With Credit to Lauren Leonardi
1. Understand the Movement
Chances are, you’ll find yourself in a conversation about Occupy-something sometime soon. One of the most important things you can do, short of sleeping in a park, is be able to intelligently defend and support the movement in conversation.
Don’t parrot the mainstream media’s take on Occupy Wall Street. They mostly get it wrong.
If you like the idea of OWS, and feel excited about the sorts of changes we might begin to see in our society, say so. Out loud. To friends, family and partners. On the internet. In line at the grocery store. Talk to people. Talk about the movement. Apathy’s not cool any more.
This is a short for-starters list. Start liking and following these folks and you’ll probably be inspired (by posts and re-tweets) to follow others. Don’t forget to re-tweet and re-post messages that move you.
4. Move Your Money
One of the central concerns of the Occupy movement is the banking system. Even if you never re-post a single OWS article, or visit a single encampment, moving your money is an action you can take that will align you with the principles of the movement. It’s something you can do privately, and quietly, on your own.
From the Move Your Money site:
“The Move Your Money project is a nonprofit campaign that encourages individuals and institutions to divest from the nation’s largest Wall Street banks and move to local financial institutions. Little has changed to prevent another financial crisis or to end ‘Too Big To Fail,’ and with Congress unwilling to act, we are encouraging individuals to take power into their own hands by voting with their dollars and no longer contributing to a financial system that has led our country astray. We are a campaign that gives people real, concrete actions they can take to create a more sane, stable and localized banking system.”
5. Send Some Grub
Find out where your local occupiers are and do a Google search for nearby restaurants who deliver. Send pizza, chinese food, snacks and baked goods. Ask your local diner to send burgers and fries. Pay a visit to Restaurant Depot or another wholesaler and bring boxes of fruit, extra large loaves of bread, jars of peanut butter, bins of veggies. Whatever you can afford is great. It’s true that one pizza won’t feed everyone, but let the demonstrators sort that out. One pizza can go a long way in a democratic resistance movement that opposes greed.
6. Make a Collection & Donate
Put a flyer up in your building asking other tenants to donate any of the items on the list below. If you live in a private home, consider posting a flyer on the community message board at your local library, coffee shop or grocery. Ask people to leave donations on your porch, or in front of your house, and put a bin or box out to collect the donations. Coordinate with your PTA or another community group to support your local occupiers through donations.
When you’ve amassed some items, bring the donations to your local occupiers. Just pull up and unload. Ask any occupier where your stuff should go, and someone will help.
- basic medical supplies: bandaids, gauze, over the counter medicines, antibacterial ointment, etc
- rain gear, umbrellas, tarps, tent covers
- clothing: men’s, women’s, especially warmer clothing and socks
- food: perishable and non-perishable
- blankets, subzero sleeping bags and other warm bedding
7. Donate Money
Visit your local Occupy hub and find yourself a donation box. If you’re not close enough or don’t want to go, you can donate via your local financial institution by Paypal Email Money Transfer to firstname.lastname@example.org.
8. Visit a Local Occupy Encampment & Say Thanks
I am not sleeping in any parks. But I still consider myself an occupier! If there’s an encampment near you, head down before or after work one day. Go over on your lunch break. Bring your kids with you, if you’re visiting on a weekend.
Talk to people. Ask why they’re there. Thank them for their commitment to the movement, and let them know that OWS wouldn’t be much without them.
I can just about guarantee taking action on number 6 will inspire you with numbers 1, 2 and 3.
If you have time, stick around for General Assembly (GA), which occurs at Olympic Plaza at noon and 6:30pm, daily. There, the group discusses all sorts of issues like what the following day’s schedule will be, how to spend donations, pressing needs and upcoming actions.
Be sure to take photos while you’re there and post them to Facebook and Twitter to let your friends and family know you support the movement. Just be sure, when you’re visiting, not to be just a voyeur. Be a participant. Make a sign and bring it along. If you’re not into that, make a point to learn something while you’re there.
9. Show Up When You’re Needed
Sometimes, what’s really needed, are people. Lots and lots of people. Without the support of armchair occupiers who got up out of their armchairs at 4am, the flagship hub of our movement could have been ousted on October 14th for a bogus “cleaning”. So keep tabs on when the movement needs you most, and be there.
10. Taking a Roadtrip? Transport Supplies or Demonstrators.
If you’re going from one city to another anyway, offer to bring supplies. Better yet, offer someone a ride. Lots of protesters demonstrate on the weekends, or on their off days from work or school, but need to head home now and again. Helping demonstrators get back and forth is doing something huge for the movement.
If you’re leaving Calgary (in a car) to head to another city with an Occupy presence, head down to your city’s Occupy center and find the information desk. Tell them where you’re headed, and what you’re offering, and they can help hook you up with the right people. Likewise, if you’re headed to Calgary, try to find people in your community who’d like to make the trip.
11. Allow People to Shower and/or Do Laundry in Your Home
Sleeping on the street is dirty business. In many cities, the 24/7 demonstrators only have fast food restaurant bathrooms to use for washing up. If you’re comfortable with the idea, and live near an encampment, offer your shower or laundering facilities. You can set your own limits. For example, you can say you’re open to inviting women only, two or three at a time, on a certain day during a certain time. Your requests will be respected.
12. Mail Credit Card Offers Back!
Watch this 5 minute video for a terrific, easy, free, nonviolent way to not only piss off major creditors, but to make an impact on the way they inappropriately target consumers to buy into the credit/debt system.
Use the pre-paid business mailer envelopes, but don’t send back what they’re expecting (which would be a credit card application)!
- send it empty
- put other junk mail into the envelope, and send it back full
- print a note with a clear, rational message like: “hello bank clerk, join a union” or “occupy wall street!” so the banks know your junk-filled envelope wasn’t an accident, but a dialog.
- add something heavy like a wood shim (with a message on it) to add weight and cost
From the video: “The real effect of this is to force banks to react to us…Every hour banks spend reacting to us is an hour banks don’t spend lobbying congress on how to screw us, is an hour banks don’t spend foreclosing on our houses. Go to your mailbox, spend 5 seconds…If you can’t occupy Wall Street, you can at least keep Wall Street occupied.”
Great job, man! We love your idea.
13. Opt Out of Black Friday & Cyber Sunday, For Starters
Turn November 25th (the day after Thanksgiving), long known as Black Friday, into Buy Nothing Day. Promote Buy Nothing Day in your community by posting flyers wherever Black Friday sales are advertised, and include OWS-friendly messaging like “We are the 99%” or “The 99% is Boycotting Black Friday”. On those days, buy nothing at all.
Go a step further and make it a Buy Nothing Holiday Season! Encourage your extended family to join in. Instead of exchanging gifts, collect old toys and clothing and go together to donate to a shelter or church. If you want to give gifts, consider handmade toys, homemade salad dressings gifted in lovely glass bottles, baked goods in clever packaging, or one of these ideas. Think of how much money you’ll save!
If you feel you can’t go that far, gift from privately owned retailers. Patronize websites and shops who support handmade or vintage products like Ten Thousand Villages
Worried about the kids’ disappointment? We know the kids want the new toys, the new gadgets, the knew kicks, whatever the current rage is. Think about what a valuable gift you’ll be giving if, instead of giving in, you encourage your kids to see the value in something handmade, or better yet, the value of doing without the stuff that’s really unnecessary.
Share the informative video The Story of Stuff with your children, and discuss it as a family. Together, brainstorm ways to be better to the world.