I both work ( he in sales and me for American Airlines until I was injured on the job), we have two cars and a motorcycle, a house, one child in college which we struggle to help pay for and another child in high school. One might consider my husband a “conservative” as he has guns and believes in that as a right and he has voted Republican for his entire adult life. I am decidedly liberal. One might even say socialist. The point is, we both know that the deck is stacked against us no matter what our political persuasion. We will always be “working class” and all the corporations we deal with have a vested interest in keeping it that way. So when the big Occupy protests began a few years ago, my husband encouraged me to join in the local activities as much as I could. And I did. I found the movement locally disorganized, fragmented, and lacking in a mission statement and leadership.

Unfortunately, I think that regardless of intentions, the Occupy movement has also alienated many of the so called “average Americans”. Sure, there needs to be a consciousness change for many Americans to embrace anything not spoon fed to them by the media but I think the lack of the “average American” visible in the movement only served to keep the perception of the movement as one of “intellectual elites” or “disaffected youth”. This was another problem I saw with the movement. It did not address those issues central to getting the movement into the “mainstream”. For example, many people could not come to protests because of jobs or taking care of their children etc. Protests could’ve been scheduled throughout the day so people could come whenever they had the chance; there could’ve been activities for the children; there could’ve been more networking with more organizations who have similar goals. Catholic Charities would have been great to reach out to in my community as they run the largest homeless shelter network in the city. All this general disarray led many people to think this was just about young people pissed off because they hate rich people. I gave food and handed it out to the Occupiers and protested in my city but, obviously nothing has changed except the movement is not active in the public. With the possible exception of those deeply entrenched in the movement, it has all but disappeared in my city and indeed in the national news as well.

Income inequality is not going away unless ALL the 99% use their voices. I would like to help find a way to bring more of those people into the light. The government, with complicity from the media have divided and conquered Americans. Places like FOX and MSNBC (among many) keep us fighting amongst each other to divert our attention from issues that are pertinent to all of us.

I am not an articulate intellect, a disaffected young person, or a savvy blogger. I am a wife and mother close to retirement who is tired of being taken advantage of. I’m sure that most of the people in Occupy are “average Americans” as well; the rest of the country just needs to see that and know that speaking up isn’t a privilege, it’s a right.

Thanks for your time.


Justine's response

Hi Tracy,

Thank you for reaching out and sharing your story. I agree with many of your criticisms. One of the things we have to do if we move forward is accept everything good about what we've done in the past... as well as the bad. That's the only way we're going to learn.

Right now the most important thing you can do is to continue to take care of yourself, your family, and your community. These are tough times for everyone, regardless of belief (as you mentioned.)

But if you're sure you still want to get involved with the movement, we'd need to know more about you, where you live, and what skills you have. Resumes are always a good way to do this if you have one. We're also going to be doing a "census" of the movement in March and you should hear from us when that happens.

Until then, stay strong :)

Justine Tunney
The Occupy Solidarity Network, Inc.

Yo Occupy! Please post your own response to Tracy below. What are the projects and initiatives that you are most excited about in 2014?



Read the Rules
[-] 6 points by Penston (80) 10 years ago


I feel connected to you. We share the same concerns and both understand that things can't continue as they are now.

You said that you want to bring more people into the light. Me too! If we get our narrative straight (i.e. simple and correct), then we have the foundations needed to make a difference. Let's break it down into easy steps:

1) Educate ourselves. There's a lot of noise out there and a great deal of unhelpful information, but I've made a list of the things I found most useful in helping me to understand how the World works, why it is the way it is and possible solutions. http://betwixtregimes.org/recommended-materials/

2) Communicate a vision. Using democracy, we can change the system. It's really easy to fix the problems of inequality and debt without being unfair to anyone - including the 1%. It's possible for the 100% to thrive and prosper sustainably and we don't need to go through any hardship to get there.

