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Forum Post: Does non-stop occupation exhausts activists?

Posted 12 years ago on Dec. 27, 2011, 3:05 p.m. EST by hidden (430) from Los Angeles, CA
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

I was watching interviews of Russian protest activists and organizers and some of them convinced that frequent protests are not beneficial.

If you think about it: let's say within a week we get over 10,000 people and at any time only about 1,000 are present. So it appears like we only got 1,000 people. People also get tired, exhausted to occupy non-stop and might even get discouraged, plus all the harassment by cops, cold weather and prohibitions from sleeping at the location.

So, would it make more sense to just organize events like every week or every two weeks maybe on Saturday or Sunday so all the people would wait and be excited about it and come together even those people who are working and don't have the time constantly occupy, but would like to participate. It could be organized for example not to just stay at certain place, but walking trough popular places which would give more exposure.


  • More exposure.
  • More participation.
  • Less exhausting for activists.
  • More efficient resource allocation.
  • People would be more excited to participate as they were waiting for the event.
  • Cold weather wouldn't be a problem.
  • Cleaning wouldn't be a problem.
  • Eviction wouldn't be a problem.
  • Loss of personal stuff like tent wouldn't be a problem.
  • Would be easier to see our real strength.
  • I'm sure there are more.
  • 10s of thousands of people is impossible to arrest so even thouse who don't want to risk being arrested would still participate.

What do you think?



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[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 12 years ago

The problem with OWS is not that it has been nonstop but rather that it has been constantly interrupted.

I don't think that there was anything particularly exhausting in the occupations themselves. If anything a strong sense of community was being built while part time occupiers could come and go and the movement was very visable to passers by. What IS exhausting, I think is trying to find shelter every night for the hundreds of people rendered homeless by the eviction, Trying to coordinate the activity of dozens of Working Groups without a public, visible open and accessible space around which to unite.

OWS must occupy an open public space. That is its defining characteristic as a movement. Of course, municipal administrations, the whether and the holiday season all conspire against that, as does an expectation of something happening with OWS on an almost daily basis, which too, was much more possible with the occupation of an open and public space,

[-] 1 points by CatLady2 (248) from New York, NY 12 years ago

How was anyone rendered homeless when the camping in Zuccotti was disbanded? Where did these supposed " homeless" live prior to Zuccotti? I was down there in the beginning of Oct to check it out and I never spoke to one person who was even a NYer, so these homeless folks apparently were coming in from other parts of the country. Were they all homeless before coming to NYC?

The owners of the park were more than leniant in even allowing the first tents to go up. It was never intended to be used as " living" space, but OWS had all the freedom in the world to protest there, without the camping.
There has got to be more to Occupy than just gathering in a public space.

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 12 years ago

there were hundreds of people who came to Zuccotti from all over the nation with no resources and essentially homeless when they got there. They are still in NYC, still in the movement, but without competative employment or a regular place to stay.

You'e either with the movement or you're not and I guess you're not.

What does occupy mean if not to occupy. It's the first word in the name of the movement. There are many reasons to occupy. To reclaim to commons, to create community. To be a public space where people can find out about the movement 24/7. But a central point of a movement calling itself Occupy Wall Street is to occupy Wall street, which we have yet to do, but we will get there,

[-] 1 points by CatLady2 (248) from New York, NY 12 years ago

I dont think it is so black and white as far as " with the movement or not" as you say. From the beginning I thought.. ok this could be something I could get behind. There are plenty of folks like me who thought the same thing. Of course there are issues that need to be addressed in this country, but I don't understand what will actually happen by camping in a park or attemtping to take over private property. As far as those coming to NYC with no resources.. maybe this wasn't such a grand idea. NYC has enough to handle as far as the legit homeless, who for the most part have some sort of mental disabilitiy. Coming to NYC, which is one of the most expensive cities in the country to live in to begin with, with no real idea if they would or wouldnt have a place to sleep doesnt make alot of sense to me.

