Occupy Yourself, Detroit

By Patience Young

Many folks want to be involved with the global occupation movements.  On site and through donations they show their support.  However, if you truly want to see banks and corporations stop exploiting people there are some very important changes you need to make in your life.

1.  Use a local credit union.  If you must keep your money in a bank, use a local credit union.  The banks can not control you if you do do not give them your money.  Credit unions often have lower or no fees, and better services for their members, so you will benefit from this change as well!

2.  Vote with your dollar.  Every time you give corporations your money, you are giving them power.  If you want to shift world powers, think before you shop.

  • If it is something you can get used, check thrift stores, flea markets, yard sales and online first.  By reusing items we reduce consumption, thus reducing the need to exploit the earths resources.  We also keep our egos in check when we reuse items, helping us to remember that these are merely things.  When you buy things used you get a better deal and help out an individual instead of a corporation.
  • If it is something you can not buy used, buy it from a small buisness or individual.  Most needed items can be sourced locally, and if not locally there may be a small company else where that you can support instead of a big corporation.  This is a big life change, but it is more enriching.  When you shop in your community and support local buisness, you build relationships with the people who provide your needs.  Here in Michigan we have great access to local foods.  Get to know your farmers, volunteer at their farms, and see how good it feels to be connected to your food.  Buy socks, jewelry, art, and other things on Etsy or at local markets and support a struggling artist.
  • Research the brands you buy and the places you shop to make sure they adhere to your morals.  Even places like Trader Joe’s have been found guilty of unethical farming and labor practices.  At first it may seem like a lot of work, but once you know who you can trust with your dollar and get into the habit of shopping consciously it will be second nature!

3.  Reduce your oil usage.  Car pool, ride the bus, or a bike whenever possible.  Sharing rides with friends and coworkers helps to build stronger relationships.  On the bus you will meet all sorts of incredible people, and by supporting the public transportation system you help it to become better.  Riding a bicycle is good for you and it is so empowering to learn that your two legs are capable of getting you pretty darn far.  Avoid plastic products whenever possible! 

4.  Turn off the T.V.  And the radio for that matter.  Do not subject your mind to advertisements.  Get your news from indie outlets (infowars, freedom fighters, adbusters, wikileaks).  If you must get some visual entertainment there are plenty of creative options.  Watch it online @ projectfree.tv.  Rent it from a local video store.  Go see a movie at an indie theater.  Public libraries and parks often have film screenings.  Listen to local music.  Go to a show, dance, show support, and take home awesome music for 5-10 bucks.  Pretend, make your own music, read, write, take control of your own entertainment.  Need inspiration?  Hang out with a child.  Don’t let mass media control you. 

5.  Get involved in your community.  Volunteer in your neighborhood, at a local farm, soup kitchen, church, or hospital.  Get to know your neighbors.  Attend community events.  Become aware of local politics.  Build relationships with your politicians whether it by through phones or letters.  Attend city council meetings.  VOTE.  If we work together to strengthen our communities we can figure out how to provide for everyone’s needs and we will not need to rely on an outside government.

6.  Occupy yourself.  Be conscious, your actions effect people more than you realize.  Live with compassion.  Educate yourself as much as you can and keep an open mind.  Listen before you talk.  Humble yourself, yes you are special but you are just a person, no better than anyone else.  Be willing to change.  You are going to make mistakes, and that is ok, but you must be ready to deal with them and grow as a result of them.  Be willing to accept criticism.  Treat everyone, yourself especially, with respect.  Love yourself, you are the first priority.  If your health, physical, mental, and spiritual, is suffering you will not be able to help someone else.

7.  Educate others.  In this muddled mixed up world, it is your responsibility to stand for the things you believe.  Change your life, and educate others that are interested in changing theirs.  Do not, however, force your beliefs on someone else.

8.  Stop by your local occupation.  Drop off some coffee.  Play folks a song. Offer encourgement.  Have dinner.  Volunteer a couple of hours.  Have conversations.  It is amazing what begins to happen when we start to talk to each other.  Teach something, learn something.  Go home, or stay forever.

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