Mostly of import is the discussion about public space. It is my opinion that this should be one of the paramount concerns to all of us. We have lost our public spaces here in the US, and not so much the physical spaces themselves, but more importantly we’ve lost the concept of how valuable public space is to our liberty as well as how integral it is to fulfill our responsibility to our Republic.
Public space (both in the literal and symbolic meaning) is where we can meet others to discuss issues in our community, question the status quo, network and create new connections, become empowered and engaged, and most of all, it is where we can air our grievances with our government and those in power.
In our technologically driven world, the Internet does allow for some of this to happen, but I would argue that it enables us to remain passive when we actually need to be active to effect the change we want to happen.
There is a longstanding tradition of the “public green” in this country (and around the world), which we have allowed to be co-opted by corporate interest through our apathy and/or oppression.
Now, we realize we need these spaces to throw off the yoke of oppression, but they’re no longer there. They’ve either been sold off, so some Too Big Too Fail Bank can build a corporate headquarters, or are being “managed” by corporate economic development organizations. That’s not to mention that our rights to use what remains (sometimes only the public streets and sidewalks) are being legislated away. This is happening all over–in Montreal most recently.
That’s why it’s important for ODE, other Occupy groups, affinity groups and anyone who values the right of citizens of any nation to protest injustice and fight for our rights to gather and assemble in our public spaces. It is essential to our good citizenship.