More of the 99 Percent

"The future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors; a democratic government derives its power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. Corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known."

—Excerpt of official "Occupy Wall Street" statement

As the "Occupy" movement has gone viral and sprung up worldwide and in United States cities stretching coast to coast, the folks in the North Country figured it was time to get in on the action. Demonstrations in Syracuse and Potsdam were galvanized in recent weeks; and Better Farm yesterday participated in a small "Occupy Watertown" event held in Public Square. News segments about the Occupy Watertown event were featured on Your News Now (YNN), Newz Junky, the North Country Democrat blog, and on WWY TV 7.

Basic talking points as to why people gathered this past Saturday:
  • To acknowledge that the current system is corrupt
  • To stand in solidarity with other demonstrators and affirm that corporations and banks should not be more powerful than government
  • To promote the power of human interest over governmental forces and corporation—which is to say, government should be by and for the people

"Occupy Watertown" featured the first Alchemical Bank and Currency Exchange, the brainchild of artist-in-residence Eric Barry Drasin. That installation, constructed with a 10x10 canopy and various signage advertising "trust services, personal investment, currency exchange, gift certificate deposits, transfers, and exchanges," invited passersby to "deposit" grievances, work with Eric to visualize a more positive reality, and walk away with a gift certificate acknowledging that visualization.

From the bank's website:
The Institute for Applied Metamorphosis is a research institute dedicated to the profound transformation of the individual and society. We investigate public space and consciousness through psychic intervention and narrative restructuring. We retain skepticism toward anything that isn’t made up, with a firm belief in the impossible as a pragmatic approach toward total transformation.
Here are a few happy banking customers from the day:

See the full album here.

Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.