When the Occupy Movement spread throughout the country and to other countries, I felt I must watch, learn and evaluate what was happening. These are some of the things I learned:
1) Occupiers called to our attention by marching and encampments that 1% of "Rich" people control the resources of our country. They protested "inequality" in a way that no other political party nor organization had.
2) The protest methods were practiced by only a small minority of the 99% of us. The suggestion to take your money out of big banks and put it in local banks and credit unions was an idea that caught on in our community and others as well.
3) The march and encampment protest method was literally stopped by police (who were paid for by the taxes of the 99%) with riot gear, tear gas, rubber bullets and batons. These violent methods were used to stop the Occupy movement encampments in almost every city in the country.
4) People of the 99% who did not visit an Occupy encampment, did not have the opportunity to experience the warmth and community spirit created in the encampments. Although, the middle class is being hurt by the greed of corporate America, they were conspicuously absent from the marches and events. Why didn't we turn out in large numbers to protect the protestors in their encampments? This is the question that keeps arising in my heart.
5. Encampments used democratic procedures in regular weekly "General Assemblies" where the encampment members discussed issues and moved to consensus about further actions. See a link which demonstrates the unique hand signals to speed and clarify discussions. http://youtu.be/2xV3zTlgu3
Also, "Check Mike" was a procedure where the words of one voice were repeated by all voices so that microphones were not necessary.
6) It was apparent to me that the response of our local government to Occupy Bellingham was no different then the threat of or use of violence against protestors in our country and also in countries all over the world - Egypt, Libya and Greece.
7) Our community, as well as other communities in our own country, must look at the fact that violence has been and still is the way that protest in our so-called democratic country has been squelched.
The movment of protest and actions to remedy the unfair accumulation of enormous wealth of 1% OF OUR COUNTRYMEN have only just begun!