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.
— Occupy Atlanta