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The Future of the Occupy Movement

Jules Lobel, Jurist
… A different tactical response is to create what essentially would be a non-violent guerrilla movement in American cities. For example, Kalle Lasn, the Adbuster magazine publisher and originator of the Wall Street encampment idea, reportedly urged a new “swarming strategy of surprise attacks against business as usual.” The Chicago occupiers have resolved to have an event a day throughout the winter, such as defending foreclosed homes, sit-ins, banner drops, building parks, providing supplies to the homeless, or guerrilla theater and art. In the same vein, longtime social movement scholar and activist Francis Fox Piven foresaw some time ago that the movement would develop new phases, utilizing “other forms of disruptive protests that are punchier than occupying a square,” or “rolling occupations of public space.”

This article suggests another alternative, one that focuses on creating sustainable alternative decentralized institutions that reflect in microcosm the egalitarian, democratic vision of society that the Occupy Movement has put forth. Such a strategy would be combined with a continual presence in the streets and parks around issues of injustice such as foreclosures.

While determining the tactics of the next phase is critical to keeping the movement alive over the next weeks and months, the broader strategic goal is that of developing a truly long-term movement to transform society — measured not in seasons, but years or even decades. That task is one of sustainability.

… Five main attributes of OWS have contributed to its massive success and provide the basis for its continuation as a radical alternative in the future.

1. Presenting a Narrative, World View or Declaration — Not Specific Demands …

2. Political Independence

OWS, unlike many unions and progressive coalitions, chose not to focus on elections, the legislative process or lobbying. …

3. Non-Violence, Creativity, Experimentation and Inclusiveness …

4. Visible, Not Transitory Presence

The occupations, unlike a one-shot demonstration, had continual visible staying power. As Naomi Klein and Francis Fox Piven have pointed out, the occupiers put no end date to their presence, and said they were staying put. That made them an ongoing real presence which could not be ignored, neither by the media nor by public opinion. This is in contrast to recent demonstrations that have been easily forgotten, when they reached public consciousness at all. …

5. Creating Alternative Models of What a Democratic Egalitarian Society Might Look Like …

(6 December 2011)

With support among police quietly growing, can Occupy cross over the thin blue line?

Chris Faraone, The Phoenix (Boston)
As Occupy camps from coast to coast face evictions — and in many cases have already been pushed out of parks and plazas like so much human trash — it’s clear that the institutional response to the movement is escalating dangerously. Likewise, relations between police and activists seem to be deteriorating, as non-violent protesters continue to be arrested almost daily.

But as tensions build between Occupiers and Big Brother, what’s also true is that individual officers are increasingly concerned about their role in combating Occupy. Even in cities where the overall police response has been barbaric, there’s a growing sense that cops who’ve been charged with breaking camps are unnerved by such orders.

Earlier this week, Los Angeles authorities avoided a riot by working with protesters, and even thanking them publicly for demonstrating their right to free speech. On a smaller scale, last month in Oregon an officer was seen sobbing in his combat gear while raiding a Portland encampment. In October, Albany police — along with state troopers — refused to arrest protesters despite pressure from the city’s mayor and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

At least one Occupier believes that such sentiments are not anomalous. Calling himself Danny — he wouldn’t reveal his true identity — he created a movement-within-a-movement, Occupy Police (OcPo), designed to be an outlet for officers of all ranks, everywhere, to speak openly about Occupy.

“We think solidarity with police is needed,” says Danny in the only interview he’s granted to date. As he launches Operation SHIELD — an OcPo initiative calling for civilians, ex-police, and ex-military to physically step in between protesters and cops in the event of future confrontations — Danny’s goal is to bridge this most glaring divide among so-called 99 percenters. He continues: “There are a lot of active cops right now who can’t speak, can’t get involved, and have no place in this protest . . . but they sympathize with the direction of the movement and its political standpoints — that the system is screwed up, and that this is about bad government. They also believe that it’s not good for this to turn into a street war between police and protesters.”
(30 November 2011)

Ron Paul Defends The 99 Percent: ‘It’s A Very Healthy Movement’

Scott Keyes, Think Progress
Though most Republican presidential candidates make a point of trashing the 99 Percent Movement in an attempt to earn favor among far-right voters, Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) had kind words for the popular movement recently.

During a campaign stop in Concord late last month, Paul was asked for his thoughts about Occupy Wall Street. Unlike other GOP candidates who have denigrated the protestors, including Newt Gingrich and Michele Bachmann, Paul defended the movement and attacked those who used ad hominem attacks against it. “In many ways, it’s a very healthy movement,” said the Texas congressman. He went on to push back against absurd criticisms of the movement: “I’m not one to say, ‘why don’t you get a bath and go get a job and quit crybabying.’ I don’t like that at all.”
(5 December 2011)