Talking to other people at Liberty Square, there is strong reason to believe that a good picture of what this occupation is all about has been conceptualized. This is something that maybe everyone already recognized, intuitively or not. We are marching not necessarily for demands, but for value systems. We are marching for values. Values such as solidarity, emancipation, social justice, humanization, human rights, etc.
In these values, that's where goals and demands fit, but above all - THIS IS WHY WE MARCH!
I'd like to share this vision of the movement with the broader collective. In the process, will attempt to
(1) ditch the "one line demand meme", hopefully for good;
(2) talk about what we are organically building - a Direct Participatory Democratic Network and
(3) subvert-appropriate the "one line demand" meme to a "one line purpose" meme. Bear strong with me. It is a fun ride.
For all those who have been following the developments in Liberty Square, we can observe that the General Assembly became a convergence point for dissent social movements. Here we have feminists, queer groups, environmental groups, anti-war groups, permaculture/foodies, anti-racism, anti-police brutality, pro-immigrants, human right activists, disabled body people, labor unions, animal rights and even animals themselves (dogs and cats so far, :-). Not to mention a broad set of political orientations, such as marxists, anarchists, liberals, etc etc.
All these individuals, organizations, and social movements recognized the legitimacy of the square to voice out their suppressed views to the public in hope of building empathy for change; they are all saying enough to representative democracy and are embracing direct participatory democracy as a better way to share grievances, build solidarity, and solve problems. Doing politics and life with people and not for people or despite people, which is the status quo of our politik so far. This is why we cannot, under any circumstances, narrow our increasingly broad-based movement (and thus POWER) to a one line demand.
It is time to open possibilities, not close them. How can we leverage the power rallying at the General Assemblies? How can we make sure that they sew together the strenght of scattered social movements into an unstoppable force? Through the people's Direct Participatory Democratic Network we are building.
Let's Imagine, as Lennon would put it. General Assemblies at the community level, at the city level, at state and national level, and finally at the global level, working with each other, in conversation with each other, building solidarity together and coordinating actions. All through physical means (offline) and virtual (online) means, maybe both. The image of this process is a cluster of non-hierarchical, layer-based, General Assemblies, federated and collaborating in the shape of concentric circles.
GA's would have the legitimacy to solve issues pertaining to their jurisdiction. So for instance, local level problems such as public school budget cuts would be resolved at OccupyNYC cluster of General Assemblies. National issues such as renewable energy-based economy discussed and solved by outer rim of General Assemblies: OccupyOregon, OccupyNorthDakota, OccupyMassachusetts, etc. Global issues such as Climate Change or Neoliberal Capitalism discussed and fought at the last outer layer (OccupyPlanet), in coordination with
OccupySpain, OccupyGreece, OccupyBrazil, etc.
Maybe we will soon realize that these old nation-state borders aren't even necessary anymore. And that is when we really make history. It is about a re-definition of borders, my dear friends, drawn by the people with the people. Again, we are creating a non-hierarchical, layered Direct Participatory Democratic Network. A framework that even though layered, is still horizontal, much like ArcGIS (cartography software)
These conversations would need to happen in a transparent, collaborative, secure environment through a open-source platform where voices on the squares are amplified. Virtual participants must have equal voice - some constituents are in hospital beds for example.
However, only the Direct Participatory Democratic Network won't make power bend. We need to invite power to change with the will of the people or clog the machine to make it bend, with people power, at precise tactical leverage points. For instance, and this is just an analogy to help clarify the point, (disclaimer for the cops out there hearing this), if we have solid internal intel from employees that blood diamonds are being invested and traded through Chase bank institutions at the Financial District, we build solidarity with social movements that oppose this
absurdity and #OccupyChase to shut it down. If queer marriage is being blocked, we seek solidarity with social movements that are in favour
and find tactical leverage points to turn the wheel towards legislation, policies, or whatever other demands those social movements have.
The drafting of goals, demands or whetever should be primarily made by the social movements that are affected by the issue at hand. Who better to draft goals than the people directly affected? Who are we to draft demands for these social movements? We can though be in solidarity WITH them and not FOR them... until power yields. So again, we leverage in solidarity power converging at General Assemblies and march. Whoever is in empathy with a particular cause, goal or demand(s) participates in the smart tactical actions developed to push for them.
To build this direct participatory democratic network, absolute free speech is crucial, where all voices, including right wing voices, are welcome. Will this mean co-option? Not necessarily. How?
This movement is not apolitical. It is not a neutral movement, as Brecht would agree, there is nothing apolitical in human affairs. This movement was clearly born with a leftist revolutionary call. Rather than a single demand, we have a "one line purpose", under which all these dissent groups including pro-environment and animal rights groups) rally around:
we are a human struggle against oppression in all its forms. Alas, a "one line purpose".
Domestic violence or neoliberal capitalism's biases and exclusions; human destruction of the biosphere; all forms of personal or impersonal
oppression perpetrated by individuals, groups, corporations, banks, corrupted structures. we are a human struggle against oppression in all its forms.
This is it seems what we've been doing. The big picture. Where is radicalism, revolution? It is on direct, autonomous, inclusive democracy
where voices are amplified and heard across miles, influencing memes and coordinating actions to emancipate the human race and the planet. A way to know we are successful? When power recognizes the legitimacy of the
General Assembly constituency to speak for themselves and self-represent.
THIS IS WHY WE MARCH. We march for values. Enough of Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité. Rather, let's chant a new song:
Humanization, Emancipation, Solidarity!