Meeting Violence with Nonviolence: Why the Occupy Movement Will Succeed
By Jake Olzen
The Occupy movement is under attack. It is facing aggressive police action in cities all over the country while arrests continue over the enforcement of mundane laws that prevent the establishment of permanent encampments. Police attacked Occupy Oakland with rubber bullets and tear gas in the wee hours of Tuesday morning; there were at least a hundred arrests. 130 activists with Occupy Chicago were arrested on Saturday during their second attempt at setting up a camp in Grant Park. Atlanta’s Mayor, Kasim Reed, conducting what appears to have been negotiations in bad faith, ordered Occupy Atlanta cleared of Warren Park last night; 52 were arrested. Occupy Orlando has repeatedly been harassed by changing city policy regarding their camp in Senator Elizabeth Johnson Park, forcing them to vacate the park and their belongings between 11pm and 6am. The Occupy movement may not have it easy right now, but they are being noticed!
The course of social change has often been boiled down to poetic mantras-of-sorts.
As I wrote in my article #OccupyWallStreet: We Make the Road by Walking, this movement is about a new way of being:
#OccupyWallStreet is an experiment in direct democracy and people power that does not have to stop once demands are made and some of them are met. Rather, what #OccupyWallStreet represents is the kind of community we can have in place of Empire.
The crackdown on Occupy movements by mayors and police forces around the country means only one thing: its getting somewhere. The powers that be—and the mayors who represent them—want this movement to go away. And they will not hesitate, as we’ve witnessed, to use violence, arrests, and likely imprisonment, if it gets to that, to make that happen. For the Occupy movement to succeed in making the substantial, lasting change needed, it will need to establish the kind of permanent space it envisions so that the teach-ins, community building, organizing, action-planning and General Assemblies flourish. Meet violence with nonviolence. Respond to police action and arrests with more civil disobedience and vigorous protest via the courts, petitions, sit-ins, and/or walk-outs. As the mainstream media tries to demonize the movement, do more outreach to labor, universities, churches and the ordinary citizens you now represent. As Frederick Douglass said, “Power concedes nothing without a struggle. It never has and it never will.” And then finally – after that struggle –
This article was published at NationofChange at: http://www.nationofchange.org/meeting-violence-nonviolence-why-occupy-movement-will-succeed-1319895101. All rights are reserved.
Donations can be sent to the
"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs