Forum Post: Local GA's May Day reflection, thoughts/fears on tactics and relevance (to discuss), a Manifesto
Posted 2 years ago on May 5, 2012, 9:12 p.m. EST by JeanPaulHolmes
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I'm submitting for discussion 3 interconnected topics that have arisen among my local Occupy's GA-ers since May Day.
1st: Despite the media's poor coverage, we felt May Day was a huge success. This was not readily apparent among our group, as some had heard May Day activities involved 100s of people rather than 1000s. Pictures we shared from Chicago and NY quickly smashed that illusion!
2nd: Despite our happiness with May Day, we found a real need to address questions regarding our relevance.
We found that interest in our group grew this week, but that was noted as being noticeable because of the greater context of interest waning in general. We thought this might be attributed to Occupy being thought of as a brand by most non-Occupiers, and the excitement surrounding it being in decline.
Reflecting on this, most people I talked with had 2 thoughts.
One was that we noticed most interest, here, remained strongest among those who hadn't really encountered us protesting as much as among those who we worked with to build something material which matched our common values. For example, our getting a referendum on the ballot that would increase free speech rights in privately owned parking lots and malls really piqued interest. Further, our activity surrounding the treatment of local factory workers and our working with the local Jobs With Justice group on that brought in new people and landed us the resources to take a bus to the NATO protests in Chicago. We decided protest was necessary outreach, but can't sustain us (the local group) alone. Victories were necessary. Thoughts?
Another idea involved the upcoming elections. There is a lot of fear that the elections might be as a force that factionalizes us. To counter this, we are are thinking of ways to maintain unity. One thing that has worked, and we may start doing more mindfully, is to encourage discussion of ideas at a designated time with the context being that the ultimate goal we desire is, among all of us, very similar (anarchy, communism's final stage, or just plain "democracy" to some). We've found most disagreement is rooted in how we get to this ultimate goal or how much individuals believe it is actually possible to get there. That said, how we get there is something we decided should be open (barring violence) and that "we will learn what we can do together."
Regarding this, we do kind of luck out that those members who are progressive Democrats will be engaged with the referendum item in their election work, keeping Occupy relevant to them and making sure they don't lose ties with us in the election huh-bub.
3rd: Discussion on the tactical ideas in the 2nd subject has been going on before this week to a certain extant and I wrote a Manifesto for May Day which reflects them in certain parts.
I posted that here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/91901850/Manifesto-of-an-Occupier
I'd like to submit this "Manifesto of an Occupier" for use, review, dissection, and critique. I encourage it to be treated as the Situationists treated texts, so feel free to plagiarize, dismember, and re-contextualize. In a year's time I myself will likely look at some the what is written in it laugh, and re-write it. Thoughts?