I'm all about making change in this country, I would like to see more focus as I have stated in many of my posts, and more direction as to where this is going.
Occupying Wall Street as in standing in the streets yelling at the cops and everyday workers, isn't going to change anything. And it sure isn't going to bring in the support this movement needs. Why not go to Congress, or get more politically involved on a local level to start. Vote in new blood who have some of the same ideas of OWS. Someone from each state, each county. To me that makes the most sense.

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 12 years ago

The primary purpose of occupying is taking back the commons, both symbolically and literally. Of course there are many more reasons to occupy but that strikes me as the over riding reason. As far as coming to New York to join the movement, what a disgusting characterization to say it "wasn't such a grand idea." That's exactly what I did in 1964 and I'm all the better for it.

As far as handling the homeless. We handle our own homeless. We don 't need handouts from the state, but it doesn't help to have the cops constantly breathing down your neck,

If you want to see more "focus" as you put it, exactly how do you propose to go about that? Do you know ANYTHING about OWS and how it functions, how decisions are made. It's up to us, all of us, and that includes you. If you have such great ideas about focus, start a GA in your community and run with it but don't complain about what others are doing or not doing.

The movement gets more support every day and new GAs are always forming. That the genteel middle class is resistant is not surprizing. That a militant movement of opposition has not been able to reach it in a mere few weeks is no surprize. Nobody else has been able to organize the genteel middle class at all,

[-] 1 points by CatLady2 (248) from New York, NY 12 years ago

As far as coming to NYC with no resources, as to know whether or not one has a place to sleep is hardly " disgusting" as you characterized me. Coming to NYC in 1964 is alot different than coming here penniless in 2011. As for handling your own, where did the money come from? It came from handouts and donations, hardly " handling your own". It came from people like me who donated food , I did not donate money as there was no one in charge of the funds at that time. But I had no trouble donating 2 dozen pizzas and having them sent to the park.

I was down at the park once in Oct.. stayed for a portion of a GA and left cause it made no sense to me. It was more yelling and finger wagging than anything concrete, and that people's mic thing made it impossible to understand anything. I follow the GA minutes, when they are updated and am astounded to read things like $3000 approved to buy silk screen kits. Surely OWS could use that money for things like housing for the homeless occupants. In the beginning I questioned where the money was going and had every post deleted. Transparency goes both ways.

My community is Manhatten and LI, I came , I saw and walked away thinking there has to be more. What I encountered was alot of unhappy young people with a zillion complaints.

The cops are doing thier job, yes to breathe down the necks wherever there are large groups of people gathering. Go up to MSG tomorrow and for the next 3 nights after that and see how the cops are breathing down the necks of those attending the Phish shows. large groups = crowd control. It is what it is.

I've worked hard to get to the place in my life where my family and I are good. I'm certainly not a part of the 1% , but I am not at the bottom of the 99% Somewhere in between, like so many others. If you want to consider me a part of the genteel middle class, so be it. But this movement does indeed need more support from us genteel types and taking that " you know it all" tone like you and so many others on here put out isn't going to help the cause. It just makes so many shake thier heads and walk away. Asking questions in my world is to learn, and having differing opinions is what makes the world a far more interesting place to me and solves alot more problems in the long term.

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 12 years ago

First of all I want to apologize for apparently appearing that I know it all. I certainly don't. My observations are merely my own and they either have some merit or they don't. They may well not, but OWS is kind of like the parable of the 5 blind men and the elephant and is going to look different to everyone because everyone brings there own experience to it.

I am a little surprised at your reaction to OWS as frankly and in my experience, I think your experience is atypical. I've spoken to many people, including several conservatives who were profoundly moved after spending several hours at Zuccotti Park. Of course there is no accounting for taste and it is not reasonable to expect reactions to be universally and uniformly positive.

