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Occupy Atlanta: 'We Are The New World'

The explanation behind the planned retaking of Woodruff Park

To the Editor:

We have envisioned a new world. One without foreclosures, bank bailouts, war, corporate personhood, and the state-mandated murder of human beings. A world where the many thousands of homeless men and women in Atlanta do not have to sleep on the cold sidewalks of locked, empty buildings. A world where 15 million children do not die from hunger each year while every plant, grocery store and bakery throw away countless tons of food every single night. We have envisioned a world where the profit incentive is not only void, it is taboo – and the compassion for fellow being and for planet is paramount. A world where everyone shares so that everyone has enough.

Many have envisioned this same world before us.

Beginning on Oct. 7, at Troy Davis Park (Woodruff Park) in Atlanta, we were tired of simply envisioning and began to build. Since that date we have fed, sheltered, and cared for anyone that asked – regardless of gender, race, religion, or social status. We have seen life-long prejudices broken, seen decades-long fetters of addiction smashed and seen the homeless, which society and capitalism have cast out and denounced, rise to keystone positions of leadership in a complex and ever-evolving community that relies on them. On Oct. 25, Mayor Kasim Reed, the Atlanta Police Department and the state of Georgia decided that what we were doing was wrong and must be put to an end by any means necessary – to the tune of many hundreds of thousands of taxpayers’ dollars.

We wonder what was our crime? Was it feeding and sheltering the homeless? Was it educating and involving the outcast and downtrodden? Was it having free community events, at which hundreds of people of differing race and ideology could come together in peace and positivity? Or was it perhaps some tents in a park that warranted helicopters, barricades, and Riot Gear-laden police officers? We know now that it was none of these things and this is why we are here today.

We, of Occupy Atlanta, are no longer protesters – we are the new world.

The idea of protest suggests a smaller power at odds with, and petitioning to, a larger power. A president, for example, does not protest his or her constituents, like a lion does not protest a mouse. Similarly, we, along with others in the Occupation movement, have been protesting.

On the 5th of November, that protesting will cease. 

We will Occupy what is ours, Woodruff (Troy Davis) Park, at 11 p.m. We have tasted our new world of non-violence, of democracy and of free community and, on Saturday, the 5th of November, we will assert that world as come, beginning in the heart of downtown Atlanta. Those who wish to join us, we welcome and offer the same compassion, community, and caring that we have offered to all since our beginning, and we hope that together we can further perfect the good work that we have begun.

We recognize that Mayor Reed, the police and other such protesters may oppose the sight of compassion and the power of united humanity. We wonder how peaceful their protests will be? How many more Scott Olsens must we have? How many hundreds of thousands of dollars must they spend to cut down the tents of the homeless and cast them back out into the streets? We are no longer asking them for change or for reform. This is not to say that we will have nothing to demand of them, because we will and those demands are coming, but on Nov. 5, we begin by coming home. There are many who rely on us that have been struggling since we left, and now the time has come to return and get back to what we have started.

To every major bank, lobbyist group and giant corporation, which our representative government has coddled for too long: your time has come. Our new world no longer needs you and you will know this when, on Nov. 5, all who have been oppressed, trampled, foreclosed upon and who empathize with the wronged, will withdraw and transfer everything that we have entrusted to you for long enough.

To the rest of the Movement and to those Occupying everywhere – from Cairo and Oakland to Wall Street and Portland – and everyone supporting from wherever you may be, let’s give them a 5th of November that shall not be soon forgot.

Stay tuned.

