Talking to Occupy Wall Street and OccupiersSubmitted by Smudge Pot on Tue, 11/01/2011 - 14:19
So it's pretty clear to me at this point there's a right way and a wrong way to go about talking to Occupiers.
One way is to barge into an occupation and begin to imply by tone, body language and word that they are all a bunch of simplistic fools who need to get a clue from the great and almighty LIBERTARIAN GOD now.
And that's the way it don't work because all you are doing is being confrontational and all you get is confrontation and hostility in return. Now it's really great attack material for some people to banner around and trumpet on Youtube and say "see I told you these people are idiots" but that isn't COMMUNICATION and that isn't TEACHING. Failing on those two points is utter failure at the activism level for us and the R3VOLUTION. Not to mention failure at the ideological level: enlightened self interest dictates that we want to create friends of free enterprise, not more enemies.
1. A non hostile way to enter an occupation is to do so quietly and begin as an observer. Just walk around and check things out. Engage casually with people and it's OK to say that you just came to check things out. ASK SIMPLE QUESTIONS that indicate interest like "how are you guys doing?" and "are you warm enough?".
2. These people thing very much in terms of community or collectivism so a pizza or two can open some doors. Volunteering as a medic and actually integrating into their occupations is how you actually become "recognized" in these "assemblies" and their committees and caucuses. They recognize SERVING HUMAN NEED. They respect giving.
3. Learn their lexicon. Ask questions until you understand what's going on. Each occupation is different but they all seem to be driven by the old "consensus system of de-centralized authority" which comes right out of the hippy agrarian commune model. All major decisions including the mission of the assembly are decided by all "recognized" members. Any member can propose a course of action, discussion takes place, the dialog is brought to the point of decision and all recognized members of that assembly can give assent, they can asbstain or they can block consensus. The assembly has no power to overcome a block from a recognized member so that proposal is not supported by the assembly. It's designed so that nobody gets left out in the cold. It's a model that seeks to protect the individual's concerns from the group. It's cumbersome as all getout but it actually works, given time and a good group. It's never been applied at this scale and in such an open manner when nobody is pre-screened so this is all pretty interesting.
4. Gain recognition and we get to talk one on one. Gain recognition and we get to address assemblies as one of their own. There are some of us doing this now. And drop the cameras. Don't document, participate.
5. There's alternatives if this is repugnant to you. We can be visibly political but they are trying to stay away from endorsements of political candidates. A more respectful position is dropping RP and going with the freedom message. If you don't want to drop RP, then you are there to "show solidarity" or "show support for OWS". A really good one is that you as an RP supporter "just want to resonate the message of OWS TO LIBERTARIANS". Sneaky eh? You aren't RP trying to infiltrate OWS, you are RP trying to infiltrate RP with OWS.
Yeah, I'm a bit sneaky and no, I won't apologize.
6. Want to continue on the direct route? Let's talk about something that concerns them immediately. Talk about the Constitution and HOW IT'S SUPPOSED TO PROTECT THEM RIGHT THERE AND THEN. The rights to assemble and to petition. The rights to speedy and fair trial. The right to be free of cruel and un-usual punishment. The rights to due process under law. That's a great entry on where their rights derive from.
Conclusion: All we gotta do is set the hook. All we gotta do is be the gateway drug. And all we gotta do to do that is be of service to these people in thought and word and deed to have any positive effect. These words aren't to convince anyone of anything, it's just a couple road maps on how to communicate and educate. This is a diplomatic challenge of scale.