3) Become a connector. This is the most valuable thing anyone can do! Connect people to useful information and to other people. Start a non-partisan group in your area for people who want to vote for a politician (you don't need to identify the politician yet) who shares their values, goals and concerns and isn't going to have their campaign financed by corporations. You can even advertise the group on meetup.com so that others know where to find you. Even if you don't want to start the group yourself, you can share the idea with other people and offer to support them if they run with it.

If you'd like to talk to someone about how you want to make a difference, my Skype ID is the same as my ID on this website. I'm very interested in connecting with like-minded people.

[-] 4 points by Renneye (3874) 10 years ago

Welcome Penston!

I'm so very pleased that you visited this forum.

I looked around your informative blog and the deep links on your occupy profile. You're clearly a doer and an active true humanitarian. And an Aussie to boot! "Builder", a long term regular Aussie occupier here will be thrilled to meet you, I'm sure.

I especially found your work on your 'human rights' website http://freeofguilt.wordpress.com/ to be commendable in the extreme. Very rich in content!

Modern-day slavery, the sex-trade 'industry', and human trafficking are a huge personal concern of mine, as well as many others here.

One of our regulars, 'gnomunny', researched and wrote an extraordinary Forum Post on those subjects, that you may get something out of.




You're a heart-centered individual, to be sure...and I hope that you'll post more here on your endeavors...that others here may mutually become aware of and connect to active groups who are making a difference.


[-] 1 points by Penston (80) 10 years ago

Thanks, Renneye! Your kind words have really made my day.

Actually, I'm not Australian (yet) - I'm an Irishman who's made a habit out of living in countries where I don't have a right to vote. I look forward to saying hello to Builder, though.

Thanks, again.

The links you gave are very good. I really like gnomunny's style of writing and I even learned something new from reading the comments.

[-] 5 points by Sinde (24) 10 years ago

Hi Tracy, I think we all 'feel' the Need to Do something. We worry for All the Children, our own, and for those yet to come. We worry for the Earth and all Her life sustaining elements. I have found that many 'feel' as you stated the inequality, and the complete obviousness that corporate interests does not reflect Public, Human, nor Environmental Interests. As you stated this goes beyond political parties. I have been as you, a progressive all my life. My husband was an activists during the 60's and early 70's. I have seen through him, the best way to Reach people is through ~ "Articulation", without alienation. He could reach people on the opposite side of the spectrum, and it was Amazing to see and experience, because these people became more then what they had been. They could not put into words what they knew, what they 'felt' underneath it all. And by the clarity of articulation, it became an 'Aha!' moment. I live in a rural community, devastated by the policies of the 80's and early 90's. Because of the great Need, I within the last year or so, began writing letters to the editors of the local newspapers. Gently I described the effects of these policies which everyone here has experienced, to what is occurring Now. Many spoke to me of reading these letters to the editor. I was amazed as most definitely voted against their own self interests and slit their own throats in doing so. Because this goes beyond republican, democrat divide, but points to the best government money can buy, we all realize we're in the same boat. This in turn has lead to people awakening (sure, slowly. At one time I am sure I was thought of as that weird strange organic farming tree hugging hippy in these parts). But, They Are right there in their awareness ~ Now. Lately their have been organized 'Community Right Workshops', etc. I suggest you write your letters to the editor. Perhaps attend local community workshops, our the local native population organizing such events? Or anybody? Maybe you? Try not to alienate others, but through clear articulation you will see others are right there with you. Good Luck!

[-] 3 points by JohnWa (513) 10 years ago

Tracy you are not alone. There is no organization that can put right the mess. The most powerful and rich continue to bleed us dry.

But you are one and your family is one of millions that together are suffering. To make change the first step is to educate yourself about what is wrong and also about the lies we are all fed.

That knowledge makes you more effective in your decisions and enables you to assist others in the same process. Numbers of better aware people are the base change can grow from.

Showing your support is another step, one that many are uncertain about. As you gather more understanding of the underlying problem then your motivation may change.

