A friend’s Occupy vision
A friend has written a great blog post on the Occupy movement that I’d like to share. J. notes that our local Occupy encampment is being done in “by their desire to comply with the city and police,” who are planning to evict them from their current site regardless in a few weeks. She wonders what “of value will grow from their efforts,” and, by extension from the efforts of all the Occupiers.
“One of the biggest frustrations for those observing the Occupy movement is that it doesn’t appear to have an agenda, goals, or demands.” Some movement participants and supporters are also concerned about this. It’s okay though, J. says, because the movement’s not about reforming the current system from above, but a chance for all of us average people ‘down below’ to learn “how to create a society in which everyone has value, everyone is supported in achieving their greatest potential, ideas and resources are shared equitably, responsibilities are shouldered by all, and conflict is resolved to the benefit of all. In short, a society based on partnership rather than domination.”
J. says that while “many in the media or general population and even some in the movement” don’t see this, enough of the powers-that-be do, which is “why the movement is being shut down by violent means.” Allowing “a large group of people to become successful in creating a model society in which everyone works cooperatively to create equity and justice is a threat to the current paradigm. If the general citizenry stops being a tool for building wealth for a handful of individuals, if we begin to think for ourselves, and use our creativity to live in harmony with one another and in balance with the natural world without the help of experts and governments, the possibility for exploiting anyone is lost. Those who have benefited from this exploitation are willing to intimidate and even kill to end the experiment.”
J. suggests that rather than retaliating for the shutdown of Occupy sites (as was done 12-12-11 when West coast ports were shut down by Occupy activists), we should continue to create a better society where we are, even if we don’t have public sites on which to do it. Making “visible the possibility of living another way” was a good start, J. says, but “it had some drawbacks. It was about what all of us are against (corruption and exploitation) rather than what most of us are for – human rights. It’s a whole lot harder to create the necessary new social infrastructure that promotes human rights than to rail against the social infrastructure that denies” them.
The system thinks it’s “made sure that the citizenry has no place to assemble long enough to learn how to get along. It refuses the use of a place to allow people to feed and shelter themselves, to learn how to monitor all kinds of human behavior, and to develop their own methods of self-governance. The only way a large group can come together in such a way is to buy property and follow all the rigid rules and regulations that limit experimenting with what works for humans.” This “keeps everyone trapped in money making efforts, and robs them of time and energy to build the social and physical infrastructure necessary for self-sufficiency. This has been the tactic of [our local] authorities: make the occupants of the site comply with so many rules and regulations (or face bulldozing) that they have no time to accomplish anything of value.” I’d also point out that it keeps the effort private and largely invisible.
Thanks to “the brave souls who took to the streets so some of us might recognize what’s possible,” the nation’s “become energized,” and possibilities exist “with or without occupation sites. We can continue to be visible in ways that inspire and invite people across the demographic spectrum to participate in throwing off the shackles of oppression through nonviolent actions of community building. It’s hard for the police-state machine to threaten and imprison neighbors who get together for potlucks, grow their own food, share resources, develop their own ways to take care of their children and elderly, and incorporate the valuable skills and energy of their young adults. When the police and members of governments join their neighbors in building something that works for them, too, it’ll be hard to find anyone willing to enforce inhumane laws.
This is my goal,” J. says. “To find ways, with many others, to develop self-sufficient communities that bring about a natural demise of systems of exploitation, oppression, and violence.”
Yes! Petitioning, trying to change, voting within, and resisting the system give it energy and wastes yours. Ignore the current system — it’s in its death throes anyway — and create something better. Visit www.eugenemutualaidsociety.org to learn more about how some of us in Eugene, OR are trying to do this.