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      Commentary on Occupy: Mike De La Rocha

      Commentary on Occupy Wall Street by Mike De La Rocha:

      Occupying America Is The Movement Of Many Leaders, Not Just One!

      This past weekend I had the honor of performing for, and dialoguing with, some of the organizers of the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York.

      It was an incredibly inspiring weekend that helped me understand why the Occupy Wall Street movement has exploded across the country, while at the same time frustrating so many of us that work within the traditional political establishment.

      I’ve been working in politics for almost a decade and organizing since I was a teenager, so I’ve learned a great deal about how to challenge the system.

      From organizing grassroots campaigns to consistently voting, I’ve always used different avenues to transform America.

      During this time I’ve come to acknowledge the biases and privileges that influence my work and also the comfort I have working within the political system.

      I’ve helped elect Presidents, council members and members of school boards.

      I’ve developed legislation to reform our education and juvenile justice systems.

      And I’ve personally seen the tremendous impact of nationwide organizing campaigns on the lives of countless children and families.

      But despite all of this, I too am extremely frustrated by the level of greed and corruption within our system.

      I too am angered by the high levels of unemployment across America and the growing disparity between 1 percent of the population and the rest of us.

      Yet, although I often times challenge myself to step outside of my comfort zone, the reality is that I still try to force things that don’t make sense to me into a box that does.

      And that’s precisely why Occupy Wall Street bothers so many of us that operate within and around the existing political systems - this is a movement that doesn’t fit into a box.

      It’s not a movement with one leader, but many leaders.

      It’s a movement that doesn’t want to utilize the traditional political process to change America, but a new process to impact the system.

      And that’s why we’re having a hard time embracing Occupy Wall Street.

      We may want a central leader to interview and a set of demands to rally around, but in wanting that we are asking Occupy Wall Street to become something that it’s not. 

      The fact is that Occupy Wall Street can’t be everything to everyone and it may not want to be the counterbalance to the

      Tea Party or the vehicle to reelect Barack Obama back into the White House.

      Occupy Wall Street may be fine with just capturing the imagination of the world and forcing us to have multiple conversations on how to improve America and that alone should be enough.

      But given the magnitude of our country’s problems, many of us, including those involved in Occupy Wall Street, know that we must to do more than just talk, we must act now.

      Despite your views of Occupy Wall Street, I know that as a result of the movement, millions of people are starting to close their bank accounts and putting their money into credit unions, sending a strong and powerful message to corporate America.

      I know that millions of people are now registering to vote for the upcoming election and having a genuine conversation about the state of our country.

      And I know that because of Occupy Wall Street, America, no matter what happens within the next few months, will never be the same.

      So I challenge all of us to dialogue with all those participating in Occupy Wall Street before jumping to conclusions on who or what they stand for.

      I challenge all of us to take the initiative and contribute our own gifts and talents to improving the overall Occupy Wall Street movement.

      And I challenge all of us to realize that each and every one of us has a role and responsibility to do all that we can to help rebuild America and ultimately occupy the imagination of the world once again.

      -Mike De La Rocha


      Mike de la Rocha is an LA-based musician, writer, staff to a Los Angeles City Council member, and co-founder of To find out more about Mike visit and follow him on Twitter at @mrmikedelarocha.

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