Occupy turns 1, celebrates with downtown protest

On Saturday — the first anniversary of the Occupy Movement — about 200 people marched through downtown Spokane, waving signs, chanting and reminding corporate America that Occupiers haven’t given up on their fight for justice.

“What’s the point of all this?” asked Wayne Spitzer, of Occupy Spokane, “The thing is, the authorities are watching us … because we’ve showed them that another world is possible, and it scares the piss out of them, frankly.”

He said that other world, one of happiness and equality, is inevitable because Occupy can’t be stopped.

“I know change is coming,” he said.

The group paraded from bank to bank as part of the Day of Global Protest March for Peace chanting phrases like, “Show me what democracy looks like! This is what democracy looks like!” and “The road to peace, U.S. out of the Middle East!”

At Chase Bank they shouted, “Chase Bank you can’t hide, we can see your greedy side!”

There, Justin Ellenbecker who co-organized the event, told the crowd that they were the risk takers, not America’s wealthy.

“What are they really risking? The real risk takers are here, on the main streets, not on Wall Street,” he said. “The immigrants that come to this country in spite of our atrocious laws….those are the risk takers… The students who are willing to get an education and take out a loan knowing the rest of their lives they may have insurmountable debt; those are the risk takers. You are the risk takers.”

Liz Moore, director of the Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane, said change happens by people coming together and standing up for what’s right.

“Everyday people can do extraordinary things together,” she said.

She stood of Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ office and said Eastern Washington residents should be taking care of each other, instead of fueling unsuccessful wars in other countries.

“We have a responsibility as Americans to make that change,” Moore said. “We can make better choices.”

The Occupy Movement has been protesting the current economic structure and working to make power relations in society fair. For information on how to get involved visit the Occupy Spokane website.

More photos are avialbale on our Facebook page.

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What a fantastic photo, Tracy, and a great story. Here are some of my own observations.

What a day for a protest!

I am impressed that publications like SpokaneFAVS and the Inlander had a photographers assigned to accompany the entire Global March for Peace today. The turn out was excellent and there was great energy. Liz’s speech in front of Cathy McMorris-Roger’s office was excellent, as usual, firing people up and making critical points critiquing the current political moment. Other inspiring speakers covered most all of the issues affecting and concerning people in Spokane and, indeed, in the world.

Still it was disappointing to me to see so many missing from Spokane’s university community (the professors, specifically, who virtually never show up), its medical community, it communities of color, the religious community, even from the disaffected military and the dissident members of the two ruling class political parties.

I loved the event, the people and the multiple speakers and themes but we continue to be so far away from reigning in the empire that kills in our names and, in the end, continues to feed the beast that provides so many of us still with enough goodies to keep us from really rejecting and fighting the system in the ways that might even remotely begin to threaten to bring the beast to its knees.

Do we really want to dethrone the 1% (and their 20% or so allies) or do we simply want them to listen to us, take actions that benefit us to a greater extent, and, to be frank, re-inflate the bubble so that the nightmares and despair of so many — many members of the middle class, admittedly suffering for the first time — will simply go away? That is what it seems like to me. And the contradiction in all that is for that to occur, the beast’s imperial armies must continue to march, must continue to keep the world safe for US and allied corporate exploitation and theft, must continue to bring home the mining and agricultural and luxury resources (bananas, coffee, gold, lithium, etc).

As I said, great event, and thanks to Occupy, PJALS and everyone else for expressing our righteous indignation, rejection of the system’s egregious sins, and proposing and working for a better world.

Tracy Simmons

Thanks for your comment Arroyo,

It was great to see, as Liz put it, so many “everyday people” out there trying to make a difference. One year ago there were a lot more clergy out there standing with the Occupiers, what happened to them all?

Eric Blauer

First of all, never heard about the opportunity, so that’s a shot in the foot. Second, after watching the folks freeze outside with signs and hand waving stuff last year, it just felt pathetic and sad more than effective and meaningful. No disrespect, just an honest observation.

I’ve been writing letters, voting against CM for years…no response. The Occupy movement feels congested with too many folks that dont represent me at all, so joining feels like a personal misrepresentation.

Then there’s the massive dissilutionment born ofnthe current president and his flip flop on peace and protection of wall st. big oil, military industrial complex on and on.

Many of us are jaded by the media hold on third party coverage, the blended similarities of R and D party candidates and the unforseeable future of an actual movement party that truly represents us.

Tracy Simmons

Eric, in my comment, I was referring to those who were there 12 months ago who aren’t anymore. Just wondering why they aren’t involved anymore…

The Reverend Debra Conklin

Tracy, there are still members of the religious community very active in Occupy. Unfortunately, this event coincided with an event on the West Side that much of the leadership of The Oak Tree needed to attend. Thank you Alan Eschenbacher for representing us in such a colorful fashion!! So the UM’s and ELCA and Episcopal traditions are still active in occupy. Not sure where the others are.

Tracy Simmons

Thanks for explaining Deb!

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