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Work 4 Peace,Hold All Life Sacred,Eliminate Violence! I am on my mobile version of the door-to-door, going town-to-town holding readings/gatherings/discussions of my book "But What Can I Do?" This is my often neglected blog mostly about my travels since 9/11 as I engage in dialogue and actions. It is steaming with my opinions, insights, analyses toward that end of holding all life sacred, dismantling the empire and eliminating violence while creating the society we want ALL to thrive in

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Teach-In: Successes & Pitfalls of OWS: Section 3

This is the last section of the teach-in I intend to give tonite in Las Cruces. Feel free to use any or all of it if you find it helpful

Teach-in: Successes & Pitfalls
Page 3: Pitfalls

1)      Racism, Sexism, Classism, etc
a.       Racism, etc., exists and thrives at all OWS because we live here & bring it there
b.      If we do not have a conscious, committed, vigilant awareness, analysis, and working plan to recognize and address the isms, we are doomed to recreate the same system we already operate under, giving out the same advantages and the same disadvantages

2)      Allowing Media, Right Wing, outsiders to define our movement
a.       We must respond to ‘criticisms’ not as if they are the truth but to expose the lies

3)      Not recognizing the dire, bottom-line need to ally and build community with homeless people, who are the most severely oppressed, the most visible, blatant victims of our corporations and the 1% system: if we don’t change our system for these victims, why bother changing the system at all?
a.       Bridging the divide between those who choose to sleep outdoors and those who do not choose by recognizing and being responsible for privilege
b.      Haves and have nots, in this microcosm of our greater society, becoming the 1% in the park, facing the 99%
c.       The incredible opportunity we have to role model for the 1% in the greater society how to creatively, compassionately, embracing love and justice, share resources and build a caring community
d.      Buddy system: one or two folks who choose to come occupy “buddy up” with one or two homeless people. Find out/share who we are, what we need, etc.

4)      Superiority/Inferiority
a.       This is the trap that permeates the very fabric of our society, the fiber that weaves together all the levels of racism, levels of sexism, etc.
b.      We must recognize and address those moments of superiority or inferiority we embrace: as those who camp 24/7 vs those who come for a minute; those who are capable of ‘only’ camping vs those who engage in other actions too; those who stepped up Sept 17th and those whose lives are of stepping up

5)      Missing Conflict Resolution skills
a.       The more womyn, and men of color, assume leadership positions and men, and white women, step back, the more creative and brilliant conflict resolutions will surface
b.      We will always have conflict but we will not always choose and have not always chosen(contrary to what warmongers want us to believe) war to resolve conflict.
c.       We must refrain from using the system, i.e. police, courts, white power, etc., we are allegedly attempting to tear down to resolve our conflicts
d.      After agreement on the basic core values, everyone does not have to agree on everything else but we can make ways that support a variety of paths to the same goal
e.      The additional arising conflicts: city/state permit vs constitutional permit; risk arrest vs obeying the laws; police vs no police, etc.

6)      Fear of co-option rather than the Struggle for inclusion
a.       If we are truly the 99%, then we MUST figure out how to creatively, honestly include and value everyone in that 99%
b.      We cannot “exclude” groups, individuals, organizations because we have such a huge fear of someone ‘co-opting’ this movement, which indicates either extreme paranoia or extreme power hungry leaderless-leaders unless the truth is we are the % those leaderless-leaders decide we are
c.       OWS must remember and honor the 500 years of resistance this movement is building upon, thereby making no one individual, group, organization either responsible for or able to ‘destroy’ or ‘succeed’

7)      Leaderless-leaders

a.        We’ve gone thru this before – see the “Tyranny of Structurelessness”
b.      Why not all of us are leaders, all of us are accountable, all of us are responsible

Teach-In: Successes & Pitfalls of OWS: Section 2

This is the teach-in I am doing tonite - I am posting it in three sections - feel free to use all or any

Teach-In: Successes & Pitfalls Page 2:
Making the Agreements for the Movement

1)  We are in this for the LONG RUN! Commitment no matter what: angry, hurt, tired, disappointed… still committed, not going anywhere. Keep goals in mind; keep in perspective war, starvation, poverty, what we’re trying to change! 400 years our country has been this way. It WILL change overnite IF/WHEN we have the numbers

