As time marches forward and never ceases for anyone, OWS needs an end game. Encampment is not the end, it is the means of driving the message that income inequality and monied corruption is rampant in our government. They have been extremely successful is changing the narrative of debt and deficits to what Americans care most about, and that is jobs,income inequality and corruption in politics.
Should the encampments disband for the winter? Well, that is up to the General Assemblies of each occupy site. Ad Busters, the site that sparked OWS in the first place issues a tactical briefing. In this briefing they state,
STRATEGY #1: We summon our strength, grit our teeth and hang in there through winter … heroically we sleep in the snow … we impress the world with our determination and guts … and when the cops come, we put our bodies on the line and resist them nonviolently with everything we’ve got.
STRATEGY #2: We declare “victory” and throw a party … a festival … a potlatch … a jubilee … a grand gesture to celebrate, commemorate, rejoice in how far we’ve come, the comrades we’ve made, the glorious days ahead. Imagine, on a Saturday yet to be announced, perhaps our movement’s three month anniversary on December 17, in every #OCCUPY in the world, we reclaim the streets for a weekend of triumphant hilarity and joyous revelry.
We dance like we’ve never danced before and invite the world to join us.
Then we clean up, scale back and most of us go indoors while the die-hards hold the camps. We use the winter to brainstorm, network, build momentum so that we may emerge rejuvenated with fresh tactics, philosophies, and a myriad projects ready to rumble next Spring.
Many movements, historically, when they are organic, go through fits and starts. OWS does not want to wear out its welcome. The most important issue is keeping the message strong. Through the winter, this could be a time, like Ad Busters said, to regroup, brainstorm and plan the next move.
Corruption runs deep in our government and the public is ready to get behind this movement, as long as it remains peaceful and coherent. This battle can not be won in a couple of months, this may take 6 months, it is a marathon, not a sprint.
The most important issue is gaining the public’s support, and if the overall public is getting disenchanted it is time to back off the presence, but not the message.
Rather than encampments throughout the winter, marches, every weekend! March into Wall Street, march into Washington D.C. Keep the movement in the press lightly but once spring comes, increase the presence and encamp again.
The power of the movement is in the message, not the encampments. That is just the means to propel the message. Now that the message has resonated, it is time to develop the next move and the winter is the best time for that.
Image: The Faster Times