Thursday, December 8, 2011

#342 / Occupy 2012

The "Occupy Everything" sign on the right is from Saint Louis. Click here, or on the image, to visit the website from which I got the picture.

The other "Occupy Everything" image is from Santa Cruz. It shows a large banner on a former bank building that was occupied for several days by a group that called itself "Anonymous Autonomous." That group is, or was, loosely affiliated with the Occupy Santa Cruz movement.

I have been following the various manifestations of the Occupy movement from the beginning of the actions mounted by Occupy Wall Street in New York City. I haven't yet showed up at a General Assembly anywhere, nor have I yet brought my sleeping bag down to the County Building, the nearest local location. I have been thinking about how to get engaged, however, because I definitely count myself as part of the 99%, and I want to be directly and personally involved in helping to bring a different and better brand of politics to this country.

An article in the Tuesday, December 5th edition of the San Francisco Chronicle talked about how a couple of Bay Area residents helped kick off Occupy Wall Street. That article led me to a fascinating website (PuppetGov - "Occupy Together"), that puts the Occupy movement in a global perspective.

I like the idea presented by Micah White, given credit in the Chronicle for being an early Occupy strategist. Looking ahead, he says:

What will be new is the marked escalation of surprise, playful, precision disruptions - rush-hour flash mobs, bank occupations, 'occupy squads' and edgy theatrics . . . And we will see clearly articulated demands emerging ... and perhaps even the birth of a new, left-right hybrid political party that moves America beyond the Coke vs. Pepsi choices of the past.

We will regroup, lick our wounds, brainstorm and network all winter. We will build momentum for a full-spectrum counterattack when the crocuses bloom next spring.
Anonymous Autonomous has just provided, in Santa Cruz, and example of what White is predicting for the future. If his forecast is for next Spring, Santa Cruz may be ahead of the curve. I am planning to "stay tuned" and to "get ready."

It looks like "Occupy 2012" to me!


  1. Hi Gary, thanks for this essay! I've been to some General Assemblies at Occupy Santa Cruz. Hoping to write later about their "modified consensus", when I have a more stable computer situation. Meanwhile, I applaud your foresight. Haven't camped over, either, but am doing some committee work for a while (er, excuse please, "working group" participation. I am finding that the most fascinating goings-on are not even the things the Occupiers (generally speaking) are focussed on. The interesting thing for me, (local experience only) is the way these people are embracing and deploying problem-solving in relation to their ever-changing numbers of a living, often effervescent, sometimes grumpy from sleep dep, "instant" community. I would've thought it couldn't be done at this scale, based on my ongoing community engagement, but they are doing it. (I am not speaking of the "bank building takeover", it was not accomplished by what is being called consensus.) The people at OSC are very careful about making clear what has come thru' their GA process, and do not claim to be a part of 'actions' that have not been shared with the larger group in their decision-making gatherings, which are daily. But some other groups, including unions and UCSC, whether intending to be supportive or just trying to get some juice or recognition, often also engage consensus in their planning. I don't have either a lot of steam or a lot of spare time these days, yet have been embraced simply for being present and for listening. If it is not "all gone" from that venue by this weekend, I encourage people from the larger community to find ten minutes or so and simply walk thru' the Water St demo and/or the SLPark campsite. Now THERE'S a glimpse at most people's likely future if we can't get this economy calmed down as a Nation! I enjoy the feeling of being around people who do not let generalized fear of the unknown define their lives, But to focus on your message before closing, what do you think could be a likely "minimum" intervention that would potentially persuade bankers and financiers to understand they exist at the pleasure of our people and not only of their account holders and owners? (PS this note from Linda Lemaster, regardless what the e-dress may say)

  2. I really appreciate this comment! Finding ways to escape the "generalized fear of the unknown" which truly defines so much of our lives is an absolute necessity for our politics, and for us to be able to live better lives personally. In one of my earlier postings I quoted Faulkner to just that point: "Our tragedy today is a general and universal physical fear so long sustained by now that we can even bear it." But: we really can't bear it. That is a burden we must set down.


Thanks for your comment!