Give the gift of another world (and make holiday shopping super easy)

You must have friends who want to make the world a better place: we all do. Some of your loved ones probably make a difference through their parenting, careers, businesses, or community work; or some combination thereof. But drastic change is difficult to imagine.

You must also have friends, family, and co-workers who are constantly complaining about and frustrated with the current state of our society. These friends may identify as liberal, conservative, right, left, or whatever. Maybe they don’t like the democrats, maybe they don’t like the republicans, but you know who they are. Maybe they agree with your views or maybe you see each other as polar opposites.

While your thinking about what gifts to give, I want to remind you that I wrote “Another World IS Possible” for the purpose of bringing together people who traditionally disagree with each other, to show the common roots of our shared problems, and to provide a methodology for those folks to come together in a way that meets the needs and desires of practically everyone—left, right, and in between. It sounds impossible, but it’s not.

As we approach the holiday season, I want to offer anyone who wants to spread the promise of “Another World IS Possible” to friends and family, the chance to do it.

If you purchase multiple copies between now and January 1, I’ll provide you with a big discount. Here’s the deal: if you purchase between 5 and 10 copies you will get $2 off each book; between 11 and 20 copies you will get $3 off each book; and 21 or more copies you will get $4 off of each book!

This is a gift that most of your friends, family, and co-workers will love and it will help create dialogue and bridges that have previously been elusive. Check it out and make your holiday shopping easy while helping to make the world a better place.

 

Click here for purchase options:

GIFT BUTTON

Any ads below this point are not my own.

Advertisements

A Veteran, Activist, and Teacher: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

At the beginning of the Occupy Wall Street Movement, when many activists were still gathered in a park in lower Manhattan, I was part of a small team that was organizing a community group in West Harlem.

It was in October of 2011 when David Suker, a local activist, teacher and veteran, initiated two meetings that brought together this group of activists who started a community-based version of Occupy Wall Street called the West Harlem 99%. The group was based on ideas similar to Occupy Wall Street like using open space to facilitate democratic discussions to create social justice. However, even though the group of us that organized the West Harlem 99% were all heavily involved in Occupy Wall Street, this group was much different—we focused largely on the needs of the community.

One of our first meetings brought together about ten activists in the basement of a small church in the middle of West Harlem. As we settled in, several uniformed police officers invaded our meeting and began to harass us. They tried to coerce individual members to leave the room and talk to them outside. Most of us refused.

We found out later that the police had contacted the priest (who was a supporter of Occupy Wall Street and the West Harlem community) before our meeting and told him we were a group of thugs and he shouldn’t let us gather in his church and he was in danger. The priest, of course could tell we were friendly and well-intentioned, so he tried to support us, but he asked us not to meet in his church because he didn’t want to be harassed by the police. As a result, we were forced to organize meetings in our apartments, cut off from the community, and our larger assemblies in a church 20 blocks away.

As an outspoken member of these groups, David, a fourteen-year tenured teacher, became a prime example of how corporate and government institutions use power to silence citizens who speak out against injustice.

A lot of people argue against teacher tenure. They say the unions protect lazy and ineffective teachers, but when teachers are not protected, how can they stand up to the system we all want to change? Most teachers want to teach. They want to help kids learn and get a good education: it excites them when their students light up with ideas and when they understand a new concept. Most importantly, teachers understand the school system from the inside. They know why it doesn’t work, but they are often afraid to speak out against it. David’s case is an example of why.

After becoming a vocal member of Occupy Wall Street and the West Harlem 99%, David was systematically attacked by the city of New York and the Department of Education (DOE).

David was arrested as part of a large group at Occupy Wall Street when the NYPD caged protestors on a march across the Brooklyn Bridge. He attended political demonstrations frequently and quickly became a target of the NYPD, which pulled him out of several legal protests and political demonstrations and arrested him for political activities including distributing copies of the Occupied Wall Street Journal. Furthermore, by mid-November, the DOE implemented the disciplinary action know as the “rubber room,” which meant David had to report to work but couldn’t teach because of his political arrests. Instead he spent everyday in a disciplinary room while his case was reviewed.

For months the DOE worked to compile a list of charges that led to David’s termination. Since most of the charges were minor infractions and unrelated to his ability to teach, the DOE based his termination on a fraud charge because they claimed he used a false address on his daughter’s school applications to intentionally deceive them.

