The only way to describe what has happened to myself and a number of Occupy Vancouver organizers (and I suspect many other occupy organizers across the world) is to realize that we have been occupied by occupy! We have been captured and consumed by something that we don’t understand but that has served to rock our world; and that we know is something deeply important. Fortunately as we transition to Phase II (post encampment phase), we have some time to reflect.
On the surface occupy is a political movement. In actual fact it is much more... It represents the crystallization in our psyche of both a deep sense of injustice (the political aspect that is getting the headlines) as well as a deep sense of loss of meaning... in ‘ordinary’ life. Things have gone so far wrong that we don’t know what to say or do. When given the chance to register our dissatisfaction we did so without reservation and with relentless commitment and fervor. We were willing to push boundaries of all sorts.
The last couple of months has left many organizers both exhausted as well as exhilarated... unable to explain to where they have been transported. As we sit, reflect and deepen our personal dialogue, our resolve continues to deepen and take on a different tenor. We realize that this not a dress rehearsal and that the serious work begins now.
The extreme circumstances with which we have been presented (the need to defend our space, physical and psychological, from a systematic onslaught brought forth by the ‘system’), has only served to build real solidarity. True resoluteness and mutual respect is developed in the face of enemy fire. Those that have been standing together, in battle, have experienced something our adversaries have not. Our power is not reliant on, or reinforced by, institutional structures. We don’t have the luxury of the police force, city bylaws etc to support our strategic objectives. We don’t have the luxury of exercising power from a distance. Our power has been realized at the front line... by standing side by side with each other...
We occupy, because we chose, in particular moments, not to move.
We occupy because this is our space and this is our time and we cannot be moved.
We occupy because there is something deep inside that tells us to do so.
We occupy because justice is not something that is defined by the legal system. It should, if things worked properly, give rise to the legal system. Justice flows from something higher... something deeper.
We occupy because we are a part of a larger architecture that leaves us with a sense that our actions are meaningless; that there is no way, within the ‘system’, for those without substantial material wealth to actually be heard or to meaningfully impact the ‘system’.
We occupy because we are tired of going through the motions. There is something deeply wrong with normalcy as represented by ten hour workdays for corporations that rape the planet... and where the only time for oneself and one’s family are the two meagre weeks a year of holiday these institutions choose to grant us.
Why do we serve institutions anyway? Why do abstract entities have influence at all on the time I can spend with my friends and family? What is a corporation and how did it come to control my actions... madness has ensued....
We are being robbed of our essence, our individuality... our uniqueness... our humanity... Enough is enough! There is something deeply wrong and it is time that we, as a culture, come to realize, understand, and expose its roots.
We want to reclaim our connection to ourselves and each other through the creation of alternative ways of being in the world. Practically this will include the creation of new forms of community that are localized and sustainable; the creation of new forms of exchange that supplant fiat currencies and all the associated baggage that comes from money (as an exchange mechanism) becoming and end in itself and the sole guiding principle for all our activity. We want to reprioritize activity, production and consumption for states of Being... supplanting states of Doing as the guiding principle of behaviour. We want the guiding principles for our activity to be love, mutual respect and care for our planet. There should not be any debate about the importance of environmental priorities. It should be self evident that without the health of the planet, human civilization is doomed. Why is this not self evident?
I ask this question rhetorically... We know that it is self evident, but that capitalism reinforces, by its very nature, the worst aspects of human nature; greed, avarice and self interest. Hence, the centralization of financial power, that is also intrinsic to capitalism leads to an triumvirate (corporations, the political process and the media) that serve to reinforce the existing power structure, maintaining the wealth and benefits of a few at the extent of the many...
We occupy because we have had enough... haven’t you?
Suresh Fernando, Occupy Vancouver Organizer