The Occupy Together movement is rightly focused on change. The modern system, focused on consumption and profit and fraud, is deeply flawed. But we have to face some harsh realities: winter is coming, the police are getting antsy, and although our message resonates, we are not getting the large numbers of bodies we desire onto the streets of our towns.
It is right to make this movement inclusive: “We are the 99%” means exactly that. The initial talking point: that corporations and politics can only lead to bad outcomes for people, is a message that reflects the feelings of most Americans. Making a demand, however, leads us quickly down the road towards compromise and marginalization. How can we maintain a movement that includes all points of view? By having an honest exchange of ideas and concerns, even if that means actually listening to a conservative point of view in order to find common ground. How can we join our neighbors in a new society that addresses the problems of the modern world without experiencing a collapse of civility and order? By crafting a vision that arises out of shared values and working together to bring that vision into reality. How can we maintain and grow the movement in the face of adversity, both from snow as well as from rubber bullets? By focusing on creating, rather than destroying. Aren’t we all more excited and filled with energy when we are making something together that fulfills our passion, than when we are tearing something down?
Perhaps it is time to transition our focus from occupy onto transform. Would you be more eager to attend an event hosted by Transform Oakland, or Transform Wall Street, than you are about attending Occupy events? Can we begin to talk about the new future we envision and how to manifest it, rather than just occupying and tearing down what is already crumbling? Doesn’t occupy convey a message that we are here for the long haul, but still deeply immersed in the status quo? I’d rather not stay inside an edifice that is crashing to the ground, thank you very much. Instead, I prefer working together to transform dysfunction into utility, to reclaim our rights and powers as citizens, and to manifest a world that works for all. I want to transform the world we live in, not just occupy a public space. Let’s transform America, starting today!