Reflections And A Treatise For Detroitby Stephen Boyle “Fuzzytek
Occupy Detroit started with a meeting at Spirit of Hope Church on October 10, 2011. It was a capacity gathering of about 1,000 people which had to move outside the confines of the church. We broke into groups working on various aspects of what we believed would be needed. Several groups met before the day of our first rally and march, which was October 14, 2011 from the Spirit of Detroit coming up Woodward to Grand Circus Park. Once there a number of people spoke about Detroit issues and the issues of our nation. We sought solidarity with each other and found new faces, ideas, and motivation in those who attended. Tents were pitched in the park and we settled in serving food to those in need, discussing futures, present, and past with those in the park. Communities came to the park to see how to integrate and find their voice with those present. Could we address humanity as a unifying presence? Would we dwell on our differences, because this is how many were raised in a capitalist system. It has become more clear that this system has turned to consuming those who were producing. The objective of capitalism is profit at any cost, and that could include the workers.
We have discussed racism, classism, sexism, party politics, food sovereignty, land justice, and so many more topics. The conversations which may be required more are humanism and discovery of the most common denominators which unite people regardless of difference. Moving from “me” oriented thinking in an ownership model to serving “we” as community stewards – embracing durable relationships and goods rather than consumerism. It takes a lot of un-learning for many of us, questioning how we identify ourselves not by who we are but through what we have.
Occupy Detroit and the Occupy Movement have drawn forth a fresh wave of activists who are finding existing causes they ally with and potentially creating new directions. Some are working inside existing systems with the intent of revealing weaknesses, working against corporate greed and ownership of nearly everything in our lives. Some are committed to actions outside a system they declare has failed. Personally I’ve found straddling both realms helpful as there are lessons to be learned and victories to be won. It takes observation, deep dedication, creative thinking, questioning authority, organizational skills, outreach, and full-systems thinking. What-if has to be the tool of change, and it has to be weighed against what-is-so. If we fail to determine truth, then we are not likely to get the leverage needed to move an issue from its seated position.
I can’t say that I know for certain what will happen through the course of the 2nd anniversary event. We may find incentive to stage a march against fascist rule by the State of Michigan, or we may engage in educational street theater. We will have representatives from various organizations sharing what the Occupy movement has offered over the past two years in their perspectives. We can review victories and current positions in long-term efforts. It will be a day of listening, questioning, and discovering what the “most common denominator” is in our conversations. This is where humanity becomes our unity and we discover how to drop differences that divide.