Posted 10 years ago on May 11, 2013, 11:54 a.m. EST by BradB
from Washington, DC
This content is user submitted and not an official statement
Occupy In Its “Terrible Two’s.” People Come and People Go. Why – and Why Not?
The problem with any cause, whether it be for civil rights, or anti-war, pro-choice or anti-fracking is that it is constantly confronted with the need to remain viable. This requires large numbers of people who are active, involved and responsibly directed by dedicated leadership.
What is whispered in the OWS, and quietly acknowledged by many in the community, is that infighting and ideological disputes are causing an exodus of talented leaders.
It’s one thing to lose a “sunshine patriot” or weekend warrior, but an entirely different thing to lose people who have the savvy and credentials to move things forward. What is it within a system, or movement, that discourages or drives away such people? Is this a healthy, or is it an unhealthy sign for Occupy?
Brooklyn resident and early-on activist, Amin Husain, seems to occupy the “people go” space having sent a formal and very public note early this month to one of the Occupy Working Groups that he was “stepping back and moving on to other things.”
Coming from a 37-year-old Palestinian-American who grew up poor in that country, was caught up in the Palestinian uprisings of the ‘90’s and spent prison time for that, who moved to the U.S. to become complete his education and land a job as a corporate lawyer only to leave that to become an artist and then a core OWS activist – this was a shock.
In spite of the public pronouncement that Occupy had no lack of leaders as it was “leaderful” and that each and every member could step up to that role, there were key people who assumed that mantle and were essential in that role. Amin was one of those people.
To use Occupy language, he stepped up and stepped back as needed. Two working groups, in particular, attracted his attention and time. Coincidentally (?) these two have been Occupy’s most public and successful displays of its energy and capabilities – Occupy Sandy and Rolling Jubilee.
The general public is more aware of Occupy Sandy by way of newspaper headlines and MSM (main stream media) attention. Within hours after the hurricane, Occupiers seasoned by Zuccotti Park and organized rallies immediately went into action. Hundreds of their members worked shoulder-to-shoulder with other volunteers, the Red Cross and FEMA to aid Sandy victims.
At one point, Occupy Sandy was feeding thousands of Sandy survivors daily out of local churches. Headlines became more friendly, and public figures praised their efforts.
Rolling Jubilee had already been busy answering another major American disaster – medical debt. A brainchild of people in the Strike Debt working group, its stated purpose was to go to the debt buying industry, negotiate to purchase medical debt that ordinarily would have been sold to (and pursued by) collection agencies – and forgive it!
Yes – a famous “bailout of the people, by the people” which hoped to raise $50,000 to buy $1,000,000 in hospital and medical practice debt. The intent was twofold: to make a dent in at least one person’s debt struggles, and then to make a public case that this sort of debt should never exist in a society that cares for its own.
Occupiers flooded social media sites with calls for help and a fund-raising marathon was livestreamed from a club in Manhattan. The $50,000 goal was met and surpassed – by an astounding $500,000.
Thus armed, Rolling Jubilee was incorporated into a 501( c) 4 operation, sought out exceptional legal and accounting talent, brought on board consultants with expertise in the collections industry, and proceeded to create more headlines for OWS. Millions of dollars in debt has been abolished to date, and many more millions to come.
Now, why would anyone – especially Amin Husain – want to step back from such successes? And, what does it mean to Occupy overall?
This 15 Minutes of Fact interview at WGRNradio.com will give you many of the answers. It will be up to the listener and others in OWS to step forward with their own.
Amin, assures us that he has not left Occupy at large. His time and attention is now centered on being Editor of the Tidal (www.Tidalmag.org) and a laundry list of other chores. Want to learn about him and his work? You can reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Facebook at http://on.fb.me/13Wk9YD.