I don’t pretend to speak for the movement, but here’s my two cents on the “why” of this burgeoning community, after being a part of it in Missoula for the past week:

As evidenced by the growing community and its supporting infrastructure, Occupy Missoula (and all the occupations) is much more than a protest. Some might even argue that it’s not a protest at all. I, for one, refuse to accept the current power structure in this country as a legitimate one — so it follows that any list of “demands” I make would ultimately imply that that the corporate hegemony has the power to listen to the protests and fulfill those demands. But they don’t. Only empowered citizens, both individually and as a larger community, have that power. This is more than a laundry list of complaints. This is more than public negativity towards the powers that be. This is a positive movement, where we show by example what is right. We want to grow our own food and live on the land that is ours by birthright. We want to become part of the ecosystem again; not a system of consumption, but a system of sustainable production. We want to produce our own goods, and give back what we can to the earth and the small communities that have given us our bodies, our minds, our voice, and our inalienable human rights. Someone said once, “be the change you want to see in the world.” He wasn’t talking about reform. He wasn’t talking about fighting, or war, or breaking down the world into categories of “us” and “them”. He was talking about inclusion, respect, peace, understanding, love, transcendence, humility — there are many words for it, this feeling of being a part of something, of finally being able to give instead of take. I think we all know this feeling, deep down in the basement of our minds, past the boundaries of words and arguments and explanations. Viva la Occupy!