I am totally inspired by the Occupy movement going down. It’s wild and free and beautiful. The General Assembly meetings are a fantastic experiment in democracy and decision making. I think they are worth checking out. The other thing I love is that a group of people have seized the commons and are camping out on it, a sort of Rainbow Gathering style with a political message. Also, young and old have taken to the street to disrupt business as usual and are questioning the sacred cow of capitalism, especially those corporate institutions that are the most exploitative.
My hope is that these General Assemblies continue no matter what happens, that this exercise in communication needs constant practice like yoga and eventually it needs to be brought into our neighborhoods. I also hope people will understand that the Occupy movement it is not really about us vs them which I think the phrase we are the 99% reinforces. We have to be careful with this kind of thinking and language which has the potential for growing hate and fear and can be polarizing. Don’t get me wrong, if you check out my email address I have been on this 99 thing for a while before 99% became cool ([email protected]). It is the corporate takeover of our world that is one big problem.
We are 100% connected with each other
We are 100% part of the big picture in it all together
We are 100% sharing the same carbon cycle
We are 100% sharing the same breath
We are 100% sharing our bodies with 90 trillion microbes
We are 100% living under the same stars and galaxies
We are 100% all needing love and compassion
Jason who helped us build our greenhouse at the Free Farm wrote some beautiful words about Occupy in the eastbaypermaculture yahoo group (you have to join the yahoo group to read this Laying the Foundations). It really is in line with what I have been thinking. He says “One next step is to engage and develop local, community-based systems to provide for all of our basic human needs… The piece that we here in the Bay Area are perhaps best suited to take the lead on is Food Sovereignty. There is some energy and infrastructure for this already, although it would need to be increased if we want to develop true autonomy for local Occupations. Residential food producing landscapes, urban farms, and mass chicken coop construction for residential settings could be cooperatively developed and installed. In doing so, we would vastly increase our capacity for local self-sufficiency on a wider scale… As we transition away from our dependence on destructive distribution and processing systems to meet our basic needs, we can go beyond merely denouncing the current economic model and prove that WE DO NOT NEED their system. Another world is possible, and being actualized through the place-based autonomous zones now occupying many major cities. The more we can provide for the social services and basic human needs of those in the Occupied spaces without supporting or depending upon governments and mass distribution systems, the more we can accurately declare we are living a viable alternative”.
Here is something I have been doing when I have some time and my junk mail is piling up from credit card companies: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2JlxbKtBkGM
I also got an email from my friend Justin who with his friends are thinking the same thoughts here in San Francisco: “Hey all, so the other night some of us were sitting around talking about the occupy movement and ways to make this radical movement/ community more relevant to everyday folks around our cities. We wanted spread the message of autonomy and community building outside of capitalism in a way that would work for people in their lives, thus spreading these radical ideas throughout our neighborhoods. One idea that we came up with was a garden project. We all recognize how gardens offer families and communities a degree of self-sufficiency, autonomy and a chance to transform our social relationships.” Their idea is 99 Gardens for the 99%. I like the way he ended the email “Lets Overgrow Capitalism!”
Wondering where our friend Pancho is these days…a no show at the Free Stand (and the Free Farm)…we forgive him…
The Free Farm Stand was not rained out and well occupied. We are there rain or shine by the way, though we will be closed the Sunday after Thanksgiving (Nov. 27). It was a beautiful day and thanks to our organizer extraordinaire, Cat, things are running pretty smooth. It has been remarkable to me how after our run in with Recreation and Park, so many new people showed up eager to help in some way, Besides Cat, another woman surfaced named Jill who is experienced in crowd management and she has been working with Cat to make the experience for people coming to the Stand to have a good experience as we grow larger in size. Our volunteer crew has been so great and I can’t say enough how grateful I am. There are several things I would like to manifest for the Free Farm Stand:
- a Cantonese speaking person to help us translate fliers and ideally to volunteer with us to help talk to the Cantonese speaking shoppers who come by.
- a photographer that would like to set up a photo booth at the FFS
- a large homey free space to throw a big party in around December to celebrate a year of wonderful volunteers and good work…room for dancing and maybe someone who can lead a contra dance or square dance
We are still getting a lot of produce left over from the Farmer’s Markets and we did have some nice sunchokes from the Free Farm and beautiful squash (I think the variety we grew was Musquee de Provence though I think we should have let it get orange on the outside). Stanford students from Stanford glean came again with pomegranates, pineapple guavas, quince, and apples, such lovely fruit for November!
Cristina was back serving a while before her tango class. The African Blue basil flowers matched her outfit
Billee Sharp, a regular supporter of the Free Farm Stand came by on Sunday and gave me a copy of a bookshe wrote called “fix it, make it, grow it, bake it” that mentions the Free Farm Stand in it. She also wrote an interesting article in a blog by Matt Gonalez and others I didn’t know existed “As it Ought to Be”
http://asitoughttobe.com/2010/06/29/confessions-of-a-bad-hippie-by-billee-sharp/. She gives a pretty good short history of the Sixties diggers who also reclaimed the commons and uprooted our system with revolutionary ideas (like the thought that things should be free and who circulated another 1% idea…1% Free).