OccupyMaine charts its future

By DEIRDRE FULTON  |  September 26, 2012

Occupy_soapbox_main
OCCUPY THE BALLOT

After she spoke in New York City on the Occupy Wall Street anniversary, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein was crowned (controversially, to some who believe that the Occupy movement should oppose any sort of electoral political belief system — even one that aligns with its principal tenets) "The Occupy Candidate." In August, she was arrested at an Occupy Fannie Mae protest in Philadelphia. Stein's high-profile, if unofficial, connection to the Occupy movement highlights how in step her party is with Occupy ideals.

"The Occupy movement is not an electoral movement," says Asher Platts, an Occupier who is running as a Green Independent Party candidate for Maine senate, hoping to represent parts of Portland. He's the guy behind the eye-catching Occupy the Ballot signs we've been seeing around town for months. "However, many organizers within the Occupy movement have been longtime Greens. It's not really a coincidence that a lot of the things that the Occupy movement is talking about are a lot of the same things that the green party has been talking about for a long time."

For example, consider the Maine Green Independent Party's "10 Key Values," which include decentralization ("we support a restructuring of social, political and economic institutions away from a system which is controlled by and mostly benefits the powerful few, to a democratic, less bureaucratic system"), community-based economics ("we support independently owned and operated companies which are socially responsible, as well as co-operatives and public enterprises that distribute resources and control to more people through democratic participation"), and gender equity ("we call for the replacement of the cultural ethics of domination and control with more cooperative ways of interacting that respect differences of opinion and gender"). All that sounds like it could be ripped from the Occupy playbook.

Candidates like Platts and Holly Seeliger, who is running for school board in Portland and recently wrote a blog called "Reflections on my first year in the Occupy Movement" (hollyseeliger.wordpress.com), serve to underscore growing dissatisfaction with current partisan politics. This fall, Occupying the Ballot may mean voting Green.

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