By Stanley Campbell
Wasn’t it amazing how swiftly this “occupation” movement swept over the country? Fox News is still trying to figure out “what they want,” but I think a good tax increase for Rupert Murdoch would help.
I’m going to host a program to analyze this at 7:30 p.m., Monday Nov. 7, at 201 Seventh St. Because the occupation came to Rockford! I enjoy movements that happen when I don’t have to do anything. I helped copy some of their fliers, and I tried to give some advice, which no one seems to pay attention to. But I don’t mind, because someone is doing something radical here in Rockford!
If you know about the “occupation of Wall Street,” then skip this next paragraph. It was started by some disgruntled Americans who want Wall Street tycoons to be taxed at least the rate of us regular folks, and maybe even throw some of them in jail (at least the ones who caused this economic mess). Since then, the movement has taken on a life of its own, with meetings, arrests and demonstrations across the country.
When people here in Rockford started “occupying,” I suggested a regularly-scheduled march instead of an occupation. I said, “Keep it non-violent, even when the teabaggers yell nasty stuff.” I suggested using humor, recommended they try not to rant and suggested they keep the action kid-friendly. The more attractive, the more people will join. So far, so good.
Frankly, I did not expect this movement to make it to Rockford. I was pleased Wall Street got occupied. Those are some of the folks who got us in this economic mess, and they are sitting pretty.
An occupation is expensive. Food, water, a little shelter, a place to relieve one’s self, and invariably a bond fund. That all takes work, and takes away from whatever message you want delivered. But there are people who seem to want to occupy someplace (here, it’s usually in front of Chase Bank on East State Street in downtown Rockford).
I think the movement is amazingly versatile. There doesn’t seem to be anyone in charge, but everyone seems to have a voice. However, the slogan “This is what democracy looks like” is incorrect; more accurately, it should be “This is what a good demonstration looks like.” Democracy takes place on voting day, once every 365 days, if we are lucky. We Americans complain about having to put up with all these politicians wanting our vote, but the USA rarely gets 50 percent of its population to cast a vote.
Imagine if we had to vote on everything our politicians vote on.
Speaking of politicians, I am so disappointed with the new Winnebago County Forest Preserve District Board voting to purchase that old fishing hole. It was not on any lists, or showed much environmental value. But it was owned by the former Sheriff, Don Gaspirini, which gave me pause. Are the board members using our hard-earned tax dollars to benefit one of their good, ol’ friends?
Anyway, I digress. The topic is Occupy Wall Street, and how the movement is getting support even here in little old Rockford.
I’ve invited friends who visited the Wall Street Occupation and took some good photos. They’ll show those photos beginning at 7:30 p.m., Monday, Nov. 7, at JustGoods, 201 Seventh St., Rockford. Free and open to the public (of course, munchies and donations are welcome). Jenny Tomkins, a reporter for In These Times, a Chicago newspaper, will address the difficulties of organizing an “Occupy Chicago” movement. And I welcome good friend and attorney Kim MacCloskey to talk about the Occupy Rockford movement.
I also welcome anyone else to give their 2 cents worth, and I would never demand even a nickel.
Stanley Campbell is executive director of Rockford Urban Ministries and spokesman for Rockford Peace & Justice.
From the Oct. 26-Nov. 1, 2011, issue