Earlier today, Egyptians marched from Tahrir Square to the US Embassy in solidarity with Occupy Oakland. The circuit is complete and the power is ON!
If you’re a little closer than Egypt, say, in the Bay Area, please read this:
1. There will be a tent called the “Sacred Space Tent” that will be the clearinghouse and meeting place for clergy related info and events. The tent will be interfaith and non-faith welcoming. It will have a very high flag or other identifying markings. It will be staffed from 8 AM – 10 PM by a clergy person of some faith tradition. If you are interested in helping staff this group show up early to sign up for a time slot.
2. All Clergy should gather at the Sacred Space Tent a half hour before the three march times (9 AM, 12 PM and 5 PM) so that we can all march together and multiply the effect of our presence. Those meet-up times at the tent are:
These are very important meet-up times and should be spread as widely as possible through all of your networks.
Another opportunity for people of faith at the General Strike (held in the Interfaith Tent):
Wed. 11/2 – 1:30 – 3:30 pm: What is Wise Response? A conversation about ongoing faith-based responses within Occupy Oakland.
The General Strike on November 2nd is only the beginning. How can faith-based people participate in this ongoing movement of resistance? Join Spring Washam with East Bay Meditation Center, Dawn Haney with Buddhist Peace Fellowship, and others to have a conversation about how our practices and teachings can strengthen Occupy Oakland.
3. There will be trainings going on all day Tuesday, Nov 1 for anyone (clergy, lay, etc) who wishes to learn more about non-violence and how to embody the principles of Gandhi and King in the actions that we will be participating in on Wednesday.
Finally, we ask that you not only come on Wednesday, but that you bring as many people with you as you can, spread this information through all your networks and contacts!
My inner organizer is not thrilled with the “General Strike” part of the event. I appreciate the sense of history that made Occupy Oakland call for a General Strike today, but I suspect that the last General Strike in the US–in Oakland, in 1946–had some more organization behind it. People do not just walk off the job in massive numbers because a small group suggests it the week before, even when they sympathize with the cause. It takes a lot of planning and consultation: for example, with labor unions. So I doubt the strike will be widespread, though I’d love to be surprised.
In any case, my concern is not that a strike is a bad idea but that the Oakland protesters and the wider 99% movement will feel deflated if there is little response to the call for a strike, even if by every other measure things go well. But I don’t think they should. I will consider the day a success if a couple of thousand people show up and we get good press.
I was strongly tempted to be there, but I have prior obligations at home and decided instead to devote a chunk of today to supporting the movement in a couple other ways. One, the Palo Alto Police Department was involved in the October 25 clash between police and protesters, and tear-gassed the crowd. As a Palo Alto clergyperson I want to speak up about this, so I’m writing something to send to the paper. Two, I’m eager to take the movement to other places besides the streets. After all, people can’t live on the street forever–many of us, fortunate enough to be employed–can’t protest in that way for more than a few hours here and there–and the point of the movement is not to camp out but to press for needed changes in every way we can. I’m going to call together some of the folks in my congregation and the community to suggest some other actions.
And I’m so thankful to everyone who went to Oakland today, with particular gratitude for colleagues (hello, Jeremy Nickel, author of the above call to clergy) who are organizing and staffing the interfaith clergy presence there.
Here’s Alan Grayson with an excellent articulation of the issues.
ETA: Today I’m also going to take the necessary steps to move all my money to the credit union I joined several months ago. I’ve kept my old checking account for complex and boring reasons, but it’s time to move. It will feel good to be investing in my neighbors and businesses in the Mission, via an organization whose purpose is to help its customers, not put money in the pockets of faraway speculators. For a long time I figured there were no credit unions I was eligible for, but it turned out that I could join this one simply by virtue of my address. Here’s how to find a credit union you’re eligible for.