 Knowing the entire investigation had been an attempt to politically silence him, David brought his case to the New York State Supreme Court. In a rare decision the Supreme Court overturned the DOE’s ruling against David because it determined that the list of charges the DOE presented were not nearly enough reason to terminate a teacher and showed no bearing on his ability to teach or the quality of education he provided. Instead, Justice Schlesinger noted that David was targeted by the DOE stating, “the conduct … regarding a false address for his daughter, never involved Suker’s own school and never would have been discovered but for the DOE’s decision to target Suker to see if an investigation could find something to be used against him.”

For a variety of reasons, including not having steady housing, David had in fact used the address of a friend’s house (where his daughter often stayed) on his daughter’s school applications in 2001 and 2006. However, whether or not David is guilty of this fraud is irrelevant because the law states that the DOE cannot bring up these charges if they are more than three years old. And since NYC high schools are open to all students through the five boroughs, his daughter’s address is irrelevant since she’s been in high school.

Justice Schlesinger determined, “The school’s leadership did not want Suker to remain there as a teacher. They did not like him or approve of his actions. They believed he was insubordinate, that he did not conduct himself properly, that he was getting arrested too often, and probably that he was not a team player.” In other words, the DOE doesn’t like that David is politically active.

People in many jobs who want to exercise their right to speak out against injustice face overwhelming challenges. It raises an important question for us as a society: do we want to live in a world where individual people can express their political beliefs freely without fear of persecution, or do we want corporate and government institutions to hold the power to oppress free speech, press, and assemblage? Do only people who agree with you or only express themselves quietly deserve freedom of speech? While unions may have a bad reputation for several reasons, including protecting ineffective workers, should we trust society’s most powerful institutions with the right to decide who can exercise freedom and who can’t?

David is a veteran who served his country, a teacher who serves his students, a son who cares for his elderly father, a father who works tirelessly to make a life for his children, and a citizen who only wants to utilize his rights and freedoms as an American. But he is still unable to return to work for 12-18 months because the DOE is appealing its case. Even though David had initially won, the witch-hunt against him continues. In a gross injustice by the NYC DOE, he has been presumed guilty until proven innocent over and over again. Now, being unable to work for almost two years, David is struggling to provide for his daughter and two-year-old son.

Do you really support the troops? Do you really believe in freedom for all? If so, call the public advocate’s office at 212-669-4102 and tweet @deBlasioNYC to let them know you want the case against David Suker dropped.

(Any ads below this point are not mine)

Local family continues to heal by turning tragedy into hope

This article was published this week in the Jamestown Press:

Local family continues to heal by turning tragedy into hope

Concert at ’Ganny Saturday to benefit Josh Barber fund
By Colby Hopkins
“Use the key!”
As John and Darla Barber stood outside of their son Josh’s house on Aug. 31, 2010, Darla was now panicking, but John was hesitant to barge in. It had been hours since Josh had responded to any of their text messages, but this was the Barbers’ constant struggle: balancing Josh’s safety with his independence. Josh suffered from depression and without adequate outpatient care, John and Darla had been monitoring Josh on their own.Opening the door a few moments earlier would not have made any difference: Josh was already gone. As John lifted his son’s body, Darla frantically scrambled around in the dark for a knife to cut the rope. Then John desperately tried to resuscitate Josh to no avail.The next few months were a blur. Maybe the pain the Barbers endured brought them closer to Josh. They were, as Josh had once described himself, “just a shell.” The Barbers decided they had to turn their tragedy into new hope. And with one another’s love and support, they found new life.

First, the Barbers wanted to write a book to tell the story of Josh’s life. “Becoming the Blues: A Family Memoir” will be released Saturday, Oct. 26. But the Barbers didn’t stop there. Their main goal was to implement a comprehensive outpatient program to help those who the mental healthcare system isn’t capable of serving. They started We All Move On, a nonprofit that will develop and fund the program.

Josh’s experience highlights the need for such a program. He received quality care the multiple times he was admitted to Butler Hospital, but each time he was discharged. The Barbers say the system failed him.

“You’re hospitalized when you’re in an acute, traumatic, terrible stage of your life,” said Maggi Barber, Josh’s sister. “You develop relationships with people who help you stabilize, then you’re discharged and all of those people are out of your reach.”

After Josh’s funeral, the Barbers met many other families suffering from the limitations of mental healthcare programs. “We have been bombarded with people in the same situation from day one,” said John.

