December 9, 2011 New Orleans A fellow organizer passed on an email to me yesterday that is worth sharing. Occupy Wall Street put out a combination position paper / magazine / whatnot entitled: “TIDAL: Occupy Theory, Occupy Strategy.” I was able to access the PDF by googling the title directly, and you might want to do the same and check it out. I won’t claim that I’ve read the whole thing, but from going through a number of the pieces (and the pictures and graphics are excellent and very helpful in getting a sense of their thinking and work through the images!), gives a pretty good grasp of the strengths and weaknesses of the movement.
A pretty good example can be found in the piece on Power in the Movement by Alex C. The graphic gives a clear image below:
The piece though is a little harder to put your arms around. First, Alex argues that “we must shed the invincibility complex.” Since he’s arguing that we must admit the ability to err, that seems beyond dispute, though perhaps unusual that it is the first consideration in looking at power within a movement. The second point went like this:
Second, a thought model may come in handy. We can view
the goal of social justice as necessarily passing through a
Feng Shui of Power with flows shaped by human action and
intentionality. With this paradigm we can proactively push
the movement to a place where all feel empowered and not
left out. Concretely, radicals must make use of “tracing”—
i.e. recognizing power and tracing it back to its origins—
to build a cartography of power. With that knowledge we
can actively shape the conditions for it to flow harmoniously
throughout all occupiers and society.
I’m not clear reading that piece that I have much of an idea of where to go next in thinking about power within the movement? Alex then lays out a basic one-two-three on power analysis mapping research which is once again inarguable.
On the other hand the piece by “Rira” entitled “Matrix as the Core Element” is an excellent analysis of the importance Occupiers ascribe to place and space, the General Assembly (which many in Tidal argue as their primary contribution to movement thinking and work), and other issues.
Enough said. If you are interested in how the Occupy Movement is beginning to lay down its process and thinking on theory and strategy, “Tidal” is worth a look. If you can’t find it, send me an email, and I’ll send you a copy of the PDF.