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On Friday we continued exploring the meaning of the Occupy movement, partly out of my own experience with Occupy Windsor, but also because this movement is still in the process of being defined by participants and outside observers while virtually ignored and/or misunderstood by the corporate media. It’s an important movement because of the tremendous problems facing working people, students, retirees, and so on caused by what appears to be the collapse of global capitalism. The Occupy movement is, I believe, a call to others to become involved in setting a new agenda for our own futures instead of leaving our fate in the hands of people who only know how to plan for profit. As the interests of the powerful few are threatened in a coming collapse we can again hear calls for war with Syria and Iran.
In this country, besides the continuing build up of the military, the Harper regime is just getting warmed up for its four year grip on power. For a glimpse of the future one needs only look at the ‘blame the victim’ mentality over the injustice in Attawapiskat, the spending on the military, and the crime Bill being rammed through parliament – I mean the list is very long with the Harper gang.
Dangerous times lie ahead and the Occupy movement needs to be fully understood and its meaning clearly articulated in order to meet the coming environmental, economic, and political calamities. The planning needs to start at the neighbourhood level and in my experience in Occupy Windsor, we proved people could come together and practice a form of direct democracy to reach consensus on issues from the organization of the encampment to what actions will be carried out and how. By working together we came to know and trust each other so during general assemblies it became possible to make decisions in the best interests of the collective because we learned to care about each other.
Nothing is perfect in human affairs and some assemblies went beyond two hours so as with any prototype, we tested the basic design and found that it works. Now seems the time to build beyond the prototype and see if this model will work in neighbourhood councils, universities, non-profit organizations, and so on.
On the program we spoke to Chris Dixon from his home in Sudbury to get his take on the Occupy movement from an anarchist perspective. Chris Dixon “is a longtime anarchist organizer and writer who currently lives in Sudbury where he is involved with Sudbury Against War and Occupation and Occupy Sudbury.” “He is a board member of the Institute for Anarchist Studies and the activist journal Upping the Anti. He is currently completing a book, titled Against and Beyond, based on interviews with radical organizers across the U.S. and Canada”
Also in the In the studio was a man who has become a friend, Doug MacLellan, who is a photo-journalist with many years of experience and many kilometers of travel under his belt as well. While getting drawn into the Occupy Windsor experience, Doug has maintained a professional detachment and has helped several of us keep a balanced perspective on what we are doing.