Notes from an Occupier at Occupy Missoula

by CoraZone
*this blog piece does not reflect the opinions of the group as a whole.

I write this the same morning that Occupy Wall Street has achieved a victory in Zucotti Park. I am preparing to spend another day at Occupy Missoula, where the stakes don’t appear to be as high: We have tacit permission to stay on the Missoula County Courthouse lawn. Also, our small town’s size, quietness, and physical remoteness from the giants on Wall Street, makes our purpose seem abstracted. We have been joking to each other that our main struggle seems to be ourselves, as we learn how to make decisions using consensus, as we learn how to interact with each other under intense conditions, and as we learn how to balance our time and energy between our own needs, and our passion for the movement. But the occupiers are focusing energy on how Montana is specifically impacted as well, and we urge others to get involved in this discussion, to help contribute toward meaningful, regional direct actions. Our commitment to this process is our demonstration at the moment.  I hope all who have participated in any way feel proud of that.

Besides, I think that this fight with ourselves is not something to shrug off as a side effect.  I submit to the occupiers as well as the general population that this fight, the interpersonal one, and the very personal one, is the center and heart of the global movement to change our system. So with that said, I am sure many of you reading this want to know what is happening at the encampment. Click “more” to read about current events and needs …

Events:

~ A march and rally is planned for Saturday, October 15.  Meet at the fishes by Caras park at 11am.  The march will end at the court house , and will join the Art Jam.

~ An Art Jam is being planned for Saturday, from 1-pm to 10 pm.  Rain or shine. There will be music, poetry, an art gallery, and a soapbox for anyone to stand on and rant about anything they wish. You will barely notice the weather.

~Our next General Assembly is on Monday, October 17th at 5:30 pm.

~Working groups (committees) meet every day, many between the hours of 3 and 5 pm right now, but this is subject to change.  All are welcome to observe and participate.  Groups include: Art and Culture, Direct Action, Facilitation Team (set a proposed agenda for the General Assembly), and a Messaging group (Working on a written message to propose as OccupyMissoula’s statement). If you are part of a community group, consider holding your meeting on the courthouse lawn.

Needs:

~ Music.  The camp has waxing and waning moments of energy and beauty.  When numbers are high, spirits follow.  Music has a wonderful effect on everyone present, even when the numbers are smaller. If you show up and play a few songs, it will have a profound effect, any time.

~ Security: When numbers are low, the encampment becomes more vulnerable to intoxicated people who live downtown. The encampment’s wish is to be welcome to all, and is working closely with staff at the Poverello to learn how best to work with the situation, because we are an alcohol and drug-free camp.  However, even with the assistance of a couple experienced social workers being at telephone’s reach at all times—we simply need more people down with the express role of peaceful boundary keeper,  to keep an incident log, and be watchful.   We could also use more who can be on call.  If you are interested in taking a 2 hour shift, or being on call for advice and assistance,  please write to occupymissoula@gmail.com

~Security , part two:  We are also dealing with some people who come to the area specifically to harass, and even threaten,  the encampment.  We need people to sign up for security, and we can fill you in about the details and our strategies. Please sign up for a shift, day or night at occupymissoula@gmail.com

~ Teach us:  Montana political history buffs,  social justice historians, non-violent communicators, etc to offer 1-hour teach-ins at the encampment. You can offer this on or off site.  There is a warming tent on site for meetings, but nearby coffee shops work for small meetings as well.  Come down to the occupation and just post it as a flier at the information booth, and try to convey to a couple of people what you are trying to do.

~ Peaceful hearts:  meditation, healthy energy, smiles – bring your yoga , tai chi , dance, or movement class to the court house lawn and simply be a presence of positivity.  It will spread.  Do not be concerned if you show up and it doesn’t feel like an environment for such things. That is because you are not there, bringing your joy. You are needed.

FOOD:
~Fruit, bagels, muffins, carrots, cut up veggies etc are preferable because they don’t require dishes.  If you bring something that does need dishes, please consider providing dishes as well.
~Hot soup:  as the weather gets colder, hot soup, cocoa, tea
~ Water, hot or cold.

EQUIPMENT:
Camp chairs, tarps, Tables.  Canopies. Another warming tent. A cart of some kind to help people carry heavy things from cars to site, or help move trash off site

SIGNS:
If anything, make a wonderful sign and drop it off!

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