Why do I help with the Occupation?
I have a job. I have a mortgage. And I get by. I've a small consulting business. A tiny little operation...that barely squeaks by. But I get by. So why do I care about a bunch of disgruntled people occupying Dewey Square? Because I have a duty. To serve my country. To help the next generation build a world that they are proud to live in. I do not want to leave this world a mess for them to clean up. And because over the decades, I saw so many things slip away that I thought were "normal" and "fair".
I've seen pensions disappear. I've seen basic medical care costs skyrocket. I've seen the costs of business "socialized", while people are running away with the profits. While I was earning my Masters in Finance, I noticed how many of the "techniques" I was being taught, were effectively ruthless profiteering. I was told, "don't worry... your job is to maximize shareholder profits". Huh, I thought. And what if this strategy of millions of people thinking like this ruins our world? So while I thought it was important to learn "the language of money", after graduating, I refused to participate wholeheartedly. Even though I'd gotten this fancy degree and was poised to make bazillions, I just couldn't.
I wanted to be near my family. I wanted to stay "close to the earth". I wanted to participate in SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS, not just chasing the buck. And I couldn't help fearing for the world at large. I mean could "infinite growth" be possible? I just couldn't reconcile it in my mind. Yes, I'd attend various "green communities" meetings, or hang out with my like-minded friends who would get together occasionally, in an attempt to "feel better" about the world I was participating in. But all around me society seems to be spiraling toward disaster. As a trained engineer, I would look at the numbers and my head would ache, while I watch people "consume consume consume". Sometimes I'd wake up late at night and be unable to sleep hearing the cars going by endlessly.
And then suddenly...the Occupation. Suddenly, I can go to a place 24x7 and find people that are concerned. And they aren't just "like minded friends"...they come from all walks of life. And have diverse opinions about "what to do". But they are here for one reason. Because they care. Because they are scared. And because they know that they need to DO SOMETHING. And something we do. We camp. And we talk. And we write. And we collaborate. And out of that I pray and I hope that something comes. And I believe it will. And I believe that it has. Already people are waking up at all levels of business. "The Occupation" is woven into almost every conversation now. And I believe that the working groups will develop lists of demands. I believe that the politicians will serve the Occupation. I believe that it's the first hope of representation of the worker since I've been alive. And yes, even though I have a decent house and a decent business, "I" am of the 99%. And that's why I bring my extra stuff and money to the camp. That's why I stand on the sidewalk keeping the cops company late at night in the cold, hoping to articulate "why bother". Just like scrubbing the church floor is something that parishiners do with the hope of a better life in their community, I do what I can do help Occupy Boston.
The camp is gone. So I'm concentrating on other actions: http://wiki.occupyboston.org/wiki/Occupy_the_Economy
Lots of groups have reorganized under different names. But the same people are involved and are doing great work.
I'm concentrating mostly on www.PassMassAmendment.org a statewide ballot initiative to amend the Massachusetts Constitution, based on "Corporations Are Not People, Money Is Not Speech". I also, an ex-elected official, help communities understand "rights-based ordinances" and how to use the "municipal charter" rights to enact law to prohibit destructive corporate activity at the local level. The buildings that these corporations are using, and the pollution and other destruction to the "social compact" can be stopped at the local level by "denying occupancy permits" and by levying HUGE fines for companies that harm our communities.
Been giving presentations based on my experience as a local elected official. To help communities leverage municipal rights to protect against destruction from corporations/governments: https://www.slideshare.net/PetitionersCommandRespect/community-defense-initiative
If you're someone who wants to be a socially conscious business person, please contact me. volunteer at occupy boston. org
Mid-2016 Update: Working on Thayer Family Farm, a small organic farm in Harvard, MA which donates to Food Not Bombs Boston. Feeling the Bern after Philly. Decided to put my name on the ballot for Massachusetts State Senate in the Worcester/Middlesex District. www.terrafriedrichsformasenate.wordpress.com