Harrisonburg has been Occupied! After the meeting tonight in Court Square I left feeling very excited. I saw generations working together, people of different ethnicities, orientations, backgrounds, and class all coming together to begin a conversation mirroring the ones happening all over the United States, and now all over the world.
This is a very exciting time in our country’s history. Conversations are happening right now that have not been happening in a wide-spread manner: people are talking about capitalism in honest ways, looking at oppression and privilege, seeing intersections, identifying their own privilege and their own simultaneous oppression.
But my larger question remains what do these #occupy movements aim to accomplish? I think that providing a forum for people to address concerns and to have honest conversations is absolutely important! God knows that the Democrats aren’t talking to Republicans, and vice-versa. In so many ways the “liberal party” has abandoned so many: students are left with rising costs of education, despite what was promised by Obama, there is a huge unemployment problem, and oppression of the not-super-rich is still alive and well within our society. And I definitely feel like there are problems with the GOP, for my most recent rant you can see my last post, but I did want to put it out there that I definitely have problems with the Democrats. As an aside, I often joke with my mom that I’m more conservative than she is…jumping as far to the Left as I have can sort of do that.
But, still, is that conversation the only thing which #occupy has to offer? I feel as if there is so much more. And while I respect the decision of different #occupy movements to not come out with asks or a statement of purpose, and while I think that a huge part of the #occupy movement’s power is in the process; I think that asks and solutions are immensely helpful. How else can we frame the solutions we want to offer, the problems we see, how can we affect change effectively if we don’t even clearly define what it is we want to work against and what we want to work towards?
My dear friend Lou and I are facilitating the second general assembly of Occupy Harrisonburg tomorrow, so I have been asking myself these questions. Again, I want to be clear, I don’t want to disregard the importance of the process exhibited in #occupy–I think it is itself a huge step towards creating the society which so many of us want to see– and I know that, as time progresses, this conversation will definitely evolve; but for now these are the questions rolling around in my head.