In a boarded-up hotel along a windy country road, a couple dozen activists are gathered for a workshop. They are mostly women, and mostly over 40. The workshop is being held by Micah White, one of the instigators of Occupy Wall Street.
After the dust settled from Occupy, White packed up his bags in the Bay Area and moved here to Nehalem, a small town in one of the poorest counties in rural Oregon. Nehalem sits on the Pacific Coast, in the shadows of popular vacation destination Manzanita. But White isn’t here for a vacation, and he came to town with a mission.
The demise of Occupy left everyone with one question: “Now what?” Almost three years later, White is helping the founders of Occupy, US Uncut, and others to launch The After Party, a new political party on “a mission to restore democracy” and occupy the ballot box in time for the 2016 elections. How? By organizing statewide ballot initiatives, ousting corrupt officials, and encouraging everyday people to run for local and county offices.
Inspired by the success of Occupy Sandy organizing efforts, The After Party also seeks to turn communities into self-sufficient hotbeds of social action. White and the After Party team want to create what they call “mutual aid flash mobs,” citizen gatherings where people can do things like start a time bank, plant urban gardens, fix local roads, organize free healthcare clinics, and build tiny houses for the homeless. Nehalem, population 267, will be a test lab.
<p>Rural Power: "Could sleepy Nehalem, OR be ground zero for the next social change revolution?" http://t.co/Ia8OucBolA via @grist #cascadia</p>— Occupy Wall Street (@OccupyWallSt) April 28, 2014</blockquote>