Dick and Jill Miller were interviewed about Occupy Natick. Here is a link to the article:
Local activists seek fresh energy for Occupy Natick
Dick and Jill Miller felt a need to bring political activism to MetroWest. They helped start Occupy Natick seven years ago. Now, the group is on the verge of fading away.
NATICK – Dick Miller sat in an Adirondack chair in his backyard, looking out on Lake Cochituate.
He enjoyed the view, but something was on his mind.
Occupy Natick, an organization Miller helped start seven years ago with his wife Jill, could soon shut down.
“We need new blood or (we) wind down,” Miller said.
Occupy Natick is an offshoot of Occupy Wall Street, the grassroots movement that arrived in the wake of the 2008 stock market crash. Occupy Wall Street took over a public park in Lower Manhattan in 2011 to protest income inequality and the influence of big money in politics. Police eventually drove protestors from the park.
Miller, 82, is full of energy and stories, and appears to have the stamina to keep Occupy Natick going. But after seven years of meetings and monthly movie nights – the most recent, and possibly last, was Mr. Smith Goes to Washington – Miller is ready for someone else to take the reins.
But finding replacement isn’t easy, because Occupy Natick isn’t the only game in town.
Since Occupy Natick came on the scene, other local groups have sprung up that focus on similar issues – income inequality, big-money influence in politics and climate change, to name a few. Jill Miller, 75, said Occupy Natick has lost some of its members to those other groups.
“Your guess is as good as mine,” she said when asked if Occupy Natick will survive. The plan is to take a hiatus over the summer, and see where things stand in September.
Even if this is the end for Occupy Natick, chances are it won’t be the finish line for Dick Miller’s involvement in political activism. He’s met some influential political figures in his life, including former President Franklin D. Roosevelt and former New York City Mayor Fiorello La Guardia. When Dick Miller was a child in Queens, it was La Guardia who read him the comics on Sunday mornings.
Dick Miller knew these political giants because his late father, B. Hoffman Miller, was a lawyer and active member of the American Labor Party. It supported Roosevelt and liberal legislation, but disbanded after 20 years due to inner-party squabbles.
Any good political activist needs an independent streak, and Dick Miller may have inherited one from his father. Defying his parents, who wanted him to be a rabbi, Dick’s father ran away from home to study law.
″(Dad) wanted to change the world,” Dick Miller said. In his own way, Dick Miller has followed in his father’s footsteps through Occupy Natick.
The Millers believed suburbanites needed a wake-up call to the political changes taking place nationwide. The corruption of big money in politics has largely been their focus. Through Occupy Natick, they engaged in a letter-writing campaign as the effort continues to overturn the U.S Supreme Court decision known as Citizens United. In 2010, the court ruled the government can’t limit campaign spending by corporations or unions.
“We want to make sure Natick (and surrounding towns) can’t be complacent, while the rest of the nation goes to hell,” Dick Miller said.
The Millers have lived in Natick for 50 years. Dick Miller worked as an electro-optical physicist. Jill was a botanist. They own Miller Microcomputer Services, and Jill Miller is busy with her gardening business, Woman’s Touch Gardening.
But because they don’t have the stamina they once had, and competition has pulled some Occupy Natick members to other groups, the Millers think it’s time to consider disbanding the organization they helped start seven years ago.
“It’s time to fan it up, or fold the tent,” Dick Miller said.