For those of us in the 99% Movement who started organizing Occupy in the spring of 2011, Flag Day June 14th marks the one-year anniversary since we first gathered in Zuccotti Park and 22 other locations across the country. It also marks the anniversary of the Bloombergville occupation, which serendipitously began on the very same day just a few blocks away at City Hall. On one hand, it is astonishing to see how far we have come and how much we have accomplished since then. On the other, this is exactly what we set out to do and planned on happening. Having learned from our brothers and sisters in Egypt and Spain, it was obvious that the tactic of occupation was the most effective form of protest. The sense of community and solidarity in occupations that had sprung up throughout the world made it clear to anyone who was paying attention. It was a proven way to win public support and build a solid base. All it took was a critical mass of about 300 people on American soil to realize this and begin organizing what would quickly help spark a game-changing movement.
Focusing our protests against Wall Street was also the obvious target. After engaging in trillions of dollars of fraudulent activity that plunged the global economy and drove tens of millions of people into poverty, anyone with half a clue could see that they were responsible for creating our crisis. Now, a year later, to those with an ear to the ground, as Dylan put it, "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows." It has become obvious that a new critical mass has emerged and it is time for us to sharpen our focus and enter the next phase of our evolution toward freedom and justice.
As I type, thousands of working groups are spread throughout the country organizing toward the same goal: ending the corrupt culture that has consumed our government by getting money out of politics.
It's time to Occupy Democracy.
Ending the auction of our democracy has clearly emerged as the most unifying issue, and it is at the root of the many problems that we are currently working to solve. Whatever issue is of most concern to you -- healthcare, education, taxes, debt, war, environment, jobs, etc -- it has become self-evident that the underlying cause of that particular problem is the corrupting influence of money in politics. Through a system of legalized bribery -- campaign finance, lobbying and the revolving door between Washington and the most powerful global corporations -- our government has devolved into a rigged system of exploitation.
It doesn't matter what your political views are -- left, right, center, democrat, republican, independent, conservative, liberal, progressive, libertarian, anarchist, communist, capitalist, socialist -- if you believe in self-governance, self-determination, freedom and justice, ridding our governmental process of the corrupting influence of money must be an urgent strategic priority.
Our strategy moving forward inevitably needs to run on two tracks. Track one is achieving legitimate democracy by getting money out of our political process. Track two is creating the alternatives, so once we claim our rights new ways of living can flourish and evolve our obsolete system of rule to a participatory, sustainable and prosperous future, for the 100%.
For those of us paying attention, as Tom Paine explained, this is all "common sense."
So let's get to work and make this happen already! As the election season heats up and the mainstream media narrative further devolves into how much money paid off candidates are raising, we will focus our energy on striking at the root of evil by ending the system of political bribery that holds our future hostage.
Here are two vital new efforts that have inspired me to action.
The first is a Public Service Announcement campaign to pump the message out to the masses. Here's the first 30-second spot to come out of the new 99% Get Money Out campaign:
The second effort is a campaign that I am currently focusing my time on, and is without a doubt the most ambitious project I have ever been part of. The #MoneyOutPack is a collaborative community and social network dedicated to, you guessed it, getting money out of politics and combating government corruption. The campaign and website are still in development, but it is a highly participatory citizen empowered movement driven by a decentralized and distributed network of power, effectively maximizing and riding the wave of communication technology that the internet has created for new movements of change to thrive.
As you will see on the Money Out Pack development site, a long and diverse list of organizers, celebrities, organizations and influential people on the issue are already joining forces to make the corrupt culture in Washington the number one issue in the minds of the general public. The most exciting part to me is that you can join the Start Up Team and take an active role in planning and building the movement from the ground UP.
It's a movement led by you. It's the next idea whose time has come. The next phase, the next wave that is beginning to take shape, and it is going to be a HUGE one.
Get your surfboards ready! It's ON >>
Follow David DeGraw on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ampedstatus