Happy Birthday Occupy!

Photo Credit: Gene Taylor, BusinessInsider.com

It’s not a coincidence that I am launching this blog on the one year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street. One of the most beautiful successes of the Occupy movement has been to link different issues together under a shared political analysis. While right wing media critiqued Occupy Wall Street as lacking clarity, in actuality the analysis of our current crisis is in dire need of a more comprehensive framework. Housing foreclosures, student debt, private prisons, mass deportations and environmental degradation were being talked about in the same space. This is something that the non-profit-ization of justice-focused work has made more challenging over the past few decades. (For full disclosure, I am happily and fully employed by a well-established, national nonprofit organization.)

The past few weeks I have been engaged in some intense organizing for justice on the national stage and I found myself torn between issues. By day, I was spending my long work hours organizing against climate change and local environmental pollution; and by night, I was supporting the work of my friends in the struggle for immigrant rights. It was during this space that I was again deeply reminded of the need for progressive movements to align our interlocking struggles.

The past few weeks I also confirmed my fear that the climate justice movement and immigrant rights movements in the United States are rarely in communication with one another. (At least, several  major players on the national level are not.) And yet, we desperately need to work together in the coming years to deal with the global crisis of climate refugees and climate migrants (the direct overlap between climate change and immigration crisis in the undeniably potentially devastating form).

As the impacts of climate change grow more real every week, scarcity over resources like food, water and land will push more people to leave their homes and migrate to resource rich countries. One day many of the world’s poor will have nothing to eat but the rich. This blog is my attempt to link some of the conversations within these two movements. It is my call to action for the environmental and social justice communities to unite before we are torn apart. Afterall, we are the 99%.

 

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