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Occupy: A challenge to the ego

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This is re-posted from the Occupy Vancouver facecrack page. Says it way better than I can. Consider this my personal request to everyone I know to reflect a bit about the situation before hitting send. Must say I am a disappointed in much of what I have been reading on VMC so far.

A Message to Occupy Vancouver & Beyond

Macdonald J E Stainsby

Hey there, OccupyVancouver folks. I'll start this by saying one sentence: I love you all so much right now, I'm excited and I'm scared.

The rest of this little note is only directed at activists with a history in Vancouver (or anywhere), many of you know me.

The thousands of people who suddenly give a shit about things we have been trying to espouse for years is over-whelming. None of knew how to get this many people interested in this kind of a fight or we would have done so years and years ago.

Right now 90 percent of the people we meet through this are people who do not even know our activisty terms and language. But the people have move way further ahead than the stuff we have spent our lives working on.

I am worried at how that is naturally a challenge to the ego to prove that we haven't wasted our time, and find ways to re-establish ourselves as the go to people on these questions. Let us try really hard to shut the fuck up on the finer points of a perfect analysis when we are in forums like this, and perhaps for the most part even in the assemblies. We have experience, years of doing similar things and know (for but one example) how to deal with cops trying to go after us. This is where we are most valuable.

And when we have the space that we will, we can use that space 24 hours a day to carry on teach ins, educate each other and maybe even learn a little ourselves.

Right now? Let's walk humbly, recognize that just because we are activists does not mean we own or know better for this burgeoning movement.

And let's hug the first 19 year old who innocently says something stupid. If you do, they will fight with us for the rest of our lives.

Let's not typically lefty fuck this up. This shit matters. They are watching this movement in Gaza, in Serbia, Latin America and Africa. They don't care what our program is. They want we the people of North America to break the power of Canada and the US from bombing them and starving them even worse than the North American 99 percent.

yours for the revolution, feeling old...

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I agree with this post, and here's why


In the past week, I've managed to gather more enemies through Twitter than I've done through years of actually doing stuff people don't like in Vancouver.  I've been called an infiltrator, an agent provacateur, and a violent individual.  I'd find it all very funny if I didn't consider it COINTELPRO tactics, and I have no record of breaking anything, or attacking anyone over the past few years.  Unlike other people, I publish my records online.

I'm going to publicly say that I agree with Macdonald Stainsby about not fucking this up, and I'm going to explain why, and I'm going to address the people who I fucking hate while I do it.

I've outed people for being ex-CF using things that they wrote on their own blog, and have been one of the dissenting voices against the organization of OccupyVancouver.   They've practised poor security culture, and I've exploited it to prove my point when it was clear that the people organising this were not listening.  This came dangerously close to snitch-jacketing, and I think that this was wrong, and I apologise for that.

In short, I was expecting a LOT more from the local Anonymous group, and I was disappointed when Anonymous failed to deliver.  I expected Anonymous to come in and tell people how to protect themselves from incriminating themselves online,  and I was expecting people to not incriminate themselves, and to be responsible enough to not get arrested for advocating something the state will say is illegal.

The fact is that these people are new.  They don't know who took Olympic money, and they don't care.  They don't know which people were informants, or which people denounced which group, and the fallout from that.  They could easily go through Media Coop and see every post where people attack each other, but that would be wasted energy.  There's people in the community that I totally despise and who despise me, but now isn't the time or the place to settle old scores, as much as I'd like to.

OccupyVancouver, despite the unfortunate name does have the ability to actually change shit for the better, assuming that people can have radical activists work alongside liberals and leftists just this once!  I'm not asking people to give up their grudges, and I know that I won't, but to at least put it aside.  If there's one thing that we can deal with AFTER WE SUCCEED, it will be to settle the score with all the motherfuckers who fucked with us prior that were still part of the 99%.  It is very likely that we can avoid those people some of the time if this action is as big as people believe it will be.

That being said, people shouldn't expect everyone to be friendly either.  Keep your guard up, and expect to be attacked from the outside and the inside, and to expect every tactic the state has against the movement.  Also, people should respect the basis of unity, and the commitment to Non-Violence, even though Violence does need a definition all to itself.

I concur.  I've written about

I concur.  I've written about the organizational problems with occupy, and I'm afraid that people are taking the message of don't go.  Go!  Go there and meet people where they are! Hug some zietgiest kid and patiently explain that we need a plan to get from our current society to the new one we want to build.  Ally with some Trot you always found annoying on the idea that its not just the 1% we need to worry about. Make common cause with some environmentalist or laid off middle class worker.  Speak for democracy,speak for real consenus and participation. Thousands of people will be out there this weekend, and we don't own this. We can however, humbly offer our wisdom and our experience. I need to remember to be humble, its too easy to think I know everything when a few years ago I was just like those kids out there.  Its easy to sit online and critique things, or to go in person and critique things, harder is to participate, to shape, to deal with morons- or to see the truth in their statements that aren't worded how we would like. I'll be out there on Saturday in Toronto organizing.  

Thanks for this

If activism is an obscure subculture, then what's the point really? It also often has been just a cliquish network, and a sort of hobby, and those limitations are such a mockery of what we're supposed to be fighting for. But.. there just haven't been a lot of us, and we end up getting so distant from the mainstream... and, in circumstances like that, the adaptations that even the most committed activists make are never great.

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