Monday, October 3, 2011

Occupy Wichita

A brief reflection on the protest event this past Sunday:

The breeze was cool as we walked to the corner of Douglas and Broadway, where the Bank of America Financial Center is located in Wichita Kansas. I walked up to the protesters and introduced myself, saying I was here to protest with them.

They were a loosely organized band. I myself had only heard of the protest through a Facebook group, and a post which said "2:00 pm, Sunday -- at the corner of Douglas and Broadway". I would frequently introduce myself, and ask if they knew who organized the protest. They would say no, or act confused -- as if the question I asked was a breech in implicit etiquette: The codes of those attracted to anarchy.

The message remained clear enough, however. We're tired of not having jobs, of not having public services, and of corporate entities running what should be our government. We want this to change.

And this means, though most everyone there was uncomfortable with the notion when I brought it up, we want power. "Power to the people" was a frequent chant, but this is a symbolic slogan. To claim "We want power" was still too strong.

Some chants I took up with others: "Here we are. Why we meet. Stop the crimes on Wall Street". "We -- Are -- the 99 percent". "This is what democracy looks like. This is what democracy sounds like" "Hey, hey! -- Ho, Ho! -- Corporate Greed has got to go!"

The sign I held was made by someone else, someone who appeared more organized. She would ask us what we wanted, she encouraged democratic discussions in a "General Assembly". She wanted to know what it is we could offer in terms of skills, and wanted names/numbers. Several interest groups splintered off to talk about arts funding, environmental conservation, economics (local business support), women's reproductive rights, and an overall organizational unit for the protest itself. I joined the last one of these. Conversation topics were diverse. Ideas were traded. Possible goals were written down. For myself, I tried to emphasize the need for organization, for a directed purpose -- for means and goals. Response was conflicted. Some agreed, but others wanted to make sure that we all knew that everyone had gathered at the group for their own personal reasons, and wanted to emphasize the individuality of everyone. I agreed that this was important, and that things need not be decided today -- we should discuss and think -- but said that we should be working towards putting together a group of goals which everyone agreed with. Perhaps over time, with a continuing presence on the streets, an acceptable plan will emerge. Though this certainly betrays my reason for going.

We continued to hold signs, converse amongst ourselves, and walk down the street chanting. Some people gave us thumbs up, some gave dirty looks. We walked through a restaurant district yelling slogans. Most of the people who came were young. Students, the unemployed, artists, traditionally blue collar employs, and minimum wage slaves were the most common sorts I saw. We agreed to meet at the same location the next day, and the next, and so on at 4:30 pm. This coming Saturday (October 8th) the protests will start at noon. We stand in solidarity with the Wall Street Demonstrators. And even if goals and means don't emerge, what has happened is a possibility for disrupting the symbolic order which characterizes our political dialogue. Certainly, one may only be contributing to the noise that this has become. But it is a noise in opposition to what is currently spewed, and it shows that there are people who are upset with our economic structure. The "How and what to change?" certainly garners a large array of responses. But one must acknowledge that there is a problem before responses can be considered serious. And at the very least, these protests make the claim: There is a problem with our economy, and it is a political problem.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Purpose of the Blog

We're about to get started using this, so a first posting to review what this blog is intended for seems worthwhile.

Kansas Politics is a blog which posts articles about local, political news written by local Kansans. We're are currently a group of students, has-been students, and locals who wanted information regarding local political activities to be more open to ourselves and others. As such, we've set up a schedule to (currently) cover Emporia, McPherson, and Wichita KS, and we hope to cover state politics (and other areas) as well. We all have jobs or classes, so our projected schedule is to update weekly on each of these places. If you're interested in doing something similar for your town, and would like to contribute, then email me at barfolumu@gmail.com, and I'll have you added so that we can work to gether to write articles covering local politics so that Kansans can be informed.

Also, as this is a political newspaper, I hope to generate a political dialogue as well. The articles which people post regarding factual information about what a local government is doing should be as objective as possible, because dialogue can't occur without trust between participants. But when a question of what ought to be done is being discussed, it is my hope that people bring their biases and argue for them. This type of discussion is how people engage themselves in the political process, and that's very much in the spirit of why we decided to create Kansas Politics.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Minutes for 7-10-11

Set up a blog/vlog (this website) for: Local political News (attend table discussions and report on them). Post political cartoons, blogs, news links of interest, local news (original reporting), and political information.

Wichita: 9AM table meetigns [what day did Wichita's meetings occur on? I didn't write that down]
McPherson: 8:30 AM at 400 E Kansas Street on Mondays


Website of interest mentioned: http://www.adbusters.com/

Also, look up Roosevelt's 2nd Bill of Rights. (I found at least a snippet: link)


Goals:

* Can't lie on the media Act in the U.S. (A link on that)
* Better communication/transparency between the people and the government. Awareness of corporate sponsors
* Revolution! (Supergoal)
* Philosophy cirriculum mandatory
* Class should be a political issue
* Wal Mart Union! (IWW?)
Immediate Goals:

1) Pesture representatives to make Topeka's website navigable, and so it contains information regarding what has been passed, and what is in debate. Specifically, we'd like to know when the Kansas legislature meets, and would like them to post archived videos of their meetings online.
2) This Blog, post more articles, Facebook group operational
3) Tell people about our group to get involved

Contact information:
Legislature: 785-296-2391 TTY 771
http://www.governer.ks.gov/
Governer Press release: 785-368-7138