Thursday, November 10, 2011

Occupy Portland update

Because I'm a supporter of the Occupy Wall Street movement and specifically Occupy Portland, I need to provide an update here as to my current thoughts about the Occupy Portland encampment.

I live downtown and am able to stop by the camp regularly.  My guess is that 300-400 people are camping there each night.  Out of this group, perhaps 20% represent Occupy Portland (activists motivated to create change in our society and economic system) with the remainder comprised of homeless folks, street youth, mentally ill citizens, and a variety of others.

Because of this, the camp only partially represents Occupy Portland.  The camp is a landmark and a physical space for us but the spirit of the Occupy movement goes well, well, well beyond the camp.

And this word just in as I was writing - Mayor Sam Adams has given the camp until Sunday top vacate of risk arrest.

I for one hope we vacate peacefully and on our terms as we come up with Occupy Portland v2.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Move Your Money - A National Week of Action

I've blogged about the importance of moving your money from the large corporate banks and Wall Street institutions to local banks and credit unions.  In this blog post about local banking, I provided some criteria for choosing a local bank.  In this blog post, I addressed the Move Your Money movement and provided some links to useful information and resources.  
Now, the Occupy Portland movement is asking supporters to remove their money from the Wall Street banks this week, and to move that money to a community bank.  I hope you will join me in this collective action. 
If we, the 99 %, removed our money from the big banks, we will send a clear message that conscious consumers will not support the unethical business practices of the mega banks. The 1% will take notice. 
As we know, there are better alternatives than big banks. Safe, convenient credit unions and smaller, local banks can supply all the services you need.  People protesting in Occupy Portland are sacrificing safety, home, and family time to shed light on the terrible abuses the banks have perpetrated on all of us.  However, the occupiers cannot do it alone; we all need to work together.  It is time for you to put your money where your mouth, soul and future are. So here is the plan:
·      Open a new account at a local credit union or small local bank.
·      Transfer your funds to the new account from your by bank account by Nov 5th
·      Follow your big bank’s procedure for closing your accounts.
It's that easy!
Here are some important pieces that will help clarify why this is so important and motivate you to move forward:
1If you want to know more about this grassroots movement please see this ABC's World News Tonight report click here:
2. Check out this cool video about the project to move your money here:
Also check out there website here:
3. If you want to know the difference between banks and credit unions click here:  
4. If you want to find a local small banks and credit unions click here (Note that this document is dated August 2010 and information may have changed):
5. If you want to feel the power and pure joy we feel when we fight back, check this out.
Please share this information widely.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Occupy Wall Street / Portland - Next Steps

I live fairly close to Occupy Portland so I'm able to stop by and visit fairly often.  At the encampment you'll find a mixed bag of issues, people, demands, strategies, tactics, concerns, and stories when visiting.

One common thing is clear however:  The need for systemic change.

While our current system has created vast and concentrated sums of wealth as well as abundant consumer options for Americans with spending money, the current system has also created:
  • Unemployment that hovers near 20 percent
  • 1 in 4 American children living in poverty
  • 50 million Americans without health insurance
  • The greatest prison population 
  • Multiple wars for resource control
  • Ecological devastation that puts the entire planet at peril
  • A corrupt political system where money buys votes and access
  • Millions of American home foreclosures
  • 40 years without real wage growth
  • College students burdened with massive debts owed primarily to the 1%
  • Wealth for richest 400 Americans that is equal to the wealth of the poorest 150,000,000 Americans
This list could go on and on.  

Learning the skills of an MBA, I was taught to look for root causes when solving problems.  The list above is a not a list of problems, but rather symptoms of much deeper problems.  Problems we must solve.

Because we must solve these problems, it is important for everyone to get involved.  How are you engaging with this vital revolution?

My first recommendations is for citizens to find out what is really going on.  You won't get this information from mainstream press so you need to find other channels.  What would you have known about the Egyptian revolution if you only listened to Egypt's official broadcasts?  Do you think Libya's official press did a good job telling the story of the resistance?

If you are getting your information from the mainstream corporate press you are getting filtered information when direct information is easily accessible.
  1. Visit an Occupy camp near you (Portland's is next to city hall and can be visited 24/7.  Hop on a bus and go check it out for yourself.  
  2. Watch the events on Livestream ( and search for your favorite Occupy event).  Portland's events can be seen here:
  3. Visit the official webpage for your local Occupy event.  You can get unfiltered news about Portland's occupation at
Two nights ago in Portland we had our first arrests related to the Occupy Portland events.  One of the most informative videos I saw about the events is here:  

My challenge to you is to get involved.  Will you join me?