by Susan Simons
HUERFANO — On Saturday, Jan. 27 in the meeting room of the La Veta Library, Rod House officially expanded his one-man Occupy La Veta movement to a general assembly of approximately 36 folks from all around the county.
He emphasized that the Occupy movement has never been about the notions of one person; Occupy has no leaders, no hierarchy, no spokespersons. Instead, Occupy is all about statements that arise from general assemblies where people find consensus and a common voice. Occupy is about the welfare of the 99%.
From Nov. 25 – Dec. 1, House camped out on Main Street in front of the library in La Veta. What he enjoyed most about the time were the conversations he had with people who stopped by. The folks who stopped to talk were of all political persuasions, but the conversations were not necessarily political. It became apparent to House that there is common ground. Most folks agree that the welfare of the 99% can’t be sacrificed to enrich the privileged 1% in our country.
In part, House was inspired to action by a book called Healing the Heart of Democracy by Parker J. Palmer. During his Occupy La Veta camp out, an article in the Huerfano World Journal led to an article in the Pueblo Chieftain which led to a news release in Wisconsin. As a result, Palmer telephoned House to chat and sent four copies of his book. The book is now available in the Spanish Peaks and La Veta libraries.
At the Occupy Huerfano assembly on Saturday, one stated goal was to get people of all political views meeting and talking with one another in order to establish common ground and build a more active and empowered citizenry. Anyone who wished to be heard could call out “mike check” to get the floor.
Suggestions involved using social media for better communication, attending local caucuses, attending the upcoming forums where candidates for commissioners will speak, building infrastructure for more locally produced energy and food. There will be future get-togethers to view videos created by Palmer and to continue the conversation.
People were encouraged to view a documentary on the Internet called Thrive at www.thrivemovement.com and to visit Palmer’s Center for Courage and Renewal on the internet at www.couragerenewal .org.
In general, the assembly on Saturday was focused on how the people’s voice could be more influential in local decisions. Behind the occupy movement is the belief that democracy can work for the people if the people stand up with integrity and courage and insist on being heard.