Many people are asking how is occupy going to move forward? What now?
These are extremely important questions because occupy is on a precipice of a major decision. Phase two some are calling it. Take the right step; they're on strong ground, able to redefine their approach and perhaps, success itself. If it takes the wrong path - they might not recover from the fall in support or relevance.
A remarkable percentage of Canadians agree (up to 80%) with fundamental occupy messages - rich/poor gap is too great, corporations have too much influence with the government and public policy, people have no real voice in the political and economic arenas. They agree that we need change, but not necessarily how to create that change.
This message came from a friend. She makes some insightful points that are worthy of consideration and perhaps implementation.
· Pack up and walk peacefully past the police - a powerful image for the media.
· Sidestep the dichotomizing and refuse to play by their rules.
· Make the issue change instead of tents.
· Then come back at it in other ways. Return, re-state
· Resistance and change come in many forms, the more varied, the better. There are those who do not protest but who support and crave change just as fiercely.
Strong points showing that change isn’t one road that we can’t diverge from. The tent cities, around the time they came down, had reached their peak in awareness. People and the media that are anti-occupy were snickering and would probably have liked to see the tents stay up during the coldest months to come. We've seen so many protests, we're immune.
Indeed tents and protests had become story, the ideals of occupy were getting lost in the threats of eviction, which provoked the tent dwellers and, ultimately, led to the police dissembling the tent ‘cities.’
The issues of equality and justice were buried in this rabble or rubble.
My friend is calling for a paradigm shift, a change in us before we can change the world. That's difficult for those in occupy who have a very fixed idea of what a protest is.
Different ways to make issues known are viable, avoid the us vs. them, someone will win context. This is not the 60s when everything that was change, polarized people: hippies vs. the pigs, students vs. the system, generation vs. generation.
Equally, protests come in many different forms. When possible, buy food at farmers' market. Use your wallet to make a statement. Take your money to a local credit union. Buy from local businesses. Avoid mega-stores like Wal-Mart that suck up jobs and small businesses. Do a bit of research. For example, the Bay (HBC), which played a fundamental role in creating this country, is owned by an equities company in the U.S. (who knows who owns that company). HBC in turn owns Target and Zellers, which they have been shutting down one store at a time. Consider where an item was made before you purchase it,
These are a smattering of ways to begin change. You don't need occupy to do something. Granted these are small steps. But, cliché time, every journey begins with a single step. For every grandiose plan to grab media attention, thousands of small steps should be taken in communities around the world.
The vast majority agrees this system is broken beyond repair. Occupy can and must be a force of change, a force beyond and above the them/us, win-at-cost, irrelevant mentality. If it's truly committed to idea of representing the 99%, they must understand that the police officers on the other side are humans and part of the 99% as much as a drug addict or the jobless. They will have to be innovative and creative, reach out to different groups like the arts community to bring their support and talents to the table. They're going to have to work hard in communities and at the national and international levels for many years.
Where to begin the next phase? How about replacing the lengthy list of 'isms' they are against to something they support, who they welcome.
'All of us' might work.
revised from terrymcdermottwriting.weebly.com