Activism, Protests & Rights

We are OCCUPY Albuquerque in support of OCCUPY Wall Street #occupyburque #ows

Here recently in Albuquerque, quite a bit of problems have erupted over the term “Occupy.”  Last week, there was a lot of talk of changing the name to “Occupy Wall Street Liberate Albuquerque.”  Many people were in favor of this change.  Then, on Sunday, a rather rogue move was made – without proper announcement to all on the “Official” Facebook Page – many attending the General Assembly made a sneak attack and came to a consensus to change the name to “(Un)Occupy Albuquerque”.  If I had been aware of this, I would have made it to General Assembly and blocked this move.

The name change controversy was based upon the fact that many of the Native Americans, aka indigenous people, are offended by the term “occupy” due to the history of how the Europeans came in to occupy their land thus forcing them off.  They have a very valid point, and I, as do many others, completely empathize with their plight.  However….

This is not the task at hand for the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Although the name change has only happened in a few other locations, throughout the country and world I am seeing many organizations, causes, groups, etc. using the Occupy Wall Street as a platform to lobby their own personal causes.

This is not the focus of this movement.

Yes, there are many ties between this movement and the purpose or cause of any such lobbying group, but I am finding that this is becoming distracting to the end goal, which is to overturn and restructure both the private banking system – primarily the Federal Reserve – and our government.  The greed and corruption is thick and is destroying our nation as well as the world economy as a whole.  Sadly, a significant percentage of the people in the United States are simply in the dark about how our economy is failing and we are all becoming martyrs at the hands of our politicians and corporations.

During our March of the Banks in downtown Albuquerque on October 12th, I was across the street from the group doing some filming.  A woman who worked in the building behind me approached me and asked what was going on.  I explained that we were Occupy Albuquerque functioning in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street.  I received a blank look from her.  After asking her if she was familiar with the OWS movement, she admitted she was not.  Personally, I do not care for strangers giving me lectures, therefore I give the same in return.  I simply gave her some bullet points as to the statistics of our country’s economy and a “Readers Digest” version of the main protest in New York.  A sad look crossed her face as she turned to me and informed me that she was immediately going back to her desk to look this movement up on the internet.

This is one of our focuses as an Occupy Wall Street movement… helping inform the people of what is going on in their world and how they are being affected.  Many people still deny this.  Hell, I did not want to admit to myself we’ve been lied to and used for so long.  But denial is what feeds the greed and corruption.  They prey on this.  Well, no more.

Debating terminology should have never come up.

During a Facebook conversation over this topic of the name change, a fellow friend who is a Native American posted:

When we have general assemblies or action meetings members like “John Doe” and I attend to discuss things like what NY did and put the indigenous peoples of the group in charge of leading a particular march to the museum over there. That unites people everywhere and shows unity as a movement. Now when a small contingent purely focused on whether or not our name is politically correct considering the actions being taken across the globe…  I am native american and having been a part of racial protests in Farmington and this is a typical problem I have seen happen. If you want to get down to the dirty details of whos land is who’s The Dine (Navajo) people have no say when it comes to a spot in Albuquerque our land is within the four sacred mountains. No one brings that discussion up so it is unfair for Native American people to start dropping that sort of issue on our group when we’re guilty of such practices still. There are racial problems but we’re seeking to address them directly not through a name change. If they were truly worried about these issues they would see the problem but I see their main focus is to just latch on to a movement that has some sort of success in getting people to wake up and muck it up with their own personal agendas. It’s how positive movements on the reservation get stopped up and never go anywhere, the issue of Native American traditionalism. I’d like to see a major issue come from the Irish people as this is a global movement and their land has been occupied as well. Everyone is getting so focused on this when it means absolutely nothing. I will be proud to carry a banner with the word occupy because if that’s what I have to do on my own land to get it back I will. As should EVERY American in this country.

For any party, group, organization, and 501(c)3… all are encouraged to join in this movement, but please refrain from distracting from the primary goal.  Announce who you are and you are in support.  This gives the people hope, as well as adding the strength to the movement.  But remember what we are all here for and do not stray.

Detailed List of Demands from Occupy Wall Street

As far as our name issue in Albuquerque is concerned, a significant percentage of us – if not the majority – who have been in support since Day One here locally, and of OWS since it began, are still functioning, posting, tweeting, and dispersing information as Occupy Albuquerque.  We are still in 100% support of our local movement, but feel that we need to honor the Occupy Wall Street movement, protesters and all their supporters by keeping the name as is, and we will no longer be sidetracked from our purpose and goal.

This post in no way reflects upon all the opinions of Occupy/(Un)Occupy Albuquerque as a whole.  This is me speaking… one of the 99%.

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10 replies »

  1. I do believe this is one of the best posts on this topic to date. Beautifully stated! Thank you for your thoughts on this subject.

