On Growth and Death

Many Occupations have lost their physical encampments. That is a sad fact of the situation. Some have not.

Occupy Eureka, CA and Occupy Tacoma, WA have been in the same locations, every single day, since this movement began. Much respect to them for their perseverance and dedication.

Their continued presence continually garners support and provides an important hub for engaging the public and providing a central place for people to learn about the movement. They are centers of information and discussion that cannot fully be replaced. It is an incredible tool for visibility and gathering new recruits to the movement, although, simply their constant presence is a threat to many individuals and a reason for constant harassment.

These are innate problems with a revolutionary movement. When you try to change things, those who benefit from the current system, and often hold power over it, will do all they can to quell the resistance. Still, having a lasting Occupation in the same spot is a powerful tool in this movement, regardless of the issues.

However, other Occupations in places like Los Angeles, Portland and Seattle, have lost their original sites but are still growing. Instead of letting the lost of a central location hurt their movement, they have used it as a catalyst, expanding and localizing their efforts into small neighborhoods and individual communities.

I attended the first N/NE Neighborhood General Assembly in Portland on Saturday and it was quite a sight to see. Crammed into the tiny back room of a local restaurant were 40+ residents of the area, many of them entirely new to the movement.

Occupy Portland has a space in the St. Francis De Asissi Church. It regularly holds meetings, workshops and other events in the space.

By localizing the Occupations, it is easier to focus on local issues, problems and solutions specific to the area. Neighborhood residents are also more likely to participate in an action they have a direct stake in. It can also be more welcoming than a huge GA of 100+ people from all over.

This is not fragmentation, it is cooperation. The 5 neighborhood sections of Portland are working together with their efforts. Instead of a single spearhead, they now have a hand to hold it, aim it, and throw it.

Seattle is rapidly expanding and still creating new Occupations. They have a central meeting place at the City Convention Center, but also have havens and meeting places throughout the larger area.

It is not that the Occupations have lost members because they have lost a park, it is that the single occupation has evolved under pressure. It is now many movements within a single city, working together to keep this movement going.

The short version is this:

THIS MOVEMENT IS STILL GROWING.

Each and every day new people learn about this movement. Some cities have the same spot as always, some have rented or hosted species for their efforts, some have new places all the time, but they are all still growing. As this movement continues, we will see the result of this apparent lull in activity, Spring will bring together all these different hands.

It will be glorious.

-Serious Note

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