About

This is a blog about the occupation of Harrisonburg, Virginia, inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement and begun on October 17th,  2011.

We are non-violent resistance and envisioning inspired by Occupy Wall Street: Celebrate what works. Acknowledge what’s broken. Take responsibility. Create Action. Repeat. We are pro-people, pro-local, pro-peace.

GENERAL ASSEMBLY meets at Court Square Zeebo EVERY TUESDAY AT 6PM.

MEMBER ACTION: The first Saturday of each month is member action. Check out our Occupy Harrisonburg Facebook page and our blog at occupyhburg.wordpress.com for more information.

You can contact us at occupyhburg@gmail.com

We are pro-people, pro-local, and pro-peace.

Our approach:  Celebrate what works. Acknowledge what is broken. Take responsibility. Create Action. Repeat.

Click here for a PDF of our Declaration.

Connect here for our Vision Statement.

Twitter: @occupyhburg

FB: Occupy Harrisonburg

Ustream: The Occupy Harrisonburg Channel

OCCUPY HARRISONBURG, VIRGINIA’S DECLARATION

12.13.2011

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.   –  Declaration of Independence 

We believe that government can secure our rights only if it derives its just powers from the consent of the people.  But no true democracy is possible when the exercise of that power is determined by money.

We believe that when money systematically nullifies the will of the people ours is no longer a government for the people. It is therefore our duty to alter it.  Just as our ancestors threw off the tyranny of government by monarchy in order to establish a democracy, we today must throw off the tyranny of government by money in order to reclaim our democracy.

We will continue to peaceably assemble in the public square, as is our right, to let these facts be known:

+ The Citizens United decision of the United States Supreme Court enshrines the rights of corporations as political equals with human persons who have the rights and responsibilities of citizens.  This is an aberration which the constitutional framers could not have imagined, intended, or approved.  Corporations are not created equal with humans or endowed with unalienable rights.  We call for a constitutional amendment to reverse that decision.

+ The flood of money to political campaigns distorts our democracy and vital decisions about our physical health, the safety of our food, our tax structure, our right to privacy, protection from fraudulent financial practices, the quality of our air and water, etc.  We call for public financing of all political campaigns.

+  Financial deregulation is destroying our economy.  The erosion during recent decades of the regulatory framework which guided the behavior of our banks and corporations has devastated  homeowners, investors, and employees.  Corporations, originally chartered by the government and given special status so they could serve the economic needs of people, have been allowed to become predators.  Rogue corporations have destroyed the employment and savings of millions and they continue to do so with impunity.  We call for immediate and vigorous enforcement of existing anti-trust and criminal fraud laws in the banking, home mortgage, and financial services industries and for bold and robust new legislation to insure that our financial and monetary systems function as regulated public utilities that are transparent and accountable and serve the common good. We must replace the self-destructive system constructed by Wall Street with a sustainable and self-reliant Main Street economy.

+  To accomplish the above we must have nothing less than a true rebirth of our democratic culture.  Democracy flourishes when we recognize our interdependence in building a just society.  The citizens of Occupy Harrisonburg VA are now engaged in the practice of community democracy.   We meet regularly at our town square where we practice techniques of respectful discussion. We have committed to begin now to move our money to local credit unions and community banks.  We  actively urge our neighbors and all Americans to consider moving their money and to patronize banks and businesses which invest in local communities and do not engage in risky and destructive practices.

+ This is the beginning of a process by which we, the people, pledge to regain control of our economy and our democracy.

December 13, 2011



18 Comments on “About”

  1. Ann says:

    Is there a gathering this Saturday to co-inside with the march in DC ?

  2. Ann says:

    Absolutely. I will try to be there Sunday, but I may be going to DC for the Dr. King opening of the memorial. Definitely will be there Monday evening at 6 PM. Thank you for responding to my question. I was out this evening at EMU “An evening with Nobel Laureate, Leymah Gbowee” She showed a film that will be on PBC that will make you cry at the violence in Liberia, and be proud of the courage of the women as well as deep admiration for Leymah Gbowee….what an inspiration. She will be signing her book at EMU bookstore tomorrow at 1:30 -2:30 pm. If you or your friends want to go, I suggest you get there much earlier than that as there should be many many people there….the gym was full this evening.
    See you Sunday, maybe, and for sure on Monday.
    Ann

  3. joebialek says:

    http://www.uctv.tv/search-details.aspx?showID=9521

    I had the opportunity the other day to watch a most enlightening program broadcast by UCTV. The one-hour program was called “How Unequal Can America Get Before We Snap?” presented by President Clinton’s former labor secretary Robert Reich.

