Let’s Give Thanks for the Occupy Movement—it’s holding a place in line for each of us, so we can all speak out.

This Thanksgiving, I am very thankful for the good fortune that my family and I have had, in comparison to millions of Americans. We have a roof over our head, no imminent mortgage foreclosure, enough food to eat; we have one another, many friends, and my kids attend a public school in an affluent community that pays extra property taxes that fund previous necessities, like art and language classes, sports programs and a library staffed by librarians—these things are now luxuries and unheard of in many public schools across the country and especially in lower-income communities.

I am also thankful for the 99%/occupy movement. This movement includes committed people from all walks of life—young, elders, the unemployed, homeless, police officers, veterans, people of all colors of the rainbow, academicians, medical professionals, and even some stock brokers! Many of activists of the 99% movement have braved attempts by the media to ignore them, and then cold weather and police brutality, in order to speak out, not only for themselves, but for the rest of us. I am thankful for the voices of this growing movement, which calls out an alarm more important than any Emergency Warning System, more important than calls for alarm in the face of terrorism or fleeting but powerful natural disasters. This movement warns of economic injustice, of impending environmental devastation due to reckless, unsustainable exploitation of the natural environment. It warns us of the jobs that have ceased to be, of the educational opportunities that have dried up, of the sense of hopelessness and cynicism that has been created by run-away, greed and legalized corruption.

I am thankful that this movement is, in effect, holding a place in line for all to speak out. Not everyone will stand in a long line to have their voice heard, much less in a line that is subject to intimidation and police state bullying and brutality. But this growing movement is standing strong and holding a space in line for each of us, so to speak. Even if most of us aren’t out in the cold, staging a sit in, or living in a tent in the cold, or cover our face from a police officer who is generous with his use of pepper spay–many others are there for themselves, and for all of us–so that each of us of the 99% can have our turn in speaking out, in having a chance to speak of the injustices that are putting our hopes at risk of not being fulfilled. The 99% still want life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all of us-—and this movement is determined to hold a place in line for all of us to speak out and to take action, to make a difference and to work toward more equitable, just, sustainable and meaningful lives for all of us.

On Thanksgiving, let’s be thankful for the 99%movement and we let’s show our thanks by joining this movement, so we can hold a place in line for others to have their turn to speak out!

As further food for thought, here are some worthwhile, readings, and let’s be thankful that we are starting to listen to each other, and distill wisdom from so many in the 99%, in order that we can continue to plan actions and help this movement evolve into a sustainable presence for social justice and for better lives for all of us, and for future generations.

http://www.nationofchange.org/foreclosed-homeowners-re-occupy-their-homes-1322152600 [people re-occupy their homes in the face of foreclosures]

http://www.nationofchange.org/10-tips-reduce-food-waste-during-holidays-1322153327 [practial food conservation awareness]

http://front.moveon.org/bankers-and-police-stick-up-for-occupy-wall-street/ [remember, the 99% includes people from all walks of life and is beyond stereotyping]

http://front.moveon.org/the-single-most-important-robert-reich-clip-you-can-share-today/?rc=daily.share&id=33211-6103776-knxATfx [words of wisdom from former Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich]

http://www.truth-out.org/uber-vultures-billionaires-who-would-pick-our-president/1317769580 [if you ever need extra motivation to work for social change, read this]

http://www.truth-out.org/occupy-colleges-now-students-new-public-intellectuals/1321891418 [what is the role of WISR students and faculty as public intellectuals?]

http://www.truth-out.org/ten-immodest-commandments-lessons-fumbling-and-bungling-lifetime-activism/1321797658 [let’s continue to pool our knowledge and wisdom about what works and what doesn’t in our efforts to create a more just society]

And on this Thanksgiving, I conclude with this link to some eloquent and thoughtful proposals, and a call to action for all of us–from Michael Moore:


Profile photo of John Bilorusky

About John Bilorusky

John Bilorusky is President of WISR and Member of WISR's core faculty. John was one of WISR's four founders in 1975, and WISR has been, and will continue to be, the hub of his professional and community involvements. John received his BA from the University of Colorado (cum laude in Physics and cum laude in General Studies) in 1967. He received his MA from the University of California at Berkeley in 1968 and his PhD in Higher Education from UC Berkeley in 1972. He has also held major faculty appointments in the College of Community Services at the University of Cincinnati (1971-73), in the Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Studies at UC Berkeley (1970-71) and at University Without Walls-Berkeley (1973-74). He has actively written and published in the field of adult learning and social change. He lives with his wife, Janet, and 18-year-old twins, Kyle and Nicole. Janet is a nurse at the Regional Center of the East Bay, serving and supporting people with developmental disabilities. Kyle and Nicole are currently enrolled at Berkeley City College. He has an adult son, Clark, who has a Master's in Asian American Studies from San Francisco State, and who lives with his wife, Donna, and their two children, Ilaw and Tala, in Vallejo, CA. Clark provides Tech Support in the Union City School District.
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