Friday, January 20, 2012

Occupy Wall Street West _ Morning Hours

With an amalgam of Occupation demonstrations scheduled and already in action for today, January 20th, 2012, here are some observations from downtown San Francisco.
(8:30-8:50 am)

1. Upon exiting Embarcadero Station, several police officers (6-8), some of whom were visibly wearing kevlar (bullet-proof) vests stood conversing with one another. Two of the men were wearing black jackets that read "Department of Homeland Security" on the back. As I stood there and watched them for a moment, they seemed to be unclear about their duties. The men in DHS jackets were trying to give them instructions, but couldn't seem to make up their minds.That is, they would tell one or two officers to go down the stairs toward the BART trains, but then call them back. Not frantic, but confused.
2. Upon reaching the street level, in front of the Federal Reseve Building at 101 Market Street, there was no encampment in front of the building, but one block further west, there was a large group of protesters marching in the west-bound lane of traffic. It had a large (affiliated?) bus lurching along behind them. Behind the bus were two SFPD bike cops. The group looked to have at least 50 people,and seemed to be undetered by the morning rain.
3. At the Ferry Plaze (not Justin Herman)at the end of Market St., where the vendors usually set up, were three tents and a large group of people, both milling about and organizing for the day's events. In front of the plaza were rows of vans, meter maids cars, and a couple of cop cars parked. As I walked toward the gathering and past the City vehicles, I overheard one of the employees greet another who'd just come on duty, "It's been like this since 6 in the morning!"
A group of about 15 people was gathered around two individuals who were giving instructions for safety and action. They suggested forming groups, finding a buddy, and gave out the legal phone number they could call if they happen to get arrested. In the background, others were organizing signs and bull horns, while others still were already holding signs in the open walkways of the plaza.
4. For several weeks, Occupy SF was camped out in Justin Herman Plaza, and now deferentially refer to it as Bradley Manning Plaza in solidarity with the young American enlistee who released information to Wikileaks early last year. The OCCUPY SF camp at JHP/BMP was shut down a few weeks ago and has been blocked off by barricdes. The entry steps to the park are blocked with Park & Rec signs that read "Closed for Renovation" and the internal grass area is blocked off by metal barricades. Apparently, the "renovations" are to re-grow the small lawn, of course, they had the SPRINKLERS running in the rain. Ahhhhh, City governance!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2012 Intentions

With 2012 being a year that many have been anticipating as a time of change, I want to talk about some ways we can change the world. This can be both a top-down and a ground-up road to a healthier world.

Start BIG...
1. Nuclear Disarmament: War over weapons is absurd and hurts all of humanity and the planet. If humans can't get together and demand that the governments that purport to represent or protect us immediately HALT the manufacture and begin to disassemble all nuclear weapons, what else can we expect of ourselves?

2. Independent & Community Organic Farming: For the immediate benefit of self/family/community, this is something you can start in a pot of dirt smaller than your television. If anyone hopes to dislodge Big Agriculture - an industry that bullies American farmers and floods the market (and our bodies) with genetically modified, dusted with pesticide, overly processed foods - then you can start at home.

3. Stop Buying Crap You Don't Need with money You Don't Have: In other words, don't misuse your credit card to buy (plastic) crap that might only bring someone a 'disposable' moment of joy. There are better ways to make the people in your life happy. Furthermore, invest in what you need and not what you don't. Think about our shared environment, and be inspired to reuse and recycle as much as possible.

4. Human Reconnection via Less Dependence on Non-Human Contact: Let's use technology as a tool and not as a substitute for socialization. Teach your children to make eye contact and to step outside the boxes.

5. Reclaim Citizens' Rights in this Country: Refuse to accept the legitimacy of laws that work against the People by trying to compromise our birth rights. Brush up on The Bill of Rights and compare it to, say, The Patriot Act, the Supreme Court's decision in 'Citizens United', and the recent Defense Authorization Bill that tries to trump Habeus Corpus...and ask yourself, which one makes you feel safe?

6. Don't freak out!: If you're waiting for "the apocalypse" to bring fire & brimstone, you're gonna wake up the next day in a smokey wasteland...

...because we will become what we envision, find ourselves face to face with our focus and our distractions. So, look up, look deep and remind yourself of what we all want:
Peace in our communities. Healthy Resources. Love to nourish us.

Can you picture that...?

*This can be heard on The Common Thread Collective at on the Podcast from December 30, 2011. These will be running themes that will appear in future shows.