Oct 032012

Thoughts on language and action

By Patrick O’Dowd

There are two ways someone could look at Occupy Lexington’s one year anniversary rally in Phoenix Park: 1) As a grim picture of what remains of the national movement three hundred and sixty five days later; or 2) as a fair representation, for good or ill, of what the Occupy movement was from the beginning.

A pedestrian passing Lexington’s one year occupation rally might have to be forgiven for taking the former view of the movement. With a hand painted banner, a table of supplies and speaking equipment, it was not that the rally looked underprepared. It was that those remaining to remember the anniversary seemed merely to be talking to themselves, no longer meaningfully engaged — if they ever were — with the broader political moment. A harsh criticism for a local rally? Perhaps, but one that seems to reflect honestly the movement’s current condition, here in Lexington as elsewhere. Continue reading »

Sep 052012

By Michael Dean Benton

September 17 will mark the first anniversary of the Occupy Movement, the first day of the Occupy Wall Street takeover of Zucotti Park in order to protest social and economic inequality, the abuses of the financial sector that led to the 2008 Global Economic Crisis, the undue influence of corporate money in the US government, and the way these problems undermine democracy.

Although the Occupy Movement looks to Occupy Wall Street as its first day of action, the movement was inspired from resistance movements around the world that were challenging similar injustices by their economic and political elites. These included the Arab Spring in Egypt, the encampments of the Spanish Indignants, and the 2011 Wisconsin protests. Canadian activists working with the magazine Adbusters led the original call to gather at Wall Street during the summer of 2011, circulating a communiqué featuring a graceful ballerina balanced on the head of the iconic Wall Street bull and calling on protesters to gather and occupy Wall Street on 9/17. Continue reading »

Jan 032012

Late-night notes from Lexington, KY, the longest continuously running occupation in North America.*

I had a blast last night at Occupy Lex. Had one of the greatest discussions I have had down there when five college students from different universities, home on break, talked to Steven/me for an hour about the reasoning/intent of the Occupy Movement. They were skeptical at first and it felt like we really reached them (except for the marketing major, but hopefully we encouraged him to at least read Adam Smith — rather than accept blindly what his economics professors say he said).

Then there was the outstanding Grandmaster Cadence written/developed by Dakota/Samuel and sung by 7 of us (also Miran/John/Erol/Steve) at the top of our lungs with great humor and love while it rained outside at night (we were in the main tent which is also a marvel of comfort/warmth). Speaking of humor, spirits were high and playfulness was the name of the game.

Thank you, one and all! Solidarity!

Humbly submitted,

Michael Benton

Lex Oc 87/88

*Continuous European conquest and occupation of the entire North American Continent since 1492, excepted.


Dec 312011

Late-submitted notes from Lexington, KY, the longest continuously running occupation in North America.*

“The city now known as Lexington, KY, is built of the dust of a dead metropolis.”
George Washington Ranck, History of Lexington Kentucky: Its early annals and recent progress(1872)

Monday, early

The caravan leaves, late, from Occupy Lexington at 9:48 AM for the Santa Clause press conference in the governor’s office 30 miles away in Capital City. Clause is in town to speak to Governor Beshear over what a recent North Pole press conference cited was “a litany of Christmas-killing coal initiatives that the Kentucky governor endorsed during his first term in office.”

We arrive in time to hear Steve Beshear’s office secretary tell Santa, some of his elves, a few media and Don Pratt that the governor will not be able to meet with them today. He is out of the office, does not carry a cell phone, and is generally and otherwise unavailable to hear what Father Christmas has to say. Undeterred, Santa merrily asks that Beshear receive the gifts of coal and switches he has brought. Continue reading »

Dec 072011

Creatives demand Commerce Lexington banner

By Northrupp Center

Last week, news emerged from the JP Morgan Chase Bank Plaza that Occupy Lexington is now the longest continuously running occupation in North America. Formally started on the night of September 29, the Lexington occupation was the third to organize and take up space. When it came time to publicly and collectively stand up, be counted and say, No more. Not in our name!, the order went like this: New York. Chicago. Lexington. The rest of the continent. Continue reading »

Nov 292011

Notes from Community Night in Lexington, KY, the longest continuously running occupation in North America.*

Early evening, Night 61, the grounds of JP Morgan Chase:

At the Libertarian Municipalism reading group, held 5:30 PM at Natasha’s, Martin, Michael, Danny, and Jaclyn decided to focus on organizing 2-4 markets spaces throughout the city. The goal is to open things in March—new spaces for gathering and exchange. The group felt this would be a good way to practice and enact group readings on “libertarian municipalism,” otherwise described as a set of directives for taking over city leadership through a network of neighborhood General Assemblies. This week’s original readings seemed too theoretical and several steps beyond where we’re at in Lexington, so Marty’s digging up another reading for next week that will have more nuts and bolts on connecting local action to the theory of municipalism. Contact Mudd at Martin.Mudd@gmail.com for more information, or just show up to the Occupation on Mondays at 5:30 to join in the fun and market planning. Continue reading »

Nov 092011

Monday nights, 10:00 P.M.

