Why We OccupyPosted: October 19, 2011
This editorial originally appeared in the NTDaily on Oct. 18.
By Garrett Graham
It’s certainly a very exciting time to be alive. Revolutions and near-revolutions are rolling across the globe at unprecedented speed. I am, of course, talking about the Occupy Wall Street movement that started in New York City and has quickly spread across North America, South America, Europe and around the world. Today is the second day of Occupy Denton on the corner of Fry and Hickory.
This movement has brought together a diversity of voices outraged about everything, including the collapse of our economy, poverty and inequality, environmental destruction, endless wars and the sad truth that we no longer live in a real democracy. Instead, we are prisoners in a corporate plutocracy.
The most common criticism of the movement has been that its demands are unclear, or that the movement doesn’t know what it wants. I think this is a misconception exacerbated by corporate media that do not know how to cover or analyze a global movement without leaders or authority because they are themselves authoritarian institutions with no desire to see these movements succeed.
Despite the multiplicity of concerns and the diversity of perspectives, this global movement is clearly and unquestionably a demand that the people of the world organize alternatives to corporate capitalism. That much is certain, but there are many voices in this movement and many proposed solutions. This free exchange of possibilities is not a weakness – it is the movement’s greatest strength.
Our protest is to create a community where we can come together and exercise real democracy. Our occupation is a microcosm of how we would like our society to function. This movement is different from a traditional protest where you are expected to show up on the corner for a couple of hours, wave signs and chant slogans, and then return home to get ready to go to work. Instead, what we are creating here is an organic democratic organism, not a one-time demonstration.
What we have created on the corner of Fry and Hickory is a space where possibilities and alternatives can manifest themselves, not to mention the fun and camaraderie that come with sharing public space with friends and neighbors. Arts and crafts, music and dancing, yoga and meditation, sharing meals and sharing ideas: This is what makes the occupation worth supporting.
Through the democratic consensus of the general assemblies, this social organism is evolving day by day. Do you have a proposal? Do you have a concern? Do you think we’re doing this all wrong? Then come join the occupation and let your voice be heard. There are general assemblies every night at 5 p.m., and everyone is welcome and encouraged to participate because we are the only solution we’re going to have.
This movement is what we make of it. History is knocking; the tides are turning, and years from now you will be asked, “Where were you when the occupation began?”