The bleak world you children will face is not easy to reconcile. Few options are open to change things but any hope is definitely not going to be provided by the 1%. The only hope is to change direction in spite of the 1% using any and every way possible.

Loyalty to political parties is utterly fruitless. We are locked in and breaking away from the present corrupt system will not happen if we obediently comply.

Effective resistance is mounting. Be a part of people based values and economies whenever opportunities arise. Talk with your friends and be gently with those locked in and scared, but be persistent.

You will be doing a useful service to the upcoming generation, the shattered environment and your own peace of mind.

[-] 2 points by TruthNow (2) 10 years ago

Tracy and all, here is the gist: Greed is an ADDICTION. The greedy cannot cure themselves, because they cannot face the GUILT of all the lives and environments they are destroying. They live in denial of their criminal robbery of wages, pensions, land resources, and democracy. As the environment tanks, they look on in a stupor. They live in fear of their illusory “power” being taken away, and we must INTERVENE.

The steps Occupy needs to take:

  1. Continue to Occupy to recognize and articulate that the system is broken.
  2. Recognize that the rich are addicts who cannot cure themselves, who live in fear, and that the narrative needs to be much more truthful (not “redistribute wealth” = take away something from rich people, but “we must stop you from robbing people of their earnings” = stopping criminal and fraudulent practices), that the greedy are no different from substance addicts breaking a store window to get a fix, and that our willingness to buy their products enables them. See Polk, For the Love of Money in the NYTimes.
  3. Recognize that complaining about the government is not what it’s about because we have no government. If we had an actual government, we would have democracy, health care, environmental protections, climate mitigation, clean energy, free college education, peaceful foreign policy, and on and on. We need to create this, starting with our own government-by-consensus, banks, currency, jobs, worker-owned co-op businesses, schools, urban farms, etc. with the objective “stop buying from the rich,” because we already know this works. See Theory Thursday: Break the Monopoly on Everyday Life.
  4. Above all, the organization of Occupy with its networking ability needs to overcome the vast ignorance (“Dear Occupy: I’m Ready to Proceed”) by articulating: citizens are slaves to addicts, citizens are ignorant of how they are being brainwashed to vote for their own deaths, by a lying media bought by helpless addicts who cannot cure themselves, and intervention must not only replace the total lack of governance but cure the greedy by a) forcing them to admit their addiction and b) allowing them to absolve their guilt by acting on the principle “everyone does better when everyone does better (i.e. when no one robs them to feed an addiction).” See Principle Seven of Activism - Edge Leads the Pack. This is why Occupy must call for legislation to regulate and enforce regulations, and tax the rich, which would raise the level of prosperity for everyone.
  5. Recognize that hope generates change (we did a form of this in 2008, but a much larger intervention needs to take place).
[-] 2 points by Axis116 (63) 10 years ago

Occupy...seriously? Location, skill sets, resumes, censuses? My advise: Occupy yourself, Occupy your love, Occupy your desire to help...and RESIST! It really is that simple. All over this country and the world that is what is happening, whether they call it "Occupy" or not. Occupy is a network, not an organization

[-] 2 points by beautifulworld (23799) 10 years ago

The amorphous nature of Occupy has been a difficult thing to grasp for many, but it has also allowed Occupy to continue in the hearts of Americans despite being squashed physically at the protests and occupation sites. Occupy is mainly an idea, after-all, and the ideas that it has presented have successfully changed the conversation in this country. We have planted the seeds of change.

As Cornell West says "Occupy is leaderless and leaderful." So, therefore, you are a leader of Occupy just as much as anyone else. Occupy is not and cannot be a political movement because the limitations that would place on it would prevent the watershed change that we really need. We can't just place band aids and hope that the symptoms of the sick society we are living in will go away. We need to get to the root of the problem, and, in my mind, that is in the very ethos of the people of this nation. The ethos being the characteristic spirit of American culture and community as shown in its beliefs and aspirations. Who do we want to be? What is important to us? Nothing will change until we change our priorities and that is something that is so deeply rooted in us that it goes way beyond mere politics.


