Tuesday, September 17, 2013

OWS 9/17 two years...

Those first days of rain and cops banning one form of shelter after another, as though, they only needed to dampen spirits and everyone'd just go home. Those, I think, were OWS's bravest hours. Wherever the encampments dealt with material conditions, dealt with procuring and preparing food, planning for demos, setting up and organizing space, we saw grow as out of nowhere, a collective energy and creativity that no one could have anticipate, saw awakening in our camps a realization of untapped power that made us, in those first weeks, giddy with love and hope. The general assemblies and commitment to "process," that seemed so important then, looking back, seem to have been more of a distraction, and as they became increasingly divorced from the logistical and material realities we faced, a drain and divisive force. They were about how to govern a new world before the foundation had been laid and before anyone could imagine, in other than abstractions, what that world might look like. We almost let our most impressive efforts, organizing and learning how to feed ourselves and hundreds of the homeless who came to our camps, slip by as though it were merely incidental. Where 'process' mattered, was in the planning for actions, in solving material problems: skills that have continued to be applied, as in Occcupy Sandy, on so many different fronts. What we thought the GA's were for, we did best with no process at all but that of the endless conversations and discussion that went on in those first weeks. Forgive my presumptuous "we," ... but I think it less so than using language of the outsider. How can I say "they" to something I was a part of, whose mistakes I share, along with the intoxication of those moments where my 'I' really did feel like a 'we', that I was a part of something larger and more important than myself or any one of us… and still do, still feel that. “This is for a lifetime,” I remember saying the first day at Occupy Philly, and it was, and is, and I will share a bond of love and dedication and purpose with my beautiful brave flawed comrades of those days to the end of my days. Solidarity/Love/Imagination/Resistance!

1 comment:

  1. There was always a violent, negative backhistory to the word 'occupy.' While it may sometimes be possible to reclaim a new meaning for a word, the negative connotations of 'occupy' have overtaken it. When a call to colonize Wall Street seems like good idea, time to retreat from that word altogether.