November 15, 2011

Moving towards motion

The one undeniable achievement of the Occupy movement is the fact that it has changed the national conversation and drawn major attention to economic inequality and the growing power of organized wealth.

All along, though, a nagging question has bothered me. It's kind of the same one that bothered me when US troops were sent to Afghanistan: what's the exit strategy? At what point does one declare victory? When and how do we move on to the next phase of the struggle? It's like the old joke of the dog that chased the car; what does it do when it gets it? Here are some thoughts about this from some people who helped start the movement.

This possible move towards mobility doesn't necessarily mean giving up all encampments, but it might entail recognition that one does not gain points just by camping out. It might be good to move at some point towards a more mobile phase, where different places are targeted for nonviolent action depending on unfolding events. Time could also be spent building stronger alliances between the upstart movement and older social justice institutions.

My reservations about static occupation are not intended as a criticism; it may be largely a matter of temperament. I value mobility above almost anything else so the idea of being tied to one spot makes me feel claustrophobic. Plus, as a person of Scotch Irish descent, I have a hereditary disposition to prefer raiding to occupying.

In any case, the challenge now is how to keep the movement fresh and let it evolve in new and exciting directions.

1 comment:

LdeG said...

Occupy Chicago seems to be getting it right - meetings and actions in various places around the city; teach-ins; work with a variety of older groups.

We were there visiting our son, recent college grad and unemployed (but working on his art) and I was impressed with the teach-in schedule.

They're not getting much national publicity, I suspect because Chicago learned its lesson about coming down hard last generation - no footage of police violence etc. But they are making themselves heard within the city.