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Occupy Santa Barbara
updated: Oct 02, 2011, 1:14 PM
By Adam Christopher
I have been authorized to speak for Occupy Santa Barbara, an association of concerned citizens who stand in solidarity with the #OccupyWallStreet protesters in New York and nationwide. We share in their dissatisfaction with corporate and banking malfeasance. We identify with their frustration and bafflement over the federal government's unwillingness or inability to protect its constituents from said malfeasance. We aspire to meet them in their dedication to reason, cooperation, and collaborative decision-making, in order that we as a united people might overcome our troubles and emerge a stronger, better nation.
The formation of Occupy Santa Barbara is not only a symbolic proclamation of frustration with Wall Street's tacit philosophy of profits-over-people, the culture of corporate ascendancy and its ever-increasing stranglehold on our lawfully elected government, the predatory zeal of major banks-which is directly responsible for the collapse of countless businesses, has wreaked havoc on our monetary system, and spelled financial ruin for thousands upon thousands of families. It is also an opportunity to shape a way forward from the straits we as individuals and as a nation have found ourselves in.
Occupy Santa Barbara is a peaceful, non-violent organization comprised of community members from points as disparate as Ojai and Santa Maria, Isla Vista and Orcutt, Vandenburg and Montecito. We are electricians and web developers, teachers and retail workers, baristas and lawyers, union organizers, students, fashion consultants. Some of us are unemployed and destitute. Some of us have achieved material success and earned great respect in the community. We share a deep and abiding affection for Santa Barbara, and we welcome the input of, seek to engage participation from, and offer mutual support to all of its citizens.
Our message is positive. We strongly advocate investment in local businesses, involvement in community organizations, and healthy participation in the political system of Santa Barbara at the city and county levels. Our local concerns range from income disparity, rising property taxes, and the displacement of workers in both the public and private sectors who provide essential services to our community-such as our police and firefighters, our postal workers and letter carriers, our nurses and teachers, our laborers and tradesmen-to unemployment, gang violence and the rising tide of homelessness. We seek an open and positive dialogue, with each other and with our local government, to more fully understand these issues and to work together in finding a mutually beneficial solution.
Our position is nonpartisan. We are Democrats and Republicans, we are radical Socialists and free-market Capitalists, we are limited government, we are welfare supporters, we are woodcrafters and survivalists, we are technophiles and urbanites, we are city mice and country mice. It is not our intent to campaign for or otherwise endorse candidates running for political office-but we do encourage council members, county officials, candidates, and other interested parties in government to join in our discussion, to support our cause, and to reach out to the growing section of the community for whom government appears increasingly incomprehensible and disinterested.
These issues are daunting, but they are not insoluble. Occupy Santa Barbara represents the first few hesitant steps in finding, through thoughtful discussion and consensus-building, a way for the community to improve itself, to prosper economically and thrive creatively, to empower the downtrodden and the dispirited in raising themselves out of despair as well as to inflame the passion and curiosity of those whose hard work and achievement have brought them well-deserved wealth and comfort. In that spirit, we request your endorsement as we hold our inaugural demonstration at 12:30PM on Monday, October 3 in De La Guerra Plaza. More than three hundred citizens have already pledged their attendance; we hope you will add your voices to ours, as your participation is key to the success of Occupy Santa Barbara.
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