Tuesday, May 08, 2012
In Defense Of Occupation: Dealing With Skeptics
So, you took off from work on May 1 but opted to not explain about May Day to any of your co-workers. Little did you know that you’d be recognized in footage on the evening news and find yourself face-to-face with a skeptical colleague, who ponders: I don’t get it. What do the occupiers want? Why is there no clear agenda?
You: Um, have you heard of a little something called theDeclaration of the Occupation of New York City?
Colleague: Yeah, maybe, kinda… but still, everyone says they lack a coherent message.
Mic Check: Pardon us, but all the comprehensive and meaningful agendas like “Yes We Can” and “Hope and Change” and “Shock and Awe” were already taken.
Colleague: I read in the papers and saw on TV that…
You: Whether you label them liberal or conservative, most major media outlets are large corporations owned by or aligned with even larger corporations, and they share a common goal: to make a profit by selling a product — an affluent audience — to a given market: advertisers. Therefore, we shouldn’t find it too shocking that the image of the world being presented by a corporate-owned press very much reflects the biased interests of the elite players involved in this sordid little love triangle.
As they ponder this unexpected dose of reality, up walks a second co-worker, who asks: But who are the leaders? Why don’t they have any leaders?
Possible first reaction: How’s the whole leaders/hierarchy/top-down concept exactly worked out for us — or any life form? Why would a movement for change replicate relics from the omnicidal system we are seeking to replace as soon as possible?
More accessible reply: Go to your local occupation, participate, communicate, listen, and learn because (as usual) the reality is diametrically opposed to the conventional wisdom: Everyone at Occupy is a “leader.” It is a movement comprised of thousands of “leaders” from all walks of life — working collectively and sharing skills — without the spirit-crushing hierarchies and chains of command.