Occupy Detroit to Talk at Transition Ferndale Meeting

Occupy Detroit to Talk at Transition Ferndale Meeting

(Crystal A. Proxmire, 12/08/2011)

Those with questions about the Occupy Movement will have a chance to talk with organizers from Occupy Detroit at the Thursday, December 15, 2011, Transition Ferndale Meeting, held at the Ferndale Public Library, 222 E. Nine Mile Road.  The meeting starts at 7pm, and will also be a potluck, so attendees are encouraged to bring a dish to share. Jarret Schlaff, representing the outreach working group of Occupy Detroit, will be the featured speaker.

“Jarret, and other occupiers who may come, will describe the development of Occupy Detroit; how the process of conducting a General Assembly works; and what the Occupation is currently doing. Of particular interest to this group will be discovering what values Occupy Detroit shares with the Transition Towns movement – though perhaps it would be more accurate to describe Occupy, Transition and several other organizing efforts such as Time Banks, as parts of the same movement,”  said Transition Ferndale coordinator Art Myatt.

“We are all, individually and in various groups, struggling to cope with an economy which is failing to deliver prosperity and security,” Myatt said.  “We hope for better, but suspect more of the same as long as the people and policies that created the failures are still in charge. Transition and similar groups try to create local and low-energy alternatives with our own resources and minimal political activity. Occupy raises a lot of issues from the perspective that there’s not just one main thing about our political economy that needs to be fixed – it’s everything. …It’s clear that our governments at every level (city, state and federal) are planning to cut programs and lay off public employees. The most elementary economics says that’s the opposite of a stimulus, and we still have horrible problems with lack of jobs and falling real wages in spite of several years of stimulus.”

Myatt spent some time at the Grand Circus Park encampment, donating clothes and a sleeping bag.   “I’m at least a decade too old to be sleeping in a tent,” he said.  “I don’t even go on most demonstrations because I can only walk a couple of miles and I have a hard time staying on my feet for much more than an hour. Arthritis, poor circulation and diabetes means I have to find other ways to participate, such as organizing this meeting.”

Watching the Occupy Movement has given Myatt hope that people will become more involved in their communities and in creating change.  “I very much like the fact that the occupations have so far insisted on non-violent resistance. That’s a very different thing from passive non-violence or simple passivity. If the opposition insists on discrediting itself by introducing police violence and repression, then it is painful for the resisters but illuminating for the people who are not committed to either side. Non-violent resistance was, I think, essential to the successes of the civil rights movement and other movements.

“I also like that the occupations have made modified consensus their main way of operating. I’ve spent the last decade or so working with a group that uses modified consensus instead of Robert’s Rules as a way of conducting meetings. Striving for consensus is frustrating if you think the purpose of a meeting is simply to arrive at a decision and to “get things done.” Some experience with it has let me see that the purpose is to prevent the group from doing things that the group as a whole is not really ready to do, no matter how enthusiastic some individuals in the group are,” he said.

The meeting is free and open to the public.  Respectful discussion is encouraged.  To find out more about Transition Ferndale go to http://transitionferndale.wordpress.com/.

Or check out our previous article – http://oaklandcounty115.com/2011/04/10/transition-ferndale-seeks-those-who-want-a-sustainable-future/.

For more on the Occupy Movement…

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