Suicide is a growing problem. Rhode Island has had the greatest number of suicide attempts in the nation and a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found the suicide rate among those ages 35 to 64 increased 69 percent in Rhode Island from 1999 to 2010, but treatment is mostly voluntary.

“Outpatient services are voluntary and we help make sure the appointment is set up, but it’s up to the individual to go,” says Dr. Lawrence Price, medical director at Butler Hospital. “The rare exception is if someone is court ordered. There is a very high bar for that in Rhode Island.”

Following a suicide attempt, Josh was re-admitted to Butler, stabilized, and then discharged. He decided Butler’s partial hospitalization program wasn’t for him. Without sufficient services, the Barbers felt alone and helpless. And while the Barbers kept Josh alive with almost constant supervision, one the few times he was alone during an episode, he took the opportunity to end his own life.

The Barbers’ concern is that outpatient services don’t meet the needs of certain patients, especially those like Josh: well-functioning adults struggling with depression who refuse treatment. These patients are able to make their own choices, but their condition drives them toward self-destruction.

“You can’t force someone to get treatment for a psychiatric illness anymore than you can force them to get medical treatment unless they are clearly a danger to themselves or other people,” said Price.

The Barbers intend to use WAMO to create outpatient programs that keep the same staff with the patient throughout care. “I’ve been a nurse for over 20 years,” said Darla. “When developing a patient care plan, discharge planning is just as important as their inpatient care. That’s why we have discharge planners who make sure patients will have appropriate care in a safe environment at home, prior to allowing discharge.”

Over the years, Butler Hospital and other facilities have had various outpatient programs that tried to reach patients refusing services. Price says programs withered in the past because “the people they would be the most helpful to refuse to get involved in that kind of a program.”

But there is hope a program like WAMO could fill the void. “It is a good idea,” Price said. “If there were a way to engage somebody in that from the very beginning, I could see where that would have some value. It’s an open question.”

The Barbers aim to answer that question. “Our main goal is to bridge the gap between inpatient and outpatient hospitalization because that is where Josh’s care crumbled every single time,” said Maggi.

Added John, “We need to go with a phased approach where maybe we have just one counselor at first, then more, and maybe phase three is a whole facility dedicated to it.”

To help fund their effort, the Barbers are hosting a book release and annual WAMO fundraiser at Narragansett Café on Saturday, Oct. 26, from 1 to 5 pm. Josh’s original band, Smokestack Lightin’, and other special guests will perform, including Neal Vitullo, Tom Ferraro and Dave Howard. There is no cover charge.

More information at WeAllMoveOn.org and BecomingTheBlues.com.

Harry Binswanger is a total tool. Don’t be like Harry Binswanger.

Recently, Harry Binswanger, contributor to Forbes, published an Op-ed in which he argued the 99% should “give back” to the 1% because: (1) communities don’t give anything to individuals that isn’t already paid in full at the time it is given; (2) all transactions are freely and reciprocally agreed upon and therefore, mutually beneficial and uninhibited by further obligation; and (3) the 99% actually reaps the benefits of the 1% by profiting from their mental capacities to innovate and create jobs to produce products and services. His article illustrates everything that is wrong with our society.

The notion that the wealthy ought to “give back” to the community is infinitely more complex than Binswanger gives credit. Of course, he is attempting to captivate readers by cloaking his arguments in distorted interpretations of libertarian theory so they will emotionally accept what is actually an extremist and quite ludicrous point of view: that the working people of the world owe more money and gratitude to the extremely wealthy, that is the 1%. In doing so, he simply ignores the nuances of what the rest of us call “reality.”

Binswanger is wrong because: (1) the extremely wealthy not only make profits by exploiting others, but also by not paying adequate value for what they use to make profits. Furthermore, in accumulating wealth they negatively impact many people who are not involved in the “mutual exchanges,” and those people are not compensated. (2) Consumers don’t purchase products and services simply because they value and want them. Money is an inadequate measure of real value; global access to markets allows capital holders to manipulate local and national markets; consumers are lied to, coerced, and often lack real choice; and, again, many people are forced to pay costs (even non-monetary costs) for exchanges they had no say in. And (3), Binswanger’s assertion that the 1% are innovators and job creators – well, it’s not true. That claim is a fallacy created to attempt to align the 1% with small business owners and entrepreneurs. However, small business owners operate very differently from large corporations and the 1%.


