An open space for global conversation
I'd like to start a new thread on the issue I've been concerned with since working with Occupy. During the Winter period the movement risks losing its widespread force and ability to marshal the millions toward a common outcome. In other words, the multiple concerns around "issues" that the movement addresses create a kind of social drag that weakens its revolutionary intervention. If all progressive issues are wrapped into Occupy, it just becomes a pseudo-party, like the Tea Party. Even if organizers clearly don't want that, the risk is that public perception makes it so.
"The task today is to respond with new and thoughtful action, which requires that we abandon our preformed judgments and attachments that have brought us to this space. Giving up our prejudices is difficult, as is accepting the challenge of the new. And yet the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street movements have shown that there is a hunger for a new politics that breaks the bounds of traditional political discourse. Our New Year's wish to all of you is that 2012 might bring a bold politics that can bring forth a new politics from out of the cauldron of crisis."
In November we held dialogues on the purposes of Occupy to create a common moral understanding based on purposes held by the organizers and participants. I'd like to see whether we can facilitate the development of common moral purpose (e.g., highest priority purposes for response) from across the various centers of action and organizing. What might we do in line with this need?
I believe it would be practical as well as moral to shift the basis of our lives steadily from consumption in the anywhere economy (aka the big inhumane system) to production in our respective communities/regions. Without life-supporting interdependencies of our own making and in our care, we remain dependents with attitude problems, subject to discipline and/or manipulation.
Because such efforts are so far relatively rare, voluntarily simplifying and slowing our lives can have the most immediate and widespread effects, while creating space for learning from and with each other, and growing understanding of how best to arrange our unique communities for the high quality of life that will help us forget our former standard of living.
Kevin Annett speaks of evidence of serious abuse of Canadian natives by Christian institutions.Unless this evil is addressed a common moral understanding is impossible, IMO.
You call for Occupy Wall St. to "facilitate the development of a common moral purpose." That is a pressing need and a tall order. Montesquieu understood that virtue was the very essence, the lifeblood, of a republic; he also saw that once virtue was lost, it was incredibly hard to restore. Virtue, in a republic, is the willingness to put the common good above your personal good. I don't think virtue is fully lost in the US, but it is in danger of being lost. What Occupy stands for, as I understand it, is the reassertion of a common moral purpose. That can't be taught in maxims. It can only be shown through example and the beauty of Occupy Wall Street was precisely its example of people living together in justice and respect for the movement above each person's private good. The achievement was to bring people together to pursue a common purpose, politics, as the most important aspect of their lives.
Occupy needs to somehow institutionalize that practice and experience, a tall order. Through weekly or daily or monthly general assemblies or meetings or discussions that keep people talking and acting in public where their words and deeds matter and are listened to. That in itself would be a huge accomplishment.
"[R]eassertion of a common moral purpose... can only be shown through example and the beauty of Occupy Wall Street was precisely its example of people living together in justice and respect for the movement above each person's private good."
The trouble is, it was theater, not sustainable community. In those hard, grey, cold places where life was affirmed, (most of) the lives and everything life-supporting came from off site. Same is mostly true at my house; we're shifting the ratio and mean to inspire and involve neighbors, in widening rings.
"The achievement was to bring people together to pursue a common purpose, politics, as the most important aspect of their lives."
Really? As my other remark suggests, I nominate sustenance and sufficiency for most important aspects.
Am I only splitting hairs? Because you conclude with "Through weekly or daily or monthly general assemblies or meetings or discussions that keep people talking and acting in public where their words and deeds matter and are listened to," I don't think so. You'd have us remain dependents with attitude problems, clawing our way to majority status.