Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Reply to a letter of concern from someone who has left Occupy Philadelphia

If you want to know who the people are who are camping, talk to them. Ask them.

This is not a protest. This is a deliberative, decision making, community building body. Protests and actions and demands may flow out of those decisions. They will change over time as needs and concerns change--that's why the Occupations can't be pinned down to this or that specific statement. And that's one reason why, in 4 short weeks, they've become a world-wide movement. This would never have happened had they been narrowly targeted 'protests.'

As a community, music, art, dance--and drum circles that announce our presence--are no less a part of the movement than specific demands for change. You want real action? We are feeding hundreds of homeless men and women every day, and working to find them places to live. Does that not count as real action?

We can no longer pick out this or that concern or problem and expect to bring about meaningful change, not when they are linked in a complex economic and political power structure that can never be altered from within--hence, we reclaim Commons as outside space to begin a larger, overall challenge to entrenched power.

We do not need a 'permit' to occupy what is ours. No one grants the people rights. The rights belong to the people. It is up to us to claim and seize them from those who pose as our caretakers and benefactors, while working only for the benefit of the few and the servitude of the many.

The police may well crush this movement. I suspect it may come to that. But our roots sink more deeply every day and if they crush us in one place or many, those roots will spring up and grow into another wave and another.

We need faith in ourselves, in the power of our decision making bodies and our creative spirit--faith to overcome our fears, for fear is the only effective weapon they have. Not their pepper gas or billy clubs or jails--not even the power to kill--none of this can stop us if we cast off the inhibiting shackles of fear.

Come back to City Hall, Paul. We need you. We need your creative love, your art, your voice, your beautiful self. As you need us. We will be there for you--all of us, in love, brotherhood, solidarity--and belief in freedom for all human kind.

Jacob Spirit Stick

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