Public Comment

New: What Occupy is About: An Opinion

By Thomas Lord
Monday November 28, 2011 - 05:47:00 PM

Occupy is about mass organizing to directly address big, structural problems that create intolerable inequities and injustices.

Occupy focuses on a malevolent concentration of political and economic power in a relatively small elite who seem to exercise their power so as to increase those inequities and injustices.

Occupy attempts to organize resistance under a "big tent", improvising and using techniques of Real Democracy. 

An encampment is sometimes a symbolic and practical hub for mass organization. It can help mass organization as for example on November 2, 2011, Oakland CA. 

On the other hand, a camp may be forced by necessity and common decency to spend nearly all or even "more than all" of its energy on the immediate survival and wellness needs of its members. 

When a camp does that -- turns inward that way -- it doesn't have anything left over to work on mass organizing against a defective concentration of power. It's too busy keeping its members alive and mostly civil. It's not really doing the "Occupy thing", at that point. 

A camp that is turned inward, working on the survival of its campers, also tends to punish non-camper supporters. Every gift from a supporter goes towards the immediate survival and wellness needs of the campers and, even more ... if there is anything left over then the number of needy campers is likely to grow. The reward for trying to help solve the problem is a bigger problem. 

So, not only can't an inwardly turned camp directly help the Occupy movement, it also eventually alienates its outside supporters and collapses under the weight of its own unmet needs. 

The tensions arise from that conflict between the inward humanitarian mission of camp and the outward political mission.