Paula Morris’ Column: Occupy Puyallup

October 20, 2011

By:  Paula Morris

 The group “Occupy Together” http://www.occupytogether.org, in support of “Occupy Wall Street,” has now occupied Puyallup. 

It would be well worth your while to check out the Puyallup group’s facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/OccupyPuyallup.  Today there is a really great video of Chris Hedges, the writer and ex-war correspondent.  He makes the statement:  “This one is for real.  This one could take it all down,” which are pretty powerful words.

The Occupy Puyallup group meets on the corner of Pioneer St. and Meridian in downtown Puyallup, right in front of U.S. Bank and next to Pioneer Park.  Thus far, they have been holding signs and cheering passersby who honk in support of their cause. 

This is a cheerful young group, very aware of most issues you could name.  I spoke with activists Chris and Raul about everything from corporate takeover of our country to our threatened ecological state to the group “Anonymous,” and more. 

They hope for more diversity in the group, i.e., individuals of all ages.  On Wednesday, I was the only participant in the over-25 age group.  Nonetheless, activists Chris and Raul made me feel more than welcome and requested that I bring friends next time.  

Although this is a group of young people, it is a seed group planting themselves where all can see, and planning to grow into a strong, diverse movement that will occupy Pioneer Park and beyond.

It was inspiring to see young people so intent and serious about the need for change in our country and committed to doing something about it.  It was also satisfying to see many local small businesses support them by donating water and food.  There was an abundance of donuts on Wednesday.  Someone brought tacos and there were bread sticks from a local pizza place.  Evidently, even the Puyallup police department seems to be giving them the nod as there have been officers who have stopped by, commenting that some complaints have been registered, but since there is nothing illegal being done by these exuberant young people they move on. 

Some of the slogans written on signs were spot-on, and included:  “The price of everything goes up – do your wages?”  “They got the goldmine – we got the shaft,” “America, the best democracy money can buy,”  “Through struggle we mature,” and many others that tell the story of how far down our government places its citizens compared to how high up it places its corporations and elite, the so-called 1%.

The point of all this is – we are the 99% and we want real change!  The “Occupy Puyallup” group invites you to join them as they hope to occupy Puyallup for the foreseeable future. 

©  Paula Morris  2011

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Editor’s Note:  Paula reports that about twenty-five people were participating in Occupy Puyallup when she was there, and the number seems to fluctuate.

Also, Kelda Miller has informed the Mountain News that the “occupation” ends for the evening at 9 pm, typically.

In addition, Paula says that the activists she spoke with were uncomfortable sharing their last names.  This is a trait that is wide-spread in the Occupy movement, and I have encountered the same dynamic.  I have oberved a lot of suspicion and fear in the Occupy folks, and journalists are not readily trusted.

Further, the “Anonymous” group that Paula mentions also had a presence in Tacoma last weekend.  Anonymous is a cyber-attack group that appears to be world-wide, and is reportedly responsible for several recent assaults on data banks used by multi-national corporations.

-BAS

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Amy Pivetta Hoffman

Attorney at Law

Civil Law and Governmental Affairs

Serving Frederickson and all of southern Pierce County

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10 Responses to Paula Morris’ Column: Occupy Puyallup

  1. brucesmith49 says:

    I think it will be very interesting to see how the Occupy movement plays out. My sense so far is that most people are not sympathetic to it eventhough they clearly see the tyranny of the corporations and the sell-outs of our poltical leadership.

    But many young people are sympathetic and involved, just like in the 1960s. Some get it, and some don’t, just like how I remember the anti-Vietnam movement. The Occupy movement may be the “Woodstock” of the younger generation – the twenty-somethings – and it will help them build an identity and help motivate them to a vastly new level of cultural industry, along with creating new jobs for themselves.

    The young people of the world will have to invent a whole new economy for the planet as the older generations have failed to provide them with opporunities and a means to create an income. We may be witnessing the emergence of historic levels of entrepreneurial activity by these people, coupled with new social connections. The message I hear as I talk with the Occupy folks is, “Life sucks and I don’t want to be alone.”

    As a result, we may be seeing fascinating new businesses in the next few years, and hearing exciting new music. After a lull of 40 years we may soon be graced with musicians comparable to Bob Dylan and the Beatles.

    Gawg bless these kids.

