Sunday, October 2, 2011

Occupy Philly: First Meeting, 9/30/11

Occupy Together Field Manuel

The first Philly meeting turned into an ad hoc General Assembly with all the tension and underlying threat of disruptive chaos one might expect from a gathering of some 400 people with no time get to know one another, no time to build trust and a sense of a common purpose—even if that purpose might be yet to be discovered.

Began with a sobering report from the legal team—they have our backs (everyone in this movement should be damn grateful and happy they do--they have a superb record of support for free speech in a town that often doesn’t hold much stock in the 1st Amendment… how many years did Lynn Abraham press her heavy hand over the courts here?)-- but we’ll be the ones risking bloodied heads and jail time while we wait for them to perform their legal magic to get us out of the slammer.

It was kind of all downhill from there—depending on which way you take that—the laws of gravity on our side (easy going… ), or a non-stop slide to the pit of no return. I don’t say that out of discouragement—democracy is damn hard work, and not a form of labor most of us have any experience with. The real thing is more than pulling a level in a voting booth, or doing circle jerks in legislative chambers to produce endless iterations of the same old same old. Everyone in that room had at least begun to catch on to that—how the crumbs of reform tossed by Good Cop Democrats do nothing but appease discontent so the Bad Cop Republicans can steal most of us blind, and throw as many of rest of us as they can in prison for laws they pass--cause, like prohibition, they know damn well we’ll break them. Shit, when you got nowhere else to go with your life and ten minutes watching the Corporate news is like a siren call to end it all & be done with it—a toke on a weed seems like a fucking Plan!

But knowing how to shape an egalitarian society, even in microcosm—the real deal I mean—it’s not gonna be easy going—not coming from where we do in the Land of the Wage Slave Sound Bite and the Savior who never quite turns out to be what we thought he was on the campaign trail. Cause an egalitarian society—arriving at consensus where everyone has a voice, where no one gets left behind or shoved outside the circles of power so the simple majority can get on with the business of trampling the rights of the minority, and the even smaller minority can steal us blind and… but we been through that one. You know the dope.

There are powerful residual habits we’re going to have to unlearn, and it’s going to feel like pulling teeth—in the old days I mean—before Novocain—when they did it with pliers and a shot of white lightning. We’re going to have to trust one another, trust that we can do this, that together we have the genus, the creative power that surpasses even the brightest individual—cause no individual can know what it is we want as a people, can know how it is we want to live together—since living together is our only fucking choice. And since it is, we better do it with love. And respect. And cooperation. And all those virtues the power hungry (or is it power-starved?) wage slaves and servants of those who think they own us and the earth and everything in on and under it—all those virtues they like to make fun of, like they’re signs of weakness.

They’re not signs of weakness. They’re our strength. Together—that’s our mighty river, our tsunami of change and regeneration that’s gonna turn this bruised damaged dysfunctional master-slave world over and bring us a new day, new life—not fucking hope… the real thing.

So let’s hang in there. Let’s resist doing it the old way—doing it their way. The revolution is born in every decision and every action created out a spirit of cooperation and commitment to consensus--and that is the heritage we are here on this planet to claim for our children, and our children’s children.


Philadelphia Weekly report on this meeting

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