Since Occupy Providence left Burnside Park, the General Assembly continues to meet twice a week. Public education, actions and planning are going strong. This past Saturday, GA was held in the Rochambeau Library, and visitors from Occupy Delaware and Occupy Philadelphia shared their experiences practicing community and negotiating with their respective city governments. We sat in folding chairs and heard the news firsthand.
In Delaware, Occupiers are calling on the District Attorney, Beau Biden, to take action against illegal foreclosures– ‘robosigned’ mortgages with no accountability unless the law protects the people. In Philadelphia, Occupiers are holding classes in non-violence training at the Friends Center, and bringing attention to the crisis of homelessness in that city.
In Rhode Island, a work weekend at House of Compassion takes place this weekend, to provide some volunteer help, as well as financial help, to a small organization that has worked for years to house people with HIV and other disabilities despite a worsening economy and budget cuts. You may have seen the ‘Occupy Providence Journal’, first edition in print, distributed statewide.
Yesterday I got an email from Pat Fontes–
Occupy Providence has not gone moribund. Just as an example, here was my yesterday’s involvement: 2pm -I visited the offices of our two Senators to check on their possible collusion in a “secret plan” reported in The Hill to trade off cuts in Social Security for some tax increases; 3:30pm – represented OP at the Rally of Rhode Islanders for Tax Equity (RITE) in the State House Rotunda; 4pm – attended General Assembly in Burnside Park at which funding for a clean-up at the House of Compassion in Cumberland (site of a small ‘occupation’) and signing of the RITE protest letter were passed; 5:30pm – participated in cross-group planning session for May Day Labor Action; 7:30pm – took part in the Editorial Board planning session for the second edition.
And I am just one of 30 to 40 people still active and carrying on as best we can the spirit of October. OP has five active new campaign groups: Stop Home Foreclosures, Tax Fairness Reform, Gender Inequality, Civil Rights (anti-profiling and prisoners’ rights), and Solidarity Economy. Over 30 OP members attended a potluck and cooperation planning meeting at The First Unitarian Church of Providence. Every Saturday for the last month OP has had a 4 -5 hour General Assembly, in varying indoor locations with between 12 and 30 people participating, as well as Burnside Park GAs on Tuesday nights. OP is active on the Brown U contribution to Providence issue.
If you’re wondering where Occupation actions can be found, a calendar of events for March is here. Occupy Providence is also collaborating with community and religious organizations for basic issues of economic justice– housing, tax fairness, education, gender equity.
Every time I attend a GA meeting I am amazed at the process. Change is a constant, but this experience of cooperative Democracy will stay with us and affect lives in a lasting way.