It is terribly sad to see someone unable to understand the value one receives from their community or the country to which they belong. Perhaps, Binswanger is a victim of the epidemic of hyper-focused individualism and undervaluing of community in the neoliberal western world. However, let’s not harp on his opening statement and the overall tone of his article, which suggest he doesn’t believe in or value what communities give to individuals. Instead, let’s focus first on what appears to be his main point regarding community: the value one receives from the community is paid at the time it is received so those that accumulate extreme wealth do not owe anyone anything more.

Let’s take that statement as true and therefore we can assume people should be allowed to accumulate unlimited wealth without ever giving back to their community or country. Some would agree with this point. However, if in pursuing wealth you are taking resources without paying a real value for them, damaging the environment, cheating the financial system, bribing politicians, circumventing laws, preventing competition, coercing consumers, inhibiting accurate information, or exploiting employees by paying them as little as possible, then the bare minimum compensation is a fair tax rate, because even that amount would not sufficiently pay for the value you take from others.

Expecting the extreme wealthy to give back to the community is not the same as condemning the successful. Most people loved Steve Jobs for bringing us the iPhone, but when Chinese teenagers began jumping off the roof of his subcontractor Foxconn to escape their effective enslavement, we lost the love. There is no “envy-ridden moral code that damns success, profit, and earning money in voluntary exchange.” Most Americans still admire success. What we don’t like is the extremely wealthy controlling our government, forcing the rules of the playing field to their advantage, and preventing real Americans from doing the entrepreneurial work that needs to be done.


Furthermore, paying taxes isn’t the same as charity. Most Americans are not arguing for the wealthy to give anything extra other than their fair share—they want the rich and corporations to pay at least the same tax rate as everyone else and close the loopholes. You may not like the idea of taxes, but in our current structure, taxes are how we maintain a society and mitigate the effects of our oligarchical corporatist system. We all benefit from things like an educated citizenry and a healthy population, but essentially, taxes are needed to make up for the damage Binswanger’s friends inflict on the rest of us. Whether it’s environmental degradation, worker exploitation, consumer coercion, or messing up our financial systems, big corporations and the swindlers that run them owe the rest of us some compensation. Until we change the structure to one where taxes are no longer needed to mitigate the effects of our corrupt, political, and business elites, the argument for taxing the rich remains: “hey, while our messed up system allows you to accumulate unreasonable amounts of wealth through corrupt and counterproductive practices, you need to pay for at least some of the damage you’re causing and some of the benefits you’re reaping from our complacency.” Taxes are the bare minimum for these elites.

Wealth is not exclusively accumulated by exploiting people and the environment. Wealth, as Binswanger proclaims, is also created by using human brainpower and labor to turn resources into a product or service that is sold for a price. What isn’t factored into the economic calculation (or price) is the value lost by removing resources from nature or the impact a transaction has on others.

In a perfect world, wealth would be created by making products while factoring in the real costs of environmental degradation and human input: but that doesn’t happen. Furthermore, in today’s finance economy, innovators aren’t creating awesome new products that everyone needs and selling them in a free market at a reasonable cost. Most innovation is not the creation of new products at all. There are many different ways businesses innovate to increase profits that have nothing to do with making new stuff. Tony Davila, Marc J. Epstein, and Robert Shelton surveyed a large number of manufacturing and service organizations. In Making Innovation Work, they present their findings that things like product quality improvement, expanding a product’s range, creating new markets, cutting labor costs, improving production processes, and other efficiency improvements, account for most innovation.

The way we create and measure wealth in our society is so illusionary and inaccurate that wealth no longer reflects productivity once you surpass a high enough threshold. So, yes, there are those that innovate, create, and work hard to provide quality products and services, but unfortunately most of the major wealth accumulators today are in fact exploiting the people—through suppression of wages, price manipulating, cheating the financial systems, circumventing laws, and many other practices—and the environment and they are doing it with the help of our government. And no hardworking, honest American, whether anarchist, liberal, or libertarian, thinks that is okay.

Binswanger further presents his case by reciting the standard economic discourse that, “in commercial transactions, customers buy a product…because they want the product or service…for their own personal benefit and enjoyment.”

An unfortunate limit of money is its inadequacy in measuring real value. Money spent does not determine value of things; it determines value relative to supply of money and is distorted by misinformation. Also, it is limited by our capacity to accurately put a price on something. For example, a plot of untouched land has inherent value to a community even if the community cannot afford to purchase it. It is aesthetically pleasing, absorbs some pollution, and maintains local ecosystems. If someone buys the plot of land from the owner (an out-of-state property management company), they are paying only for the value of the land to an owner who doesn’t interact with the land or the community that surrounds it.

