Welcome to Boston, the birthplace of revolutionary movements for two centuries. We are lucky to have many of the best universities in the world, as well as dedicated community advocates committed to social and economic justice. Occupy Boston has transformed Dewey Square into an open forum where the citizens of the Massachusetts can assemble and discuss the most important political, economic, and social issues of our time.
Over the last ten days, the Occupy Boston movement has become a beacon of unity, solidarity, and true democracy. People of diverse backgrounds and philosophies have gathered and remained together in Dewey Square, hoping to make their voices heard in the future of America. Our chosen method of achieving change: The use of a pure democratic system in order to give everybody both a voice and a vehicle for collective action.
The Occupy Boston protesters have marched and protested across the city. Whether at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston or at Newbury Street, our protests are characterized by passionate voices and populist chants. We’ve seen the community as very supportive, overall, and our numbers swell during the day as people come to learn and participate from the metro area.
“This is not a protest, this is a movement”, explained one occupier. “It is a constantly growing number of people from all walks of life who have serious grievances about the way this country operates at the expense of the vast majority of its citizens. These people have gathered to raise visibility, create dialogue, discuss solutions, and then vote on resolutions on how to address our grievances.”
The occupants represent a wide range economic backgrounds, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, and political philosophies. Despite our sometimes profound differences, we share at least one thing in common: We are all workers, were workers, or want to be workers; moreover, we share a common frustration about the fundamental disconnect between the interests of the vast majority of Americans and the policies in Washington. Anger at the pervasive and powerful corporate presence in American politics and the disconnection between the people in power and those who elected them is a persistent and recurring theme.
Frustrated with the status quo, a true democratic body has assembled at Dewey Square. Twice a day, we gather in democratic fashion at General Assemblies – reflections of the New England town meeting. The GA is the cornerstone of Occupy Boston, where we reach consensus decisions, while respecting individual autonomy.
One thing is certain: When we finally decide upon a set of guiding principles and demands, it will be through the free flow of ideas and a pure representative democracy.
The media first ignored us, then they derided us without actually spending time with us, but now they are beginning to realize we have much to contribute. Our initial marches drew less than 500 people. By Monday Oct. 10, CNN estimated 10,000 people, from student groups to labor unions, joined our march through the city; staging sit-ins at intersections along the way.
Occupy Boston is leaderless but highly organized. The camp is structured around different teams, including Logistics, Food, Medical, Direct Action, Media, Outreach, Art and Culture, Spirituality.
In addition to the teams, the Free School University provides teach-ins on subjects from non-violence training to economic lessons, taught by professors and experienced volunteers from around the region. Cornell West, fresh from Occupy Wall Street, delivered an empowering speech in support of our movement. Later in the week, professors Mark Blyth and Kevin Gallagher facilitated a discussion of economic problems and solutions. During the second week, professors Bryan Snyder, Arjun Jayadev, and John Miller further contributed to our understanding of the US economy.
Despite the wide variety of personal labels: Liberal, Conservative, Centrist, Socialist, Libertarian, Anarchist, Communist or no label, together we are the 99%.