The Occupy Movement in Small Towns: Salinas and Pajaro Valley Area

You don’t hear much about the Occupy movement in small towns. The larger online news venues don’t pick it up, but locally, it’s happening, and you have to go to local print news or hyperlocal online news to find proof of this. Nearby, residents are rallying in support of the Occupy movement in the communities of Gilroy, in Watsonville, and Hollister.

“Occupy Hollister/Move Your Money” video

The video above shows that, even in small-town U.S.A. the Occupy Movement is not comprised only of youthful “hippie” types. There may be less than 100 participants, but as the Occupy Gilroy group proclaims, “We might be small, but we are the 99%!” They protest outside of banks and government buildings, and are concerned with lack of employment in these areas, foreclosed properties, a disappearing middle class, and diminishing resources for the poor.

I have noticed the many For Sale signs going up on small farms and houses in my own neighborhood in Elkhorn. It’s sad to watch as animals are sold, and residents set up their “moving sales.” After they are gone, the fields lay empty and uncultivated, and months or years go by before someone else purchases the property.

Nevertheless, I don’t get a sense of hopelessness in all this. While the Occupy Movement is not perfect*—a detailed manifesto,** articulate leaders, and clear-cut strategy is not (at least initially) the point; people (the 99%) feel that they are not alone, that they are now visible and vocal, and that something can be done, both on the large-scale macro, and micro (local) levels.

You can find out more about the local Occupy movement by clicking on the following links:

Occupy Gilroy Facebook Page.
Occupy Hollister Facebook Page.
Occupy Monterey/Salinas Facebook Page.

And not-so-local:

Occupy Washington DC website.

*I have a problem with the “occupy” paradigm, which sets up an oppositional, territorial strategy (replicating tactics of aggressive land/business-grabbing and colonialism), despite its claim to non-violence. It may also shut out indigenous and other groups who have been affected by such “occupations.” Moreover, the resistant “tent city” method is old-style, drawn from the protestors of the 1960s, who drew that from the tent cities and “Hoovervilles” of the Great Depression Era. That was then; this is now. Unfortunately, the encampments in cities like Oakland disrespect small-business owners who need the foot-traffic, and encampments are difficult to keep clean and sanitary.

While it’s important to vocalize and make visible one’s displeasure and disagreement, why replicate the binary oppositions of the past? Why not advocate for the 99% by using a more fluid strategy? Why not walk, instead of occupying a piece of land? Why not plant vegetable gardens in Zucotti Park and blighted areas, while protesting at the same time? “Voting” with one’s feet (i.e. withdrawing funds and support from the institutions that have betrayed you, and depositing them in local credit unions, or buying products at local small businesses) seems ultimately the more useful solution.

See also “The problem with ‘occupation’ in the occupy movement.”

**Soon after posting this, I came across the Occupy Washington DC’s list of “evidence-based solutions”–so it’s getting more specific.

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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3 thoughts on “The Occupy Movement in Small Towns: Salinas and Pajaro Valley Area

  1. I agree with you about the “occupy” name and paradigm. Occupy sounds so aggressive, but then maybe that is the attention grabber, instead of a name like say, “The 99%” movement.

    It is a challenge to balance the goals of the movement and that of small business owners, who need the foot-traffic and shoppers to feel safe, as well as sanitation issues address such as in Oakland.

    • Thanks for the comment, Jane. I just figure that if they are advocating for workers and small, local business owners over the 1% corporates, then I think they should show that support positively by respecting those businesses and workers. It can’t be that hard…

  2. Pingback: The Rose Parade and the Occupy — or Anti-Wall Street Movement | Lola Jane's World

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