Regarding the trees (as opposed to the forest above) There is a strategic reason not to find permanent housing for regular occupiers and that is an expectation that there will be a successful re-occupation somewhere in the near future. This is very important to OWS for a number of reason, perhaps primary among them is the effort to retake the commons, both symbolically and practically.

I'm actually surprized at your perception that Zuccotti Park was full of unhappy young people. Statistically the average age of an occupier is 33, not old but not exactly young either. Personally I am astonished at their enthusiasm and energy and what I saw as a very positive outlook. They really want to change the world, and very fundamentally, not just dress it up around the edges. I've been active in social movements for nearly 50 years and I've had some of the best political discussions of my life at Zuccotti Park. I also found a remarkable sense of community, which I expect has to be entirely unconvincing to someone who was unmoved by the experience.

The OWS occupation is dramatically peaceful and there was no need for that many police. Indeed, at this point the police and security guards outnumber the occupiers by about 30 to one.

My remarks regarding the middle class were certainly not directed at any individual. They were directed toward a problem. The fact is that nobody has successfully organized the American middle class ever. The sociologist C. Wright Mills wrote a whole book about it, a real chestnut called White Collar. I think it is rather much to expect a movement that is barely weeks old to do something that no other social movement has been able to do for a century or more.

Meanwhile OWS has done some remarkably successful outreach to better organized sectors of society: sectors of organized labor and the religious community, the stop stop and frisk movement, the environmentalist movement and other social sectors.

Part of the problem with OWS is the vasteness of its vision, particularly in comparison to its rather puny size. That may seem like a contradiction. I do think that the rapid growth of OWS is really remarkable. I also recognize that it is a tiny, tiny movement in a nation of 300 million. But in many ways it is not comparable to any movement that preceded it in living memory, which tended to be about very specific issues such as voting rights or ending a specific war. The OWS vision is much broader and I think the closest comparison is probably the Socialist Party during its peak years in the first two decades of the last century or the Populist movement during the last couple of decades of the 19th century.

[-] 1 points by CatLady2 (248) from New York, NY 12 years ago

I'd like to say thank you for the apology. I have often been referred to a " hater" on here in some of my other posts and that is so far from the truth. In fact hate isn't a word in my life. I often don't filter my thoughts and for that perhaps I get percieved as being against this movement. I come from a world where I still think there is good in most people.

My experiences in the park that day in Oct was interesing. I spoke with several young people, mid to late 20's. They all had a different grievances, from student loans to no jobs to legalizing weed and so forth. I didn't get the feel of any real cohesiveness as far as the issues. I have a 22 yr old son so I have a good repoire with all age groups, but what I heard that day was just alot of anger and blame.

I'm all about self responsibility, yes of course there are major issues in this country which are horribly f*d up. The money in the gov't blows my mind, the foreclosure situation is ridiculous. Yes there are loads of peple who never should have taken out a massive loan that they knew they could never pay..and then there others who really really got knocked on thier butts with the loss of a job or medical debt. So its a combo of both. Poor decisions by individuals and crappy policy's made by the gov and banks.

The issue with the cops, you get a few bad apples on both sides.. angry people and hot heads.. put them in the same room and its a nightmare. But the police presence isn't going away, so everyone will need to learn to work together and respect each others position. It makes me angry to hear people calling the cops pigs and so forth. Ive got cop friends, most are decent working people only doing thier jobs. As far as the middle class, and yes there is one.. there are still plenty of people making a decent living and going on vacation and shopping and dining out. But they too don't like what is going on in DC . But most don't find the OWS method of action something they want to be involved in.
I talk to everyone about this movement " Tell me what do you think of OWS?", is my question to everyone who comes into my home or business. I get a million different answers, from the " we think its stupid" to the " I wish they would go to DC"., to " the who"? So you see, there are so many different perceptions out there.