— Occupy Atlanta

Chris Murphy November 01, 2011 at 10:48 AM
For your idealism, I applaud Occupy Atlanta. I was there once- young, idealistic, and unwilling to swallow the hollow explanations of why things were, that were. I may now not be as idealistic, my ideals being tempered by experience. I am, however, principled- not saintly by any means, but guided by my ideals and experience to try to live in some balanced way in the 21st century. It's not easy, never has been, and I'm certainly not always right. That said, all of us humans struggle to 'make it' physically, financially, emotionally, spiritually. After thousands (millions?) of years on the planet, no one, nor any group, has proven to have all the answers. All that said, your idealism needs some tweaks, as the modern slang goes. The profit motive is not necessarily bad, in and of itself- did not your parents read you the story of Chicken Little? It is the greed of wanting something for nothing that rots our society, from both ends of the economic spectrum.
Chris Murphy November 01, 2011 at 10:48 AM
(Con't.) Your group did not suffer brutality from the Mayor nor APD- just the embarrassment of having cops in riot gear show up to remove you. And it was an embarrassment- they needed to ensure personnel safety (remember the guy walking around Woodruff with the AK-47?), but a better way could have been found by both parties, and that includes Occupy. Watch who you take on as allies. The Task Force has been a long-running scam; do a bit of research on their past finances and expenditures. You've 'cured' some addictions, have you? Give that a couple days. We, of the class of citizens who get their asses up every day just trying to make a place for them and their families, try to abide by whatever rules are out there to promote some harmony, try to do what we think is right for everybody, are your supporters. We welcome your energy, your ideals, your sense of moral outrage- these things are needed by us, and this world. Just don't think you have all the answers. Some of the 'injustices' you all have taken note of are just life on this here earth; no one has found answers to all of them ("The poor will always be with us."). Work to solve some, become a part of the community that does, everyday, try to right some wrongs. Do not feel you are alone, in this regard. Glad to hear you will all get back to your families and communities. Now, get to work.
James Burns November 01, 2011 at 12:25 PM
What you did wrong was camp out overnight in a park that doesn't allow that. Are you special, above the laws and regulations that others have to follow? Mayor Reed bent over backwards to accommodate you, and you villainized him. If that's your new world, you can leave me out. I'd like to live in a world where people rationally discuss problems, find consensus, and get things done without trying to find a bad guy to blame it on.
MN November 01, 2011 at 12:51 PM
Chris, your response is perfect. As someone who used to be this idealistic as well it is nice to see such a well thought out and logical response. I applaud the movement for finally incorporating an aspect of service to their agenda, but still can't believe they are staying in a homeless shelter, taking up space from those who truly need it, especially when it's getting cold. Most members have a place to live and can certainly stand in solidarity without taking beds from those who need them. As with any movement, it is when the group steps away from their "perfect" agenda, is self reflective, and creates a space at the table for everyone who wants to be a part of the discussion, no matter what their opinion may be, that social change begins to happen. It is because of the self indulgent people that takeover movements such as these that I no longer participate on the ground level of social justice movements.
Chris Murphy November 01, 2011 at 12:58 PM
MN, thanks, I know I might be speaking to The Ether, as I don't know if Occupy is reading, but I tried. One point, though: Occupy took over the unused 4th floor at the Task Force (see AJC news reports); they noted it hadn't been cleaned "in some time." So, they didn't take up space for the clients there, but did improve the space.
Les Watts November 01, 2011 at 03:51 PM
I may come down to see you folks. I'm old....and old hippie. We knew how to protest! :^) I'm also a former large corporation/ Republican PAC executive. So I think I know exactly what's being done to you and all our citizens. Most seem blithely unaware. I'm glad you folks are realising the corporatocracy and banking cartel are completely out of control and want to take everything we have (including our freedoms) then hope we die quickly. If this doesn't change our country (and the world) is doomed to feudalism. It's time to stop it...NOW!
MN November 01, 2011 at 06:09 PM
glad to hear it was an unused floor, too bad news sources leave that out. totally changes that aspect of what they're doing. my one hope is for more fostering of community instead of finger pointing. I get why they are upset but many people, no matter what age, race or political leaning are truly suffering right now and if the occupy movement was a little less polarizing, i'd be right out there with them.
Keith Wilbanks November 01, 2011 at 06:21 PM
As we move towards a feudal system of robber barons where the 1% control 42% of the financial wealth can’t we agree that efforts of the protesters are superior to the complacency most of us are guilty of? While I don’t agree completely with what’s taking place at least they’re doing SOMETHING to bring attention to real problems. Trillions spent on unnecessary wars that could be put to use here, garish Wall Street greed, and a government that is auctioned off to the highest bidder are just a few of the issues raised by these folks. My hat is off to them.
Urbanist November 02, 2011 at 02:07 PM
What a joke! "We envision"...and then we do nothing about it. Haha...
Urbanist November 02, 2011 at 02:16 PM
First, what you were doing was disturbing the peace, and it was wrong. What the Mayor did, was not by "any means necessary", it was by a prudent use of police services to get your whiny, do-nothing bodies out of a public space. I'm also pretty sure that the brief action of police breaking up and arresting your group didn't cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Any cost that it did require will likely be reimbursed by your arrest fees. Second, you didn't educate anyone. You sat around in a circle and chanted after one another, accomplishing nothing over the 2 weeks you were there. Third, you're not the "new world". The New World, is one in which we lose our competitive advantage to countries that can better educate and motivate their people than we can. The New World is one in which citizens of other countries deal with their troubles, and find ways to work and innovate through them...not sit around in the park and ask for handouts. Fourth, Woodruff Park (because that's it's name - it wasn't named after a convicted murderer) isn't yours either. It's everybody who pays taxes into the city of Atlanta, the majority of which aren't joining your little circus.
Urbanist November 02, 2011 at 02:22 PM
Fifth, your little act means nothing to the corporations and businesses that actually create something in this world. Oh, and you do need them. Without them, companies like Apple wouldn't be able to obtain capital to create the devices that you use to tweet about your meaningless efforts. Without them, you wouldn't have a safe place to store your money or invest your retirement funds (for the small portion of you who are actually employed). The reality is, they don't need you. There is a globe's worth of people out there dying for the services that you take for granted, which, with every passing day, these banks and corporations can reach more and more easily. Enjoy your day in the sun on November 5th, as it will go down as nothing more than another wasted effort. 10 years from now your movement will be looked back at with pity, for the absolute and total failure that it was, and people like us - the non-entitlement class - will have created something for ourselves in the meantime. Good luck bottom feeding...
Mark Tinker November 04, 2011 at 02:25 PM
Go recycle your sandals. I have to be at work in 20 minutes.

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