So I have been thinking of what could be a good blog topic this time around and I landed on the idea that the perceived "infighting" is something that needs to be addressed, especially since Occupy Oakland is very much in the public eye.
Much of the communication between people who support Occupy tends to happen in person, over the phone and... yeah you guessed it online. Twitter, Facebook, various blogs (including mine) as well as many other social networking sites like Ustream, Tumbler etc. provide ways to get messages across. One thing that seems to be forgotten from time to time is the fact that the limited space for expressing yourself accurately through the medium of online forums is not always the most effective to get the full scoop. I say this leading up to the fact that misunderstandings and small disagreements can get blown out of proportion. This does not mean that the people who are talking online harbor resentment for each other or any other negative feelings. This is the dialogue that people are continuing to work towards a solution.
It's the same thing as misinterpreting a text message or anything else where a person is not able to assess the tone that is accompanying the message being read. Interpretation on behalf of readers can change the context of what is being said. It is especially true for people who are just following the publicized conversation and aren't aware of contributing circumstances and motivating factors pertaining to the conversation. Many of you who follow my blog also follow my Twitter and YouTube, some of you may even be my personal friends on FaceBook or family members know that this has happened with me as well as many others. However, what is not often publicized is the way everyone comes back together to still work on the same projects to reach their common goals. Just like with any family (Occupy family included) there are going to be misunderstandings coupled with many ups and downs, this will probably continue to be something that happens when protesting against an abusive and oppressive government (it's very stressful work you know). The bond that is constantly being built by the community is only strengthened when people can have disagreements and come back together. This is the bond that also keeps Occupy alive.
Occupy is a very strong and alive movement across the globe, and the bonds that are forged during these hard (and admittedly sometime joyful) times are the bonds that will keep the movement alive in the face of all types of opposition. In my own personal experience, I have developed friendships that have motivated me to not go home when I saw them unjustly arrested. More motivated for fight for them as my friends now than random people in my community. I am more willing to hear their concerns and my wanting to work with them to resolve problems is intensified. I'm sure that this is happening with more than just me and at many more places than just Occupy Oakland. So much so that I now have people in various states and countries that I now communicate with on a consistent basis. We don't agree on everything and sometimes we need to have a debate over core beliefs so that we can work towards a solution. How else are so many people with so many different perspectives and personalities supposed to work things out if they can't first go through the very difficult challenge of overcoming their differences?
This is the reason why I say the infighting shouldn't have so much of a negative response from the people who see it. The only thing that needs to be done is people coming together to mediate, not help blame and take sides and point fingers. This is counter productive. Nobody is perfect, I've been guilty of the very same actions. This is something that we all not only need to be aware of but also actively work towards employing the mediating tactic instead of allowing ourselves to become the house divided. Remember, we are people united and we will not be defeated. Period. The chant doesn't say that we are people united and when I disagree with you we're going to fight and divide.
At the end of the day, fueling the infighting just sabotages the efforts of people who are trying to help the movement sustain, and as long as this is a movement for the people against an abusive, oppressive and corrupt government and corporate greed spread around like a well traveled flu virus we should all do what we can to make the movement not only sustainable but productive and working towards fixing the problems of the community. Since Occupy is not about the top down approach, it makes sense that cities like Oakland are fighting against major issues, but it has to focus on the local structural inherencies that are blocking access to the issues at the "top" that are actively being used to perpetuate the abuses of the current government.
So the fighting about focusing on certain issues needs to stop, saying that Occupy Oakland and Occupy Wall Street are separate needs to stop (Oaklanders came out in support of OWS originally but were met by the militarization of the police department, thus a local issue needs to be fixed before the two can totally merge, but they are a part of each other), diversity of tactics being a problem needs to stop and the conversation about the diversity of tactics being the solution needs to be the more popular one. I'm hoping this blog can help change the perspective of some as my perspective on this has changed, thus the reason for this blog. Like I said to the Oakland City Council last night: Let's all let go of our own personal agendas and truly work towards a solution (paraphrase).