Re-Naming and Re-Framing the OCCUPY Movement Into 'The People's Assembly'

Participants of the People's Assembly of Victoria

Having now read a number of articles online about the reasons for the demise of the Occupy movement, all of which are heartfelt, most of which come from participants and whose conclusions are as opposite and varied as their writers it seems like the perfect time to further muddy the picture by adding a few of my own and a few suggestions too.

One paragraph in yesterday's post started with, "Occupy was/is in many ways a victim of its name." The original idea was to physcially occupy a park in New York City to bring attention to the issue of the wealth distribution inequity inherent in the predatory globalized capitalist system. Unfortunately the issue isn't easily simplified into the kind of catchphrase the M$M demands so even before anybody showed up with their tents in response to the callout from Adbusters, the tool of occuping Zuccotti Park had been simplified into  the catchphrase of 'The Ocuppy Movement'. As always, re-naming became re-framing. There must be a place to occupy, like Iraq or Afghanistan or Tibet or East Timor or the West Bank, or? - the phrase 'to occupy' means to take over a space, mental or physical, not previously controlled by the new occupier. The tents needed a space the idea didn't, so in many ways the pushing of the tent issue, stubbornly erecting tents, instead of stubbornly sticking to the issues brought the demise of Occupy by allowing the storm trooper's a target to storm, conquer and declare victory over.

Another key issue the author of the article 'Progressives Must Move Beyond Occupy' mentions is, "Think of the bitter pill of the broken promises to young people who were told that education was the route to security and prosperity and who now graduate to unemployment and huge debts." This angle bugged me from day 1. It's a totally bourgeois, totally un-revolutionary concept to bitch and moan about not getting your 'fair share' from the system you're apparently denouncing. It's revolutionary to dropout from and complain about a 'system' you find inequitable, it's bourgeois to complain about a 'system' that you aspire to be a member of but are rejected by. As time wore on many of the original occupiers found well paid jobs in that 'system' they were bitching about because of their new found fame as occupiers and eagerly took those jobs, took the money, and turned their energy toward fulfilling their long held middle class bourgeois dreams.

Lastly, critique wise, the concept of horizontal organization that Occupy used in its General Assembles was a both a fantastic success and a brick in its road to demise. Horizontal organization, from my experience, works great in a small group of like minded folks who share a common goal or goals - like in a collective. It worked perfectly as a tool way back in my Yippee days over 40 years ago because we were a small group, a cell, planning an action while sitting around somebody's kitchen table. We were few, we agreed on methods and we had a common goal. The Occupy meetings, including those i've attended, have a wide ranging group of folks with far different ideas, goals and agendas endlessly debating basic concepts.

The basic issue/issues that brought all the millions of folks out haven't gone away, in fact they've gotten worse, mosta the folks themselves are still out there and most still care. So what to do? One idea, scooped from the Occupy Victoria branch in BC's capital who named themselves 'The People's Assembly of Victoria' is just that, once again re-naming and re-framing the movement by this time using the 'People's Assembly' term to define its function, its structure, and as its catchphrase. A 'People's Assembly' can debate issues, agree to common goals, develop plans of action to meet those goals all in a horizontal structure and create a representative voice that can clearly enunciate those goals and communicate the plans of action necessary to achieve those goals. See ya at the next People's Assembly.