There isn't just this simple " with us" or "not" thinking. I don't know what the right answer is to fix things. I do know there is work out there, maybe not the dream job at 80K a year, not yet anyway. But there is always a way to make a buck, somehow someway. I don't believe in everyone making the same wages, that just makes no sense to me. There will always be those with more, and those with less. I do however think the national min wage needs to be increased.
Other concerns are the healthcare industry. Healthcare insurance has skyrocketed over the last 5 or 6 yrs. I don't know many compnaies who pay the full amount for any employee. In my company, we are small ( Under 12 employees) I offer health insurance, at whatever the cost is thru the Ins co. It is impossible for me to pay for my employees and also make sure they get a paycheck. The day to day bills have all gone up in my industry ( construction) . Yes I think the vision of OWS is vast, maybe too vast. Maybe it needs to whittle it down to a few key issues to start. Maybe Im wrong, but I do think it would help people like myself understand .

We arent all the enemy, I am one of many out there who has strong feelings about the key issues. Perhaps by letting our voices be heard, we can all find the glue that will hold it together.

Again, thank you for the apology and response.

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 12 years ago

I think that OWS is radical, even revolutionary, and it has been so long since Americans have experienced a movement as radical as OWS (several life times in fact), that they don't know what to make of it. I don't think that the first instinct is hostility, more curiosity really. In fact polls show that even after the fall off of some popularity nearly 30% of those polled support OWS, That's a figure most Republican Presidential candidates would love to have.

That said support is not the same thing as active participation, which is considerably smaller, but also much harder to measure. And to me, participation is the key. It is not a movement for arm chair speculators. But new GAs are starting all the time and all over the place. I certainly don't expect people with jobs or other responsibilities to be able to occupy 24/7, but most people live close enough to a GA or occupation to participate occasionally. I have a job and some health problems and live at some distance from Manhattan, but I'm able to occupy at least a couple of times a month and when I say occupy, I mean occupy, though I generally don't get much sleep, Some of the best political discussion of my life have been at Zuccotti at 3 and 4 in the morning.

The overnight situation at Zuccotti has become especially bleak since the eviction. Sometimes the number of occupiers dwindles to less than half a dozen including myself. And we are outnumbered by the police by about 30 to one. Some of the staunchest people who continue to occupy are hard core homeless and people with addictions who came to the occupation initally to get the good food. There's no more food, but these are people who are definitely on the outs socially, but who were clearly moved by OWS.

I think there are several things that are at the heart of OWS. There is its name, It means to occupy. It means to take back the commons and it identifies Wall Street and all that means as the source of the world's (not nation's) problems. Then there is the Declaration of the Occupation of New York City, which I think is the best guide to what the movement is all about besides going to an occupation or GA. I think direct action (especially as opposed to any kind of political action) is also a defining characteristic of the movement. It is more than a mere tactic. It defines the movement as an incipient culture of opposition and not just a reform movement.

Finally I think GAs are really important. I am not wedded to them in any kind of absolute sense, but they are an effort to show people that democracy is about a lot more than voting once a year or so and then going away and expecting the people we voted for to take care of everything for us. In a real democracy everybody should be responsible for the decisions that affect our lives and have a stake in those decision, that is to say, participate actively in our own governance. Perhaps a better way may evolve, but right now the OWS vision is to imagine a GA in every neigborhood.

To me that is the best way to show real support for OWS, not by sending money, but either by attending a GA as often as possible or if there is not one convenient to you, starting one in your community. If you have difficulty doing that people from the nearest occupation would be glad to come and help, though they may need transportation, room and board.

As for the police. I grew up in a neighborhood of civil servants. All of my neighbors were either cops or mail men. I vacationed with the police family next door. I have absolutely nothing against any individual cop. It is the institution that is the problem, not people who apply to the institution as a means to make a living in a world of limited choices. The social role of the police and the military is that they have a sanctioned monopoly on violence. The purpose of that sanctioned monopoly on violence is to protect the 1% from the rest of us. That is who they are protecting, that is who they are serving. In a truly just society there would be no need for either the police or the military, and we in OWS believe such a society is possible. You may call it nuts. I call it the golden rule systematically applied.

