Memphis, TN – June 15-2012 marked the 8 month anniversary of the Occupy Memphis camp & occupation. What began as a tweet from one lone voice way back in Sept. 2011 bloomed into Occupy Memphis, with the help of Mid South Peace and Justice Center and hundreds of concerned citizens from all walks of life, we began holding meetings off site organizing working groups and doing research. We chose and voted on the location we are based at due to its proximity to the many government buildings, Since October 15-2011, Occupy Memphis camp has been located directly across from the Memphis City Hall and is surrounded by the Federal, State & Shelby County Buildings; we call it “The Hill”, even though we are located on the flat HOT concrete of Civic Center Plaza. They have to walk past us daily and when they look out of their windows they see us.. still there.
Being here has given us many opportunities to converse with various members from each of these buildings along with Memphians and the many tourist from all over the world. We use this platform to inform and educate the public of the injustices being done by our government.
The City views the camp as a legal lawful assembly and can remain as long as we are peaceful and law abiding, we do NOT have a permit.
We have had one Shelby County Commissioner Steve Mulroy bring his tent and spend the night with us, and another Commissioner has attended several of our G.A.’s. We regularly attend City Council & County Commission meetings, and have been instrumental in changing several decisions voted on at these meetings.
We are most proud of:
- Our Occupy camp is, by itself, an ongoing direct action.
- Several groups that have developed out of Occupy Memphis, H.O.P.E. = Homeless Organizing for Power and Equality, which was instrumental in the award of almost half a million dollars from Shelby County to house the Homeless. Sparkle fingers!!!
- The M.B.R.U. = Memphis Bus Riders Union was formed thanks to the help of our Transportation Task Force (TTF). The Union members are addressing the city’s bus services that are being cut yet fares have been raised.
- We presented both City & County Mayors a “Redress of Grievances” regarding the City’s lawsuit against Wells Fargo, City Mayor Wharton did reply back but sadly on 5-31-12 settled with Wells Fargo for far less than the people deserved. More to follow.
Other Direct Actions we are proud of:
- David Rovics played for us 10-21-11
- Three of our members went to Nashville & were arrested when they were getting shut down 10-29-11
- Banner drop @ University of Memphis 11-?-11
- Marched with Memphis Police Union to protest pay cuts 11-?-11
- Debate with the local Tea Party 11-18-11
- Marchs on BOA & Federal Reserve, numerous times
- Seven of us went to DC to march against the Bush tax cuts 11-24/27-11
- Three simultaneous rallies, symbolizing “unethical profit,” (Wells Fargo) “negligence on the homeless crisis,” (Free Homeless shelter) and lack of “equity” in public services,(help people instead of funding wars) 12-17-11
- Renamed the Nathan Bedford Forrest park to Ida B. Wells 12-17-11
- Marched in opposition to OWS shut down. 12-20-11
- March in solidarity with MLK & The Black Farmers 1-17-11
- Funeral for the Bill of Rights 1-22-12
- Creativity workshop from brothers Zack (Philly) & Conner (Chicago)
- Folk Alliance Festival 2-25-12
- Participated in the March Against Fear from Memphis,Tn. to Jackson, Ms. 3-11-12
- May Day 2012
- H.O.P.E. protest the new State law prohibiting camping on State property. 5-1-12
- Protested those protesting Obamacare 6-8-12
- Solidarity Rally for Egypt 6-9-12
- CISPA Solidarity protest 6-9-12
Several of our Full time campers have jobs that they go to during the day, but the majority of our Full time campers are on site to meet and greet the public on a daily basis. Living outside has its challenges….
- We have NO electricity, we use 2 Marine Deep Cycle batteries to charge phones and our laptop, which are taken home by our cook to be re-charged.
- Water is obtained from the drinking fountain on the plaza.
- Most of the cooking is done off site by our one and only cook from her home and delivered nightly. We have an arched, plastic covered structure we call the kitchen, (built by a supportive Occupier) with plastic bins for storage, a cooler, a Coleman propane cook stove ,for making coffee as well as some light cooking, and a small propane grill for hotdogs and hamburgers. We wash all of our cookware, plastic plates, cups, forks, spoons and utensils to reuse as much as possible… GO GREEN!
- We have regular Fire Dept. inspections.
- We used to Live Stream, and are attempting to re-establish connectivity again. We need a hotspot card, since the Wi-Fi from city hall is sketchy.
- We have 19 tents, 13 Full Time Occupy Campers & 8 Part Time Occupy Campers, we regularly host visitors from other Occupies as well as Travelers. We have devoted Occupiers as well as many Occupiers that come and go.
- We have an Information table , a 3 ring binder with sheet protected bulletins and a large roofed bulletin board (built by a supportive Occupier) which is updated daily with current issues by another supportive Occupier.
- We have recycle bins.
- We have our covered garbage can which we use for food scraps and the city’s cans for all other waste, which we empty for them on the days they pick up trash.
- One of our supportive Occupiers built for us an arched, tarp covered tunnel for getting out of the cold / heat & rain.
- We have a shopping cart which we use to haul batteries, food, blankets, etc. to our cooks car.
- Many of us are transported by our cook to her home to shower and wash clothes, others have friends or family that do the same.
- We utilize the local Welcome center and various other local businesses for restroom facilities.
- We have a good rapport with the Downtown Safety Patrol as well as the Memphis Police Department. They have been very supportive and vital to our safety.
- We depend on donations and each other for food & supplies. We have a donation box we sometimes put out and an online link maintained by Mid South Peace & Justice Center.
List of needs:
- We need ICE, it’s HOT in Memphis, Tn.
- $ for food
- Gatorade, tea, Kool Aid
- Mosquito repellant & candles
- Bug spray, Fly & Wasp traps
- Garbage bags 55 gallon
- Dinnerware ie; plates, forks, spoons & cups (reusable plasticware prefered)
- Coffee, sugar & creamer
- plastic page protectors for bulletins
- staple gun & staples (ours got stolen)
- cleaning supplies ie; Dish detergent, Laundry detergent, rags, Comet, Bleach
- Baby wipes, deodorant, Soap, Shampoo, Sunblock
- tobacco & rolling papers
List of wants:
- Support of our fellow Memphians
- Occupiers from closed camps across the nation to join us, bring your ideas, energy, tents & supplies
Please visit our websites:
Although we may not have been as active or vocal as , or other Occupations nor raised many eyebrows….. We view Our camp as an ongoing DIRECT action….
“Of course, activism that appears ineffectual at the time can succeed in a great many ways, including by influencing others, even young children, who go on to become effective activists — or by influencing firm opponents who begin to change their minds and eventually switch sides.
The beautiful thing about nonviolent activism is that, while risking no harm, it has the potential to do good in ways small and large that ripple out from it in directions we cannot track or measure.”
Yes, our government was more responsive to public opinion in the 1960s than now, but part of the reason is that more people were active then. And another reason is that government officials are doing a better job now of hiding any responsiveness to public sentiment, which helps convince the public it has no impact, which reduces activism further….
WAKE UP SHEEPLE….
When someone tells you to stop imagining that you’re having an impact, ask them to please redirect their energy into getting 10 friends to join you in doing what needs to be done. If it has no impact, you’ll have gone down trying. If it has an impact, nobody will tell you for many years.
Keep on Keepin on….OCCUPY….
Solidarity from Memphis, TN.