WHERE’S OCCUPY AT? INTEROCCUPY WANTS YOUR OPINION
by Larry Swetman
What is the state of Occupy? InterOccupy wants to know. You can share your perspective by filling out the InterOcc Survey here and now!
In the early day of the Occupy movement there was so much organizing happening in so many places that it became increasingly clear that we were going to need to be able to communicate across great distances. Late in October of 2011 the Movement Building working group of Occupy Wall Street in New York City put together a national conference call to discuss what was going on, share best practices, and chat about how we could coordinate. That first call morphed into a weekly conference call where groups from Los Angeles to Austin to Kalamazoo to Philly to New York regularly came to update their comrades on their statuses.
Not a fortnight later we were already horizontally and democratically organizing a national day of action for November 17th. The result was so positive that we continued to use these conference calls to organize solidarity rallies, regional and national gatherings, and even global days of action. Those that were once cut off from their sisters and brothers by geographical proximity were now being brought close thanks to the advent of InterOccupy (IO).
Lately IO has functioned as more of a tool belt than the intellectual agora that first brought many of us together. This isn’t all bad. In addition to the conference calls IO has also added online hubs, social media strategies, and trainings in how to utilize these tools so our collective work can be as de-centralized as possible. However, de-centralization has its prices.
Where once people carved time out of their tremendously busy schedules to talk to their comrades from around the country, many of us are now so satiated with our local struggles that we have lost our national connection to each other. IO is now trying to take things back to basics.
Over the last month or so, the outreach subgroup of IO has been sending out a survey about the state of your occupation, assembly, or group with the goal of again connecting our movement which has struggled to stay in contact with each other over the past year. As I write this about 150 occupations around the world have participated.
The past couple of months have proven that the elite and powerful of the world are not heeding the calls of the people. In Turkey, people from all walks of life have been beaten, abused, and killed for taking a stand against tyranny; In Brazil, millions have rallied in the streets to protest business interest at the cost of human life and the dignity of the poor and struggling; In Egypt, one of the largest protests in the history of planet Earth is taking place to depose another tyrant bent on dominating civic culture. I have not even mentioned the movements that have sprung up around the globe recently in Indonesia, Bahrain, Bulgaria, Mexico City, and Bosnia, to name a few. It is becoming increasingly clear that the fight against the 1% is not limited to Wall Street and Washington D.C. Injustice knows no boundaries, but neither does resistance. But what is the difference between those peoples and us? When they mobilize, they mobilize together.
Early on in our movement we had that capacity. The climate justice folks met at the same park with the anti-war demonstrators who were sitting in the same banks with new activists fed up with Wall Street greed. Inter-movement connections both on the ground and online created a sense of solidarity and uprising that could only be met with police repression. Since the evictions from our parks we seem to have been blown by the wind back to our respective fights. For a number of reasons including, but not limited to, government surveillance, provocateurs, and police repression we have not been able to gather together in the same way. “Occupy” which once was, at the height of our public presence, an umbrella that could shelter many struggles, some dating back centuries, from the rain of repression in solidarity has morphed into more of an identity than a movement.
InterOccupy is trying to reinvigorate that sense of communal identity that brought us together in parks and online in late 2011. Early on we did that by meeting together on conference calls to talk about what was going on. We shared information, learned best practices, and planned national campaigns that could not be ignored. IO hopes to offer that space again.
Early in this piece I briefly mentioned a survey that has been sent out by the outreach subgroup of InterOccupy. That survey is aimed at bringing us back together in a virtual space in anticipation of bringing us back into the streets. If you are willing to share what has been going on in your local area, please fill out the survey below. The information will at some point in the near future be collated into a state-of-the-occupation-type report, but in the meantime we are simply trying to reach out to the network with a simple message: let’s talk again.
After a brief period of time for folks to complete the survey IO will be sending out an invitation to have another national conference call, this time aimed at bringing us out together again. But this is not a passive project. IO needs your help.
If you are willing and able to be connected to the national movement again and would like to see an upsurge in energy then we would ask you to share this survey with your networks whether they identify as “Occupy” or not. The goal will be to get all of these groups on a national call to again share what’s going on, learn best practices, and to again plant the seeds of inter-movement cooperation and coordination that can reignite national dialogue and action.
All over the world people are rising up against the schemes and strategies of the 1%. If you are reading this post then you probably are participating in that fight. The point of this short post is to remind you that you are not alone and there is an entire movement at your back waiting to support you, your group, your town, your state, your country, and your world. But if we are to manifest the power of the Turkish, Brazilian, and Egyptian uprisings then we are going to have to do it together because only the people, united, can never be defeated.
FILL OUT THE SURVEY. COME TO THE CALL. LET’S CONNECT, COLLABORATE, AND ORGANIZE.