The crises that OWS seeks to address are much more than national in scope. The most obvious aspect of the international nature of the crises is climate change. That will not be reversed by any single state. It will take the world. We had a presence at Darfor where we interupted a meeting and subjected those world leaders to a mike check.

But even things that are really not directly connected to the physical geography of the planet are international, which is why our movement resonated around the world. It is about the corporate dominance of our culture and how everything is commodified. That is not solved in one nation state.

I do not view anybody in the 1% as the enemy. I do think that there are certain institutions that are hostile to the democratic transformation of society from below. Those institutions are too numerous to mention but they would include the police, the military and all institutions that have a sanctioned monopoly on violence, corporations and for that matter the state itself. Going after all that is a monumental task, It will take at least decades and perhaps several life times but patience is a revolutionary virtue.

For those who think that the problems we face can be adequately addressed by some reform nostrum or set of nostrums, I'd say, wait and see. Such nostrums will either be legislated into law or they won't be. If they are legislated into law they will either work as intended or not. If they work I will have been proven wrong, but I strongly suspect that because most of the crises we face are systemic and built into the very system, that they will fail. If on the other hand the state refuses to pass the reforms that the reformers say will fix everything that will demonstrate how the state itself stands in the way of democratic change.

Meanwhile, our job is to organize. It's just that some sectors of the 99% are harder to organize than others, not that anyone is the enemy.

[-] 1 points by hidden (430) from Los Angeles, CA 12 years ago

Yeah, not experiancing the sense of comunity would be a drawback, but there are so many advantages.

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 12 years ago

Advantages to what? Not occupying? I think there are many, many more advantages to occupying than to not occupying. First of all it is the defining characteristic of the movement. It is both a concrete and symbolic manifestation of taking back the commons. It is a physical place where people can go 24/7 to learn about the movement. No office with defined office hours can substitute for that, I have had some of the best political discussions of my life at an occupation at 3 and 4 in the morning, and the whole issue of community is not to be trivialized. When we get occupations in every community in the nation it will be possible to go anywhere, find instant friends, good food and a place to stay for free everywhere in the nation.

[-] 0 points by alouis (1511) from New York, NY 12 years ago

The mayors had a coordinating phone conference. Their aim was to squash the occupations. This did hurt the movement. It is my hope and my belief that the real leaders of this movement (or perhaps more correct to call it an uprising or an incipient uprising) are reviewing what has happened, taking appropriate lessons and making plans. It is not realistic to expect an action per day, especially without a public space from which they can be launched. Too bad this website cannot function well as a cyber base.

[-] 1 points by RedJazz43 (2757) 12 years ago

This website can't do shit because half the people on it oppose OWS and the half that think they support it have never been to an occupation or a GA and are really clueless regarding what OWS is all about. They are kibbitzers. Occupiers are serious revolutionaries. And we are all leaders.

[-] 0 points by alouis (1511) from New York, NY 12 years ago

Correct I think, on all counts.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (33802) from Coon Rapids, MN 12 years ago

This is why we are here this is why you are needed.


Share, circulate, educate, inspire.

[-] 0 points by KingVegetax (51) 12 years ago

Lots of sound and fury and no real action. Protesting is fine. But you have to have a plan of action to go with. Still not seeing anything coming from OWS that indicates they are capable of changing anything.

[-] 1 points by hidden (430) from Los Angeles, CA 12 years ago

The action is in action which is occupation. The plan is to awaken as many people as possible and ows is successful at it. The question is: Is it possible to be more successful?

[-] 0 points by KingVegetax (51) 12 years ago

And then what. Making people aware of the problem alone won't solve anything.

[-] 1 points by hidden (430) from Los Angeles, CA 12 years ago

It will. They will start searching for causes and solutions and eventually find them. And when the majority understands what needs to be done, we will be able to take action and apply the solutions that make the most sense.