Au contraire. Please know you are doing just about everything right.
Of course it's a big, unwieldy experiment. Of course there's a learning curve. Of course there are blips and frustrations and huge uncertainties. And, yes, the messaging is a bit messy at times.
These are things that can normally sink a protest, so it's no surprise that there's plenty of impatience and criticism -- from outside and mostly from within the camp. But a genius ingredient that's been added to the mix of this global movement must be acknowledged and appreciated. It is time.
The fact that the Occupy Wall Street movement has been able to sustain its occupation over time has been the ground on which this global movement has arisen.
Now that it's come to Toronto, we can see that a perhaps unintended consequence of the occupy tactic is that it provides the opportunity to be generous with the time needed to work through the complexities of creating a new non-violent movement that effectively advocates for the 99 per cent of us.
The occupation, in all its amorphousness, is sending a shock wave through the powerful in this city and around the world. How? Just by sustaining itself over time. That is itself threatening to the 1 per cent. And even more unnerving, the occupation movement is using the time people are spending together to create something completely alien to our current world: an inclusive, democratic social movement.
This is befuddling both to the system and, let's be honest, to the participants. It demands the invention of ways to work together outside of the two most "natural" means of social organization we have in this society: the monetary system and hierarchy.
As long as Occupy Toronto manages to sustain its presence in the park, it will have that vital ingredient of time to work through the kinks. Time is needed to get the logistics together, to build community, to forge links with the larger community of supporters, to develop even more powerful means of communication and group process. And finally, time is needed to coalesce around more specific messages and bigger, even more inclusive actions.
Of course, there is a trick to keeping time on our side. Sustainability at the park needs to continue be a high priority. As the season progresses, warm-hearted supporters will be needed from across the city to make sure the resources for food, warmth and safety continue to flow and increase.
If you haven't gone to the park yet, do yourself a favour and spend a little time there.
This article was first published in NOW Magazine.
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