Here's a scenario that I'm sure we've all considered. It gets colder
and colder in Zuccotti, and numbers begin to dwindle. At the same
time, the encampment may or may not become increasingly isolated. At a
certain critical mass, Bloomberg deems it viable to evict the
residents. There are other variables, including the morale of the
remaining residents and the impact police repression of this
hypothetical reduced and isolated group would have on the movement.
And I am basing this scenario on the existence of a very young, but
healthily squalling, social movement that Zuccotti helped spawn, but
is, now, independent of it.
And even movements have ups and downs. Thinking back on the antiwar
movement, it's easy to remember the ever larger demonstrations, the
collective milieu, the victories. But, in reality, the movement was
not an ascending curve, nor a geograpical location, but a spatially
and temporally uneven process, a long series of fits and starts and
ups and downs that produced a shift in consciousness and the balance
of social forces over many years. Months or even a year or two would
pass in which little happened (especially election years, which showed
that the rulers still controlled the game tempo and board). We are
just at the beginning of such a process.
If the above scenario is a possibility, it may be wise for OWSers to
make a contingency plan for an orderly retreat, on our own terms,
proclaiming tactical victory, when we reach a certain quantitative
tipping point. The movement continues. Actions will continue. And we
can retake this or other terrain at a propitious moment of our
choosing. To misuse Gramsci's terms, we would be converting a war of
positions into a war of movement.