  2. I agree, Unifying 99% of Humanity to take away the Control of a Planet and her resources from the 1% is a huge task because of the multitude of issues that people for good reason cling to. The Fact that the Occupy WallStreet Movement is even attempting to address the root of the many problems that face this world, is astounding and thankfully it resonates globally. It is a monumental task to restore power to the people of this planet versus continuing on the destructive path of the 1%. In order to succeed in returning the Earths Sovereignty to ALL Peoples, we have to take down the rotten system that is destroying OUR Planet first. In Unity Humanity is the Power that the 1% fears, and it is Unity that can make change happen relatively over night. IMHO The word Occupy is an Umbrella Term and people of every culture are bringing the list of grievances world wide to the table, and yes the list is long but in order to even be able to begin the work of healing this planet and righting the wrongs that All peoples have suffered, we first must realize that together we are the only power that can bring about lasting global change. If the indigenous people really think about it, the world is coming together to throw off the banking system and mentality that destroyed their cultures in the first place. Occupy is Huge and the potential even greater with Unity, ask yourself this, when has Global Humanity ever come together to break the banksters grip on this World? In other words to all Indigenous peoples I say this, you are not alone in your struggles this time.
    ~AS~

    • It’s nice that we’re not alone, but the question remains – will all non-Native New Mexicans hand back the inherent benefits and privileges they have gained from occupying Native land throughout New Mexico? Will Anglo protesters occupying Santa Fe recognize the absurdity of their very presence in a social justice movement in what is a conquered and occupied capital, whose population has been forced out by progressive, liberal people who supposedly stand with us? These questions don’t need a response, because we all know the answers.

      As a side note from a New Mexican living abroad, most of the 99% in America (and Western Europe) in fact belongs to the 1% globally. This movement as it is developing in the States has VERY LITTLE to do with the global 99%, who are engaged in a day-to-day battle for the very basics that the American 99% takes for granted. In reality, every level of the economic ladder in the US benefits greatly from the economic and at times political oppression of the global underclass. Do these protesters seem willing to give this privilege up?

      It would make me jubilant to see Americans rising up and demanding an end to corporate greed to benefit the 99% – including the poor Chinese laborers who work 20 hours a day to produce iPhones so we never have to feel stupid with a 3 year old phone, and the kids in Thailand who get sick off fumes at the H & M factory because it’s socially unacceptable to wear pants twice in a week, but in doing so it would require them to break their dependence on the consumption of cheap products that are absolutely nonessential and have become a distraction to us actually pursuing a genuine high standard of living.

      • Well written. Thank you. Another view I would like to bring up on this topic is the entire history of mankind. Man, as a whole, has historically coveted what they do not have. Since the beginning of homo erectus, colonies of people have moved in on others to take over and occupy the land they desire. Certain species of animals are known to do this as well. Does this make it right? No, but history is what it is, and man will continue to do this until the end of either mankind, or we destroy our beautiful earth thus destroying our own species. So, when it is brought up about Anglos arriving and taking the land away from the Native Americans, this starts a snowball effect. There are historically battles amongst different tribes within the Natives where the stronger tribe takes the land from the weaker. Additionally, Albuquerque was originally a Spanish settlement. My point here being this can go on and on backwards in time until the day we started walking on two legs.

        I am a very non-violent oriented person, and what man has done to each other, especially under the name of whatever God they believe in, horrifies me. I may not be proud of what all white men have done, but I am proud to be who I am, regardless of my race.

        We have the capability to use the knowledge gained from the past and move forward with hopes of learning to live in a cooperative manner amongst the different races and nations, but dwelling on the wrongs is anti-productive. Whether this is used is up to oneself. I would love to see a peaceful world overall, but it will not happen. This is not in mans nature as a whole.

    • This is also the state symbol on the flag of New Mexico. Might I suggest you contact them for removal, too. This is also available all over the internet. This post and my opposing opinion to (un)Occupy is absolutely in no way in disrespect to any Native American, pueblo, tribe, etc. If you read carefully, you will see that I state that many organizations of all kinds all over the country and world are using this movement for their own platform. Anyone is free to lobby their cause, but in the correct venue and platform. If every cause, organization, etc begin coming in and promoting a non-OWS related topic, then we – as a movement as a whole – will fail. Then where will we all be? Worse off than we are now. This is a class warfare, and it will not be easy. War never is.

  3. Thank you.

    The state flag is an interesting case. It is a symbol of and acknowledgment of this land, my ancestral homeland, and all its people. I am cautious about its use, but it seems in the flag case more of an appropriate use since this is indeed the land of the Zia and many others that respect and honor the four directions and the Sun. Also, in general the tradition is for flags to be treated with a certain measure of respect which is nice to see.

    I support and join in the protest of the consequences of the legacy of colonialism, theft, rapaciousness, power and theft that has led to the rape, exploitation and impoverishment of the peoples of the world as is exemplified by the financiers at Wall Street. This is a worthy thing to be resisting with every fibre of our being. Occupation of a location highly associated with their excesses and power dynamics such as Wall Street does make sense. I do not follow the reasoning that when the movement expands that it is not objection to the abuses of Wall Street that is retained, but instead solidarity with the concept of Occupation of lands which is kept as the common focus of the movement.

    It seems it may be too late and a distraction to change the names as this redirection of focus has caught fire. However, it is worth considering what forces steered this amazing shift and refocusing of the movement away from Wall Street protest and towards Occupation advocacy. I greatly appreciate the discussions that have taken place on the topic and the voices that are part of it, as it is important to be aware of ways in which movements are often coopted and controlled by those that were the original focus of protest.

    • Well put. Thank you. And I do apologize for my immediate inappropriate response about the flag. It has been a frustrating week, and I allowed that to overtake my normal decorum. We all have been wronged in some shape, form, or manner sometime in our lives. I have a few personal battles I am fighting in as well. They are related to the OWS movement, but are not one of the immediate goals, so I tend to this as in individual. The wrongs within my past cannot be undone, but I may take the wisdom gained from these things and move forward. I wish you all the strength to fight for what you believe in.

  4. If you do not understand that the discussion over the name is at the core of the anti-capitalism movement, then the movement is doomed. It really is that clear and simple.

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