By Northrupp Center

“It is said that all games of bocce begin and end with a handshake.”

—Maxim printed on the rules to a bocce set purchased in 2001.

Guerrilla bocce is an anarchist variant of the popular Italian lawn game that dates back to ancient Roman times. The game is simple. Players take turns throwing two balls at a smaller ball, known as the Jack or the Pallino. Points are earned based upon proximity to the Jack: 2 points are awarded to the player whose ball is closest; 1 point is awarded to the second closest ball. Games continue until the winning player reaches 11 points.

Aesthetically, Guerrilla bocce is closer to Free Range bocce than to the more staid and traditional Courted bocce, which is played by teams of two on courts of crushed oyster shells that run to ninety feet long. In Guerrilla bocce, players walk their environments, rolling their balls on a variety of public, quasi-public and some just downright no-trespassing green spaces. Hooting and hollering is often involved, though it holds no official place in Guerrilla bocce rules. Continue reading »

Oct 262011

The following is a direct response to some of the misinformation regarding the Occupy movement that appeared in an editorial printed in the Lexington Herald-Leader on Monday, October 10. The op-ed was written by one Leland Conway.

First of all, I’m here nearly all the time, and after two days of inquiries I can’t find a single organizer who has even seen you here, let alone spoken to you.  If you had spoken to anyone in an organizational role, then you would know that ending capitalism is not a stated goal. You would also be aware that none here advocate “government command and control of the economy,” although we’re quite against the economy’s current command and control of our government. Continue reading »

Oct 262011
Photo by Stephen Shephard.

Child in polka dot participates in Occupy Lexington. Photo by Stephen Shephard.

One percent of Americans currently control nearly 40% of our country’s wealth.  We are the 99%.  We occupy Lexington, KY in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement and hundreds of others across the globe. We are the majority whom the system has failed.  We are each, if not already there, one disaster away from financial ruin.  We are individuals who demand transformation of the American political and economic system, which breeds corruption and injustice.  We have gathered here to dissolve the bonds between corporations and government, both of which were brought into existence by the people—the former to employ Americans, and the latter to fairly represent them and foster conditions for the economic prosperity of all.  These entities have instead colluded to create policies used to facilitate short-term financial gain among the few at the expense of the well being of the many.Our pursuit of happiness, in terms of housing, healthcare, and job stability, is not secure in a system that entraps its people in economic slavery.  Our political representatives have funneled wealth to the top 1%, promising that it would ‘trickle down’ to the rest of us.  This financial experiment has failed repeatedly.  For decades, our national prosperity has enriched the top 1% while the vast majority have languished.  The rich have instituted credit as a facade of wealth, placing our economic future in toxic assets.  We are in a financial drought while the 1% are soaked in profit as a result of their ability to manipulate the political process.

We are here to represent, support, and elevate the majority, who have been excluded from the benefits of this system.  We stand up for the unemployed, for the underemployed, and for those who are fully employed but continue to struggle.  We occupy Lexington for current and future generations who have inherited injustices that stem from short-sighted policy making.  We have endured poverty, prejudice, discrimination, and the pollution of our planet.  These grievous conditions exist alongside an expensive education system that fails to prepare young people for productive work; the stifling of imagination and creativity that comes with the demise of arts and humanities programs in schools;  the demonization and criminalization of large portions of our communities; and the dismantling of our healthcare system for the purpose of feeding the pharmaceutical industry, while we as citizens enjoy little to no political representation.

Our movement is a call to all individuals to become actively involved in the financial, political, environmental, and social decisions that impact our lives and the well being of those around us.  We are working to create a world in which everyone can live by providing an example of a decentralized, cooperative, egalitarian community that functions on a national and international level.  It is through organizations such as these that we will build foundations upon which communities can meaningfully address the myriad issues threatening our very survival.

We, the people of the occupation of Lexington, KY, seeking to shift the path of our community and the nation; reestablish justice and ensure economic, social, and democratic equality; and to promote the general welfare of the 99%, hereby establish this document as a proposal for the United States of America. This is a living document, an can be amended at any time by consensus of the Lexington General Assembly.