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How the Occupy Wall Street Protesters Can Defeat the Corporate Elite

An Occupy Wall Street organizer explains the strategy behind the movement, how far it has come and where it's headed.

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These are enormous victories not only in the consciousness of a new generation of fighters, but also in the creation of a new narrative, one that refuses to accept the myth that Americans don't struggle, that we can be bought off with TVs and iPhones, that things really aren't so bad and that we're willing to let injustice happen because we get a bigger piece of the bounty our military and capitalists extract from others.

No, we are rewriting the story, telling it ourselves, tweeting and tagging it, filming and singing it, writing it with our arrests and the bruises we get from the terrified and bewildered police who will eventually have to either join us or get the hell out of the way. And the story will be an important force not only in this struggle, but in the many to come. We will tell the story while we are at work and at school, on the picket lines, in marches, at our next occupations and sit-ins, in jail when the bosses get frightened enough to tell their henchmen to arrest us in the hundreds as they did on October 1, and the story will help us remember and imagine our boundless potential while we fight on.

Battles to Come

Occupations are an incredibly important mode of resistance, an expression of a dual power strategy. On one hand, they give us the space and time with which to create an alternative, to practice, to learn, to create new relations, to become better revolutionaries, and to experience community. At the same time, they serve as a base camp from which to wage a struggle against the institutions that oppress us, to knock down the oppressors, to protect that alternative, to liberate more space. Both are important. And yes, we face challenges in each realm.

Internally, we have to make sure we are modifying our structures to meet the needs of the people participating in them as we change and grow. We have to make sure that the de-centralization we are fostering actually empowers those who aren't already conditioned by this society to speak a lot and lead and give directions. We have to find and create new and diverse ways for people to participate, especially those too busy or too threatened by the daily brutalities they already face to be able to join us in occupations or marches. We have to continue to work to formulate a message together -- not only because it will attract and represent others or clarify our multitude of voices for the outside world, but also because the process will be educational for us and it will ground us in the real struggles we have inherited from being part of a movement together.

Above all, perhaps, we must continue to educate ourselves and each other, about everything from the systems of oppression we face, to the history of various peoples and struggles, to strategies for winning and practical skills to carry them out.

And perhaps even more important than learning about the ways we are kept down, is learning and exploring the world we might want instead, one without capitalism, racism, patriarchy, and authoritarianism -- an economic, political and social model that is solidaristic, equitable, self-managing, ecologically sustainable, liberating, intimate, warm and creative. We have to spend some of this precious time developing the values of the society we are fighting for, so that we can imagine the institutions we will need to build in order to live them out.

We have to do this because that's what it will take to defeat the age-old mantra that there is no alternative. We have to do it because imagining that alternative will give us hope and strength to struggle, because it will define the different ways we can fight and the different institutions we need to build for ourselves now, because it will give us the foundation on which to build a movement beyond one or even a hundred occupations. We must do it because dreaming is part of what gives us the strength to actually create those institutions we want to live in, as we fight to knock the rotten ones down.

 
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