I firmly support (my interpretation of) Occupy’s core tenets – holding financial institutions accountable for their role in exacerbating the economic meltdown, establishing a more just system for generating revenues that will support our domestic well-being, and disentangling corporate and private wealth from their stranglehold on our democracy. Those things are no-brainers.
Yet, as with many blossoming social movements, there are certainly nuances around Occupy’s strategy and tactics that need clarifying. How can those who can’t strike, who can’t (or won’t) camp out, or can’t sign online petitions participate in what could become the defining movement of a generation? How do we channel the rage (or opportunistic anarchy) into a disciplined, accessible, provocative force for change? It burned me up to watch the enormous goodwill and community-spiritedness of Occupy Oakland’s high points be vandalized and tear-gassed before the eyes of the world.
What are we going to do??
I’ve certainly learned a good deal from some of our key partner organizations that have played a vital role in Bay Area Occupy movements: APEN, Ella Baker Center, Causa Justa:: Just Cause, and EBASE. And next week, Van Jones will speak to a group of local funders about philanthropy’s role in supporting social movements. I certainly look forward to learning from his expansive vision and experience.
These are questions and issues that must be addressed. Occupy’s autumn vs. Occupy’s fall lies in the balance.