Binswanger argues further, “all proper human interactions are win-win; that’s why the parties decide to engage in them. Voluntary trade, without force or fraud, is the exchange of value for value, to mutual benefit.”

Commercial transactions are infinitely more complex than the moment of exchange of a product or service between parties. On a small scale they may be a bit closer to Binswanger’s analysis, but in the modern world the “community” for big business is the United States and the economic playing field is global. This scale allows business leaders to exploit and manipulate people all over the world for their own interest while reaping the benefits and securities that a company in the United States enjoys.

For example, in America, our labor often competes directly with workers in Thailand because owners of capital have the resources to use labor to produce anywhere on the globe; so available jobs and wages in the US are driven down. However, as an American, you can’t shop for products in Thailand at Thailand prices. Instead, the owners of businesses bring them back to America and price items low enough to undercut the products made in America, but high enough to take as much of your money as possible.

The assumed truth that all economic transactions are a “win-win” is such a gross oversimplification of reality with several flaws. First, it assumes people have all the information they need, can quickly and adequately process it, and make the best economical choice possible. Meanwhile, the multibillion-dollar advertising and public relations industries are fully committed to brainwashing and misinforming people so they will buy something against their own interests. Binswanger ignores the fact that people are lied to and misled. He ignores that they aren’t informed and don’t consciously and actively participate in many of their transactions. Any student of economics knows that capitalism requires accurate information.


Second, it assumes people make decisions because it is a win for them, while many transactions are coerced either through advertising and manipulation, pricing control, or the lack of real choice (i.e. cell phones, gasoline, and meat industries are dominated by a handful of companies with almost no difference in products, services, and price). It assumes when people take a low paying job, it is a mutual exchange based on a win-win. In reality, most of us take a job because we have no other choice. You may think, “Well just go get an education.” Many of us did that. There are still so few jobs available and the pay is so little that we are forced to take jobs to survive – we don’t choose them. This view also assumes that the wage of a job simply found is its proper value based on equilibrium reached from supply and demand. Binswanger most likely believes that because that’s what he read in an economics textbook in his freshman year of college. Again, I remind you that the reality is a bit more complex. Labor is not paid value for one’s work; we are paid the least amount possible an owner can pay in a climate where technology and outsourcing are diminishing jobs.

Third, it assumes that no one else is impacted by the transaction. Economists trivialize the impact an economic transaction has on third parties—called an externality. Often, the total value lost to third parties is greater than the gain of the parties engaging in the transaction, but this loss is not calculated. For example, if you want to turn your suburban yard into a landfill because you secured an account with a nearby city to dispose of their trash, you would decrease the value of all the houses around you, who had no say in in the agreement and would not be compensated. The total loss of value among the community would be much greater than the net gain of the two parties involved in the transaction. Now, you’re probably thinking, “But that could never happen because it’s against the law.” Exactly.

In a response to the article, Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone recently addressed the practices of the 1% and counters Binswanger’s determination that the CEO of Goldman Sachs, Lloyd Blankfein, should be held in higher regard than Mother Teresa. He highlights some of the common practices of companies like Goldman Sachs that are either illegal or should be because they violate the freedom and self-determination of others just like turning your yard into a landfill would (only worse).

Binswanger perverts libertarian notions of voluntary exchange by pretending that this is somehow the reality of the America we live in. By using divisive language like, “an end must be put to the inhuman practice of draining the productive to subsidize the unproductive” he excites a following because some people love to hate — but here is a platform where all Americans should be able to stand united. Even the libertarian right knows that in a free market with access to accurate information, supported by a small government, the Goldman Sachs types would never exist. They exist because our government helps them survive because they artificially inflate GDP and American power.

People don’t oppose big businesses because they’re successful; we oppose them because they are corrupt institutions that rose to power by cheating the system and our government simply helped them do it. We could have a society where real work and innovation was rewarded and small businesses would be able to compete—but we don’t. Goldman Sachs and other overblown banks and corporations would not be able to survive in that climate. In the meantime, while our corrupt political and economic system allows them to exist, we’ll go ahead and settle for that payback.