2)  Zero tolerance for racism/white supremacy, sexism/patriarchy/misogyny, heterosexism, classism
                a.   Bigotry, blatant hatred is easy to detect and halt
                b.   White privilege is more difficult for white people: institutionally, structurally, culturally,                                personally
                c.   Truth telling
1.  Facing lies: our country was founded on freedom, justice, equality, opportunity
                                2.  Europeans came here to make this a country for white society
                                3.  Genocide: First Peoples; enslaving African people; war against Mexican people;
     continuing wars against nations of color
4.  Our country was/is legally and intentionally built for whites, at horrific expense
     against people of color

3)  Vigilant commitment to recognize and address/redress racism, all the isms
                a. Women of color speak first; then white women; then men of color; then white men

4)  Step back, Step forward
a.  In order for women and men, POC and whites to work together, first there has to be a 
     stepping forward and a stepping back: POC have to be willing to step forward, whites have to
     be willing to step back; women, men, etc.
b.  Those stepping back have to be willing to listen, follow; they need to examine guilt, anger,
     resentment as part of white/male privilege. Instead choose to be open, grateful another layer
     of racism/sexism peeled off!

5)  Willing to engage in and value the tough discussions: dedicate time, energy, resources – not our
     normal m.o. to discuss racism, military industrial complex, prison industrial complex, etc.

6)  Responsible, compromise, flexible: i.e Conflict Resolution
a.  Individual responsibility for your own behavior, responses, core values, direction, goals,
     successes and failures
b.  Group responsibility for each other, building community, core values
c.  Compromise on the little stuff, not the core values, but recognize there are many “right”   
     ways to accomplish the same thing
d.  Flexible: try to be as flexible as possible, making room instead of rules: everyone doesn’t
     have to do, be, look like the same
e.  Make commitment to Conflict Resolution, not policing, exclusion, punishment

7)  Appreciation
                a.  We appreciate whoever comes, one or one thousand
                b.  Circle at end of meeting, action, event: different “appreciation” topics: who/what I
     appreciated; one word best describes what I’m feeling now; one surprise/one difficulty; etc.

Teach-In: Successes and Pitfalls of OWS: Section one

I am giving this teach-in tonite. I can't really call it a workshop, as I have only an hour or so, and only the introductions are inter-active. I prefer inter-active workshops to teach-ins, but maybe next time. I will post this teach-in in three sections.

Teach-in: Successes and pitfalls of OWS organizing
Page one: Making Agreements Physical Location

A.  Introductions: your name and either the most successful thing you’ve contributed to or witnessed at your Occupy; and/or the most challenging thing at your Occupy

B.  Making the AGREEMENTS for the physical location

1.        No drugs, no alcohol on site or under the influence of

2.       Designated Smoking and NO Smoking areas

3.       Designated animal and animal-free zones

4.       Walking the Environmental Talk
No new stuff (slave labor) and/or NO corporate buying wherever possible
Commitment to reducing buying; when necessary to buy, purchase used
Eliminate plastic wherever possible: we are killing people for oil to make plastic; it is never biodegradable, killing the Mother Earth: no plastic or try for used plastic

5.       Recycling, composting:
a.       Try to not buy things in containers that need recycling
b.      Recycle what we can: paper, glass, plastic
c.       Compost food and food containers
d.      Eat organic – if not for our own bodies, for the bodies of the people who grow and
 harvest our food, and for the mother earth

C.  Physical presence
1.       TENTS: signs, banners, accessible

2.       INFO Canopy and tables
a.       Who we are, what we want
b.      List of agreements
c.       Regular daily/weekly schedule with meeting times, places
d.      Sign-up sheets: committees, working groups, workshops
e.      New person sign-up info sheets: name, email, phone, skills, resources, emergency #
f.        New person questionnaire: Do you know how you want to be involved? Are you willing to risk arrest? Which committee/working group or new one do you want to sign up for?

3.       Tent Zones: women’s tent, quiet area; vets support; homeless support; POC; AA/NA; family; not one huge circle but mini overlapping circles, meeting everyones’ needs, not forced conformity

D.   Maximizing community involvement and commitment; i.e. building the 99%

1.        Weekly regularly scheduled action: eg 2pm march every Saturday with different focus each time

2.       Supplemental Occupy site: one day a week, set up “occupy” in different neighborhood, 24 hours or 10 hours; joint action with folks, organizations, schools in that community