#Occupy – Year 1

September 18, 2012 Leave a comment

I love the fact that the mainstream can’t get its head around what #occupy is all about.  I am glad the movement does not fit a pre-existing paradigm.

I love the fact that occupiers themselves find no consensus on what #occupy is all about.  It means the movement is still emergent and therefore most alive.

The occupation that began a year ago today is part of a movement that is still unfolding.  It is not a replica of the past.  It is adaptive.  It learns through action – it learns through life.

I’ve been a long time subscriber to Adbusters.  The magazine calls for revolution in every single issue.  And for a long time it kept saying:  “”We are coming! We are coming!” But nothing really seemed to happen.  So I was intrigued when they actually gave a date to the call.  September 17.  I did not think anything would come to pass, until it did – and this is how movement building goes.

The national conversation has changed.  We moved from talking about the Tea Party to talking about banks and the 99%.  No, the people have not been bailed out.  And yes, the encampments have been dispersed.  But I’m still convinced that we took a massive leap.  Decentralization is the logic of our day – this movement is on the side of history, both the message AND the medium – the how.

The activists who held it down for all of us are learning powerful lessons, they have the scars to show for it.  Give them time.  Stay on their side. Support their passion. Let’s learn together.

I was listening to NPR the other day and a commentator was comparing the Tea Party and #Occupy.  He said that five years from now someone will call a Tea Party office in Washington, DC and someone will answer the phone – the same cannot be said for #Occupy.  Personally, I think this is great.

It makes me think of Van Jones who, speaking before #OccupyBoston, reminded us that every national progressive nonprofit has a policy plan and agenda to put before legislators – why then do we want #occupy to have one too?  Something else is happening here, something else is brewing and it is not meant to capture our short attention spans.  #Occupy is midwife to a new day and birth is always messy.

I like the way Sarah Jaffe put it:  “Occupy’s anniversary feels less like a celebration of what was and more a demonstration of what’s becoming.”

And on that future, I keep my gaze.

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  • Monte Allen says:

    The Occupy Movement, like the movement of water, consistently seeks the same end. But it can follow many channels to get there. Along the way, it responds to the context and can fill unoccupied spaces. Let’s each think of at least one way to help propel this movement.

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