We are in it for the long haul, within this movement that has finally emerged. Folks in the US are waking up from such an extraordinary trance. We are so beautiful, discovering more of our strength daily, bracing for the ups and downs. There have to be ups to be downs that are necessary in order for us to learn. And we must find ways to sustain what we are doing because this is going to take us some time. So I share my thoughts in this moment and am excited to hear yours too!
The movement that we are creating is on a scale unlike what any of us have engaged in before. We are learning how to care for our neediest comrades and work together across huge racial, class and cultural divides. We’re creating a new way of engaging as a society, realigning our values and priorities, and getting more folks to come along. We can’t be in a hurry. The work isn’t just for the end results — the process and the time we take matter. We need to give ourselves the space to learn from our mistakes.
Even in the cases in which we think we cannot stand something one of us is saying, we need to see if we’re ultimately seeking the same things. We may be on the same team but playing different positions. The new reality we are creating will include ways of thinking, organizing and living that we currently think are impossible. Tactical differences that may appear to divide us may really be aligned. There can be space to respectfully disagree on particular points while still appreciating the efforts and results of people going at things a different way. None of us have to do it all or know it all or have all of the answers ourselves. If you can’t understand something or you really hate it, it may help to give others a chance to explain its value.
One of the best things about the general assembly is that we try to listen to each other even when we want to boo and hiss. Sometimes new folks boo and hiss and then our facilitators remind us that we are practicing hearing the opinions of people that think differently. We can still think differently and feel aggravated inside as we build our capacity to not react and shut others out.
If we cannot find ways to talk to people a few steps to our left or right within a general assembly or an occupation, who are we fooling when we think we can change the whole muthafucker? Stretching to make a just world isn’t supposed to be easy, or pretty, or without broken things. And yet we can’t actually break everything, because some of it (our relationships, the earth, young folks…) are worth our care and protection.
Don’t forget the amazing things you were likely doing before the occupy phenomenon. They were important, the glimpses of hope that were adding together to exponentiate this that we are in now. While we are reinventing things from scratch, it is important that we continue to breathe life into the things that hold our lessons and wisdom.
Oh my — do we need to take breaks. And remember: from each according to ability, to each according to need — that anarchist thing. We don’t all have the same amount of time, energy, strength, money, skin privilege. We can be super aware of the power we have given the ways we are able to step forward, the responsibilities we have. We are actually worth caring for.
Every time I engage in a GA or at the camp, or on the marches, or just about town, I find something surprising, inspiring, mortifying, infuriating. Big emotions. These are events most of us secretly never believed we would see. This isn’t just about external politics or power and economics — minds and hearts are growing and changing and we’re on a powerful adventure. I hold myself gently as all this emerges, knowing that thankfully I don’t have to do it all. I am not alone. I get even more excited when I consider the young people growing up right now that think this is normal, that will be politicized from this moment on. What seeds are we sowing my comrades? Such beautiful seeds.