In the run up to worldwide action by the Occupy Movement on May 1st I have a few thoughts I'd like to share. Let's call it my attempt to call out those who may seem well meaning, but who's actions ultimately can do irrevocable damage to our movement.
My advise and plea is, that if your a troublemaker or anarchist into gratuitous violence or meaningless petty property destruction to prove your faulty points, no matter how justified you may think they are, please just stay home. Or better yet, take your misguided politics to the scrapheap of history where they belong. That is, unless you can bring yourself to see the paramount importance of a strict adherence to the principle of nonviolence. There can be no exceptions to this principle.
The Occupy Movement does not need you and your tactics. Petty vandalism, police baiting and violence no matter how it is directed rewards the forces of the corporate state by alienating the real and potential supporters of the 99% movement. It justifies retaliation by the police state. Nonviolence is the key to the ultimate success and growth of the OWS movement. Which if you haven't realized it yet, is a force that at its core is a nonviolent movement seeking economic and social justice, peace, empathy for others and the growth of compassion for our fellow human beings. Even love and empathy for our enemies free from the usual knuckle-headed mindless tactics of the sixties or the outdated violence of past WTO protests. Our powerlessness is actually our strength. This may seem counterintuitive, but it is ultimately true. This powerlessness along with self-discipline, honesty and transparency are the neutron bombs and moral justification that must underpin the 99% movement.
"It appears to me that the resources of the state, or tremendous resources of the state, have been employed against the occupy movement. We seen that externally with the physical eradication of occupy encampments. It been more difficult to see internally. How they are working to subvert the movement. But I think it's very clear what the goal is, the goal is to sever the movement from the main stream. Because the occupy movement is fundamentally a main stream movement". Chris Hedges April 2012I have posted in the past about how elements of the early Occupy Seattle movement lacked creativity and intelligence when it was sorely needed. I was there at the beginning of the Occupy Seattle movement and there was a window of opportunity to grow the movement significantly. Several of the early protest were supported by large numbers of sympathetic demonstrators with whom the OWS movement's message had resonated. Here in Seattle much of this good will towards the movement was soon squandered by a lack of creativity on the part of the movement's facilitators who, more often than not, were more inclined to resort to needless and often pointless confrontations with authority than promoting a movement based on protected and rational civil disobedience aimed at addressing widespread economic and social injustices.
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At that time local Occupy Seattle protesters enjoyed wide support from a liberal bent citizenship, liberal press, left leaning elements within the local political establishment and the local labor movement. But much of this support was alienated in the wake of what seemed to be one stupid tactical move after another. The movement seemed to be fronted by a core group of police hating, petty violence prone dogma ranting anarchists and uncreative types who struggled to come up with a tactical plan that didn't resort to direct and often pointless confrontations directly with the police or the Mayor's office for the sake of confrontation.
These tactics created a question in the minds of main stream sympathizers I believe because it seemed to lack much creativity or analytical thinking or simply missed the point of why we protest entirely. The protesters seemed to often overlooking the main themes of the Occupy movement, direct action and occupation in an attempt to awaken the main stream to the morality of the economic injustices that were going on around us everywhere, the destruction of the middle class and the growth of the power of the corporate state who controls it all.
Occupy Seattle and the occupy movement as a whole must adhere to nonviolence at all costs and find a way to become a creative intelligent force for good if there is any hope of gaining wide spread support from citizens. This maybe a difficult goal given the state of the occupy movement's track record and public image here in Seattle. Perhaps we have screwed up our one chance to make a point already with many. This is the reality I think we face on May 1st and in the coming months if we wish to grow this movement into one that cannot be ignored by the powers that attempt to control us and now block the progress and justice we seek.