[-] 2 points by MattLHolck (16833) from San Diego, CA 10 years ago

dissolve the two party labels

main stream media is a network that is fed news by those that submit to it

perhaps most of those submissions come from corporations

[-] 1 points by DiggerChief (1) 10 years ago

I identify with you Tracy. Here I am wondering what's going on with the "Occupy" movement. I too want to be involved. If the Tea Party can get its act together, Occupy should be able to do better. I believe an Occupy political party would get tremendous support from guys like us. I have the timpression that Occupy is all young folk with grand, and let me hasten to add, admirable aspirations, but I have a visual of "The Man" snickering at the disarray of the movement. I think Occupy needs us as much as we need them. Use the system to defeat the system. Someboy form a party already!

[-] 1 points by JGriff99mph (507) 10 years ago

I've been down the road of forming new parties, and I'm not sure that is going to be terribly effective going forward. If it is, it's going to need a shit ton of volunteers and campaign managers that are great at getting free press (those dreaded pr people).

In order to remain a person of their word, one cannot accept corporate money. Sure, raising money as a well known Democrat is one thing, as someone no one knows with a party no one knows, is another thing.

There is a definite pattern in federal politics in this country of "this is the most important election ever" mindset. Many people claim to be independent, but when push comes to shove they still look at their almighty vote in terms of their opposition.

Probably the best way to get started is to work the local and state area, get a few victories, and go from there. If you are going to go national, the campaign has to make it IMPOSSIBLE for the msm to ignore, and give them a steady and offbeat stream of information. Keep em guessing and keep em surprised.

[-] 1 points by grapes (5232) 10 years ago

My goals are fair play, due process, and human rights to be achieved by the "sword of justice," to create a fair and proper framework giving meaning to freedom and supporting human rights.

Everything is physical so keeping your charges (kids, spouse, relatives) healthy is top but not exclusive priority. Then work on the healthy minds based on the healthy bodies and accrete from there building communities and societies anew. A fairer and better world will be reality in due time from all of our efforts. Know and stand in the mud but dream Big and reach for your star.

[-] 1 points by marthaandrews (2) 10 years ago

Many people talk about big ideas like starting our own country, or a militia. I think we need to get back to basics. To find simple things everyone can do right now to achieve a few steps closer to our goal of increasing democracy.

Apart from cleaning up problems of democracy within the movement itself which is very important, there's a few simple things we could do right away.

  1. Start occupying again. This is our bread and butter. However, we don't have to occupy physical spaces like Zuccotti. I would still do that, but with flash mobs. Perhaps get people to Occupy Zuccotti for a few hours once in awhile flash mob style. But, more importantly, we can Occupy communications. For example, we could choose companies in Wall Street and occupy there phone lines and emails. Get 1000 occupiers to flood their lines of communications on a giving day. The calls and emails should look as legitimate as possible. The idea is to take their time. Call and ask for financial advice. Let them talk to you for long periods of time.

  2. Start using anarcho-syncalism to start small businesses that have something to do with Occupy. We could use kickstart and ask money from all the occupiers to start these businesses. Crowdsource. If there's a great idea, perhaps like an Occupy magazine, then people would contribute. This would permit us to create something useful, to generate money doing it, and to show that anarcho-syndicalist businesses are possible. This is something that can be done and is much simpler than starting our own country which was proposed a few weeks ago.

[-] 0 points by WhyteHorse (11) 10 years ago

Well Tracy, Occupy disappeared everywhere. Most people were arrested or intimidated to be silent. At every assembly half the crowd were spies working for police, banks, military, nsa, fbi, democrats, churches, etc. It got so bad you couldn't even say hello without an infiltrator turning people against you. If you want to get involved it's too late. I suggest you grab some gas and pour it on the fire of a civilization in decline.