From Truth Out: http://www.truth-out.org/welcome-home-building-inclusive-movement-99-percent/1321627883
by: Randall Amster, Fellowship of Reconciliation
Thursday 17 November 2011
I’m on a number of email lists across the activist spectrum, and have noticed an increasing tendency toward what might be termed “ideological opportunism” on the part of some sectors that ostensibly stand in support of the Occupy Movement.
The hallmarks are conveyed in broad claims such as: “The movement must act in this manner…” or “These people are ruining the movement for the rest of us…” or “Why don’t they just leave and find their own movement…” History clearly shows how easy it is for movements to fracture along a number of these sorts of interrelated fault lines, as well as how readily those who wish to derail movements will exacerbate such tensions — and the increasing display of these sentiments plays right into that eventuality.
I would suggest instead that we consider what it means to build a movement, and more broadly a society, for everyone without exception. The idea that certain segments — most viscerally the derogatory and divisive tropes of the “freeloading homeless” or the “violent anarchists” — don’t belong in the movement and should be excised due to their conduct and/or status is offensive, shortsighted, and ultimately contradictory to the aims of the movement.
Achieving the liberation of only those who already “get it” or who are capable of comporting themselves with someone else’s version of what a movement space should look like is simply more of the same “us versus them” thinking that has fomented this moment of global crisis in the first place.
This doesn’t mean that anything goes. People need to work together to establish expectations and evolve mutual understandings about behavior within encampments and out in the streets. Those who contravene these expectations should not, however, hastily be cast aside as “mentally ill” or “violent thugs,” but rather should be viewed as equivalent recipients of the ministrations of the culture of violence (both of the physical and mental varieties) in which we’ve all been inculcated.