  2. I wonder which corporations you are talking about?? Microsoft that was started in a garage and has benefitted so much of the world, creating jobs not only in the US but internationally as well. Or, GE, or Ford Motor company, the company that provides jobs and cars, or the various communications corporations that provide jobs and cell phones for all these people who are wanting to bring corporations to their knees??? Unfortunately there are bad apples in every aspect of American life, but that doesn’t mean they are all “tyranny.” They even exist in WA DC and your occupyers voted for them. You are after the 1%?? It is the top 1 % that pays the bulk of the total income tax, 43% of Americans pay nothing! Small businesses pay corporate taxes, taxes on the office equipment etc that they bought with their own money, B & O taxes, L & I taxes, Social Security taxes, Unemployment taxes, and if there is any thing left, they pay income tax on that. All you people “occupying” causing more financial burden on the cities police departments, traffic woes, and hardship on the McDonalds of the area being swarmed to use their bathrooms are really the 1 %.

    • Paula Morris says:

      Good grief Claudia! I can’t write a book on this site! But, there are many books out that address all your “talking points.” Read “The Shock Doctrine” by Naomi Klein or “Peoples History of the United States” by Howard Zinn, or any number of books by Chris Hedges.

      Briefly, many corporations do great things and their products are useful and well liked (like yours). Small business owners are part of the 99%, not part of the 1%. The issue is, many large corporations send lobbyists to D.C. and basically “pay” our elected officials to vote for those corporations best interests and against the people’s best interests.

      Many corporations have worked hard to “de-regulate” safety checks regarding clean air, clean water, resource depletion, etc. And mostly, Big Banks…which are actually corporations…have ruined our economy as has Wall Street with their new found profit making pets, derivatives and speculation. Mega International Corporations have gotten away with a coup-de-etet against the U.S. government and have, with the help of the neo-cons, begun to form a Fascist government out of our once “democracy.” Corporations are in bed with the government….that is clear. Citizens don’t count and are not heard anymore. Voting is pretty much obsolete as voting machines are rigged and elections are stolen. Basically, the elite multi-national corporations “appoint” puppets to make the people feel good about this take-over. We are brain-washed and propagandized into a deep somnolence. We are “entertained” with the news and “distracted” from asking the real questions that need to be asked. The media is the hugest corporation and align themselves with money! Mainstream reporters are either bought off or intimidated.

      Do you really want to fight this hard against your own best interests? Are you really pro-Fascist?

    • brucesmith49 says:

      43% of American don’t pay income taxes? C’mon, Claudia, it’s time to get real and talk straight talk.

      These statistics and your rhetorical commentary are exceptionally mis-leading, Claudia. That 43% includes children, the disabled and elderly – and the unemployed now off benefits. The real question is how many wage earners and income producers pay taxes, and how much.

      I’ll make you a deal. Let’s both of us talk about ourselves. Let’s be specific and not global – enough with the sweeping generalizations and self-serving commentaries, eh?

      I’ll start.

      I grossed $19K last year completely on revenues from my free-lance writing, which was mostly from submissions to the Disaptch newspaper, and I paid about $700 in income taxes on net biz income around $4,000.

      Currently, I’m seeing about $400 per month in advertising revenues at the Mountain News, which is my sole source of income and I’ve just qualified for food stamps. I’m getting $200 each month in stamps – thank you very much Mr and Mrs Tax-Paying America, but that figure drops to $16 next month when my first social security check of $775 comes in.

      As for corporations, I’d like to talk with the mother of the CEO of British Petroleum and learn when she tragically dropped her son on his head in childhood, resulting in his inability to reason correctly, thus causing him 30 years later to put the entire Gulf of Mexico ecosystem in serious jeopardy this summer.

      After I talk with Mrs. BP, I’ll head over to Mrs. Monsanto and do the same about her ol’ Sonny Boy and learn why he is creating genetically-modified foods that threaten the plant world of the entire planet.

      Then, I’d like to go back home to Garden City, NY and talk to my ol’ neighbors who work for Goldman Sachs, American Express, Bank of America and the SEC and ask them how they can sleep at night after getting their share of a reported $14 trillion paid in bailouts by tax-payers world-wide to all financial institutions over the past few years. In addition, I’d love to hear what they tell their grandkids about right and wrong and sharing with others. Then, I’ll write it up for the Mountain News – should be a good story, don’t you think, Claudia?

      BTW: you’re next.

      Seriously, Claudia, I know you don’t feel the pain that most of us feel, but where is your intellectual curiosity about why the younger generation is willing to camp out downtown night after night? Occupy Puyallup? When was Puyallup the site of social protest before?

  3. Rick Ward says:

    Bruce, “Gawg Bless”? Come on, if you don’t believe, don’t use the language, but don’t mock it. That’s disrespectful. Now about the economy; I wonder how we will do without cars, fuels, food, clothing, medicines, all those things provided by companies that employ people, who earn a living. If we are going to invent ” a whole new economy”, what will we use for barter if we are not allowed to make a profit on our investment? I spoke with an “Occupy” supporter at the Y the other day. All he wanted to talk about was the BofA debit charge. When I suggested he just use another bank, or pay cash, he accused me of caving to the corporations.

