Occupy Eugene Newsletter
He heard about the first Occupy Eugene General As- sembly (GA) after it had happened and decided he must attend the second. When he missed the second meeting, he got physically ill. He took his illness as a message that he absolutely needed to participate. He made it to the third GA and joined the Morale committee. At the fourth GA he conducted his first morale moment.
When asked about how he maintains his intense en- thusiasm, Plaedo shared a quote from Vaclav Havel about hope:
Hope is a state of mind, not of the world. Hope, in this deep and powerful sense, is not the same as joy that things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously heading for success, but rather an ability to work for something because it is good.
“And,” he adds, “it helps to have a healthy sense of humor. If you relish life, it fuels your ability to laugh.”
He currently maintains a balance between the demands of the movement and the responsibilities of family life by sacrificing a certain amount of sleep and the luxury of “do- ing nothing.” At first, he dedicated every waking moment to OE, causing his work, art, and family to suffer. He came to realize that intense self-discipline is a key to keeping things in balance.
Through his involvement with OE, he has learned to put more emphasis on cooperation versus competition, to tame his ego, and to better appreciate others’ talents. “We require supportive networks which embrace our common dignity.”
He believes wholeheartedly in non- violence and is personally committed to it. His study of Aikido taught him the importance of turning around or neutral- izing an aggressive force. “I believe the systems of oppression and injustice do not change without being challenged,” he says, “and I believe Aikido is a success- ful strategy to challenge these systems.” He works hard at avoiding negative judg- ments of others, even the 1%.
On a more personal note, I asked Plaedo about the source of his poetry. “People, nature, life energies and experi- ences.” he answered. “The artistic side of humans tends to be a mirror. Many things around us show glimpses of the way things could be.” He believes art is not so much a statement of originality as it is the ability to harness the passions and inspirations that are already out there. His first poetry contribution was at the Occupy Oregon General Assembly (see YouTube link).
Plaedo believes that OE has had many successes already. One success is that Occupy has penetrated the collective consciousness of the media and the public so that they now understand the system could work a whole lot better. Most all of us, he says, who truly partake in
Occupy Eugene, have encountered life-changing experiences and have been awakened to new possibilities within ourselves.
He believes we must act and that “failure is not all that bad. . . . We live to fight and love again and if we learn from our failures we are more likely to succeed the next time.”
Plaedo hopes over time to encourage more joyful activism including performance art and com- munity resilience projects. He calls for more understanding between the left and right branches of activism and believes solutions will organi- cally emerge because the root causes of concerns are the same. Solutions will evolve from the good ideas and the open minds of both wings. He warns, “We can’t get too stubborn. We all need to pragmatically address
our many common problems.” Plaedo sees the Occupy movement as a preparation
to utilize the next burst of energy within the populace by building a network of human connections that can lead us to the next steps involved in radical change to our sys- tem-- hopefully in direction to a truly sustainable world. He sincerely believes the mantra he so often shares: “The globe is our home, humanity is our family, and love is our religion.”