Kalamazoo College's Student Newspaper
By Dana Iscoe
Kalamazoo College needs to get involved in this movement. At the time of publication, #Occupy will have been going on for 45 days, a month and a half. Hundreds of people have been arrested, and one seriously wounded by a rubber bullet. Thousands of people have physically occupied public spaces in large and small cities all around the world. Countless more have tweeted, written statuses or blog posts, read articles, glanced at a headline, or mentioned to their friends that they saw a bunch of people with signs downtown.
This is not a joke; these are not hippies or anarchists. The #Occupy movements are gigantic, they are pervasive, and they are realistic. The people in plazas and parks across the country are people who have helped college students like us our entire lives: teachers, bus drivers, receptionists, waiters, people who clean the buildings we live in. We have all benefited from the hard work of others; we are the product of systems that have worked for us.
This is what’s important right now. This is the election, the blizzard, the Superbowl. This is what we need to talk about at parties and lunchtime. We need to ‘Like’ statuses and honk our horns as we drive by protestors. We need to take time out of our busy schedules and walk downtown to show our solidarity with those who have supported us. We are all tremendously lucky, no matter where we fall in the income bracket. This is an opportunity to be a part of our country in a way that isn’t always possible: to be critical, to be conscious, to know what is going on, and to yell and scream on street corners. If always you’ve always dreamed of joining something bigger than yourself, or even if you never wanted to be radical in the first place, you have a place in the #Occupy movement. All Americans do. All people do. Banks and corrupt corporations do not. Get out there, get reading, start talking. Let’s keep this going all winter long, for a strong, angry, world-changing American Spring.
What You Can Do:
-Attend! We have the Van Jones lecture on Wednesday the 2nd at 8 p.m., an #Occupy protest downtown this Wednesday from 4:30-6:30 p.m. and a Teach-in this Thursday, November 3rd in Hicks atrium from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. Come and learn more, ask your peers and professors.
-Update and Broadcast. I know you have a Facebook and I know you read Twitter. ‘Like’ statuses, repost things, hashtag it all. This is the way information spreads; your status or tweet could inform your grandma or a friend from another part of the world about what’s going on with #Occupy. #Occupy Kalamazoo has a Facebook page; look it up in the search bar.
-Read! Pick up a paper from the library, go CNN’s or The BBC’s website. Headlines and pictures count. Also, it’s been really interesting to see how slowly mainstream papers like the New York Times have started writing front page articles about #Occupy Wall Street. Look at media and other types of public speech with that awareness.
-Apply this to your life. Everyone has a role in this movement. There are interest groups all over the internet (and in real life) to promote people’s involvement in #Occupy.
-There has been a lot of critique about racial representation within protests and that people of color do not have a large enough presence or voice. This needs exploring! I recommend racialicious.com, as well as #occupythehood or just keep your eyes peeled for the acronym POC.
- “Queer folks” and those who want to pay attention to gender and sexuality should keep their browsers open to feministing.com, and jezebel.com.
-Almost every city and state has an #Occupy Facebook page and Twitter. If you want to be general, try @occupyearth or #OWS, but you can also follow @occupymichigan, @occupydetMI and @occupychicago. Look up your hometown or where you studied abroad or where your grandparents live.
-If you have interest in a particular trade or field of study, look for it on Twitter and Facebook. Unions, colleges, and arts groups have particularly large presences, but you can find just about anything. The breadth and diversity of the internet is what’s really awesome right now.
-Go to a general assembly. #OccupyKalamazoo usually gathers on Wednesdays at 4:30 p.m. in Bronson Park, but they will change location to be indoors as it starts to get cold. These meetings are run like direct democracies, with a facilitator and no clear structure. They can be a little confusing at first, as the group decides what will be discussed in the meeting. Stay quiet and watch. They generally last about an hour and it’s impressive to watch large decisions get made through consensus.
-Talk! Don’t be afraid to mention it to your friends, to show them an article or something you saw. It’s okay to not understand and to be confused. You do not need to be an expert to make a comment; no one is an expert. Ask your parents or friends in different places about #Occupy movements there. Just start talking, start asking questions, start forming your opinions, and start supporting your friends in theirs.