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Santa Fe Occupiers Hold General Strike on May Day

May 1, 2012

SANTA FE, N.M. - In solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street call for a general strike on May 1, Occupy Santa Fe is calling a strike and holding a picnic and general assembly at the Rail Yard today, May Day.

Thomas Jaggers, a permanent resident of Santa Fe, originally from England, who works at an educational non-profit, compares Occupy to the Civil Rights Movement.

"The masses of people who are being exploited by the systems that we have in place are starting to find their voice and to have the courage to put their bodies and their lives on the line to make a change for the greater good."

Jaggers believes that the Occupy Santa Fe general assembly is offering solutions to issues that are experienced around the world. One answer is the freedom to engage in political conversation with a community of peers and, further, to participate in active decision-making with that community. He says representative democracy, unlike participatory democracy, has become the domain of career politicians and the very wealthy.

Tania Chavez, an activist who helped adapt the Occupy May Day poster for Santa Fe, says the focus today is on joy and social connection.

"Community building is really a big part of it, and the solidarity showing that the people have power and have strength, and our power is with one another."

Scott Shuker, an actor who helps facilitate Occupy meetings in Santa Fe, says he's lived most of his life below the poverty line and is hoping that a general strike will create a spike in awareness of the 99 percent. He shared part of his vision for the world.

"I see people becoming self-governing, using consensus-building instead of voting for one rich white guy or another rich white guy to tell us how we will be governed, where money becomes not the standard by which we make decisions."

Shuker says he's seen glimpses of his dream world while living in intentional and alternative communities. He says he may not see his dream come to fruition, but that if enough pockets around the world continue to work on this model, it may happen, and he believes it's worth pursuing.

Beth Blakeman, Public News Service - NM