    “Inequality of income, wealth, and opportunity in America is wider now than it’s been since the 1920s, and by some measures since the late 19th century. Yet the nation seems unable or unwilling to do much of anything to reverse these trends. What happens if we allow the trends to continue? Will they “naturally” reverse themselves? Or will we get to a point where disparities are so wide that we finally find the political will to take action? Alternatively, will the disparities themselves grow so wide as to discourage action, by fostering resignation among the losers and indifference among the winners? And if the latter, where will it all lead?” SOURCE: Goldman School of Public Policy UC, Berkley

    The presentation made excellent use of economic graphs to demonstrate how large of a gap has developed between the upper class and the middle class (not to mention the lower class) with regards to income, wealth, and opportunity in the United States between the years 1962 to the present. The trends are alarming to say the least. The speaker correctly points to birthright as the beginning of the disparity that allows for advantages in everything from diet and healthcare to education and connections. Being born into a middle-class family myself, I have truly benefited from my birthright in terms of these advantages right from the starting gate. Some people would argue that many a poor person has risen up by their “own boot straps” but I would argue that in today’s society, most (not all) poor people can only rise up with a good pair of athletic shoes or a willingness to sell drugs. Otherwise they have to remain content with working in the service industry for comparatively lower wages than their upper-class counterparts. Mr. Reich further points out that one of the elements keeping our society glued together is the belief or perception by the lower class that opportunity in this country still exists and that if one is willing to work hard, they can be successful.

    The speaker talks of two potential outcomes for this growing disparity. He uses the metaphor of the rubber band to illustrate his point. Our society will either “snap back” with a series of reforms supported by all three classes and the government to regain a sense of fairness when it comes to income, wealth, and opportunity in the United States. This has occurred at least once before in the history of our country during a time referred to as the progressive movement. The other potential outcome is for our society to “snap break” whereby this country exists with two entirely different societies. The problem with the latter outcome is that it often leads to the arrival of a demagogue who plays upon the emotions of the middle and lower classes all for the hidden intention of personal gain. We have seen this all too often in history with the likes of Napoleon, Mussolini, Hitler, Lenin etcetera. Mr. Reich suggests somehow that the upper class are not a group with malicious intent but rather are nothing more than a naive self-indulgent class of people who don’t know any better. Here I beg to differ. I believe the upper class is guilty of a careless disregard for their fellow countrymen. They have the arrogance to believe they are superior and deserving of extravagance regardless of how they attained it and regardless of how it affects the rest of society. Once again, history shows us what happened to those monarchs who behaved the same way. Do I think there will be a violent revolution in this country? I hope not. Do I prefer a new progressive movement over even a peaceful revolution? Absolutely. My fear however, is that we are already rapidly approaching the point of “critical mass” beyond which there is no turning back. The question today before the American people is what are YOU prepared to do?

  4. [...] HomeAbout/DeclarationGeneral Assembly Notes/MinutesImportant Documents – PDFsOur Social MediaSchedule Week of December 26 – January 2 [...]

  5. [...] of Occupy Harrisonburg’s main goals in our declaration is to bring an end to corporate personhood.  Click here for Reclaim Democracy’s site which [...]

  6. [...] HomeAbout/DeclarationGeneral Assembly Notes/MinutesImportant Documents – PDFsOur Social MediaSchedule Week of December 26 – January 2 [...]

  7. [...] 30 (her call begins at around 34 minutes) AND proud of the impact of our recently released Declaration.  We received great feedback on our blog from Nancy, a listener from Occupy Buffalo: The woman [...]

  8. [...] HomeAbout/DeclarationGeneral Assembly Notes/MinutesImportant Documents – PDFsOHB Schedule Week of January 9 – 16Our Social Media [...]

  9. [...] HomeAbout/DeclarationGeneral Assembly Notes/MinutesImportant Documents – PDFsOHB Schedule Week of January 9 – 16Our Social Media [...]

  10. [...] About/Declaration [...]

  11. To: The General Assembly of Occupy Harrisonburg:
    (Please forward to coordinator or facilitator)

    Regarding: A matter of critical national importance – the ability of American voters, of every party, to control their own government.

    Call to Action: It is critically important that you support a Voters’ Rights Amendment to the Constitution of the United States to transform its government into one that is responsive to those who elect it, rather than to the corporations and wealthy elite who purchase the people’s representatives.

    Background: The bipartisan outrage over the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United has led to a number of proposals to reverse it through an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The best known of these is the effort by Move to Amend, which restricts constitutional rights to natural persons only and which disallows the equation of money and free speech.

    Problem: The Move to Amend proposal is a good start; however it does not go far enough. In fact, after a long and difficult amendment process, it only returns the electoral process to where it was the day before the court decision, which wasn’t so great for the People of America.

    Solution: The Voters’ Rights Amendment (USVRA) includes the Move to Amend proposal, but goes further to clearly establish that the right to cast an effective vote is an inherent right under the Constitution. In addition, it provides for a national paid voting holiday, a national hand-countable paper ballot, and a process for the people to have a more direct role in the formulation of public policy. Finally, it mandates voter registration and prohibits voter suppression.

    Consequence: The USVRA will result in a transformation of the U.S. government into a more representative democracy in which the power of money and corporations will be curtailed and the power of the people will prevail.

    USVRA requests: (1) a vote by your general assembly to support the USVRA; (2) encouragement of other Occupy groups to support the USVRA; (3) a link on your net pages to USVRA; and (4) encouragement of your individual members to show their personal support at the USVRA website and on the Facebook page (Voters’ Rights Amendment US).

    Contact: JasonJames81@gmail.com of Occupy Long Beach for more information and to confirm your support.

    See: http://www.usvra.us for more background and discussion, including a list of other Occupy supporters.


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