Occupy Caravan takes off to the National Gathering

Guardian illustration by Eric Drooker- posterized by Occupy Caravan

This looks familiar!

Jan. 17, we proposed Occupy Nation, an idea that those energized and organized by Occupy come together on July 4, 2012 for a national gathering to get some planning done. We also proposed that the journey across the US be a part of the action, and that people get together in vans for a freedom-ride inspired experience. Well, it’s happening- although, of course, it wasn’t all our idea. But they are using our cover art!

The Occupy Caravan is an ever-expanding crew of people getting together for a two-week journey across the US. There are two starting points, Los Angeles and San Francisco- and the San Francisco caravan is taking off June 11. The caravans will stop at Occupy sites along the way for protests, education and entertainment, before arriving in Philadelphia for the June 30 Occupy National Gathering.

The poster declares, "bring tents!" But according to an Occupy Caravan organizer known as Buddy, sleeping arrangements that won't risk police meddling are planned at every stop.

"We have a bunch of secure and fun locations- there's a slumber party at one, a march and then staying at a church at another, a supporter's camp ground where we can park the RVs," said Buddy.

"We're not risking people getting arrested," he said. "Everything is legal and nonviolent."

In theory, anyone who wants to can show up, on foot or with a vehicle, and join the caravan. But if you want to secure a spot, according to Buddy, it's best to sign up online beforehand.

"We’re getting 30 to 50 calls and emails a day about rides," Buddy told me of the last chaotic week before the trip launches.

The National Gathering isn't the only nationwide Occupy plan for this summer. It isn't the only one in Philadelphia either. Or for the July 4 weekend. There's also the 99 Percent Declaration, billed as a "Continental Congress 2.0"

It looks like these big get-togethers are part of the form Occupy will take this summer. What with a big and chaotic May Day, an even more tumultuous anti-Nato convergence in Chicago, and continuing home defenses, occupations of public spaces, and innumerable local actions across the country, the Occupy movement is in a very different state than it was in the winter when the Gathering and the Caravan were in their beginning planning stages.

“The movement has grown,” Buddy told me. “It’s less than a year old. It was an infant early on, and grew very quickly, but its getting stronger. We're going back to the simply core message of economic equality and justice."

After the National Gathering, the caravan will join the Occupy Guitarmy for its “99 Mile March” to New York. The Guitarmy is a travelling group of musicians that bills itself as “the world’s first open source band,” best known for its march on May 1 in New York City, led by Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine.

As we said in the Occupy America proposal: "The important thing is to let this genie out of the bottle, to move Occupy into the next level of politics, to use a convention, rally, and national event to reassert the power of the people to control our political and economic institutions — and to change or abolish them as we see fit." One thing is clear: Occupy hasn't given up yet.


Let's face it, OWC or OSF or whatever you want to call it is dead. So they have there event on the 4th of July, the spring/summer will be half over.

The Occupy movement is over. This is just one more event for those folks to act out in public.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 07, 2012 @ 5:54 pm

arrived, these Occupy folks would all go back to mom. And it duly happened with the result that now it's just a very occasional festival of fun rather than a serious movement. At this same time in the development of the Tea Party, they were funding candidiates for Congress. What are these bozo's doing? Playing bad music in the middle of nowhere.

Americans can't do revolution. It's too uncomfortable and inconvenient, and these guys are too fat and happy.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 08, 2012 @ 11:55 am

Dude, where you been? This is just the beginning.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 12, 2012 @ 7:17 pm

I commend those who peacefully assemble to express their views. If more of us were less complacent we wouldn't have many of the problems we have today. Activists like Occupy who bring awareness to the issues of the day are doing America a service.

Posted by GIJOE on Jun. 08, 2012 @ 12:35 am

These leftover marchers from the Occupy encampments are doing more harm than good. Do they realize just how silly they look?

If they wanted to help, they should take a bath, and go out and work for candidates for congress that will address the issues thwy've been raising. But that would be too hard and less fun that this stupid march.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 08, 2012 @ 2:22 pm

For fumigation and delousing of Occupy sites.

Posted by Chromefields on Jun. 08, 2012 @ 8:23 am

We have lived since 9/11 under a steadily-intensifying escalation of state terrorism against dissenters and activists, carried out for the sole purpose of protecting the current status quo: a totalitarianism made in America by commercial confidence men, under which banks control the government through debt, corporations and rich people control elected officials through unlimited campaign contributions, none of them pay their fair share of taxes, and the banks, the rich, and the corporations are all three the beneficiaries of taxpayer-funded socialism for the rich, while U.S. voters continue to operate under the illusions that our electoral system is "democratic" and the "free" enterprise system is fair, both parts of the indoctrination process within the U.S. system of public education. If you aren't outraged by the fact that we're living within a giant, ongoing scam, you're probably too harassed by the two or three jobs you're forced to work to have time to get informed, or, well, you just aren't paying attention.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 08, 2012 @ 8:34 am

But hopefully some kind soul will deprogram you soon. Blind obedience to ideology is a comforting defense against one's feelings of helplessness and inadequacy.

Posted by Chromefields on Jun. 08, 2012 @ 10:14 am

I've never seen a movement less likely to achieve any change. Irrelevant.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 08, 2012 @ 11:57 am

are like the end of the world preachers like Jack Van Impe or the America has been taken over by Satanist liberals conspiracy.

The end is neigh, there is a demarcation point some years ago. The signing of civil rights acts, removing prayer from school, the USSR getting the bomb, etc... there is always something. The fringe left is so much like the fringe right.

Posted by JCcourt - Jesus Christ on Jun. 08, 2012 @ 5:14 pm

Too bad you can'r see what's going on all around the world. We may not all be in the parks everyday, but this is a serious movement. It has been called one of the greatest movements since the sixties.

In case you haven't looked lately, we lost so much due to the Bush era, and are fighting to regain our rights as citizens. With the banks making billions on the foreclosure crisis they created, and large corporations paying for our politicians, we don't stand a chance, It is time to Occupy and wake up the world.

You think we are all hippies, or homeless and jobless. You could not be more wrong. We are citizens working for a better America. One where we have jobs, and t doesn't cost over $100,000.00 for a young adult to go to college and get an education.

Where banks can't make bad loans and rake in the illegal bucks when they foreclose. Keep an open mind and do not believe the media. They are paid by the same people and they steer Americans the way they want them to go.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 12, 2012 @ 7:37 pm

Occupy the SEC has done real work on dealing with the financial sector. I find that the street protests are having very little effect on either elections or the legislative/executive order system.

They may motivate the participants, but not to much specificity. I asked people, in my local Occupy, "if the CEO of the bank you are picketing came out and offered to try to do things, within his authority, to improve the country, what would they be?" Unfortunately, I didn't hear any actionable responses.

Posted by Howard Berkowitz on Jun. 28, 2012 @ 3:47 pm

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