This interview with Ryan Hoffman of Occupy Wall Street by David Schuster on Countdown with Keith Olbermann on how OWS are self-policing touched me deeply. I thought it a simple and succinct explanation of what is going on.
"It's irrelevant" whether the police are sending homeless people to Zuccotti Park. "Whether or not they are sending people down there, we'll take them because if they have been wounded by the system that we're in, that creates a systemic sort of foreclosure mill, kicking people out of their houses and sort of oppressing them and taking away their voices, taking away their enfranchisement to speak, well guess what, that's what our movement is about and we're not going to turn those people away. This movement is so that everybody can have a voice and we lift each other up."
I loved the fact that Hoffman refused to take the bait, to play the homeless off against the occupiers or to make the police into enemies. I'm sure this ability to enter the blindspot of the argument and stand on the principle of inclusion is driving the media and powers that be crazy. It is a kind of intellectual and verbal non-violence akin, somewhat, to what an aikidoist does when performing irimi, entering, becoming the shadow of the attacker as the attacker attacks. If done right, just the movement alone can unbalance an attacker enough so that they will fall, a victim of their own violence.
I do not understand where these young people learned to become so wise. They seem to have learned the lessons of all the previous social movements and are avoiding their mistakes. When they start talking about Gandhian economics and swadeshi, I will know that my last dreams are coming true.
Now that Occupy Boston is planning their winterization, I've been sending them connections and activating my solar and energy networks so that they can contribute as well. Already, I think some ideas have found fertile ground. Greening the Occupation may lead to greener emergency and disaster response, to greener refugee camps, and to greener products and services for not just the 99% versus the 1% here but the Other 90% around the world who live on the equivalent of a dollar or two a day. Greening the Occupation could be the beginning of swadeshi and putting Gandhian economics into practice.
Perhaps I'm fooling myself, but the linkages seem very clear to me.