Occupy Providence: A Rallying Call

Yesterday I attended the Occupy Providence meeting in Burnside Park. And I was really impressed. Somewhere between seventy and eighty people turned out, just for a planning meeting. But what makes that really striking is that nobody did any sort of turnout work, other than the last-minute creation of a Facebook event. For fellow progressive organizers out there, can you remember the last time you saw that kind of mobilization without a large number of hours working the phones and email lists?

Whatever criticisms some of us may have about the Occupy movement, we have to recognize that this is a message that is connecting with more people more effectively than what we’ve been doing in the past. This seems to be a genuine opportunity to do what we have been emphatically failing to do for the last decade–create a real popular movement around the values of equity and democracy.

So let’s join it! The Occupy movement’s not perfect, but neither are we. Labor groups, environmental groups, student and community organizing groups–let’s get in there, add what we can add, and see where this thing takes us.

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Aaron Regunberg is a community organizer in Providence and a state representative in House District 4.

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