Opinion by Stephen Boyle
While most debates about the next steps the Occupy movement should take naturally occur among those already engaged in the movement, one population that needs to be further engaged, … is the population of those who are watching from the sidelines.
In other words, the individual members of the 99% who are potentially sympathetic but as yet unmoved to participate in the movement need another open invitation to the dance.
One such individual watching from the sidelines hit me up on facebook recently asking, essentially, what Occupy stands for.
Questions like this and other versions of the “what are your demands” question can sometimes make one go a little postal. What do we stand for? Really? Are you kidding? However, this recent query was not a joke or a provocation. It came in good faith, unsolicited from one not yet aligned with occupy but seeming at least willing to consider participating in the future. The honest to goodness naiveté embedded in the question is evidence supporting the idea that we have more work to do in providing a more compelling narrative than the dominant corporately controlled media provides.
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It is so difficult to summarize what the Occupy movement is about… yes Occupy Wall Street is in part getting money out of government (and much more). Each localized movement takes on various concerns and sees action possible in its locale. Action that throws the focus on the ruling class controlling the people – the ones making ridiculous incentive bonuses that exceed the collective bonus offered hundreds of their workers.
It also works on social justice, food justice, housing justice, education justice, transportation justice, and the list goes on… when there is injustice Occupy movements are able to bring people, organizations, and communities together. We hold discussions about what to do, who to involve, and what actions make an impact. Sometimes the actions are protest to bring media attention (even if we are the media covering since the mainstream media has to worry about their advertising corporate sponsorship). The media teams in the movement know we are the proverbial gun that fires the bullets of justice. Those bullets are the actions of local Occupiers engaging the corporations, governments, organizations, and community around them. Our local movements engage in research, community outreach, and hold teach-ins on topics that are broad and narrow in scope. We have to be educated in how to make a difference. Many of Detroit’s civil rights leaders are still present and if not involved, are getting ready to be – spring arrives March 20, those I’ve spoke with see new civil rights leaders budding and ready to bloom this summer.
We ask those on the sideline and questioning online to participate, bring an open mind, allow a few things to be wrong when you hear them, listen for a bigger picture, Occupy Detroit is merely five months old today. We are striving to assist everyone in living a better life. If you are able to assist a movement you are enabling growth and learning of the people. Corporations spend millions on education to keep the people under control, education in constraints backed with statistical analysis. Our education is in how to subvert that control and correct generations of wrong-doing. We need your knowledge and action to make change real for everyone here, our children, and generations to come.
If you were to write a manifesto for Occupy Detroit, what would it look like?
Send your thoughts.