    • brucesmith49 says:

      In my defense, Rick, I must say that I mis-spelled “Gawd.” Please forgive. Now, as for believing, I believe lots. In addition, I have a very intimate – even casual you might say – relationhip with The Divine. We’re really like fraternity brothers in a lot of ways, including the drinking part. In fact, that’s why I go to a school of enlightenment!

      So, you talked with an angry BoA customer, eh? There must be lots of them these days. I’m glad this customer had a chance to hear the voice of reason when they spoke with you. Good work, Rick! We all pick our “educational moments” when we can find them. The young are so, well, young, wouldn’t you say?

      – Your Brother Elder, Bruce

      • Paula Morris says:

        Wow! Bruce! You’re on a roll.

        If I may, I’d like to propose a few thought provoking ideas to Rick.

        It is difficult to think outside the box sometimes. There are “possibilities” that we need to explore. One of my favorite young peoples books is: “Ecotopia,” by Ernest Callenbach. It opened the door of my imagination about alternative ways of living, alternative economies and the possibility of a clean, green future. Another recent book mimicking the style of Ecotopia is a book by Harvey Wasserman entitled: “Solartopia,” about the benefits of switching to solar and other alternative energy sources and away from fossil fuel. I recommend these to start.

        We cannot think of a different way of living right now because we have never been challenged seriously to do so. If we had to, what might we come up with?

        Addressing cars and fuel: Urban sprawl is a blight on our land. People need to gather in small communities with a farm or light industry at its center. Local food, local work, very little distance to get to any shops, etc. This negates the need for individual cars and fuel. We can use bicycles or electric motor bikes….I’m sure we can think of something fun to drive. Also, monorail, swift transportation can be advanced and used for long distance traveling.

        Clothing and medicine: I am envisioning a community which would include seamstresses and taylors. I’ve also thought about what to use for making clothing. A great alternative fabric called tencel, made from plant fiber is comfortable and attractive. One other thought–hemp. We need to legalize it. It is NOT marijuana! It is such a versatile plant. It can be used to make fuel, fabric and even used as an additive in animal feed and fiber for human consumption. A hemp farm in every community could benefit all. As for medicine. Herb-lore has been around long before pharmaceutical companies. Growing medicinal plants for a community could be beneficial for health and our pocketbooks.

        Just a few ideas Rick. Can you come up with some others? Anyone else out there? Can we think outside the box?

    • “I wonder how we will do without cars, fuels, food, clothing, medicines, all those things provided by companies that employ people, who earn a living.”

      That’s a large part of the problem, Rick, and such a fundamental part of people’s criticism of the Occupy movement, it’s almost a cliche by this point. Because the fact is, *many* corporations – headed up by 1%ers – and also banks received bailouts (auto industry, airlines, etc). The banks and corporations and 1%ers all gave their word that if they got this help, they would bend over backwards to create jobs. Since they’ve received those bailouts, the *last thing they have done is create jobs*. The very first thing they do, usually, before anything else, is make sure to give their CEO’s and top performers humongous bonuses or send them off on island retreats. When it comes to jobs, nine times out of ten, they outsource them to 3rd world countries where the standard and cost of living is far lower, so they don’t have to pay much.

      The problem is, the corporations and banks only care about profits and pleasing their shareholders. Which is great, if you’re one of their shareholders, but if you’re not, then you’re out in the cold.

      There are more options out there than just ‘move your money to another bank’ or ‘stuff your cash under your mattress’. An even better option is a local-level credit union, like BECU (which I’ve just happily moved over to after getting slapped in the face one too many times by Bank of America – the $5 debit charge wasn’t even the tip of the iceberg, for me) – that way you have a more direct impact on your local economy by increasing the flow of money going into the community. Credit unions are FDIC insured, just like banks, and they’re non-profit, so you don’t get charged extraneous fees for things like a low balance or … well, debit card fees, which are basically BofA wanting to make up for the losses of revenue from merchant fees, which they’d get any time someone used their debit card to purchase something. Because they’ve capped the fees for that kind of transaction. So they’re going to stick it to us because the government was trying to save merchants *and* customers money. Silly us, trying to think we could deprive BofA of the money they think they’re entitled to.

      I’m just tired of it. Tired of their shoddy, shady business practices, their support of loathsome anti-gay politicians and their, frankly, illegal tactics to squeeze every last cent out of their customers.

      Make more sense, now?

      -Ruby, heading for her first Occupy this weekend

  4. Max says:

    All I have to say is this was a beautiful discussion. And isn’t that the point? A conversation among the people to decide what is and will be their joint fate?

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