Ultimately, Binswanger hangs his hat on the most unoriginal of all neoliberal pundits’ arguments: the wealthy are the innovators and the job creators. But what do they innovate? Well, they innovated a pretty cool finance trick where they sold bundles of bad debt as a package with a good rating and then bought insurance on the debt so when loans went into default (which they knew would happen) insurance companies paid them a lot of money. They created a pretty awesome process to target and trick lower income families into buying mortgages because of a low affordable payment, knowing it would rise and their houses would be foreclosed. They created millions of part-time, low paying jobs while simultaneously contributing to the downfall of full-time, good paying jobs. But we should say thank you because “the man who works as a janitor in the factory producing that invention, receives an enormous payment in proportion to the mental effort that his job requires of him.”


I feel bad that Binswanger does not feel like he belongs to a community and cannot comprehend the value of community because it doesn’t translate into a monetary denomination. However, the rest of us understand it. Not for charity, but for the value society will receive by preventing future distortions of reality from being projected into our collective discourse, someone ought to buy Binswanger a book that was written after 1975.

Instead of paying back the 1% with what Binswanger says we owe them, I suggest the 99% build strong human bonds within their communities to promote both mutual aid networks and environments in which small businesses are free to exchange. Let’s be honest, if we only advanced far enough to create the type of real competitive capitalism that someone like Ayn Rand believed in, one where corporations had to play on level fields and information was accessible, businesses like Goldman Sachs and Walmart would crumple to the ground under their own inadequacies.

To find out more about why Harry Binswanger is a complete tool and how you can avoid being anything like him, check out my book, “Another World IS Possible: Freedom, Economic Truth, and Creating a Society of Humanness.”


.

*Any ads or videos below this point are not mine. They are inserted by wordpress because I refuse to pay for an “upgrade” to prevent them.

Occupy and America: Two Years Later

Two years for Occupy Wall Street. What still saddens me is how many Americans are still letting the corporate media dictate what and how they think. Whether you consider yourself—a liberal or a conservative, left, right or whatever—most of us would agree on most things if we were having the right discussion with each other. If we listened to why others were advocating for one thing or another we would find common courses of action.

Take taxes for example—something talked about a lot in both the Occupy and Tea Party Movements. Most people would prefer not to be taxed too much and have the government spending our money. But in the current climate of overblown corporations whose actions impact our environment, food supply, wages, small business, political sphere, self-determination, and even our constitutional and human rights—all combined with a media and public relations campaign that prevents accurate information from reaching the masses—it isn’t unreasonable to seek a solution. Those who argue for a free market or some version of capitalism should not be looking to protect this model. The economic system we have is far from either. Taxes are not the solution to fix the system, but they may be a part of a comprehensive transition process. And they certainly can help mitigate the effects of the system while we develop a better way. This is a conversation we could have if we could get passed the rhetoric.

It’s difficult to have this conversation about taxes without taking a hard look at the government. Almost everyone in the country is not satisfied with the government but if we were to transition to a government that was of the people and by the people, then we likely wouldn’t look at taxes the same—like we are handing over our money to some far off, unaccountable institution. Instead, if we had a real say in how our taxes were used and could see the direct impact on our own communities and neighbors, we might not be so angry about them.

Furthermore, if you believe in the America your junior high civics teacher told you about, you should be furious that when other Americans (even if you think you disagree with them [which you probably don’t]) are exercising the first amendment rights they are caged, beaten, and arrested in mass. It should outrage you because someday you may have a grievance to redress and you would want your rights to speech, press, and assembly protected. Don’t let corporate media make you believe that protestors are getting arrested because they did something wrong or illegal. That’s not the case. And don’t let the corporate media make you afraid of other Americans participating in democracy: that’s what democracy is.

Finally, you may believe that Occupy no longer exists because you don’t hear much about it in the media. But, in addition to the activists still working on Occupying Wall Street, what we knew as Occupy in lower Manhattan and public parks around the country has grown into so many projects and movements all over the world and they all remain interconnected through human networks and around common beliefs. Those beliefs are what made Occupy so transformative for so many people: we all have the power to create change with each other. Of many things Occupy accomplished, the most important in my eyes is that it made people remember that they can be the change the world needs. What’s important now is that Americans throughout the country who are living their day-to-day lives, trying to get by, do not forget it.

I’m still positive and optimistic about change. There’s good reason to be: there are so many amazing people doing so many amazing things. I hope to see you in the streets, but even more so I hope to see you in your community park or on your block talking with your neighbors and building a better world.

#OccupyWallStreet #S17 #AnotherWorldISPossible

*Any video or media below this point is not mine. It is inserted into my posts because I refuse to “upgrade” to prevent it.