During the time I spent at the Occupy Olympia camp it felt really awesome to be a part of a community that was in solidarity with something larger than itself.
I did not live in the Occupy Olympia camp, but my sister very regularly volunteered in the Olympia United Community Health medical tent, and I spent dozens of hours per week at Heritage Park.
I spent some of the time helping out campers and organizers however I could: making food, organizing supply tents, helping people tie down tarps, and bringing water over from the free well, among other things.
I also spent a lot of the time just hanging around, talking and listening to people, and sometimes having sporadic and ultra in-depth discussions about planned obsolescence or how we can improve community building in Olympia.
Campers ranged from military veterans, homeless kids, educators, and of course, the slightly obnoxious people who are deeply personally invested in being an activist for every cause.
The protests were energetic, and to me, felt like something larger was looming right out of sight. I stayed up all night watching the Livestream of the Portland eviction with tens of thousands of others, sitting in awe of those being brutally policed. I sent simple messages of solidarity to other camps in the country, and I felt really uncomfortable in normal, social environments like the grocery store after spending so much time at the Occupy Olympia camp.
I visited the Occupy Seattle camp several times, also. The protesters there were totally friendly, completely willing to answer any questions I had, and had a lot of information about what they were working on.
The communities built around these protests were astounding. I felt not only safe, but heard and valuable, as a young female, throughout the discourse and action that took place under the Occupy Olympia movement. Despite unreasonable claims of every protester being a drug-abusing, unappreciative and overly entitled, ignorant quasi-anarchist, a large majority of the people that I came in contact with under this movement were intelligent, passionate, hard working individuals that had directly suffered from the types of issues Occupy was attempting to combat.
After more than a year, the Occupy Olympia movement has faded to an occasional general assembly that not enough people attend, and a partner in other groups, such as the Olympia Cash Mob, Olympia Foreclosure Resistance, and the OUCH medical tent.
The Occupy Wall Street movement, and all of the camps that protested in solidarity with those in Zuccotti Park, Occupy Olympia included, was made of a fairly diverse group. And I think it’s a fair statement to conclude that everyone of the protesting participants had a different idea of what exactly Occupying was about.
For most, it was any sort of convoluted mixture of bringing money out of politics, stopping education cuts, ending bank bailouts, hearing the voices of oppressed people, bringing light to police brutality, a lack of human rights, an abundance of corporate rights, political scams that take place all day every day, and the disturbingly inaccurate content of corporate, white, rich media outlets.
Against or for the Occupy protests, most people would say that these are things we should definitely bring attention, conversation, and change to.
But another point most would come to a reasonable consensus on is that one movement cannot combat so many different issues at once, and not fall. Especially when they are doing it in a way that is so blatantly screw-the-system, by sleeping in the park, and actively working to create a noticeable disturbance. Especially when there is no one leader, or one statement that those undecided can look to in order to determine if they are for or against this kind of radical idea.
I completely morally disagree that this should be an issue. But regardless what I think, it seems to have proven true.
Unfortunately, for these protests to take off as we all thought they were going to, it would have been necessary to persuade the public against Wall Street. Most radical people are, reasonably, not willing to deal with overly privileged, primetime news-watching, anti-government-theory dismissing people, though.
As Occupy Wall Street left as quickly as it came, I was left with eyes opened. Once the “powers that be” were decided, all of the camps were systematically, and disturbingly, swiftly shut down.
The Occupy Wall Street movement takes place frequently on the internet now, monitored by who knows who.