Noam Chomsky said:
“You can't achieve significant initiatives without a large, active, popular base. It's necessary to get out into the country and help people understand what the Occupy movement is about -- what they themselves can do, and what the consequences are of not doing anything.
Organizing such a base involves education and activism. Education doesn't mean telling people what to believe -- it means learning from them and with them.”
I have been giving a lot of thought to what we do next as a movement; how do we progress and grow what we have started? How do we include others of the 99% who have only witnessed a (likely negative) media representation of Occupy? A lot of other people are also considering the same thing and trying to find our next steps, as is Noam Chomsky in the quote above.
Here at Occupy London, we have had our court case and await our fate after 11th January 2012.
When asked the other day to write one side of a debate for The Occupied Times of London, I had to give the matter even more attention; the subject requiring a response was to choose whether I believe our OccupyLSX camp should stay or go.
Sadly (and surprisingly for me) I chose the ‘to go’ side of the debate. Not completely, I believe what we have done is important and historic and needs to remain in some form ie: an information point and teaching area (a la Tent City University) that are staffed by rotating Occupiers (not twirly-people …but ones who support Occupy and come for a while, to be later replaced by others).
So many people have sent words and donations of support to Occupy but been unable to attend and stay in a camp for a whole host of very good reasons: health, job, family, finance etc. Staying in a tent is just not a practical way for the vast majority of the 99% to demonstrate and seek solutions to society’s problems.
My thoughts on what could be a part of what happens next include this idea for Occupy Outreach:
-To enrich people’s understanding of what the OCCUPY movement is, how it functions and what sort of problems it is confronting in society.
-To enrich the OCCUPY movement with fresh insights and contributions by more people.
An interactive presentation about the movement that can be delivered by anyone with knowledge of OCCUPY. The presentation would be effective if given from - or accompanied by - a tent : )
A tent, an OCCUPIER and a *presentation pack.
The Presentation Pack would be designed to show how Occupy functions ie: hand signals, workgroups, General Assemblies etc. and include time for questions and answers. The presentation would lead to a proposal that those participating would come up with by posing an appropriate question or topic that will get the participants working in groups, facilitating, presenting their conclusions, proposing and finding consensus.
There could be two types of opportunity for OCCUPY Presentations – PLANNED OCCUPIES where we have scheduled in advance with the host (school, workplace, group etc) and FLASH OCCUPIES where we simply appear somewhere (shopping mall, street, park, civic building etc.) and get a crowd.
OCCUPY ASSEMBLY - for schools/colleges etc. either in assemblies for the whole school or a select year, class etc.
OCCUPY GROUPS – for youth groups, drug user groups, volunteer groups etc.
OCCUPY STAFF MEETINGS – for nurses, hotel staff, shop workers etc. as part of their scheduled staff meetings
OCCUPY Shopping Malls
OCCUPY Town Hall entrances
OCCUPY the street (any street)
OCCUPY alongside an event like a fair, market etc.