Actions You Can Take That Make a Difference

Often the mainstream media has asked “What has Occupy done?”

But the more realistic question is what has each of us done, and what are we willing to do to address our concerns about corporate control of our politics and policies, stalemates in congress, and the impact on our communities, our neighbors our future and the things that we value?

Here is a brief list of simple things each one of us can do to make a difference.  Pick one or two things that appeal to you and jump in! And please feel free to reply with your own suggestions so that we can update the list.

Action List

(Updated 9/12)

  • Move Your Money!  http://www.moveourmoneyusa.org/    -to a credit union or community owned bank
  • Shop Local!    http://thinkshopbuylocal.com/   Support your local small businesses (and your community!) as much as possible.
  • Source food locally as much as possible-support local economies and your own health- www.natickfarm.org       http://www.doverfarmcsa.com/doverfarmcsa.com/Home.htmlhttp://www.natickfarmersmarket.com/ and more info about buying local here, http://www.organicconsumers.org/btc.cfm
  • Continue to push to repeal Citizens United
    • Citizens in 175 Massachusetts towns had the opportunity to vote on a non-binding resolution to overturn Citizens United and to get BIG. DARK, MONEY our of politics..  The resolution won by an overwhelming 79%!
    • Want to spread the word to your friends?  There are plenty of ways to get involved-contact  Common Cause here:  http://www.commoncause.org/site/pp.asp?c=dkLNK1MQIwG&b=4847587
  • Stamp Your Money! Stamp The System Isn’t Broken It’s “Fixed” on your money or any other item you’d like to show your opposition to undue influence of money in politics! Will be at Natick Common Saturdays from 11:30-12:30. More info here:  https://movetoamend.org/stampede
  • Boycott Monsanto products info here http://occupy-monsanto.com/   and  http://monsantoboycott.com/ Not sure why this is important-then you need to click on one of these links and do some research!
    • Watch this video on Monsanto, the California Proposition 37 for GMO food labeling.
  • Join us for a meeting! Occupy Natick meets the first and third Sundays of the month from 2-4 at Gale House 39 East Central Street-we are grateful to St. Paul’s for hosting us-All are welcome!  We discuss mutual concerns, plan actions, and address ways we can make a difference in our community and beyond.
  • Attend our Film and discussion Series– We show a thought-provoking film on the 3rd Monday of each month from 7-9 at Sherrill Hall in back of St. Paul’s, 39 East Central Street Natick. (enter through the munipal parking lot next to the church). A discussion follows the screening.
  • Participate in a training, or educational event: Nonviolent Resistance Training with Joanne Sheehan, Saturday Oct. 20, 10 am-3 pm- North Parish of Andover,  contact occupynatick@gmail.com for more information.  Here is some info about non-violent resistance  http://www.warresisters.org/handbookfornonviolentcampaigns
  • Learn about initiatives to address debt here: http://strikedebt.org/debt/, http://rollingjubilee.org
  • Volunteer your time to a worthwhile cause that you are concerned about-there is growing need right here in our own community-   www.natickservicecouncil.org  provides lots of opportunities including the Food Pantry, Employment Counseling Services, and Eviction Prevention Services among others.
  • Talk to your friends and neighbors about your concerns, share your knowledge
  • Commit to living a life that reflects your values, and share those values with others.

Over the past year, there have been a number of excellent books exploring the massive redistribution of wealth and political power that has been going on in America since the 1970s. And these books are not by critics on the fringe, but by respected economists and political leaders. Here are my personal recommendations:

Joseph E. Stiglitz, “The Price of Inequality; How Today’s Divided Society Endangers Our Future” (W.W. Norton & Co., June 11, 2012, 448 pages, $27.95). This is perhaps the most complete analysis of America’s current economic and political situation and all its ramifications. Suggestions for reform are provided in the final chapter. If there’s one book all Americans should read, it’s this one. Mr. Stiglitz won the 2001 Nobel Prize in Economics, was Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Clinton, and served as Chief Economist for the World Bank. This book expands Mr. Stiglitz’s article in Vanity Fair entitled “Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%” published in May 2011– four months before Occupy Wall Street adopted that term.

Robert B. Reich, “Beyond Outrage; What Has Gone Wrong with Our Economy and Our Democracy and How To Fix It” (Alfred A. Knopf, April 17, 2012, available only as an electronic book for $2.99). Mr. Reich’s views are well known through his weekly columns in the MetroWest Daily News and many TV and radio programs. He was probably the first person I heard calling attention to America’s growing economic disparity. As President Clinton’s Secretary of Labor, he tried to advance a pro-worker agenda, and was continually thwarted by the powerful Washington interests. He wrote up those experiences in a 1998 book, “Locked in the Cabinet.”

Bill Clinton, “Back to Work; Why We Need Smart Government for a Strong Economy” (Knopf, Nov. 8, 2011, 208 pages, $23.95). Mr. Clinton explains what government needs to do to have a well-functioning economy. While not as informative as the other two books, it does give a good sense of how President Clinton would have run the country, were it not for the political and business forces that did everything possible to stop him.

Thomas L. Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum, “That Used to Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux , Sept. 5, 2011, 400 pages, $28.00). I was dismayed by Friedman’s prior best-seller, “The World Is Flat” (2005), where he celebrated globalization and its resulting loss of American jobs overseas. The new book seems more balanced, warning that America has to somehow deal with the foreign competition – in particular, through more federal government initiatives and controls, as is the case with virtually every other world power.

James Carville and Stan Greenberg, “It’s the Middle Class, Stupid!” (Blue Rider Press, July 10, 2012, 337 pages, $26.95). I’ve only skimmed though this book, and it’s probably less informative than the others, although written in an easy conversational style. It’s currently on The New York Times Bestseller List, so at least we know the message is getting through.